I once read of a great rav who did not believe in homework since home is for loving education and school is for more formal education. I also read of a public school district in another state which had stopped giving homework since they felt it ineffective and needlessly pressure inducing.
But back at home, our schools take a more common approach. I think I hate homework as much as my children do. Many days, I feel good and accomplished having had a full day with my baby, my work, my housework, and maybe even some socializing. Then my children come home. It’s terrible. They come in not much before 5 and the clock ticks its way to bedtime by 8 (yeah right). I usually try to get them to have a snack, maybe tell me a little something about their day, and then start on homework. This rarely happens. The snack lasts too long. They don’t open up about their day at will and I don’t have time for a deep conversation so a lot probably goes unsaid. Then it’s time for the homework rush. Each teacher has a few components to the homework and it adds up. I have read homework should be grade times 10, eg a first grader’s homework should take 10 minutes. I guess ideally a yeshiva student’s homework would take 20 minutes for that age. But children don’t always fit the mold. Sometimes they are playful, talkative, or more likely resistant to their homework. This all delays things.
A note to the teachers: I don’t believe your cutesy pictures of bows or happy faces on the homework pages fools anyone. If you are giving 3 pages of homework, one for math, one for reading, and one for spelling, and that’s in addition to Hebrew, that’s a lot of homework and the smiley face will not convince me otherwise.
It’s a tough life for a little child when there is no time to play outside or have a good talk with Mommy. It’s rush rush through homework, onto baths and dinner and bed. I don’t like that life for children and I have no idea how others fit in extracurriculars like ballet.
Most likely this article will not spark any sort of revolution as I am no Thomas Paine. But any teachers out there take note: Most mothers do not believe homework, especially in excessive amounts, has any sort of positive effect on children’s learning. A simple page of review for English and one for Hebrew should really be a springboard for children and parents to talk about their days and review the learning in a more open fashion.
Teachers, parents, students, feel free to weigh in on the comment board. Does homework enhance learning or create more stress than it’s worth?