Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Homework, Please

My kids attend a school that has a reputation for giving a lot of homework. I have to be honest, this issue definitely caused me to really consider if I wanted them chained to the kitchen table every night instead of having time to "do what kids do."

The school even publishes homework guidelines "based on the work of the average student proceeding with due diligence, combined with proper study habits to complete the required homework." For example, my kindergartner can expect about 15 minutes of homework a day while my second grader can have 30-45 minutes. By the time they are in sixth grade, they can have around 60-90 minutes. Wednesday evenings there is no homework.

So what's that all mean? Well, my fears about the kids never getting to climb trees and visit friends was completely unfounded. The amount of homework they have has never been an issue because the kids know what is expected of them and they get to business pretty quickly. None of the homework is new material, it's just reinforcing what they learned that day.

My youngest does take ballet one day a week and the older one is getting ready to start gymnastics. Will this cut into their homework time? Not really. It will just require them to be diligent in completing their work on those days. However, to avoid chaos and frustration in our family I would probably not let them do more than one activity at a time.

As I've seen them excel in school and master the material, not just learn it, but really master it, I can really see the benefits to having homework. It teaches them about responsibility, time management and doing all things unto God. Practically, it reinforces new concepts or skills and gives them the extra practice they need to move forward and continue to build on that foundation.

Margy Tripp, wife of Ted Tripp who is best known as the author of Shepherding a Child's Heart, wrote an article called, "Homework: A Biblical View." If you are struggling with the role homework is playing in the life of your child, I challenge you to read this article. You'll never believe how much God has so to say about how our kids learn!

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