Monday 30 March 2015

Read All About It: Giving Up On Homework & Playing Instead

Thanks for stopping by the Read All About It linky. I’d love for you to link up your recent posts about news or current affairs. All you need to do is include the linky badge (below) on your post, and then share your link at the bottom of this post. This week, I decided to write about why I think we should ditch homework.

It was reported last week that a Manhattan school has stopped handing out homework to its students, and has told them to spend time reading and hanging out with families instead. The school sent a letter home detailing the change, which said they were responding to studies that found homework was linked with “children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time, and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”

I think it is so wonderful to see a school responding to research in this way. And it’s great to see a school doing something unusual and taking a risk in the hope it will benefit the children. I hope that this will prove to be a great success and that it will be adopted by other schools across the world.

No homework is already the norm in a number of countries including Finland (whose educational system our politicians reportedly salivate over without ever having the balls to copy) and the Netherlands. This frees up time for children in these countries to enjoy family time, socialising and play after school.

For many families, especially where parents work long hours, quality family time is already limited. And this is made worse by an abundance of homework sent home with children. If this practice is eating into quality family time, and serving little in the way of academic success, why are we still sending kids home with work?

My daughter isn’t yet at school, so I have no first hand experience of the parenting struggles that accompany homework. That said, I live in a house with very thin walls and know that this is an area of contention for my neighbours. Instead of spending those precious evening hours enjoying our children, we are forced to badger them about whether they’ve done their homework, no matter how exhausted they are after a long day of learning. Check out this great post by Slummy Single Mummy about why she hates homework.

The school in Manhattan suggested that parents limit screen time for their kids, and I think that is an important move. They also offered advice to parents on this issue. I think many of us are spending too much time staring at screens, I know that my daughter sees me and my husband both staring at our phones or laptops for an unhealthy chunk of the day.

Ditching homework should come hand in hand with embracing play. Not on-screen play, but actual real life play. It should be about climbing trees, building dens, messing around with friends, and chatting to your family over the dinner table. Families should be free to arrive home from work and school and simply have the time to chat. We shouldn’t be checking our emails at the dinner table, rushing to finish dinner so we can work on our maths homework, or sitting comatose in front of a screen.

Our children should be able to learn through play on their own terms. After all, they spend enough time strapped to their desks at school, can’t we at least give them control of their evenings and weekends?

What do you think about homework? Do you think it’s important for learning, or would you rather children were given more time to play?

And now for the linky… Read All About It is a place for bloggers who write about news and current affairs to link up and reach out to each other. If you’ve written a post responding to or related to a news story, whether it’s local, national or international, I would love for you to join up. All you need to do is include the linky badge (below) on your post, and fill in the form below with your post details. All linked up posts will be shared on social media. Don’t forget to have a read of the other link ups.

Read All About It

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