When I decided on a school for my standard one son I was guided by three principles and these were: Affordable school fees,Proximity to my house and believe it or not, the amount of homework the child was going to bring home .
I hated homework when I was a growing up and I hate it even more now. The idea of having to be forced to go back to primary school in the name of assisting my child pass tests and exams does not appeal to me at all.
There was one particular school that I heard about from many happy parents who praised it for achieving 100% PSLE pass rate every year but then when I found out how they did it, I was convinced I would rather take my chances somewhere else because I don’t believe in inundating children and parents with homework as part of a drill to pass exams.
Growing up I don’t remember going home with homework in lower primary let alone holding any grown up at ransom for hours on end to assist me with homework, yet I passed and with flying colours too if I may add, so you can understand why it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the private school obsession with homework.
On orientation day at my son’s new school parents were told there’ll be homework. I could deal with that because I knew that the question was not whether there was going to be any homework but simply how much. And then we were told the children’s success in school depended as much on us as it did on the teachers and thats where I begged to differ because if that was the case I don’t think I needed to pay a substantial amount of money to the school in the first place.
I just couldn’t agree with that statement because it seemed to absolve the teachers of much of the responsibility and placed much of it on me when I also have the responsibility to work hard to make school fees. In the end I challenged the teacher and we reached an understanding
. At that point I began to appreciate my good former teachers at government primary schools who owned that responsibility 100% knowing that they couldn’t depend on homework to get the kids to pass because some of the parents couldn’t read or write and therefore couldn’t help with homework while others did not even speak the official learning languages being English and Setswana.
Hats off to them I say! On that note I did a little research on homework and its contribution to children’s learning success and I am glad I was onto something after all as experts agree that, “there’s no evidence that homework helps elementary school achieve academic success and little more that it helps older students while on the other hand it robs children of their sleep, play, and exercise time they need for proper physical, emotional, and neurological development.”
In their book ‘The Case Against Homework, American child development experts Bennett and Kalish draw on academic research to show how too much home work has negative effect on children’s achievement and development, how it brings diminishing returns and that there’s also evidence that homework sour kids’ attitudes toward school.
“It’s one thing to say we are wasting kids’ time and straining parent-kid relationships,but what’s unforgivable is if homework is damaging our kids’ interest in learning, undermining their curiosity,” the experts have argued! I couldn’t agree more! To be part of the conversation send yor comments and contributions to [email protected]