Thirty years of classroom experience makes Mary Rose a teaching expert. We've asked her to answer a question from a new teacher. Hear her advice!

The Question:
Mary, does everyone struggle with getting students to do homework assignments as much as I do? I have the hardest time getting parents to help students do the work and then get it back to school the next day. There has got to be an easier way!

Mary Rose's Answer:
After 30 years, I've graded a lot of homework assignments, and I just never cease to be amazed at what a struggle it is to get that homework back. So last year and this year, I came up with a new plan. It's a two-step process:

Number one, I give a very predictable set of homework. Every Monday, I give a reading assignment. Every Wednesday, I give a spelling assignment. And they know it; it's the same every week for the whole year. So having it be predictable is one way to help the homework pattern.

The other thing that I've done is I give homework on Monday, and I don't know why we are so hung up on getting that homework back on Tuesday. These kids now go to soccer practice and baseball practice and Little League and violin and heaven knows what else, and so many parents work, but it's a true struggle to get that homework back the next day. So I give homework on Mondays, and they can bring it in on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. All I want is for the child to do the homework, so the parent signs it, and it can come back to me any day for the whole week. And I really have eliminated the zeros in my homework assignment sheet because they are much more apt to bring it back if you give them a few extra days to get the work done.