Homework has a didactic justification. After planning, motivating students, presenting the subject and guiding students’ activities, the teacher applies the procedures destined to integrate and fix the curricular content for the subject. This is the teaching process.
All learning begins from an initial syncretism and passes through a detailed analysis of the subject, which constitutes for the knowledge that is to be acquired. The third phase is that of higher integration where the knowledge learned are dynamically organized. Two steps are required for this to happen: recapitulation and exercise. Homework is an opportunity to carry out various types of exercises that aim to facilitate the assimilation of that subject’s content.
There are two procedures that help consolidate and fix that which was taught to the students: assisted study and homework. Homework constitutes as an indispensable complement to the classes themselves, because it gives the student the opportunity to conduct practical exercises that correspond to the theoretical contents of the subject. It constitutes as a stimuli that allows for the review of the subject studied in class, not to mention that it is an effective factor that creates good study habits.
Several norms about the preparation, obligation and correction of homework are here below:
1. Homework must be composed of practical exercises that relate to the content of the subject. In some instances, for example, homework can be to finish exercises that were started in class, or even new exercises.
2. An average duration could be the following: for students in elementary school, curricular homework should take up about half an hour on a daily basis during the first grades (6 years), while about one hour in the last grades (11 years). In secondary school, the duration oscillates between one hour and fifteen minutes (12 years) and two hours (15 years).
3. The quantity of homework should be supervised by the homeroom teacher if the student has more teachers that have the right to give homework. One of the main criticisms that homework receives concerns the irregularity of its content. Some days students have little homework, while at other times everything accumulates excessively, thus provoking anguish in both students and parents.
4. Routine and exercises that are repetitive and insignificant must be avoided.
5. It is very useful to use the school agenda, where the student notes down the homework, and it is through the agenda that parents have the opportunity to check on and help their child at home.
6. A necessary condition is for homework to be examined and checked by the teacher or by the students themselves with the teacher’s guidance.
7. Students should also have daily time for reading, playing, and living together with their brothers, sisters, and parents.
With regards to legislation, it is important to highlight the School Center Statute, which was approved by Organic Law No. 5 of the Head of State on June 19th, 1980. According to Article 13, during the pre-school period and the first two grades of compulsory education, homework that is to be done outside of school hours shall be completely abolished. It is only from the third grade on that homework is to be assigned home and its amount shall be progressively increased according to the age of the students, however, taking into account that in no case whatsoever shall the assigned homework substitute the time for games, fun, and living at home, nor shall it decrease a student’s resting hours.
It is also worth mentioning the Director General’s Resolution on Educational Planning (BOE 18-X of October 3rd, 1973), which establishes the norms for the realization of school work outside of educational centers. Concerning the quantitative aspect, it is expected that they will be synchronized in such a way so that the intensity ends up being directly proportional to the ages of the students. Concerning the qualitative aspect, it should be noted that other than repetitive mechanical homework, there are also the consulting of books, researching information and other types of expressive and creative exercises.
In most educational centers, homework is assigned to students and parents usually agree with this practice, as long as a student’s weekend rest is respected, especially Sunday.
Homework fulfills the function through which good study habits are adopted, and favors the integration and assimilation of curricular content within the student.
The role that parents play is very important, even if it is not necessary for them to know about trigonometry or other subjects. Their main job is to become interested in their child’s school life, talk about the homework, look at the school agenda, help organize the tasks, and motivate their child to finish them (Translated by Gianna Sanchez Moretti).