March 2, 2014 § 1 Comment

I cringe at that word! I really do!

For many parents of typical and children with needs, homework = stress!

For years I insisted that my daughter have unmodified homework. It served for me as a gauge as what she should be doing to be inline with her peers. After all, I am a special ed teacher if it needed to be modified I would just modify it for her myself. Well “I tried” is all I can say. You can’t begin to imagine the crying, the refusal and the tantrums! Oh boy !! We faught the good fight for years really until her medical involvement became increased. Basically, I couldn’t swallow a high risk procedure on a Tuesday followed by homework stress on a Wednesday. I just didn’t want her to go through that anymore – my perspective changed – her happiness became the most important thing not her education. It finally dawned on me “What the hell am I putting us both through this for?” “What purpose is it serving? ”

As a teacher I see many kids who never do their homework and it reflects on their report card and yes, they don’t get the “practice” that the other students get but in the long run the impact was not THAT significant.

I think it’s so important for everyone to read and write as much as possible. I think it’s important to talk about how stories relate to life. I think it’s important to know enough math that you can measure out a recipe. I believe the use of cash will be obsolete and beating my kid over the head to count coins is a waste of time. She just needs to know if there is enough in her account to make a purchase with an ATM card. Writing needs to be meaningful. This past summer she was supposed to keep a journal in a little composition notebook. That notebook went sailing across my living room the day I suggested she write. Then I had her create a blog where she could write and get instant feedback and talk about things that were MEANINGFUL to her. That worked and she found out there was power in her words! That’s what writing should teach.

Teachers – homework is fine as long as it’s meaningful. Busy work is not fine and it’s not practice. If you are not going to correct assignments immediately so students can grow from their mistakes then don’t bother handing it out. When teachers hand back assignments a month later – no one cares anymore and everyone has moved on. I am not voting to stop homework but I am voting for homework with deeper intent and actual feedback. Something to think about isn’t it!

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