Earlier this year, I came across an article in the Hamilton Spectator about a group of parents from Calgary who have managed to persuade their lawyers to ban homework at the schools of their children.
The parents and their lawyers are arguing that their children “were suffering from the stress of balancing sporting events with elaborate home projects assigned by their teachers.” While I agree that children in elementary schools should not be bombarded with what they are calling “excessive amounts of homework” every night, I think the idea of completely banning homework is absurd for several reasons.
Firstly, as a former caregiver, I recognize the importance of getting children to focus on something productive for a portion of their after school routine. Parents, like any caregiver, are likely returning home from a hard day’s work around the time that children would be performing their scholarly duties, and need this time to prepare dinner or simply wind down. This concept of no homework completely removes any realm of possibility for these necessary actions unless parents would rather plop their children in front of the television. Hence, the title of this post: Contempt at Complaints. I don’t understand why these parents are upset with the idea of children doing something school-oriented with a portion of their free time as opposed to watching television or strictly enjoying play time.
On another note, learning to cope with multiple tasks is a valuable experience for children. Although it would be foolish to expect them to deal with “excessive amounts of homework” on a nightly basis, this ‘homework time’ is an invaluable lesson for the future. If students are to excel later in life, they will need to learn the work ethic that success requires. From a post-secondary perspective, in particular, there is no one there to hold your hand every step of the way. Developing a strong work ethic from a young age is vital to achievement later in life.
Ultimately, I feel these parents are providing their children with an unrealistic learning atmosphere. They will be put at a disadvantage when paired up with students from other schools later in their academic careers because they will not understand the importance of work outside of the confines of school. Nothing in life is free and these parents are not teaching their children that important message. I certainly believe that down time is important, but completely banning homework from school altogether seems a very regressive learning strategy indeed.