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Another school year begins

August 30, 2010
by Paul Jones

We are on the first Monday of a new school year, and with it comes the schedule and the dreaded homework.  It is usually not a huge battle in our house, but it is quite time consuming, and after a full day of school, the kid is pretty much blown out.  I get the fact that HW is designed to reinforce the lessons learned in class.  I know that it allows for practice of the fundamentals of the lessons.  But I do not have to like it.

With all the other opportunities for enrichment after school hours, maybe (this is just a mental exercise, I am brainstorming) homework should become an extension of the art program, or music, or PE, or one of the other programs that so conveniently get cut?  Use the time during the school day to get deep into the basics, and use the time spent doing homework to add on the parts of school that do make our children well rounded and complete.  Is rote memory of the important dates leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence as important as the actual ideas that those words have molded into in current society?  My answer is more so.  Yes the time line is very important, but any reference book or site will give you that.  What is needed is the critical thinking that exploration of subjects in a deeper method will teach.

So I’m just spouting off the top of my head.  What do you think of homework?

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 9:49 am

    I’m with you on this. I think one of the challenges that teachers face is that they’re teaching lots of kids and can only cover so much in class, thus they utilize homework to cover areas they don’t get to during class. My kids say all the time: “Ms. Fill-in-the-blank never covered this in class. We’re just supposed to learn it so we can be ready for the test.” God forbid something’s not part of the state test; it will never get covered, no matter how pertinent.

    I’m not blaming the teachers, at least not all of them. As with any other position there are great teachers and there are lousy teachers. Unfortunately the way our system is set up they all have to over-utilize homework. The good teachers use it to reinforce what they covered in class and to maximize their students’ learning; the bad ones use it because they can barely scratch the surface in class and they rely on parents to fill in the gaps at home.

    Really like your idea of extending the non-core curriculum at home.

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