First I tried because I thought every teacher did it.
Then I tried because I thought it was important.
Then I tried for my reputation’s sake.
Then I just tried.
Then I tried to try.
Then, cynical and disillusioned, I didn’t try anymore.
Then I had to try again. Boss said so.
With all the trying I succeeded only once.
Combine two four letter words and you get a dirty word.
It contributes to teachers blaming parents, parents resenting teachers, and kids
becoming proficient liars.
I will make this very clear. I HATE HOMEWORK. If it were up to me, homework would be eliminated – period. Now I know it will be mentioned as one of the requirements for a good educational system. But I’m not backing down. I think any teacher who demands homework should be tried for child abuse! (Ouch, teachers, I’m exaggerating. Don’t really mean that!)
Let me state my case:
- Kids head for school sometime between 6:45 and 7:45; they get home somewhere between 3:00 and 4:30. I say that’s ENOUGH ALREADY.
- They have about three to five hours somewhat-free time in the evening. They need it.
The arguments for homework are most apt to be these. #1 Kids have too much free time. #2 If kids don’t get their work done at school, they need to finish it t home. #3 They need more practice than they get at school. Practice makes perfect.
Let’s look into these arguments.
Kids have too much free time. In truth they only have about half as much time as they have had in school. The government has determined how children spend about eight to nine hours of their day. After checking graded papers which children bring home, parents and kids should determine the rest of their day. There are plenty of choices. Church, clubs, ball games, gymnastics, karate, dance, singing, music, computers, visiting. And time for some TV, daydreaming, and horseplay would even be nice.
Kids don’t get their work done at school, they need to finish it at home. No, the school administration needs to figure out a way for the truly slow to cope within the system. Other students need the discipline to do their work at school and, if they do not do so, their grades should reflect the problem. If there were not so much socializing at school, more work would be completed. Some children would rather goof off at school with their friends so they plan to do the work at home.
They need practice. Practice makes perfect. Not if the child is practicing wrong. Not if someone else is doing it for them. Not if it contributes to sloppiness, carelessness, and shortcuts. In truth, the child who can do the work well enough to do it at home, doesn’t need the practice (with the exception, perhaps, of drill to become faster as in math facts). The one who needs the practice, doesn’t know it well enough to do it at home. That child needs more help from the teacher.
Should parents have to supplement the teacher? I think not! Parents should be involved by reading, playing table games, going to the library, making tapes, embroider, fishing, cooking, repairing bicycles, gardening, visiting neighbors, etc. They shouldn’t have to hound the kids about homework.
In my introduction, I mentioned having one positive experience with homework. It consisted of my giving each first grader a Pringles can for taking home a short and easy lesson. In the can we put a pencil or crayons as needed, so they wouldn’t get hung up by lack of material. My goal was to teach responsibility – not to teach lesson content. The Pringles cans came back quite well. Kuddoes to me on that activity.
With apologies to King Solomon, my version of his philosophy regarding a time for all things:
To everything there is a time and place.
A time to linger and a time to race;
A time for school and a time for home,
A time to sit and a time to roam;
A time to work and a time to play;
But it’s not time to study at the end of the day.