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The Tale of Homework

So, I’ve been MIA a bit here. I’m sure it is pretty obvious that my lack of writing directly corresponds to the beginning of school. That said, tonight I sat down for a bit of a break after work and a meeting and soccer practice and bedtime (never fear, I’ll work on something school related still tonight!) and I read this article.

Homework.

Okay, I do get it. My older son has homework. Sometimes it is difficult to make sure it gets done. But, if he has time to play outside and go to soccer, he has time for homework.

Also, I think homework can be used incorrectly or can be excessive. I don’t want my students to practice something the wrong way, so the homework I assign is always practice of what we’ve worked on in class. In addition, I try to make it manageable and helpful. Plus, our daily homework is always, always to read! But, I digress…

The author claims students have enough schoolwork during the regular school day. I wish that were try for all kids (it truly may be for hers), but experience and statistics show it isn’t. Depending on the assessment and group, only 30-50% of our students are proficient in reading. There are literally not enough hours in the school day to pack in all of the instruction, practice, reinforcement and interventions these students need – in reading alone. Sorry, parents, but if you want your student to be a successful reader, you need to be a partner in making it happen. Read to your child. Read with your child. Encourage your child to read. It matters and teachers simply can’t do it alone.

She also claims adults leave their work behind and few would want a job that follows them home. Guess what? It is highly likely that your child’s teacher is spending double the time on school-related things outside the school day than your child is spending on school-related tasks (including reading). Any teacher who is really putting in the effort will tell you that “caught up” is not in our vocabulary. Now, think about this. The students are the ones who need to be learning…who should be working harder?

Teachers aside, many, many successful professionals bring their job home or work overtime due to need (rather than mandates). My mom was an HR manager. She brought payroll books home and worked on them at the kitchen table, went in early to prepare for meetings, went in on many a day off, etc. (Lest you feel sorry for me, please know I am descended from SuperWomen and my mom was 100% there for my events, games, etc.) My dad ran his own business and you’d better believe work came home with him. He met with potential clients in the living room after dinner. I learned to answer the phone professionally at a pretty young age because our home phone was the business phone. I know they are out there, but I am alone in seeing that a large group of professionals bring their work home in one form or another?

But, essentially, question the homework if it is overwhelming your child. Ask – respectfully – if you feel the expectations are too much. But also, read the research. Volunteer at a local school. See the need that is out there and the people who are working to change the world within the confines of the school day. And, please, pick up the reins and help your child be ready to walk out the doors of high school ready for any college or career he/she chooses. The school day is not enough if the link to home is missing.

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