Why I like homework
Just responding to a friend of mine who heckled me about my post about hating homework. Yes, just the week before she heard me say at an LSC meeting that I love homework. And I do. I just don’t like doing it with my particular child. I would like doing it with an angelic, focused, self-motivated child. You know, the kid we all planned to give birth to before we had actual children.
On a recent tour of my son’s school, one of the main questions that parents had about the gifted kindergarten class was about the amount of homework. I’m sure people have this question about any kindergarten class, but I suspect that some of the gifted programs in the city have scared people off a bit. A couple northside schools have a reputation for giving oppressive homework, even in the young grades and that is just not OK for me. (So yes, I like homework but only if it is the perfect amount that I want.)
My son’s current program gives a nice amount – pretty much one worksheet a night for 4 nights of the week. We get them on Monday and they’re due the following Monday so we can choose when to complete them. Every week I vow that I will teach him good study habits and we’ll stay on schedule. And every Sunday night he’s doing a page that we put off to the end.
I like knowing what they’re working on in class. I like seeing how they’ve progressed since the begining of the year. I like seeing that my son has learned stuff that I didn’t know he knew yet. And watching him complete his homework is a good way to keep track of that. Sometimes I make up little stories for him using the sounds they’re learning that week. Mine are always funnier than the dumb ones written by Hartcourt, I might add. Also more inappropriate for 5-6 year olds.
Having volunteered in the classroom throughout the year, I also think that with the big class sizes they have, homework time is one of the few chances any kid gets for one-on-one attention during the week. If they don’t get something in class, there isn’t much of a chance to speak up, slow down, ask questions, etc. Sure, grades and conferences can help a parent understand where their child needs some extra work, but I think seeing the kid in action is much more helpful.
So each night we do homework, we sit down and I am full of passion and motivation about helping my child succeed. Then it is basically downhill from there. Half the time he does better when I’m not sitting there being uber-parents. Half the time he goofs off. But still…. in my parenting fantasy, it’s a good thing.