No more pencils! No more books! No more students' dirty looks!
(Archived Content: Originally published on momlogic.com -- a Telepictures/Warner Bros. property)
Teacher Confidential: I hate homework. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I hated getting homework when I was a student. And as a teacher, I hate giving it.
As a full-time teacher, I rarely sent work home -- a habit I picked up from my years as a student in my father's classroom. When I switched to long-term subbing in various schools, the mounds of papers I sent home astonished me.
Rushing through a stack of worksheets with an answer key just to get the things entered into the grade book is excruciating. That got me thinking -- if I can easily skim homework when I grade it, how much can my students really be learning when they complete it?
I asked my dad that very question, and he had a simple answer. A phrase I was raised on.
“Don't let schoolwork interfere with your education.”
A thirty-year veteran teacher-turned-principal, my father assigned projects to take home on occasion, but never “homework.”
According to him: Worksheets = Busy Work.
I couldn't help but agree.
Work should be done in school not at home. School is like a child's full-time job. Who would take over two hours of work home after putting in a full day at a job they're not getting paid to do? And imagine that day is filled with endless meetings and lectures. Any sane person would need to unwind -- kids need to release that energy so much more.
“Forget the worksheets. Teachers are too full of themselves filling out all the little checkmarks indicating that their students have completed every jot and tittle of every mundane assignment.”
An overload of homework leaves kids with no time to actively apply the knowledge gained in the classroom. They're too busy practicing on worksheets, which is little more than memorization by rote.
What good is having basketball practice if the team never plays a game?
Education isn't Linear
Knowledge accumulates through time and experiences. Because my father believed this so thoroughly, parents pulled their kids out of his classroom for family vacations with his blessing, no homework allowed.
“If parents want to drive their kids to the Grand Canyon, or even Disneyland, what could I possibly offer in the classroom that would match it. Let them have family time, learn to get along with parents and siblings, experience the vastness of our country, smell the roses, etc. etc. Do I want to send homework along? No way. Only requirement - tell us about it when you get back.”
Parents and teachers shouldn't worry when a child picks up a specific lesson, because if it's knowledge worth having, they will get those lessons again and again. The lessons children miss on absent days have no direct bearing on everyday life, so a few missed ideas won't cripple their education.
In the long run, how important is it if your child picks up a certain kernel of knowledge today, or next week, or next year.
Whether playing with friends after school or taking a few days off for a vacation, life experiences are just as important.
Bottom line: “Don't let homework interfere with an education.”