Today's post is about my ponderings on homework. Every year my children get different teachers with different approaches to homework. My oldest is a senior in high school and my youngest is in pre-school, so I run the gambit on grade levels. I've come to some interesting conclusions over the years, and I thought I'd share.
First off, I don't think homework is for every child. I have one kid that comes home, does their homework and finishes lickity-split. I have another that loves homework and thrives on good grades, and then I have one with ADHD who comes home, can't stand the idea of more school and only finishes about 1/4 of every take home assignment. Unfortunately teachers can't tailor homework for each and every child, it is a whole class or nothing deal.
So, I often run into teachers that believe in homework or don't. Over the years I've gone over to the dark side and now believe in the no homework approach. Part of the reason is because the school day is so long. The teachers have 6 hours to teach my child, and by the time my elementary school kids get home it is often after 4 pm. The day is mostly done, they get a little time to play, watch tv, eat dinner. Adding lengthy homework to the mix is stressful for them. They feel like they don't get a break. I can't even imagine going to work all day, coming home and then doing more business work. My husband does that and it is awful. Kids need to have time too. Plus, if there is an extra activity in your child's life, such as scouts or sports, then the time is completely gone. 3/4 of their day is school. I want those last few hours for them to do the things they enjoy.
I make exceptions for projects and essays. Those things are take home assignments and as kids go off to college and into the world they'll need those skills. But, I don't think they need more handouts about what they just spent all day studying. If something didn't get finished in school, sure, send it home. But, if it is just more excess, don't burden my child.
For my high schoolers, it is a different story. They do need homework, but just not as much as they receive. Each class seems to think they are the only class in my child's life and sends home an hour each. Hello, with 7 periods that's well into the night. How many of our kids stay up to 1 am just to finish that last assignment? I love schools that have connected teachers that work together to limit homework to only an hour or two each night. As my kids have gotten older, they've often added more things to their plates. They are in school plays, mock trial, band, school sports, etc. I often don't see them after school until the evening because they had practice after school. Then they come home, eat dinner and do hours of homework. Ugh! I feel their stress.
I think back to my days in school and remember the AP and Honor classes that took up my time. How did I fit it all in? As a parent I see my children struggling to balance their time and wish that I could just stamp out some of their homework as unnecessary.
What do other moms out there think? Did I get you thinking? Then I did my job, whether you agree with me or not. And FYI, I did get a degree involving secondary education, so I'm looking at both sides.