My children have homework everyday. On Mondays it is always something oral - tell their birthday, phone number, count by 10's to 100, etc. Tuesday - a handwriting sheet ( the letter of study) and a math sheet, Wednesday - I send home each child's homework notebook ( a black/white composition notebook) and they have to do something in it that goes along with our unit of study ( today is was to draw an ant colony - don't forget all of the various tunnels and rooms), Thursday - another math sheet, and Friday - the homework notebook goes home again and they have to do something (usually 3 pictures that start with the letter that we are studying) to go along with the letter that we are studying.
I staple the homework calendar on the inside of the children's BEE folder at the beginning of each month. I check each child's homework each morning. The children also do a monthly book report. They color a picture about something about that happened in a story that they have had read. They get up in front of the class and retell the story and show their picture. At first, they usually tell just a few things, but now they are doing fabulous retelling which falls right in on what we expect for the DRAs.
The parents know the routine, they appreciate that it is always the same from week to week and it doesn't take more than 5-15 mins each night. Our school also has the expectation that they read every night and record it in the child's reading log which is in the BEE folder.
My homework calendar is also on my classes webpage. I only have 1 child this year who doesn't do his homework each night. It has been very beneficial for us all.