Is it good for children to have homework at home? Do they have the ability to concentrate for so many hours? Is it necessary to work on curricular content at home?
As a teacher just out of college, I sometimes gave reviews to a child to get some extra money. I remember the case of a child with whom we spent the hour of review doing math exercises and he still had to do summaries of science at home. I don’t understand how his teacher taught the class. Either he did not correct the exercises in class or he only corrected and did not explain.
The first option does not make sense because if we do not correct what we do, we do not learn from our mistakes and we cannot learn to avoid making them. The second option does not really make sense either because if we do not explain what to do, we do not learn how to do it correctly.
Taking into account the amount of homework that can be sent to students to do at home, it is unacceptable that a school-age child spends between 6 and 8 hours at school and then has to do homework, activities, or exercises at home for 2 hours more, which added to the extracurricular activities in the afternoon, we are at 8-10 hours of compulsory study and work. Do you, as a parent, take home work every day after a long day?
Some time ago I met a teacher who said that the education of children depends fundamentally on three basic pillars forming a triangle that must be united: teacher-student-parents. And if it is the case of forming a duo, it must always include the student: teacher-student or student-parents. That is to say, the student can never be left out.
Homework: Is It Good or Bad for Kids?
I do not deny that sending home those activities that have not been finished in class or certain activities to review is a good way to teach children the value of responsibility, time management, and group work. Moderation is the sweet spot. Also, parents need to spend time with their children doing a lot more than homework and more homework on weekends and holidays. I never set a test on Monday because I don’t want them to spend the weekend studying. I also learned this from a classmate.
As teachers, let’s not expect them to do at home what they don’t do at school. It is true that there are strategies and tools to achieve this, but as I said before, parents have to get involved. I have had a student tell me that he has not done his homework because his mother told him not to do it. Another one forgot, even though he had it written down in his agenda. Possibly no one at home has opened his backpack. Generations go by but the excuses for not doing homework are always the same.
I have come to understand these types of parents to some extent. Or at least that’s what I think, it serves me as a tranquilizer pill. These are families with 4 or 5 children, older siblings who take care of the younger ones, children who spend the day at the park because they are a nuisance at home, parents who get up very early to go to work, mothers who work at night… I am not justifying their behavior, but I do think we need to look beyond the classroom.
It doesn’t matter if a child is a slow learner, the important thing is to encourage him/her to never stop learning.
Homework is not just our children doing math problems or a 1000-word essay; as parents we must work, day by day, on a series of homework assignments. Paper and pencil are not necessary. The only thing necessary is the desire to be with our children and play since it is a right according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990).
- Tell what he/she has learned at school.
- Form words with a letter or form sentences with a word.
- Reading the signs you find in the street.
- Playing board games: Chess, Checkers, Pictionary, Scrabble…
- Counting the steps of a staircase or the products in the shopping basket.
- Ask everyday mathematical problems.
- Reading next to them.
- Do not throw papers on the floor and teach them to recycle.
- Ask for things please and say thank you.
For all these reasons, I believe that homework should be kept to a minimum: to finish work that could not be completed in the classroom, to review or reinforce knowledge, and only when necessary.
We must respect non-school days when children have the right to play and enjoy their parents, and at the same time, their parents have the right to enjoy them.