Q:

My daughter's second-grade teacher deducted points or threw homework away when the children forgot their names or handed it in late. I feel that these methods were inappropriate and discouraged young children from doing their homework. I think it would have been wiser for her to support the students for the work that they did outside of the classroom. -- Inappropriate

A:

In the first place, there is considerable disagreement among educators about the value of children in the early grades having any homework at all, as it doesn't seem to correlate very highly with how well they do in school. At this level, the main purpose of homework is to get students in the habit of doing homework. This obviously includes handing their work in on time. Plus, homework can serve as a reinforcement of what they are learning in school, especially in reading and math.

Don't criticize this teacher for wanting to have children turn their work in on time, because the sooner they learn to do this, the better. Admittedly, we don't like to see the teacher throw out late work or nameless papers, as it can certainly be discouraging to such young students. At the same time, you can obviously help your child avoid this discouragement in the future by helping her create a checklist of what she needs to do before handing in her homework.