Do we need homework?

How do you feel about homework? Is it necessary to reinforce what is being taught at school, or is it a burden whose negatives far outweigh its benefits?

I’ve always been of the philosophy that if homework can be eliminated or reduced, it should be. When I think of how long kids sit in chairs all day, listening to one lecture after another, reading books from various subject areas, and following all of the rules of the school, I don’t blame them one bit for wanting to be truly free when they walk out the door. If it’s been a long time since you sat for 8 hours listening to someone else’s directions, I urge you to try it. You will find that your butt hurts, you’ll look for any excuse to go to the bathroom, and your brain will be fried by the end of the day.

Kids are no different; in fact, they’re worse. They’re meant to be more active, to run around and exhaust themselves physically. But they can’t do that if they’re burdened with 50 math problems, 50 pages of reading, and a science project, all due tomorrow. So I subscribe to the “less is more” theory when it comes to homework. Thankfully, I teach at a school with the same philosophy, so I’m supported in this effort.

I contend that except for when it’s impossible to do the work at school, homework should be kept to a minimum. Let’s free our kids every afternoon and encourage them to explore, exercise, play with their friends, relax with a book of their choice, and spend time with their family. There is WAY more to life than book study.

Think back to your homework days. Did all of that extra work help you? Did it feel like busy work? Did it engage you in the subject or make you want to learn more? And what about your kids now – how do they feel about their homework?



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