Home Mom at Large HOMEWORK BLUES



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 emangb@thevoicebw.com


  1. I couldn’t agree more. It also seems that only the english medium schools in our country have the tendency to bother parents with the pupils work. I also was asking what children do during study period, i.e after lunch? I was told if any child is found in the classroom trying to study, they are chased out and the doors locked. They say it is to protect school property against vandalism. I will teach my kids what I need to at home and that is only things pertaining to wisdom in life. Not maths, not science or social studies. Those are the things we pay the teachers for. In the future if my son can not survive in life it will be blamed on me for not teaching him how to be a man. If he does not make it academically, that is the fault of the schools he has been to. They are retarding them with all this homework. Actually some if not all the teachers when they give difficult home work, they tell the kids to ask mum and dad. That is not fair. My father never did homework with me. In fact what he used to say, was that he will burn my books if I brought them home. I learned to do all the work while at school, so that when I get home I focus on how to relate with my family. Obey the parents and play with the neighbours kids. This homework is too much. It is even more useless as it is not even the child’s work. It is the work of all these highly educated Phd holders, teachers, nurses, doctors and politicians. So we are only fooling our kids to think that they are doing well. Teachers should be the ones helping the children with homework, by teaching them well.