Is Homework a Myth?
Most parents struggle with the amount of homework assigned to their kids. Every beginning of a new academic year is a reminder of the burden of homework. I can tell you that with one son going into 5th grade and another son beginning middle school, I’m not really looking forward to homework wars. I’ve had my ups and downs, love and hate relationship with homework for a long time.
The Importance of Homework
Academics and psychologists go back and forth on the importance and relevance of assigning homework to children from elementary school to high school. Any parent knows that homework assignments can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. If you have your child in any type of after-school activity you are looking at homework duty until close to bedtime.
Is Too Much Homework a Bad Thing?
Alfie Kohn is probably one of the most outspoken authors who challenge the need and benefits of homework. In his 2006 book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, he argues that homework fails children and yet it is still widely accepted in most schools. He claims that after a long day in a school setting, children must come home and complete more academic work. Kohn also claims that no research has ever found benefit in assigning homework to elementary students and that the only time that homework seems to be relevant is when you compare homework and test scores, especially math test scores.
Proponents of Homework
Not everyone is on board with Kohn’s ideas. Proponents of homework believe that homework provides an opportunity for parents to interact with their kids as well as understand the content they are learning at school. They also claim that homework teaches students responsibility, time management, and perseverance. Some studies even claim that there is a correlation between homework and academic success.
Over the years my opinion on homework has changed. Although homework consumes a significant amount of time, I’m not one of those parents who are completely opposed to it. When my children were much younger in second and third grade, I thought homework was a curse.
After being in school for 7 hours, the children would come back home, have a small break, and spend the rest of the day doing homework. As a single parent of a child with a learning disability, it meant lots of tears and frustration.
By the time I was done with homework, it was time to eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed. Homework was frustrating and extremely time-consuming. With the children a bit older and with one in middle school, I feel that a certain reasonable amount of homework is definitely important.
It really keeps my older son in check, teaches him responsibility with deadlines and really reinforces the more advanced content he’s learning at school. So far we are still at the beginning of the academic year, and things are going ok. Let’s see how it unfolds in the following months.
How about you, what’s your opinion on homework?