Homework….Is it really needed? Here’s the deal, I’ve never enforced homework in my primary school-aged children. I don’t think it’s either needed, important or a necessity that benefits them when there are so many more valued things and practical learning of life lessons that they can be doing with their time.
Does this mean I am limiting their educational potential? No, I don’t think it does.
After spending a vast majority of their days at school do they really want to come home to do homework?
I hear you say that doing homework is a great way to reinstall into children what’s been learnt throughout the day but do they really want to be doing that when there’s so many other ways to compliment their days learning?
When there are so many other life lessons outside of the classroom to be learnt…
As parents we’ve always read with the children and never stifle their thirst for learning but let them be their own guide. If they have no interest in homework then help them throw it out the window. A BIG HUGE ENERGETIC TOSS!
A child that is forced to do something they don’t want to do will never find enjoyment in the task.
Some children enjoy homework but others will see it as a chore. Let them decide their own feelings and take a little personal decision making in making their own choices.
They spend all day at school ‘working’, do they need to come home and ‘work’ too? Would you want to?
**Before I go on I’d like to point out that of our seven children two children have already flown the nest, one has completed his university education and the other is in her second year at Uni. They made their own choices in regards to homework.**
I learnt early on in parenting that each child is very different. With our first I pushed him to learn and in doing so I met resistance. He wanted to spend his days building tree houses, playing with his mates, immersing himself into technology and at the time I didn’t see the value or importance in his need to play.
Our second child leaned more towards creativity. She’d get lost in books and music and spend time with glue sticks and scissors churning out handmade arty school projects whilst her friends did homework on USB sticks. She’d create her own homework just because she wanted to. And that’s the important bit: ‘She did so because she wanted to’.
I soon realised that for me the biggest tool in their learning process was to stop pushing them and to grasp onto the importance of letting them decide how much or how little they wanted to do, if they chose to do any at all.
That doesn’t mean we abandon any of the work achieved within the classroom during the day. On the contrary, we encourage the children to be proud of the knowledge they’ve acquired from their school day but we partake in a different, more natural and subtle way to refresh their days education.
Look at things in a way that acts as an alternative form of homework
- Talking at dinner time: Open questions i.e. ‘What was your favourite thing you’ve learnt today?’ Conversation is a great form of encouragement for children and gives them an opportunity to be proud of themselves and their achievements no matter how small. Don’t forget to offer up your own things; learning is never ending. Show them that.
- Play outside: Play outside as much as you can and get loads of fresh air, kick about outside, bash and crash about with sticks, climb trees, build dens, make mud pies. Even the greatest of architects and chefs started off building dens and glorious mud cake creations.
- Let them scream and shout and run wild burning off the energy that has encouraged them to sit still and pay attention all day. Let them let off their steam. They tow the line at school so should be able to be themselves completely at home.
- Sit together and watch the telly, but equally let them sit on their own and gather their own thoughts in their own space. They’ve been stimulated with subjects that have been someone else’s choice all day so let them decide what they want to absorb no matter how mind numbing that may be. Let them laugh like loons in front of the TV.
- Let them help you with cooking dinner, even if it’s just chopping the carrots. It’s a fab mathematics and logics lesson. It’s a subtle introduction to fractions and quantities as well as learning about how we can care for ourselves in lifestyles. A hands-on and yummy lesson and a great chance to reap the benefits of quality time and life lessons.
- Read together: It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, just look at a book and share time together.
Life is a lesson in itself, possibly one of the most practical ones. It’s full of maths, geography, art, it’s a huge lesson in itself. The world is our playground…
Homework is not the be all and end all to improving our children’s educational achievements. There are so many more valuable lessons to partake in after school.
They’ve oodles of time in the classroom to be learning but while they are little just let them be little, let them learn through play, let home time be ‘home’ time.
If they want to do homework then yes, that thirst for learning is great, encourage it.
But if it’s a chore don’t enforce it. Ask yourself, is it really needed?