Friday, October 23, 2009

homework v family

i love my son's school. it happens to be where i went to school, but i didn't love it back then. i tolerated school, learned what i loved and groaned my way through the rest. i don't remember juggling all the responsibilities that i see my son faced with. we also didn't juggle all the interruptions they have now.

i had interests outside of school. i took ballet classes 4 afternoons a week after dismissal, got home late, ate dinner, did homework, watched tv and talked on the phone. on saturdays, i took a 1/2 day art class. i loved and lived for my life outside of school. homework was not something that ruled my life.

it seems as though now there is more homework and more distractions needing to be controlled. there seems to also be a debate about the relevance of homework and its purpose. my son's school has all but eliminated homework in the lower grades where most kids are actually excited about the assignments. homework in the middle and high schools is where a little control and coordination would be useful.

i've heard adam gopnik speak about homework impinging on family time and understand his position. there must be a balance that would be acceptable to schools and families. if a child is in school from roughly 8am until 3pm, is 3 hours of homework truly necessary? and if yes, truly necessary for what? college placement? success? happiness? i believe homework has a place and a purpose, but i think taking up a child's entire evening thus missing out on family time is not a positive. that is irreplaceable time.

wwcd: parents must monitor the actual amount of time spent on homework (not including facebook, i chat, etc.), see the impact on the family, and communicate with schools.

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