Homework Blues

As the first week of school draws to a close, my daughter has unchecked homework in her backpack on a Friday night. 

I don’t ever remember homework on the first day of school, but her teacher has had her reading about pioneer life and working on story problems in her math workbook.

I’m a little worried about what’s to come.  Her teacher last year rarely assigned regular homework.  It was mostly special projects or finishing something started in class.  Although my daughter enjoys reading and learning, too much homework can be discouraging.

My son’s sole assignment so far has been to bring in a family picture.  Unfortunately, the only wallet size picture we could find is a few years old.  Our family hasn’t changed that much, I think.

I was reading on MSNBC (“How Much Homework is Too Much?” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31910894/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/) how some school districts are limiting the amount of homework teachers can assign- by minutes. 

As a former student who could easily stretch a 20 page reading assignment into three hours by trying to read during TV commercials, I wonder how such limitations can be met or enforced. 

The rule of thumb is supposed to be ten minutes per grade level.  I’m not sure how that computes with my college advisor recommending two hours of study time for each hour of class. 

I guess the question is, what’s the point of homework?  I agree with finishing up learning activities not completed in class.  I like special projects that encourage learning hands-on and allow them to explore concepts.  I don’t like the idea of busy work just because the teacher has to assign 30 minutes of homework every night.

I suppose I have several years of homework enforcing and checking.  It probably won’t be long until all I can do is ask them if it’s done, since it will be beyond my comprehension.  I’ll try to be sympathetic though, since it’s hard for me as adult to commit to anything for half an hour a day. 

Even though the grades and the sweating over tests and projects will seem insignificant in about 20 years, maybe that’s not the point.  Maybe homework is a lesson in sticking to something until it’s done, in time management, and in organization of resources.  Maybe we all need a little more homework.

That’s homework- not housework, by the way!


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