I was absolutely delighted to open the paper this morning and read about mothers who are making a stand against homework. For many years now I have questioned teachers as to why they set homework for young children. The standard reply is because it is what parent’s want. I am sure some do, but in my world I come across many who do not; finding it a frustrating and time consuming experience. My observation is that homework places an enormous strain on already time poor parents and subsequently places a strain on the relationship between parent and child. It is my experience when some young children are struggling at school it is punishing for them come home and struggle some more under the frustrated watch of parents.
There is no evidence to prove that homework increases academic performance. It is my firm belief that primary school children need time to relax, unwind and experience unstructured free play. When children play they tap into their creativity and creativity fosters intelligence.
French President Francois Hollande feels all homework should be banned for children under 11. He could be on the right track. At the very least I encourage you to follow in the footsteps of Danielle Teutsch who negotiates the amount of homework given to her child.
If you are wanting your child to complete homework there are some tips in our book to help make the experience more fun. If homework is causing stress in your family, consider negotiating less homework with your child’s teacher
A class 3 teacher recently instructed her class to copy out some rules for homework and I feel has put a supportive and positive spin on homework. Here are some of the rules my 8 year old granddaughter copied into her homework book:-
- Try my best
- Hand maths in on Thursday
- If confused ask Mrs Ashton
- Homework shouldn’t be stressful
- If it’s too hard see Mrs Ashton
For more on homework buy the book Why Wont My Child Listen – Chapter 1 – Homework Tips
The early 20th century Swiss scientist Jeanne Piaget came to the conclusion that make believe play transforms into logical intelligence. To allow more time for free play after school, I would encourage cutting down on after school activities. Most of these activities are adult driven, with adult driven rules and outcomes. For children less than 9 years of age it is important for parents to balance emotional, physical and financial resources when committing to several activities a week. After many years of driving children from one activity to the next I notice some parents can become exhausted and resentful.