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What Is Your
Homework Philosophy?

homework philosophy, homework

In a nutshell, here is my homework philosophy:
  • Most homework is a colossal waste of time, and it can actually be harmful to younger students. By 'harmful' I mean it turns them off of school and learning, stresses them out, stops them from pursuing outside interests and activities- including spending time with friends and family and studying independently.

  • Some homework is good and beneficial, but, unfortunately, that kind of homework is rarely assigned.

  • The best kind of homework is reading, but, unfortunately, reading homework is often ruined when students must always write journals responses, keep track of pages read and do other busywork.

My homework philosophy is supported by a number of studies, but it is mostly the result of my years of experience as a teacher, tutor, parent and student. The articles and pages on this site (particularly the Homework Manifesto) delve deeper into why I feel the way I do about homework.

Why It Is Important
To Have A Homework Philosophy

If you are a parent or teacher or educator of any sort- you need your own homework philosophy!

A homework philosophy will help you decide what to do when your child is having a meltdown or is unable to complete an assignment or wants to take ballet class after school but can't because she has too much homework.

Think of your homework philosophy as a road map. When you are confronted with a homework problem or challenge and need to make a decision, a clear homework philosophy will tell you where to go and what to do.

My philosophy tells me to:

- Let my children decide whether or not they are going to do their homework. They can choose not to do it, as long as they are aware of- and accept- the consequences. (By the way, I have found that as soon as you tell a child that it is "up to them" whether or not they do their homework, they are no as longer resistant to doing it.)

- Make certain that my children have the tools, supplies and materials, routine, and support to be able to independently complete their homework and studying.

- Teach my children how to be responsible for their own homework, projects, etc. Planning ahead, being organized and keeping track of assignments is not easy; many adults have a hard time doing it! However, children are capable- if we show them how and insist that they learn.

- Stand up for my children. If they are exhausted or overwhelmed or if they really, really don't understand an assignment or if something is silly and demoralizing, I tell my children that they don't have to do their homework. And, I communicate this to the teacher.

My philosophy also helps me make decisions about the type and amount of homework my children (or students) will do and the the role I will allow homework to play in my family's life. I want to be clear and confident on this before everybody's crying and fighting and hating school.

How to Figure Out
YOUR Homework Philosophy

Ask yourself these questions:
  1. What kind of educational experience do I want my children to have?

  2. What do I want my children to learn and value- both in and out of school?

  3. How do I want my family to spend their time- weekends, evenings, vacations, holidays? What do I want my children to remember about these times?

  4. When they have completed high school, how do I want my children to feel about school and learning?

When it comes to education, I want my children to be

  • independent thinkers

  • voracious readers

  • excited learners

  • confident in their own abilities and opinions

  • experienced travelers with a world view

  • able and willing to pursue higher education and/or be life-long learners

Forcing my children to do silly, meaningless, busywork (most homework) is not going to make those things happen.

Arguing with my children night after night is not going to make those things happen.

Allowing my children to miss sleep, family events and extracurricular activities will not make those things happen.

Letting my children get stressed out, never able to relax and hang out, will not make those things happen.

I strongly encourage parents to:

  • Determine their own homework philosophy.

  • Trust themselves to make right educational decisions for their family and not be afraid to put their family time first.

  • Not solely rely on others to educate their children. Parents should respect and listen to teachers, but, ultimately, we must decide what is best for our children.

  • Not be afraid to question 'experts.' Many of them have no idea what it is really like dealing with homework these days. Parents must make decisions based on their own common sense and experience and take advice from people that know what it's like "down in the trenches."

  • Communicate with their spouse or partner to come up with a family homework philosophy. Often, couples have very different ideas and feelings about homework, among other things. :) Or, one person is totally clueless about how homework is affecting the children.

    Talk! Communicate! Write notes!

Contact me and share your homework philosophy! (look below to see what others think)


Steve/ Parent and School Counselor says...

My Homework philosophy is that much of it is exploitive. Consider that each student has a different home-life. Some kids go home to a house with a stay-at-home Mom who has a snack, drink, and homework time all set. Other kids go home to an empty home where Mom and Dad are working full time and have the priority of making ends meet. Who gets more support at home for completing homework? Also, with some of the projects teachers assign, there is often a cost for materials, ink cartridges, poster board, etc. What about the student who does not have access to these things? He goes to school with a poorly done project where the other students mat come to school with a project that looks like NASA worked on it. Teachers need to understand that not every home is equipped with a computer, color printer, art supplies, etc.

DO more in the classroom and rely less on homework as a teaching method; it doesn't work!!

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