I am the oldest of 10 kids and one thing that my mother has always found difficult is getting homework done at night. Wow, can you even imagine trying to get all your children ranging in age of Kindergarten to High School to sit down and do homework at the same time. It was impossible and truly my mother had to have outside help to complete the task. She hired one of the local High School students to come over in the afternoons and sit with one child while she sat with another child. In all reality, people do not have problems as bad as this getting homework done each evening. They simply think they can handle everything and the homework will get done in due time. Homework is essential in a student’s academic progress and I have found some helpful hints in saving time and hassle.
As a teacher I have found that homework really is an important process that students NEED to learn to do after school. It is amazing how many parents disregard homework all together and don’t get it done. That drives teachers insane, especially because it always seems like the students who don’t do their homework have the lowest scores overall in the classroom. A good idea to verify this information is to go into any classroom for a week and record the progress of students who do their homework compare to those that don’t. It is truly amazing how the simple effort of after school work really reinforces the ideas in the classroom. That information should be enough to start homework as soon as your student gets home, but some parents still need more persuasive information.
For the skeptics of homework, here are a few important things to remember. Dr. Sam Goldstein states, “Homework is important because it is at the intersection between home and school. It serves as a window through which you can observe your children’s education and express positive attitudes towards your children and their education. As children grow older, homework and the amount of time engaged in homework, increases in importance. For teachers and administrators, homework is a cost effective way to provide additional instruction in practice” (http://www.hi2u.org/adhd/homework_1.htm).
A Government site explains, “Government guidelines on homework give a broad indication of how much time pupils might reasonably be expected to spend on homework. The guidelines emphasize the importance of homework and how it helps your child to learn, rather than focusing on whether it takes a certain amount of time” (http://www.parentscentre.gov.uk/educationandlearning/whatchildrenlearn/learningathomeoutsideschool/homework/). Links for Learning, an online homework help site, states, “Walking into a family of 4’s living room in big, bold letters a sign reads, “HOMEWORK IS A BUMMER”. Can you relate? It is so interesting how homework can be the cause of such annoyance in the household. Many parents after a couple of years just give up and figure their student can handle the daily tasks by themselves. As a teacher it is so frustrating having the students come to class without their homework done. If you listen to the teachers in the teachers lounge, parents would be mortified to find themselves as topics of being non-caring parent” (www.links-for-learning.com). Just read these articles and remember that these are specialists who know the importance of homework.
Don’t feel frustrated by the overwhelming information about after school homework. It is really a simple thing to do. Just make sure that a schedule is designed after school that will place a specific time for homework. Try not to schedule after school activities until the specified time has been accomplished. When in doubt, get outside help. One of the BEST resources is the computer and instant homework help. We have found Links for Learning, [http://www.links-for-learning.com] to be the most helpful site available for students and parents. This site focuses on the student and gaining success rather than pushing for the big bucks. I would suggest signing up for their homework help package (which grants unlimited access to a live, certified tutor) and use it as much as possible!
Really the main importance of homework is setting the study skills and reinforcing the ideas in discussed that day. As I have suggested above, my mother was amazing at enabling her children with proper study skills. What are proper study skills? Plan and simple… learning to do after school homework. That one skill will ensure academic success in the years to come. One of the reasons that I decided to get my Master’s was the idea of wanting to gain more education. When I finished my Bachelors in 1999, I honestly didn’t know what to do. I started teaching elementary school, but that just didn’t give me enough learning experience. Early in my life, my mother had taught me the importance of wanting to learn which thrived in our after school homework sessions. Do whatever it takes to make sure your students’ homework is getting done. This one skill will impact their entire future.