Denyse Whelan, an education specialist and former principal, wrote a post titled "Is Homework Helpful or Harmful?" and like her, I am torn about its worth. Whilst I believe that homework should increase as children get older, I maintain that it needs to be something more than monotonous revision. Sitting and writing things out over and over is not the only way to revise a concept.
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I also believe that there is no need for formal homework in the infant years of primary school (Kindy-Year 2) - shoot me now! Apart from reading (reading to them and having them read) and verbal counting, I do not believe it is necessary for children as young as 5 to be coming home and doing written work. Anybody with young children, knows how much energy they have. They learn through exploring the world around them - and using all their senses to take it in. The last thing they want to do after 6 hours at school (where for a lot of the time they are sitting), is sit down and do more work. Even really bright children need a break! Too often whilst I was teaching, I would see children as young as 8 rebelling and playing up because they had been pushed too hard and made to do too much.
Learning is a life-long process. If we want to raise people with a thirst to learn more, we need to stop stunting their educational growth by burdening them with "beige and boring" as their first experience of learning.
Let kids come home and run outside to play - they'll build things, collect things, question you about things. They will be learning - and having fun at the same time! After they wind down, they can play a board game or something on the computer or iPad - again, there are so many great educational games out there that children love! They can then end the night with a bedtime story. Life would be more harmonious, at least in this household.
Don't get me wrong. Of course, children need to have formal lessons to help them learn to read, write, spell, work out mathematical problems and so on - but that's what they are doing at school. Or, at least should be doing.
I don't blame classroom teachers for homework policies as they are often dictated to by principals, but I would love to see more schools like the ones mentioned in the comments section of Denyse Whelan's post - schools that are flexible and provide options for homework.
What do you think about homework?
Do you love it or loathe it?
Is it beneficial? Or just an afternoon headache?