HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH HOMEWORK
Homework is an essential ingredient in school success. Student achievement increases significantly if teachers assign it regularly and children do it conscientiously. Unfortunately, many Americans Young people don’t do a lot of homework either because their schools don’t give it to them, or because nobody at home makes sure it gets done. It’s out of fashion in some places. In other places, assignments are ignored or cared for only. The majority of the United States Teachers in public elementary schools report that their students do less than one hour per week of homework. This is compared to approximately 22 hours of television watching per week. For many children, this ratio is poison. It is a basic parental responsibility to see that children do enough homework and do well. You have to stay on top of this part of schooling for your child.
Teachers assign homework for a variety of good reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that time at work predicts what students learn. If you spend time with math, you learn math; if you spend time with video games, you learn video games. Homework gives children the chance to study, strengthen and practice their lessons. It allows them to assimilate new information into the body of knowledge they already possess and to explore subjects in greater detail than the school teacher might have had time to cover. It helps them to prepare for class the next day and to study for testing. It helps teachers gauge whether lessons are being absorbed, which areas a child is learning well, and which parts need extra attention.
Homework creates a number of habits needed for academic success. It teaches children to follow instructions, to organize themselves and to spend time. It uses research skills, such as the use of the library or the Internet. It teaches students to be responsible for their work. Homework is also a vital part of the relationship between parents and school. It helps attentive moms and dads know what their children learn, how demanding the curriculum is and how the school uses teaching methods.
Despite clear advantages, some education experts are now downplaying homework. The 1998 Newsweek article announced ” Homework Doesn’t Help. ” Parents are told that these frightened evening lessons are of no use to young children. They only frustrate and anger students, convince them that school is painful, and lead toward academic dread. The education establishment reserves particular scorn for homework that involves practice or memorization. Assignments that help children ” exploring ” or ” discovering ” their own knowledge, such as students ” determining the environmental effects of a neighborhood business ” or ” expressing their feelings ” about the atomic bomb, are generally approved. But exercises that actually involve mastering information and skills— whether grammatical rules are applied, filling in state capitals in the United States map, memorizing a poem or working on a dozen long division problems — may be ridiculed as a useless ” drill and kill ” that suppresses the desire of children to learn by creativity and chokes.
This is a rot-like bunch of good parents, teachers, principals, and coaches. ” Nothing flies more against the last 20 years of research than the assertion that practice is bad, ” say Professors John Anderson, Lynne Reder, and Carnegie – Mellon University’s Herbert Simon. As they point out, the evidence ” indicates that only extensive practice involves real competence. By denying the critical role of practice, children are denied the very thing they need to achieve competence.”If someone from your school takes homework to train children in important lessons and skills into account, trust your common sense: good practice helps to make it perfect.
How much or how long should children’s homework be? There is no quick and difficult rule. The amount received by a student varies with age, the teaching methods used, the materials covered and the child itself requires more time than others to complete tasks. One good rule is that at least 10 minutes of homework per school night per grade level are to be expected. The first graders are about 10 minutes a night; the second graders are about 20 minutes a night; the third graders are about 30 minutes a night; and so on. Students should expect to take at least one hour and twenty minutes of homework per night by the eighth grade.
These guidelines are not rigid, but if your child spends much less time on homework than this, you have some questions to ask. Keep in mind that you will probably find some parents in just about every classroom who think their child doesn’t get enough homework and others who think she gets too much. Ultimately, you and teachers must be the judges. You have to be satisfied that your child is constantly learning, but is not overwhelmed. Whether it is trivial or stupid, it doesn’t matter how much homework is given. Quality is as important as quantity. Here are some signs of good homework. You should ask your child to think. If children are constantly busy, for example, sixth graders make a lot of posters for English lessons instead of writing a lot, then little learning takes place. Allocations should be directly related to lessons in the classroom. They should be explained carefully either by written instructions or by discussions with the students (rather than the teacher hurriedly recording the task on the board as the bell rings). You cannot control the quality of homework tasks, but you can use them to appreciate the teacher and school. Trite homework is a symptom of low levels of academia.
You should see signs that teachers quickly evaluate homework so that students understand their mistakes, are praised for good work and notice their mistakes. Terms are almost useless without feedback. Homework should have something to count. At least some of the time it should be in the grade of your child so that she knows that neglect has consequences.
For the part of your child, remember that homework is only worthwhile when handled diligently. She may not be able to answer every problem or answer every question, but she must learn how to shoot it best. When young people make half-hearted, sloppy attempts or take on tasks when they are already fatigued by extracurricular activities, do not expect much learning to come about. Homework only achieves when taken seriously.
Another thing we know about homework is that it is more efficient when moms and dads are involved. A vast majority of highly accomplished students say that their parents pay attention to their homework and sometimes even help. Unfortunately, in many American households, this is a different story. Only 10% of public school teachers believe that the parents of their students check that their homework is done and done well. ” Mom and Dad just don’t sit at the kitchen table to help their child with homework, ” says a teacher from Michigan. ” Junior is on his own, and they’re on their own. ” Jay Niver, a former North Carolina teacher, tells how he and his colleagues were called to the headquarters because so many pupils failed. Niver unwrapped a printout that showed, inter alia, that children often failed to do their homework. ” The response, I was advised, was to do class homework. Now there’s an oxymoron. ” It’s a sad state of affairs when schools stop sending children home to work because they feel that nobody is there to make sure that it gets done.
Homework is one of the best opportunities you can share in the education of your child. In the right spirit, it offers a regular chance to show that you are keenly interested in what she does. Although it is sometimes frustrating for both parents and children, the effort is worthwhile.