Stop the Homework Insanity!

I constantly hear how young children have up to three hours of homework each night. I cringe every time I hear this. Research tells us that homework isn’t even beneficial until the high school years, yet we force feed our young children hours worth of unimportant homework every night.

For what purpose?

I see none.

At our private school in Lodi, we don’t assign homework. There are too many variables. Some parents are quite involved. Others aren’t. And, how, as a school, can you judge something that leaves your control, your jurisdiction?

Siblings might do the work for the child. Friends might step in. The dog might actually eat that homework. Then what? The child fails yet again. This doesn’t make sense to me.

Flat Stanley makes homework fun and meaningful!

We need to stop this foolishness. I remember my own son, who had dyslexia and auditory processing issues. He tried harder than any child I have ever known, and the homework would drag on. Hour after hour.

As a teacher, I knew he had to do this homework, and I look back now thinking I should have put a stop to it. I should have marched down to the principal and told him that my son’s homework was unreasonable, that he spent too much time on it, and I am sure it would not fall within district guidelines for the allotted time a child should spend on homework.

I didn’t.

I made him do it. And, last I checked, he is okay. He isn’t adversely scarred from doing too much homework in grade school. But as a parent of grown children, I look back, and believe me, it isn’t the time spent at the kitchen table doing homework that I remember.

I remember dog piles in the family room, reading stories, tickling, playing in the park, having friends over. I remember going places. I don’t remember a single worksheet. I don’t remember a single homework assignment my kids did in grade school except Flat Stanley.

Not drill and kill. Not flash cards. Not memorizing sight words.

All homework should be like Flat Stanley. Fun, interesting, centered around family. Exciting.

All homework should have a time limit. Timer on. Twenty mintues has passed. You’re done. Go outside and play now.

All homework should be meaningful. If it isn’t meaningful, it shouldn’t be assigned.

All homework should be an extension of what was taught that day. Your child learned to do long division. Three long division problems should be sent home as an extension of what was learned. Not twenty problems. Certainly not forty.

We need to stop this inanity of allowing kids to do three hours of homework every night. Their bodies are connected to their brains, and that means they need to get outside and get some exercise. Their brains are tired from working all day at school, and that means they need some down time. Some rest. The brain likes to work then it likes to rest.

Let them rest. Let them heal.

Don’t make them endure three hours of hell every night. No eight-year-old should ever have to do that.

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