Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Homework

It's the weekend, which means that the girls came home with their backpacks bursting with papers. Among them was this cute poem by Miriam:

Miriam is a reader, writer, school LOVER!
Love of lab dogs and science.
Who is able to swim REALLY GOOD!!!
Who feels tired in the morning for school.
Who wonders if witches and wizards are real.
Who fears the dark.
Who would like to be a librarian when she grows up.
Who dreams of her brother going to sleep without talking.

With the new quarter, our school has begun a no-homework experiment. They sent a letter home (which I swear I kept because I knew I wanted to write a blog post about how excited I was to not have to worry about homework anymore) but I can't seem to find it. I have a million papers on my desk but that paper doesn't seem to be there. I even had two copies of it because each of the girls brought one home—and it's on a lovely goldenrod paper so it's not like it blends in with much. It's just gone.


Anyway, on this paper explaining the reasons for ditching homework it said something to the effect of "research is catching up with what teachers have known for years": that homework isn't really helping children learn. That made me chuckle because it's not like parents have been banging down the door asking for more homework (or have they?); I'm fairly certain it's been the teachers sending homework home.

When I was in grade five my teacher was Mrs. Bienert, also known as The Homework Queen. She gave so much homework that I was often spending more time doing homework than my sister who was in high school.

My mom brought this up during parent/teacher conferences once and Mrs Bienert said something to the effect of, "I don't expect her to do everything! Some children don't have good things to fill their time with so I'd rather they do homework than sit around watching television. But if Nancy is filling her time with good things then, no, I don't expect her to complete every homework assignment I send home."

I had Activity Days and gymnastics, for one thing, but I also had a whole lot of jumping on the trampoline, running barefoot through the grass, and walking around by the lake to do.

But I had so much homework that I was completely stressed out all the time. And if you didn't do all your homework you couldn't have a happy face on the discipline chart, which basically meant that you had to do all the homework, right?

Anyway, from my experience (as a child and as a parent), it's teachers sending homework home against the wishes of children and parents. Sure, it seems exciting the first few times you get homework, but after that it's a big drag.

I'm always saying, "Did you do your homework? Did you do your homework? Did you do your homework?"

And my kids are always saying, "Can you sign this? Can you sign this? Can you sign this?" ...to prove that they're doing their homework (as if the mere fact that the homework was, you know, complete wasn't a big enough clue that they'd done their homework).

Needless to say, I have been so happy that I haven't once had to say, "Did you do your homework?" after my children have arrived home. Sure, they still have to read every night—but it's no longer a chore now that I don't have to sign that blasted reading log anymore! It's made our after school hours much more peaceful and has left more time for practicing the piano or collecting caterpillars or having footraces in the cul-de-sac or playing with and reading stories to their younger brother and sister, all of which, may I point out, is reinforces learning. Because they are children and children learn through play. 

5 comments:

  1. We have a reading calendar. It has to be turned in once a month. Keeping track of it is such a pain. Ezra has a lot of homework but he is in 7th grade and he keeps track of it on his own so it isn't such a big deal. Our school didn't used to do anything but reading but apparently they found the kids started to struggle with math so now we are back to math home work again...lame....

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    1. That is too bad. :/

      Our kids still have "optional" homework like Sunshine Math (does your school do that?). Miriam wants to be Secretary of State, which is a position that requires a lot of math, so she's happy to do that. But she's HAPPY to do it, so it doesn't feel like pulling teeth to get it done!

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  2. I hate homework. Even though it is really only about 20 minutes a day (plus reading) it feels like it takes all afternoon and way too much thought. I'm so glad your school got rid of homework. I wish ours would too!

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  3. I stopped filling in reading charts. I emailed my daughters teacher and told them I would not be doing it, because I hated them and because it stress out the kids to much and because I know they get the required amount of reading in a day, but I'm not going to sit down and write out each book and how many minutes in each one for three separate kids. Nope. I wish so much our teachers would do the no homework thing. That would take one daughters stress levels (and as a consequence, mine too) from at 10 to a 3 after school. Maybe I'll just boycott....

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