Define Homework!

Homework Stress
My personal opinion on all this as a teacher, a student who struggled at school, a parent to Ava who is about to embark on the world of homework from 'the other side of the fence' and as an author and business owner helping kids across the globe increase their confidence and self-esteem in learning, is this from several perspectives:

I never enjoyed spending hours as a teacher planning out my homework sheets for the term as a grade 2, 3, 4 teacher mainly. Every Sunday at 2pm my week began typing out all my homework sheets, along with spelling activities and my weekly plan. However sitting here with my teacher hat on, I strongly believe homework in primary school isn’t necessarily ALL about the learning or the academics. I think we quickly jump to all sorts of conclusions without really looking at all the components that go into homework itself.

Homework to me as a teacher is many things other than ‘academics.’ It is teaching children responsibility to look after their things; to see the homework book safely home (and their classroom reader) to and from the classroom, to their bag, out of their bag at home and rinse and repeat back to the colourful little box homework belonged in every Friday morning at 8:45am.

The setting up of the homework page was another lesson that was way beyond the ‘homework’ sheet. One side would be the glueing in of the homework sheet; all corners glued and evenly glued on the page. Finding their glue stick, making sure they have all their own items to do this. The other side to the homework sheet was setting up the neat columns for spelling lists and number facts. More lessons taught which were more than the homework itself; using a ruler, fine motor skills, coordination between little fingers, presentation and having pride in their work and following teacher’s instructions as I took them through the page set-up presentation.

My kids would beam with pride after Friday lunch-time (yes, I spent my Friday lunch break marking all their books as many of you do too). I would go nuts with stickers and massive big ‘teacher ticks’ on their homework pages so they knew I saw their amazing work. Still to this day I will have mums coming up to me to say homework has never been the same with their child. Unruly work, no thought or care taken to presentation and why? Because parents say their child’s work is never marked. The teacher shows no appreciation for the work they’ve put into it. The teacher sets and forgets. This is where homework, ‘just for homework’s sake,’ is pointless and definitely would have a zero impact on any kind of learning.

Homework teachers children time management and commitment to learning. To set aside time for study which will set them up for high school, for university and the work force. How many jobs require night-time and weekend work? There aren’t too many employment roles a person can have that just expects an 8am to 4pm commitment. If you know any, please give me the phone number and I’ll apply!!

Now with my business hat on and author of the 10 Quick Questions a Day program, we have written the perfect homework program for schools, teachers and parents who believe homework is necessary for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. Providing a moderate amount of homework, where children aren’t surprised by any new concepts, parents are well supported with the homework content (the resource comes with definitions at most questions + answers ????), there is our Facebook page and email to answer any trickier questions, Mark comes over from Hot Rock Tutoring to make ANY educational videos on request you might need, and our private Facebook group in the Lounge that’s been created to help support each other. Now that’s support that comes with no tears, stress or anxiety from the parents ???? ???? I’m sure the kids don’t have any either! ????

As a struggling student in all things academic when I was in school, bringing home homework was torturous to me. I’m not sure there were too many weeks that I wasn’t crying between 4-6 at night. However, I must say that without homework focusing on the mathematical concept of ‘division’ my dad would never have had the opportunity to teach me this concept. I’m pretty sure I would still be grasping this concept if it wasn’t for the homework set that term to learn my division tables! Where my dad could reach and teach me, my teachers couldn’t.

As a mum, I can only hope the 10 QQAD program is still thriving and going strong as I’m not too keen on the concept of sitting down with my daughter to do hours of homework each night after a long day working myself, or finding time to complete projects on our weekends in family time that is limited and precious already. Currently our lifestyle is very unstructured and flexible with no commitments to be anywhere at anytime with Ava at Kindy and my working life living online. Life has no demands on us, BUT in a few short months this all changes and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to the structure that school will bring us. I will report back to you then about what I think about homework. We will chart those waters in January!

In closing, it’s in my belief that homework does have its place in small doses with content that is stress-free for working at home. If a teacher implements the correct program, that’s consistent, has totally NO surprises, is marked with enthusiasm and feedback is given from the teacher, then homework can be welcomed with all its benefits other than the academic ones!! This can be a recipe for a win-win for all.

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