# Fake Math Homework

I decide to do my daughter’s homework for one typical week.Monday By late afternoon, I am tired after filing a magazine article on deadline. When I arrive home, a few minutes ahead of Esmee, I consider delaying my week of homework, but then I realize that Esmee can never put off her week of homework.The textbook Esmee’s class is using is simply called Earth Science and was written by Edward J. “Early in their careers, they shared frustrations with the limited availability of textbooks designed for non-majors.” So they rolled up their sleeves and wrote their own textbook, which reads exactly like every other textbook.

I should state for the record my assumption that students need a amount certainly varies by the student, however.

Some students don’t need more than a couple problems.

That is the advice of my 13-year-old daughter, Esmee, as I struggle to make sense of a paragraph of notes for an upcoming Earth Science test on minerals.

“Minerals have crystal systems which are defined by the # of axis and the length of the axis that intersect the crystal faces.” That’s how the notes start, and they only get murkier after that.

The only year I assigned homework with any regularity was during my student-teaching, when my class management plainly sucked, failing by every one of those metrics and more. By assigning whatever practice we didn’t finish to homework (“…

I’d like you guys to finish this for homework …”) or by using homework to compensate for underplanning (“… Related: How Math Must Assess Important Ratio #1 How I Work: The Software Package Update: Jonathan takes exception in the comments and, to his credit, he’s got a wily homework scheme that does right by many of my caveats above: I assign 3 pieces: practice, regular, and challenge. So the stronger kids get a couple of challenge problems, and the weaker kids get a fistful of easier exercises to build up some proficiency.

The issue for most math teachers, I believe, is one of time management.

If your class is slow to start the period and quick to finish, if your transitions are labored, or if you waste time disciplining your class, then you won’t have the to get through forty problems.

tell you what, I’ll let you guys start your homework early …”) I was transferring the cost of my poor teaching onto my students. One more time: my time management was a bust so I helped myself to whatever time I wanted from my students’ personal store, whenever I wanted. I continuously examine and re-examine how I spend my instructional minutes. It falls to the teacher, though, to take that value seriously, to maximize it in creative ways, and to minimize its cost to the student. And since it is easier, they are more likely to do it.

Between effective class management and my new hardware package, I am now confident that, in a two-hour block, my students are coming within a gnat’s eyelash of two hour’s worth of instruction and practice. I find “likelihood of doing homework” to be a troubling measurement, though.