Is Homework a Dirty Word?

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Should All Homework be Banned?

Many parents complain when their child arrives home with homework to complete. I hear parents indicating that

  • education should be taught at school
  • they have no time to participate in homework activities with their child
  • their child is too busy with after school activities to attend to more academic tasks after school
  • the school is to educate their child academically

And the excuses continue.

Let us first ask the reason children are given homework tasks?

  1. enhance the academic learning of the child
  2. reinforce work undertaken at school to ensure the child has a full understanding
  3. ensure the parents are included in their child’s education
  4. so parents can understand the level their child is learning
  5. identify any problems in their learning and assist them
  6. parents can ascertain their child’s topic of passion and interest
  7. enhance the topics of discussion that interest your child
  8. be a participant in your child’s education
  9. spend time with your child reading, learning, working on a project
  10. in fact the reasons continue and are many…

I have always worked full time and often long hours. I told my children from the commencement of school that school, in fact, went from 9 am to 4 pm each day yet we were able to undertake the past hour at home for homework, reading, projects and any other area we wished or needed to cover. This enabled my children to feel I was a participant in their learning and education. I was able to learn what they were doing, any difficulties they experienced, what learning outcomes they were working towards and how they enjoyed each subject. I learned my sons loved math and my daughter loved English and writing. I also discovered one son needed additional help with his reading and spelling which I was able to provide. He was 11 years old and always a good student but he started to slip behind in his reading. I only found this out by asking him to read some of his work to me and asking him to read various stories as I went about preparing dinner or folding clothes. He was not particularly interested in the books provided in class so I discovered the topic he loved and collected as many reading articles and books about this subject, resulting in him reading everything, learning more and increasing his capability. I learnt more too as he often read the articles and stories out loud to me so I could keep track of his reading. Then I would ask him about the story, what he learnt and a variety of otters discussion topics to ensure he comprehended what he was reading. This took a little time which we both loved and I was able to talk to him about this subject he loved so much. It was aircraft and he went on to become an avionics electrical engineer.

I believe my children reached their pinnacle because they were comfortable with learning. We did not experience arguments over undertaking homework as it was an expected activity each afternoon or evening. I made an effort to participate, looked forward to assisting them and listening to what they had learnt. They did their required homework forgoing computer games, television programs for a time and after running around and participating in their numerous after school activities. Don’t get me wrong of course they still played the computer games and watched shows but there were clear boundaries which they understood.

Is it a necessity for parents to actively participate in their child’s education? Not unless you care enough to have your child do the best they can do. Parents that put their child first and their learning and education as a priority, will happily undertake any homework supervision or participation and why? Because their child and their education is important to them.

Yes, we are all so very busy these days, we all get that however when I see couples in my Counselling rooms complaining about being so time poor we calculate the time they spend on Facebook and social media. Time searching enjoyable pursuits on Google, time watching sport or television programs and to their surprise they always find a few hours a week, sometimes a few hours a day actually. So to claim you are unable to find even 2 hours a week for your child’s academic education may seem somewhat lacking in time management skills. Getting up 15 minutes earlier of a morning to listen to them read or to assist them in their spelling is easily done. Now I hear some parents groan they can’t get their kids up of a morning. If you consistently have them retire to bed early enough, they will most certainly get up a little earlier to do their required homework. Listen to them read for 15 minutes before they turn off the light and go to sleep. This is calming, supportive and provides some together time which kids absolutely love and need .

A child wants their parent to be proud of them; they need a parent to notice them and take an interest in what they are doing and achieving. This is parenting. It is rewarding; it can be fun and it can also allow every parent to feel so filled with pride in themselves and their child.

I urge all parents to please spend some time working with your child on their education at home; their spelling, reading and numbers. Primary school is when this happens and it is only for a few years of their life. Create the memories for your child of how they loved to do their homework with mum or dad, to show their parents how clever they were and how they learnt to love learning. The rewards your child will receive in their own self-esteem will be reflected in their eyes and in their behaviour. This support, guidance and help with their early education  is vital. Please do this for your child.

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