But is this accurate? Is homework really like practice? I suppose we could do a compare/contrast type of thing here...
Homework is like practice because:
- Both serve to reinforce the concepts previously introduced in a lesson.
- Sometimes kids dread doing either of those things.*
- Both have direct bearings on future performance: If you don't do your homework, you might not do well on the test; if you don't practice enough, you might bomb your audition, concert, or whatever .
Homework is not like practice because:
- Some students will put in extra practice time simply for personal enrichment. I don't know of too many of them who will do extra homework-type items that weren't assigned by the teacher.**
- Homework is sometimes given as "busy work" by the teacher, and it may also be given to make up for the fact that some material wasn't covered in class. I can't speak for any of my colleagues, but I've never assigned something to practice that hasn't first been taught in a lesson, and I sure don't give "busy work."
- And finally, homework is usually something different every night (except perhaps for things like memorization of multiplication tables), whereas practice also involves a great deal of reinforcement (for example, my students play their major scales from the time they learn them in sixth grade until the end of their senior year in high school).
- A teacher's take on why he doesn't assign homework
- Here's a site dedicated to the eradication of homework: stophomework.com
- And an article on how parents these days may have trouble helping their kids with homework if the work being done now involves more problem-solving and critical reasoning
*This is especially true of the kids who might be forced into piano lessons at an early age, and even more so if the teacher is the stereotypical "mean old lady" in half-glasses who raps your knuckles with a ruler for missing a note. But does this person still exist anymore? I dated a piano teacher once, and she was nothing like that at all.
**I do, however, have a great friend who used to come home from college and join his engineer dad for some father-son bonding. While most people would think of, say, throwing the football around for a while, these two sat down and did calculus. Seriously. (Of course, they would then go throw the football. But still...)