Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homework? What's the point?

There are many questions parents have about homework.

There are many theories as to the importance, and emphasis placed on homework.

There are many opinions from teachers, students and parents about homework.

What do I think? Well, here it is in a nutshell.

Homework assignments stink!

This is what I believe and have formed an opinion about after observing students and homework over the last 20 + years of teaching.

There are a number of reasons why homework is given.
  • To help reinforce lessons learned in school.
  • So that parents can see what students are working on in class.
  • To encourage responsibility.
  • So that the teacher can assess who understood the lessons given.
  • To study for tests.
"Horsefeathers!" say I.

I know of people who brag about how much homework their children have. To them it is the mark of a rigorously academic school.

So let me pose this question:

If your child goes to a great school, why can't they complete the mastery of subjects during the school day?

How many of you, as parents, have had battles with your child over the completion of homework?
How many of you have had homework interrupt a peaceful family dinner?
How many of you have had to help with homework?
How many of you have had to curtail extra curricular activities because your child has too much homework?
How many times has your child had to stay up late to finish an assignment?

There has got to be a better way.

Many schools and school districts have strict homework policies that require the teacher to assign a certain time period of homework every night.

Many teachers assign workbook pages, practice exercises, and memorization of spelling words. An inspiring and imaginative list, isn't it?
This is a travesty. Children work in class all day long. Should they have to work on homework all night too?

When do they get time to enjoy childhood?

People often say childhood is the best time of your life. How can children enjoy it when they have so many homework assignments hanging over their heads.

My niece who is now an adult has a job that no one could have imagined when she was in elementary school. Because of her amazing parents she was able to use her imagination, think outside the box and develop her own position in a high profile business. She was inspired.

Homework should come from the child who is inspired to learn more about a subject.


Students do these things when given a rich cultrual environment.

Homework could be suggested instead of assigned.
Projects like:

  • Invent a new game.
  • Develop a new product for children to use in school.
  • Build a model of your dream home.
  • Create an itinerary for a trip around the world.
  • Write and illustrate a book of your own.
  • Design a car, an outfit, a restaurant, the perfect job.
Now these are homework projects I would have enjoyed!

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