“They spend the whole day at school working, they need a break when they get home.” As an educator for 13 years in several different social economic schools, this was the most common quote I heard from parents about homework. With specials, recess, lunch, and transitions students are really spending about 4 – 5 hours on academics (I used to try to use every last minute I could for academics).
Homework is essential to student’s growth in academics and life. Homework should be used as a tool to practice skills that have been taught at school, help teach study skills, and prepare them for the future. In addition, it is a way for parents to spend quality time with their child and be more involved in what they are learning. When I assigned homework, it was used to enforce a skill that they had mastered in school that day. The assignments were designed to be completed independently with support, if needed. If at any time homework became frustrating, I always encouraged my parents to send me a note letting me know they were struggling with that particular skill. This was extremely helpful to me and allowed me to review the skills the next day instead of waiting until they were assessed. Many of my assignments were used to help my students with study skills. Study skills are something students will use for the rest of their lives, which teaches them how to study at a young age. Also, homework is a wonderful way to teach time management (which even as adults we struggle with). Children are involved in several different activities, and learning to prioritize their time is a skill they will use throughout their academic and adult years.
When homework is assigned correctly it can be used as a great tool for parents and teachers. It is a way for parents to see their child’s progress and understand what they learning in school. In addition, as a teacher it was a quick way for me to determine the skills students were struggling with and the ones they were mastering. Let’s stop looking at homework as a dreaded experience and start enjoying that time we have with our children.
Here are some helpful strategies to use when completing homework:
1. Set up a designated quiet spot for homework.
2. Have all your supplies in a bin (sharpen pencils, erasers, crayons, rulers, etc.)
3. If possible, try to complete homework at the same time. (I know this may not work out
4. Set a timer in thirty minute intervals. If they have an hour of homework, give them a small break half way through.
5. Be in eye sight of your child, therefore, if they need your support you are right there.
6. If there is a reading assignment (read for 20 minutes nightly) sit and read with your child at least a couple times a week. It is amazing some of the things you will learn about your child when you just sit and read with them.
7. If the parents have a positive outlook on homework, the children will have the same outlook.