I know it's the timeless question. How much homework should be given out? As it stands, I do believe that homework should not be anything new, or difficult. It should be something that the student can do independently without taking up too much time. Yet I fear that there are teachers out there who feel uncomfortable in not giving loads of work to be done home. Old habits are hard to kill, and I do believe that with good first teaching, homework shouldn't be so taxing.
As a former second grade teacher, I used to make sure that one thing that they would always have to do is read and have their parents sign their reading log. As the year went on, I had them summarize and infer on what they were reading. Spelling and math worksheets were sent home every once in awhile. I made to sure to focus on getting what I wanted the students to learn in class which I saw made a huge improvement on their reading scores later on.
For anyone else out there who has been having similar problems with this dilema, here's a story from the houston chronicle telling how one school district is handling it. How much homework do you give your students? Do you feel that you are giving too much?