The short answer is it depends!
Homework is useful if it helps your child review what has been taught in class, if it is a way of checking that lessons have been learned. Then, provided the teacher checks the homework, he or she can adjust how and what they teach in the next lesson. This type of homework should be short and to the point. Then, if your child has understood what has been taught he or she should be able to finish it in a few minutes. No stress!
So if your child has homework that helps her practice what she has learned then homework is useful and as we all know, practice makes perfect!
Homework is useless if it tries to teach your child something he or she has not been taught how to do. When this happens children, and parents, get stressed and upset. Parents end up trying to show their children what to do – and they ways they do this might conflict with how the teacher says the work has to be done. Result – total confusion and frustration.
Does your child need this type of homework? I suggest that he or she really doesn’t need homework if all is it going to do is cause emotional upheaval.
But I hear your cries go up – What about the child’s learning? What about the child’s progress? How will my child progress if he or she does not do extra work?
Well, let’s get something clear -there is no proof that doing homework increases a child’s learning or his ability to learn. In Finland – a country with excellent educational outcomes –I have read that teachers are forbidden to give students homework. Forbidden!!!
Teachers assume that children will work hard during school time and that they will use after school time to extend their interests, play sports, meet and talk to each other. Now I am not sure how well this is working in this age of digital addiction but it has certainly worked so far. Parents are expected to help their children develop life skills and are not expected to have to help with homework.
Ah, wouldn’t that be nice? No homework, no stress, no late nights worrying about what the next school day will bring.
Teachers would be happy to not give homework, as long as they can get through what has to be taught during the day. They tell me they give homework because parents ask for it, parents not kids. And why do parents ask for homework – two reasons, they want to know what their child is doing in class and they want to keep their child busy in the evenings.
These are not good reasons. There are better ways to discover what your child is learning and to keep them occupied each evening.
So, does your child need homework? You decide.
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