What Kids Need: Homework

There is a movement in schools today where teachers do not assign homework.  They give the kids time to do it all in class, or so they say.  But what is the value of doing homework?  Is there a value?  I believe that there value in doing homework.  It adds resilience to kids by teaching them rigor, the self-discipline of sitting down and completing the work, and it adds dimension to their cognitive ability.  Homework one is the intellectual discipline of completing the work.  It also helps establish study habits, which will be vital in their continuing education.  It also gives teachers more time to spend on curricular materials in class.  If teachers are not assigning homework, and if they are giving time to complete the homework in class, then less of the curricular content is covered in class.  Something has to offer; it cannot be both ways.

Help your young people by giving them a quiet and comfortable place to do their homework.  One that is well-lit and without distractions, that is, no television or music.  Work with your child to establish a regular homework routine that will not be interrupted.  For example, many parents have a habit where kids get home, grab a snack, enjoy a few minutes of free time and then within 30 minutes of arriving back; they spend time on their homework.  How much homework is enough, it depends, but generally, about six hours a week should be adequate unless students are in advanced placement or International Baccalaureate classes.  It is best to have homework completed before dinner if possible. Kids will be hungry, so having some healthy snacks on hand will help motivate them.

Having an adult on hand to help answer questions or to help them memorize vocabulary words, as well as checking their answers will be of great assistance.  If an adult isn’t available, then an older sibling or the adult can check the homework or quiz the child when they arrive home.  Helping kids to learn know to plan their homework is a vital lifelong skill that they need to develop.  Keep a calendar in their school bag where they can write down papers that may be due in advance.  Help them plan out the weeks leading up to that due date or test date.  With a little guidance like encouraging them to do the problematic homework first, then the more comfortable classes, they can tackle their assignments successfully.

Many communities have available after-school study programs.  Some programs are located n the school itself, and others relocated in community centers.  Be sure to check the facility out first; don’t just drop your kids off.  Check to see what adults are there; how do they ensure that kids are working on homework first and then playing a game of basketball or whatever?  Generally, the centers are staffed with adults from the community, and they have strict standards for behavior and process.

I challenge you to approach your child’s teacher(s) to find out the homework policy and then enforce it at home.  Remember that most homework assignments are listed online now. By checking online, you can verify if the child is telling the truth when they say, “I don’t have any homework, mom.”

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich