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November 2011
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Homework Time

Helping my children do homework is kind of fun. Arguing with my children because they’d rather pick a fight than do the work is not fun. Standing guard over my children so they don’t distract themselves is alternately boring and frustrating. Unfortunately most homework times feature the second two far more than the first. The work they are assigned is not too hard, nor does it take them too long. If it were only the homework we’d have no challenges. But my children are… children. They lack the emotional maturity and skills to understand that sometimes the best way to get out of something is to go through it as fast as possible. I’m teaching perseverance and problem solving right along with spelling. I’m teaching them how to read a text book along with answering the history questions. I’m teaching neat handwriting along with the math. With those hidden lessons considered, then the true challenge of homework becomes apparent and their struggles with it become understandable. The thing I have to remember when I’m biting my tongue and counting to keep my temper, is that the struggle itself is the teacher. It is when we are struggling that we grow. Which I suppose should apply to my own struggles and have more patience with me as well as with them.

3 comments to Homework Time

  • Laura

    This is a fascinating post because I just read a book called the Homework Myth (in hardback – not on the kindle!) which discussed why homework is actually more not helpful than helpful. He had a lot of points but one of them was that parents don’t know how to teach kids if they are having a problem with something, and also that families could be spending more quality time together if they weren’t fighting over homework.

    • My experience is that homework can be incredibly educating and valuable, but I have to be engaged with it as thoroughly as the children. Also, it needs to be the right homework. Homework should only be assigned if it directly reinforces or expands upon things learned in class, not because “we assign Math homework every Wednesday so I’ll give them this worksheet.”

  • Laura

    I definitely agree – homework should be given because it is a meaningful followup to what happened in class, not because that’s the day kids should be getting that kind of homework. I’m also leaning towards trying to alter homework to offer different types of learners different choices.