HOMEWORK! For some parents, the mere sound of the word strikes terror to the heart, for they remember past years filled with procrastination, lost assignments, more procrastination and conferences with teacher. Gone are the tranquil, Norman Rockwell evenings of summer. Replaced, instead, by evenings filled with diplomatic negotiations and familial stand-offs. If you are a parent who has suffered through previous years of anxiety and stress over homework, I would highly recommend Alfie Kohn‘s new book entitled, The Homework Myth. There is very little evidence that piling on homework accomplishes anything. In fact, loading up our children with nightly assignments actually does more harm, than good. Children’s innate love of learning easily gets lost in reams of busy work and unrealistic expectations.
I often ask adults how many of them would be willing to put in a full shift at work, only to be told by their employer at the end of the day that they will be expected to continue working throughout the evening at their home. The answer is, not many! Yet, we expect our children to do just that. Children in the primary grades really shouldn’t have much, if any, homework. Families need to come together at the end of each day, to connect, play and de-stress. If you find that homework is interfering with your family time each night, talk to the teacher and advocate for your child. Let your voice be heard. You might be surprised to learn that your teacher agrees with you and is more than willing to accommodate your request.