Since when has working hard and exercising your brain ever hurt anyone? While kids need to be kids, they need to run, skip, climb trees and play with their friends, they also need to create a solid educational foundation on which to build their future. This foundation cannot be built unless teachers and parents work together to help chidren succeed.
I will admit that there are teachers who seem to give large amounts of unnecessary homework. They didn’t get a lesson finished, so it comes home. The class was too rowdy, as punishment you have to complete it on your own. This is the kind of homework that bogs down the average family. When assigned appropriately, homework will not be detrimental to a child’s health.
The National PTA once released guidelines that recommended multiplying your child’s grade level by five to get an average amount of minutes that should be spent on homework a night. With that principal in mind, a 3rd grader should be expected to complete 15 minutes of homework without suffering too horribly. When it comes to the type of homework being sent home, it should always be a review of something that was already taught in class. Never should homework be introductory in nature. Most often, homework should be review of basic calculations, practicing spelling words, reading a story, and studying for tests. All of which will help provide your child with the one extra practice session that he/she may need to make the knowledge truly stick.
Another way to look at homework is to see it as time to spend with your child providing him/her that one on one time that is so crucial. No matter how wonderful a teacher is, there is never enough minutes in a day to spend with each child. There is always a discipline issue, someone who needs the help more, or that assembly that the principal forgot to mention. When you sit down at the kitchen table to help your child with his/her homework, you are providing him/her with the reassurance that you are interested, you care and that they really do know what they are doing in school. Every child needs a chance to shine, make that happen each day when you go over homework together.
I know teachers who try their best, teachers who are over scheduled, teachers who are trying to get all their kids to pass whatever achievement test their state requires, and teachers who aren’t the most nurturing, but never have I met a teacher who didn’t have the child’s best interest at heart. Each teacher tries to do his/her personal best to help your child succeed. They don’t assign homework to disrupt your life, they assign homework because they truly believe it will benefit your child. Maybe the issue isn’t the amount of time needing to be spent on homework, but the amount of time that is being spent shuffling kids from one scheduled activity to another.
By the way, did I mention that I’m a teacher…