Homework Expectations

Expectations and purposes of homework

Individual abilities are contributing factors in determining how long a student will spend on any given task. Homework should make authentic use of students’ reading and writing skills.

Homework should be a meaningful experience, designed to develop independent work habits that will assist students during their years of study. Students need to learn to organize their work and budget their time, both for daily and long-range assignments. Charlton Heights provides all students in grades 1-5 with an individual Student Agenda Planner to help them learn how to organize their time and to facilitate home-school communication. One important aspect of homework in elementary school is to instill in a student the idea that homework doesn’t always have to be written. Studying spelling words, reading independently, studying for tests, doing a science project, etc. all qualify as “homework.”

Homework should be seen as a reinforcement of skills learned at school, a way of practice and possible remediation or enrichment. In addition, it is an opportunity to complete unfinished class assignments if deemed necessary by the teacher.

Homework should provide a means of communication between the home and the school and an opportunity for parents to become involved in their child’s education.


The success of a homework program depends upon the cooperative efforts of students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Students: What are your responsibilities?

  1. Think of your homework assignment as part of your learning experience. It is an opportunity to grow in your skill and knowledge and to pursue your interests.
  2. Refer to your Agenda and collect the necessary materials.
  3. Be responsible for completing the assignment on time and returning it to your teacher. Follow the expected standards of quality. With your parent, set up a suitable environment for homework time.
  4. Carefully plan your activities and interests so that you will complete your homework assignment successfully.

Parents: What are your responsibilities?

  1. Understand that homework is an important part of your child’s learning process that helps him or her accept the responsibilities of school life and develop and reinforce lifelong skill.
  2. Provide your child with the time and space needed to complete assignments.
  3. Show an interest by asking to see your child’s homework on a regular basis. This reinforces the importance of homework and provides an opportunity for you to keep informed about your child’s progress. Remember that homework is your child’s responsibility. You are not responsible for doing your child’s work, but should be concerned that he or she does it carefully and accurately. Be available to provide guidance and answer questions without doing the homework.
  4. Encourage your child to have an organized approach to homework by providing requested materials such as notebooks, etc.
  5. Work closely and cooperatively with your child’s teacher(s) especially if there have been difficulties with homework. Your child needs to see a connection between home and school, with consistent expectations coming from parents and teachers. This will be the most effective way to help children improve in their responsibility.
  6. Check your child’s Agenda daily and sign if expected.
  7. Homework grades will be determined by individual teachers. Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions.
  8. Contact your child’s teacher regarding any difficulties your child may be having with homework or projects. Contact may be made in several ways: 
  • All teachers can be reached through the district email system, which uses the staff member’s first initial and entire last name and the extension @bhbl.org with no spaces. For instance, Jane Doe’s email would be: jdoe@bhbl.org.
  • Use the Agenda to write a note to the teacher.
  • Leave a message at the school office asking the teacher to return your call.

Teachers: What are your responsibilities?

  1. Establish homework assignments at the correct level for each student to ensure that skills taught in the classroom can be practiced and reinforced at home successfully.
  2. Use the Agenda and check for signatures, notes, etc.
  3. Establish acceptable standards of neatness and quality allowing for individual challenges.
  4. Provide a rubric for all long-term projects, if graded.
  5. To ensure students understand how to study, encourage them to ask questions in class when they are not sure of something or do not understand. Also, go over and encourage them to read the student responsibility section of this guideline.
  6. Set up a system for handling late or incomplete assignments and make certain the system is understood by students and parents.
  7. When making long-range assignments, make sure students have guidelines for completing the assignments and understand the due dates. Make parents aware of long-range assignments so they can help their child budget time at home properly. Work with other teachers to assure there is not an abundance of homework.
  8. Contact parents and seek their cooperation when you are unable to satisfactorily resolve homework problems with a student.
  9. Make sure students know and are capable of the basic study skill techniques appropriate for the grade level. These may include:
  • Using resource materials: glossaries, encyclopedia, etc.
  • Concentrating and developing self-discipline.
  • Listening.
  • Skimming.
  • Gathering, organizing, relating and communicating data in their own words.
  • Making and using an outline.
  • Reading for main ideas, specific information and details.

Estimated Homework Times

Kindergarten: About 15 minutes per night including reading and writing with occasional special projects

Grades 1 – 4: About 30 minutes per night, including reading, math facts, and spelling practice with occasional special projects

Grade 5: About 45 minutes per night. Daily reading and math facts are not included in this time frame. (According to state and district expectations, all math facts should be mastered by the end of fourth grade.) Typically, weekend homework is reserved for long-term projects only.

Requesting assignments for students who are ill

If your child is absent from school and you feel that he or she is capable of working on assignments during an illness, you may request work. When leaving a message on the Absence Calling number 518-399-9141, ext. 85510 please include a message requesting homework and indicate how you will obtain the assigned work. (For instance, would you like it sent home with another child or will you pick it up at the main office after school?) The teachers will do their best to accommodate you. Please remind your children to bring their books back when they return to school.

Assignments for students on trips

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake discourages the practice of taking children out of school for an extended period of time. Since homework is both an extension and a reinforcement of class work, it is not as effective when done as an isolated exercise. The educational benefits derived from discussions, presentations, and demonstrations cannot be duplicated by merely reading a textbook. Teachers also find it difficult to project accurately exactly what will be taught during a child’s extended absence. It is not an easy task to predict how concepts will be grasped and content understood by the group.

For all these reasons formal homework assignments will NOT be prepared for these extended periods. General suggestions for reinforcing reading, math, and writing skills may be made in lieu of specific homework assignments. The specific assignments can be gathered during the period of absence and provided to the child when he or she returns to school.