It’s hard to believe we are in the last weeks of another school year. Usually this is the time of year when two things happen. First, we start to think about how fast time is going and how impossible it seems that another year is almost over. Second, there is the mad scramble for end of the year projects, testing and activities.
Amongst the mad scramble is homework, a topic that has been the center of much debate over the last few years. We’ve been fortunate to be in schools where the homework is reasonable for the grade level. The homework stresses in our household typically come when we have after school activities and need to get creative to find time to get it done. I’ve heard the horror stories where elementary school kids have an hour or more of homework a night and high school kids have three hours or more. I’ve talked to parents where their older children are so anxious they can’t eat or where the pressure has become so great, their grades start to slide. This week I also heard about a class on the opposite end of the spectrum, where a first-grade parent complained there was too much homework, so the teacher canceled all homework for the rest of the year.
There is an active debate over the importance, relevance and effectiveness of homework. Google the topic and you will see many articles written supporting both sides of the debate. What I think is missing from the articles and research that I read is the fact that every child learns differently. The research supports what is best for the whole, but it is our job as parents to identify what works best for our child. It’s easy for us to operate from a place of how we think it should be or how we think they should work best, but have we tuned in to see how and when our child works best? If there is resistance, have we looked to see if it’s about the content or is it more about the timing? If it is truly too much for your child, have you taken reached out to the teacher to see if there are other options?
This debate will go on for years to come. It’s also likely that with the introduction of Common Core, STEM based learning techniques and gamification, the landscape of learning will continue change and evolve. What will not change is our responsibility to support our children.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.