Archive for January, 2017

Homework, Homework, Give Me A Break!

January 10, 2017

Boy, and I thought the Presidential Election generated a ton of opinions.

In a given school year, many students spend hours upon hours each night working on assignments. Add to that work, sports and extracurricular activities, and it’s no wonder we have a lot of stressed out students…and parents. It’s a major job in itself trying to create the perfect balance of school, family time, after-school activities, enrichment activities and downtime for our children. Throw-in a couple hours of nightly homework, and you might as well forget about it!

Ask parents how they feel about homework and the response can be immediate and intense. Many parents will sound off passionately, saying there is too much, not enough or the wrong kind.

Some parents feel that their children are stressed out and exhausted by the volume of homework they receive, and parents have become drill sergeants in their own home to get it all done. Spending six to seven hours a day in school is enough. Students are tired after that and need to unwind and engage in nonacademic activities — many of which are just as valuable in creating a well-rounded person as academics can be. Indeed, it is possible for a student’s workload to reach a level that stops being helpful and starts being counterproductive for a students’ personal and academic well-being. If a child is struggling, homework may not be the key to improvement. Students can improve skills during intervention time at the end or beginning of each day that supports the lessons of that day and ensures conceptual understanding before new learning is added.

Other parents say their children aren’t getting enough or any homework at all, and they’ve had to create their own academic activities to keep their children challenged. Some feel that making homework less and less and less is contributing to us being less and less and less competitive worldwide. Also, if children aren’t occupied with homework, they’ll spend more time playing video games and perusing social media neither of which has much educational value and can lead to other issues.

Another group of parents complain that their children’s homework is more busy work than helpful work aimed towards improving academic performance. They are against homework for the sake of homework. They feel unnecessary homework does nothing but waste time for the student who has yet to complete it, for the parent who has to assist with it, as well as for the teacher who has to grade it, giving everyone ‘busy work.’

And then there are those who say the amount of homework is just right. The concept of homework is so ingrained in our culture that people can’t and won’t think about what it might be like if we just stopped making our kids do it!

So what’s a highly functioning 21st century educational system to do?

Hold that thought…just a sec…oh, wait…my kids need me…gotta go…duty calls, but first just one more question…what’s the Pythagorean Theorem again?

 

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