We’ve all been there. You are rushing through the dinner making process or the after school activities and you hear your child speak those dreaded words, “I still have homework to do!” Or maybe you have watched your child work for hours on their homework, only to be left frustrated and exhausted come bedtime. With our children already attending close to seven hours of school a day, it’s no wonder why homework may be viewed with such contempt. Because our dog can only eat so much homework, here are some practical and reassuring reasons why homework is beneficial and important for every child.
1. HOMEWORK REINFORCES SKILLS LEARNED IN THE CLASSROOM.
Rarely can people remember something perfectly after being introduced to it only once or even twice. By working for a few minutes at home on lessons taught the same week in class, children are practicing to become proficient in those skills. Going over the same concepts again and again will help to make them a permanent fixture in the child’s brain, thus preparing them for the future skills that will build on top of that foundation.
2. HOMEWORK TEACHES RESPONSIBILITY AND HELPS DEVELOP GREAT STUDY HABITS.
Jr. high, high school, college, and the workforce are not very forgiving when it comes to tardiness, laziness, and work done only half way. Responsibility for one’s own work is a crucial skill to learn early, and sadly in American culture it seems to be something that is neglected. Children learn that taking work home, completing it properly, and turning it in the next day results in better grades. Homework also teaches a child that just because time in the classroom might be over, there is still work to be put in if success is to be achieved. This is especially true in the older years, and the earlier this skill is learned the better the payoff for the child.
3. HOMEWORK KEEPS PARENTS AND TEACHERS ENGAGED.
Since parents don’t typically spend a whole lot of time in their child’s classroom, homework lets the parents know exactly what their child is learning. It also exposes the strengths and weaknesses in a child’s learning. If a child is racing through their homework in five minutes it exposes that more advanced skills can and should be introduced; if they are struggling this may indicate some additional help might be needed. Homework can be a very useful gauge to asses subject mastery.
4. HOMEWORK HELPS PREPARE CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE.
Completing homework in a timely fashion teaches independent learning and problem solving skills. If a child can work independently on an assignment at a young age, it establishes self confidence in being able to complete a task. As they grow these tasks become bigger and more important, such as studying for the SATs, filling out college applications, and applying for a job. It also helps create a good after school routine and rhythm, both of which are necessary going into adulthood.
Homework is not ‘busy work,’ and it is never meant to be a time filler. It does have a purpose if given in a healthy and intentional way. Communication between parent and teacher is key to making homework something that is achievable for each child. Finding the balance between being challenged and being
overwhelmed is a very important line to walk, one that can easily tip either way. If your child is having anxiety over completing homework it is important to schedule a chat with their teacher or principal. Remember that homework serves a good purpose, and it instills life skills that will follow children long after they have left the classroom.