A few days ago I took part in an educational chat on Twitter via the hashtag #wyoedchat (Wyoming Education Chat). The topic for the evening was “Homework.” I love taking part in educational chats via Twitter. It gives me a chance to not only share my ideas, but learn from others as well. Beings this chat inspired me to blog, I think it is fair to say that it was quite inspirational.
I know what your thinking…what exactly is it about “homework” that would be inspirational. Well, you see, that’s just it…nothing in my eyes in regards to homework is inspirational. To get us started let me lead with this question. The question is directed at educators. Do you give homework for the sake of meeting a deadline, or do you give homework for the sake of mastering a skill?
There is a big difference between the two; one being productive and the other being the mirror opposite. I recently read an article that stated that on average a high school teacher assigns 3.5 hours of homework a week for a student. If you break it down to a typical student with a typical class load, you come up with approximately 3.5 hours per night that a student does homework.
That is an enormous amount of time doing homework. How many of you get the opportunity to sit down and eat as a family? How many of you have family game night? If you do, keep doing it. We have so much going on these days that we rarely ever get to have family time. Family time is important and limited, as those of you that have or have had children in school already know. We must embrace each and every moment we get to spend time with our loved ones.
Teachers; please make sure that the work you send home with your students is for enrichment and to enhance a skill. Some work outside of the classroom setting is healthy, but it must be an extension of the learning that is taking place in the classroom. Assigning students to read is completely appropriate and healthy. Assigning a worksheet for the sake of students meeting a deadline is counter-productive. Homework should be an extension of the learning environment in the classroom and it should look different for every child.
If you took a poll of every person in the world that has received a worksheet and you simply asked, “how many of you liked doing the worksheet?” What do you think the response would be? The point being; we must engage our students. If the curriculum in the classroom is real, relevant and rigorous (the new 3 r’s in my mind), then the work at home must also reflect this.
As we enter the Thanksgiving Holiday I can’t help but be thankful for the moments that I was able to sit down with my family each and every school night and have supper (dinner – correct terminology). I can’t help but be thankful for all the times I spent with my family when I was growing up. These are moments that we can not get back. These are the moments that we can only re-create with our current families. But this is nearly impossible if we have to add in 3.5 hours of homework into a family schedule that is bombarded by piano recital, basketball practice, church activities, after-school club, gymnastics, 4-H, parent work schedule, etc. The list goes on and on and on and I could keep writing but it’s time for me to go have supper with my family.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. And like I’ve alway said – If you are feeling stressed this time of year. If you are having bad days, and nothing seems to go right. Just think what it would be like if you were a Turkey.