Let kids be kids, homework can wait until later

 Father_son_flying_kite_md_clr     Sometimes I think it's fun to find out what your average everyday parent thinks about school, education and homework.  I came across an article by Karen Cruickshanks written for the Sydney Morning Herald (in Australia).  She seems to oppose excessive homework (and who doesn't?).  But she goes on to describe how her son responds to HER involvement in HIS homework…and how his after-school time is intruded upon.  She says: "At the end of a six-hour day they send home a tired and cantankerous eight-year-old and expect me to make him complete another hour of school work."
      In addition she poses that "there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that homework is at best wasted time and at worst harmful to self-esteem and damaging to family relationships "
      I find myself ambivalent about some of the assumptions she makes in her article.  On one hand I'm elated that she's courageous enough to get out there and state what she thinks…and I agree with much of what she says.  On the other hand, I'm afraid that if homework were eradicated, many parents would miss out on 1) an important opportunity to relate with their children on an important issue (education, learning and attitudes about 'em) AND 2) responding to an "externally imposed" behavioral objective that parents can use to teach personal responsibility and personal satisfaction. 
     You're invited to read the  Entire Article   –it is insightful and I'm certain you can relate.  Who wouldn't rather be out flying a kite or playing at the park than pressing your kid to do homework?  Me, too!

     Have you got something to say about this?  Please leave me a comment. I'd really appreciate your opinion. 

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2 Responses to Let kids be kids, homework can wait until later

  1. I think Karen has a point about overloading kids with homework. You reach a point of diminishing returns and unhappy students. But I agree with you that homework in reasonable amounts serves several beneficial purposes. Discipline, responsibility, and time management are several important ones, but perhaps most important is that it should provide an opportunity for parents and their children to connect, whether it’s through the parent taking a guiding role in working with their child, or letting the child simply know that you’re there if they have any questions and you will review the work with them when it’s completed. If I’m hearing Karen correctly, she sounds like her son’s homework is an imposition on her time. Unfortunately, I think many parents feel this way. But studies show that when parents take an active and participatory interest in their child’s education and, children do better in school and have more interest in learning.
    The Education Equity Center has created a series of do-at-home science activities for children 3-8. The program, Science:It’s a Girl Thing, specifically targets girls, as girls are often short-shrifted in being made to feel confident in their abilities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) subjects. Our Facebook site is http://facebook.dj/scienceitsagirlthing. You can find out more about the program and download activity cards. We’re also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/scienceforgirls

  2. M Hankey says:

    So this writer used “Google” as the basis of her research to make the statement:
    “Interestingly, there was absolutely no research that measured any benefits of homework for primary school kids. On the contrary it seems that there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that homework is at best wasted time and at worst harmful to self-esteem and damaging to family relationships. One study even likened it to child abuse.”
    Not that I don’t use Google myself, but I hardly would use it for the sole basis of a statement in a column in a newspaper addressing a couple of a million people (plus the world of the internet).
    I agree that MOST homework is pointless. I often get “in trouble” as a teacher for not giving enough homework. It is a sad state of affairs when the parents and students come complaining that I didn’t give them enough homework (at Middle School). If they want work I tell them to read their textbook…always something there!
    My second grade son gets more homework each night than I think he needs….then again, what do I know, I am just a teacher, and a mom!

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