I am a mother of second and third grade sons. Each afternoon, I spend between two and four hours monitoring their homework time. Mostly, I spend a majority of that time reinforcing the directions and helping them use clues to find the right answers.
I’ll admit that in the beginning of the year, I often commented to my husband that I thought the boys’ teachers were assigning too much homework. I had all sorts of ideas. I thought that seven hours in school each day was enough and that adding on two more hours of homework each day was ridiculous. I had even stooped so low as to wonder if the teachers were sending work that should have been completed at school home only to make us parents do it. Was I ever wrong.
Education is very important to me. It always has been. I was an honor student throughout school, and college taught me what it really meant to be prepared and well rounded when you step out into the real world. So I wanted to impress upon my own sons the importance of academics, scholarship, and taking keen interest in their education and achievement. I want them to achieve academically as well as socially and spiritually.
I’ll tell you when I began to really see the light of day about how important homework really is for academic achievement. I have discovered that when my children spend dedicated time on homework, whether it’s math, science, social studies, spelling or reading, they do better each marking period. For example, my second grader is very good at working independently. Each day he comes home and completes all of his homework assignments alone. I even would challenge him and have him write all of his spelling words three times each as well as have him spell them after I call them out. My second grader makes A/B honor roll every time. However, when I slacked off of the spelling homework, he slacked off and missed straight A honor roll by one point, all because of spelling.
My third grader doesn’t work well independently, so I have to pretty much babysit him through homework, but when I do, he meets his goals. When homework goes lacking because of any upset in our schedule, it is reflected in my sons’ grades each marking period. We can see how reading and answering questions about stories and books increases the reading or language arts grades. We can see the difference in spelling grades based on how much homework has been completed.
I have come to realize that homework is a great reinforcement of what the children are learning during the school day. Not only that. Homework is a great way for parents to become involved in knowing and understanding what their children are learning at school. I was grateful for this year’s homework when I began helping my third grader study for the state’s standardized testing this year. When I did the first sample test with my third grader, I was so surprised at how much information he had actually retained this year. Most importantly, I was excited to see that most of what was on these standardized tests was material that I had seen reinforced in his homework.
So if you’re wondering if homework actually improves academic achievement, The answer is yes. It’s a known fact that repetition and studying are good exercises for the mind, and I’ve come to learn and realize that my children’s homework is integral to their academic achievement. If your child is not bringing home work to do each day, you should be very concerned. We can’t get these years back, and when your child leaves high school to enter college or the workforce, you will want them to be prepared and well rounded so that they can compete with their counterparts. Education is key in so many ways, and homework is a positive reinforcement that enhances that academic achievement that will open doors for any child in the future.