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Homeschool and Homework

May 29th, 2009

homeschool-homeworkOne of the many questions that homeschoolers have about their curriculum is how much emphasis should be placed on homework. Homework is typically defined as the assignments and tasks that must be completed outside of the homeschooling hours. For years, teachers and researchers have always assumed that homework creates a more disciplined mind. Homework was instituted in the early 1900s under the idea that the United States needed a more rigorous educational system. The head of education feared that Russia would surpass the country in educational achievement if homework did not become a part of the teacher’s curriculum. Since that time teachers, researchers, and parents have all argued for and against the concept of homework.

In February 2009, a fifth grade boy issued a manifesto against homework. The eleven year old, Ben Berrafato, challenged everyone’s beliefs that children need to have homework. The boy argued that homework was akin to slavery, which was abolished in the thirteenth amendment and admonished law makers to create legislation that would ban it for good. While his attempts to create the legislation failed, it furthered the argument of children and researchers who believe homework has a negative effect on children.

The real question is — how extensive should a child’s learning activities be beyond the school day? A study in 2006 that linked the achievement of students with the amount of homework they received argued that it was imprudent for students not to have homework beyond their schooling hours because of the increased achievement students experienced when they had homework. A prior 2004 study that was conducted by the BBC in Great Britain claimed that the pressure of homework caused friction between the parents and children resulting in more arguments and conflict in the home. To remedy this issue, the city of London proposed developing Homework Clubs in which children could finish their additional assignments directly after teaching sessions. Whether or not homework causes mental or emotional exhaustion is still not completely proved and it is up to the parent to judge how well or badly their child is adapting to any additional tasks and assignments that are given.

The amount of time a student should spend on homework is a contentious issue. Most would argue that it isn’t about the amount of time an individual spends on homework that really counts, rather it is the amount of information that they are able to glean and retain from the homework they have. For this reason, homeschool teachers should focus on giving out assignments and tasks that are both meaningful and memorable to their children. These are the types of assignments that will make the significant impact needed for the future success of the child.

It is also important that homeschool teachers remember that homework should have a well articulated purpose and it should be designed in a way that a child has no problem working on it independently.

The key to the right balance in homework is to ensure that the assignments are not intruding on other vital home and social activities. Having a balance that allows the child to deepen their knowledge and still maintain proficiency and freedom in other activities is the key to forming a well-rounded mind. A homeschooling parent has a large obligation to ensure they are making the right decision for their child with the homework that they do or do not assign.

HavenEsme is a Constant Content author whose first article sale now appears at Karlonia.com.

3 Responses to “Homeschool and Homework”

  1. comment number 1 by: Family Homework Answers

    I actually blame homework for the Homework Revolution. Not all homework is a waste of time, but the fact is that most of it is silly, useless busy work. This kind of homework does students a disservice- whether or not it is assigned by a traditional or homeschool teacher.

  2. comment number 2 by: online homework help.

    The point of having homework is to get the students to revise whatever they have learned at school. I feel that homework should not be mandatory at all times. If the teacher feels that there is a need to follow up on whatever has been taught, give the kid more work. If not, let him be. This should apply both for home schools and for regular ones.
    As for Ben Berafato, I’d like to see what becomes of him 20 years down the line!

  3. comment number 3 by: Assignment help

    Great post… Thanks for sharing… Keep posting…

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