Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Joys of Homework

I came across an article I started in 2011 on homework, and laughed out loud. The article went

I would like to say I understand the concept of homework, but I don't.  Studying for a test, at home, sure; repeating exercises done in class, not so sure.  What tends to happen when children are introduced to a new concept is they understand it at school, however, when reaching home the concept appears foreign. And this is were the trouble begins as children seek out their parents for guidance.  Parents who have not seen this topic for many years; parents who were taught the topic in a different manner; parents who will approach the topic with an adult mind.  Frustration. Tears.

In theory, the homework should be left incomplete; in practice this leads to demerits or some other form of punishment.  Granted "I didn't understand the work" is an easy line to get out of homework but surely there is a better system?

I would like to propose that parents get an estimate from their school of how long homework should take for the specific grade (not studying for tests and completing projects).  Lets add 15 minutes on top of that to account for slower readers, or children who take time to mentally switch between tasks.  Create a homework chart with a time and subject column and have children write down the time they started each piece of homework.  When their school allocated homework time (plus the additional 15 minutes) has been reached, it's pen down. After a 20 minute break it's time to tackle studying or projects.  Better yet, study or do projects beforehand knowing that x time is needed at the end of the day to complete homework. 

This is going to create great stress for some children as they anticipate the trouble they will get into.  However, if they can get past this, it will provide them with a tool with which to support their argument of there being too much homework.

After all, is substantiating a point not a vital skill schools expect from children?

Side notes:
something along the lines of how children should take more responsibility for their homework and included some tips on how to ensure they have the tools to take this responsibility. While the tips are still useful, the rest of the article met my trash bin as the sheer volume of homework has become a great challenge for many families.
  • teachers will need to see some attempt at work not understood
  • sitting and watching the birds or a TV programme does not count as maths