Homework allows students to study in their own personal way, unhampered by the rules of others. This makes it more interesting. And, more than that, teachers know that the students who are alert and who raise their hands in response to a question are those who have done their homework. They are competent of their answers and they are anxious to show off their ability. The ones, who played outside until bedtime and who were too tired and sleepy to do their homework are those who try to hide behind their books or the student in the row ahead, don’t know the answers.
Homework makes all the difference. It essentially puts you ahead of the class whether you are nine or thirty nine. It is called being prepared in teacher language or in sports lingo, being in the game. It means a day well spent or a day simply gotten through with somehow and one you, if you are at all responsible, don’t ever want to repeat.
Homework is routine and it is often boring but it does not have to be boring or so routine that it becomes complacent. Good teachers will give homework that supplements the regular classroom learning and if they are truly dedicated they will somehow try to make the homework relevant to each student. This is, of course, asking a lot of teachers who, as it is, is overworked, underpaid, and not listened to. They have set guidelines to go by and, unfortunately, education has suffered from set guidelines that won’t allow for more leeway in how to teach.
Education, to be effective, must be individualized and homework to be inviting and exciting and something looked forward to instead of a chore. Although I am not saying I think home schooling is best, I don’t, but I can see where homework is probably nowhere else as esteemed. Can you imagine each mom teacher giving her child, whom she knows so well, the exact homework to correct some learning deficit?
Imagine if you will, the whole community joining together, home schools, traditional schools, parochial schools, adult education sites and coming to the rescue of remedial education. Just think how a different approach to home work might be if it meant going next door and helping a sixty year old immigrant learn their multiplication tables. How valuable would this be to both? Implementing this would mean restructuring the educational system to whole districts of whatever age and loosening the rules somewhat, but its effectiveness- in time – would lead to better understanding of differences.
In general, the world of education has suffered from the same maladies that prevent education at large from being all that it could be that of crime and fear of crime. We huddle together and we teach our children not to speak to strangers and for good reason, otherwise these innocent among all too often have been lulled into situations unknown to them. So while I dream about children being children and teachers being children and the world being right and not mostly wrong, I know better. But still I dream.
I find nothing wrong with thinking of a time and place where homework could be something looked forward to and not something dreaded where teachers were free to teach and where we were free to roam with our ideas, although I know that it is not going to happen any time soon. Until then, students do the assignments as the teacher instructs; parents be helpful when asked, other than that hands off; teachers do you best and don’t ever give up. Who knows when that extra care given a needed student will not pay off in dividends. One hopefully, will be a bigger paycheck; we all know you deserve it.
Indeed, homework pays off to the students who not only gets it done each day, but who is eager to show the teacher that he knows the answers. Then, won’t his parents be so proud when they get those report cards. That makes doing homework only child’s play.