Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Anti-Homework



My friend over at Smiles and Trials recently wrote a post titled Pro-Homework. I have been thinking about it for several days now, and wanted to write a friendly rebuttal. The funny thing is, though I have a completely opposite viewpoint, I found myself agreeing with many of the points she made. That's the wonderful thing about parenting... so many styles, and so many ways to make things work.

Many of our friends are shocked to learn how anti-homework we are here in Fitzville. I mean, we are a two teacher family... what gives? But honestly, I think our backgrounds in education is a big part of why we are so anti-homework. We have lived the day to day school life with these kids, and know how hard they work... why pile on more on top of that? As kids get older, I do understand the need for studying and reinforcing, but when they are young... the grade school years... I just don't see the point. If my child is struggling in any area, I am very open to the teacher talking with me about it, and I will help reinforce at home. But so much of the work that is sent home are mindless worksheets.

Our main reason for being anti-homework is that there are way to many other cool things for our kids to be doing other than more schoolwork. Like building forts... or catching bugs... or fighting with their siblings. Seriously.... there is a lot to be learned while fighting with a sibling! The fine art of negotiation, compromise, debate, logic... an entire curriculum could be built around sibling squabbles.

Last spring, I met with Pipo's teachers and the principal of the school he would be moving up to. We talked about the progress he had made, and what we would want for him in the coming year. Many suggestions were made about things we could do with him over the summer. I took this conversation to heart, and honestly meant to follow up on these suggestions. Honestly... I swear! But time got away from us, and summer is so much fun, and there are so many cool things going on... besides the fact that we spend a decent amount of time in the world's coolest place ever. As school approached, I got a little nervous that I hadn't broken out a single flashcard, or given him any writing assignments, or even had him read any of the recommended books. But a funny thing happened when school started. His teachers came to me raving about the amount of progress he had made over the summer. "What did you do with him? He has come so far!" Nothing more than letting him be a good old fashioned kid for the summer. All that learning comes from places beyond the books. And those are the places I am interested in showing my kids after school... not extending their school days.

6 comments:

Wife to the Rockstar said...

I AGREE!!!!! Glad you posted on this. This one of my top reasons for home schooling.

coffeemom said...

Brava! I totally agree, before we started homeschooling, the kids, in elementary school would come home with HOURS of homework every night. Then we were supposed to manage that, plus, sports (sometimes), and oh yeah, dinner and maybe a little downtime??? Not so easy. Finally I figured out that the amount of time they were supposed to do "homework' would add up to almost the time it would take us to homeschool (it being so much more efficient in time and learning and all...). So, done deal and we've not looked back (ok, maybe sometimes, but only in February! Ha!). Kids need time to be kids, to get bored and find their own entertainment and projects, to grow on their schedule instead of an imposed one. Good for you!!! I'm with ya!
Michele G

Becky said...

Here's another teacher that COMPLETELY agrees! Too much, too much too much homework! Our friend's high school age kids are doing 3-4 hours a night!!!
Becky

Wife to the Rockstar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wife to the Rockstar said...

coffee mom...
I agree! I have found that home schooling is easier than what I was dealing with in the homework department. I spend less time now on school then we did then. I am amazed. Plus we aren't rushing in the afternoon/evenings so life is so much more relaxed. Dinner is more laid back too and we just get to enjoy eachother.

Heather said...

Chiming in to say - Yes! Yes! Yes! I couldn't agree more! As a university professor, 'homework' is a necessary component of what I assign to my students -- since they are only in class about 3 hours per week, the reading and writing and studying *must* be done outside of class. And given their stage of development, it is critical that they learn the responsibilities of self-initiative, time-management, self-monitoring, etc., etc., etc. And so maybe (maybe) later in high school it is important to start preparing students who will be going on to college for the homework/responsibility load they will face by assigning them meaningful homework on a regular basis. However, I truly believe that there should be no true need for homework up until the latter part of high school. I love your post and 100% agree with you on every point.
Heather