Homework is a vital aspect to ninth grade English. There simply isn't enough time in a school year to teach what needs to be taught unless the students practice what is being taught at home. I never assign what would be considered "busy" work, or work given just to make students do homework. Every assignment I assign is given to reinforce practices taught in class, check comprehension and/or evaluate student writing growth.
Students are given work far in advance, so they have to judge how to use their time. If students do not put in their time on a daily basis, the work might seem overly demanding. For instance, if a student waits until the night before to do a reading and writing assignment, they might very well work for three to four hours on it. Please know that the student was given ample time (usually a week) to finish that assignment.
Depending on the class your child is in, the amount of work they are doing should be between a half and a whole hour, five nights a week. While there is work that is assigned to be due on Mondays, it does not mean they have to do it over the weekend. It is very possible, with the advance notice that is given, that homework can be completed before the weekend.
All of student writing is generated through literature. The first quarter is based on shorter works (short stories, essays and poetry) and the writing is done on a shorter basis (extended responses that model essay writing, with a introductory sentence, body sentences and a sentence to conclude and finalize one's thoughts). The second quarter starts novel assignments, where the students will work on study guides that analyze chapters of their first novel. The analysis is based on higher-order learning skills. At the end of the second quarter and into the third, Romeo and Juliet is the literary core of the class. While the writing lessens during this period of time, the reading and comprehension of the play takes a great deal of time. Have no fear, there will be some writing to accomplish.
In addition to the above, novels are accomplished throughout the school year and study guides are worked on to guide the student through the literature. The questions on the study guides are designed to get at the aspects of the book that need to be highlighted.
Various essays are assigned throughout the year, depending on the level of student and the type of class.
Throughout all, vocabulary is also interspersed. Each lesson or unit takes two weeks. This starts on Tuesday, when the book work is due. The following Monday has sentences due and that very next Thursday is when the test takes place. This schedule lasts throughout the year and only varies when school is closed on a usual assignment date. The sentence writing assignment may be delayed in the early parts of the year while students are being taught to write sentences.