The first (and only) meeting I ever had with an upset parent was over homework. He didn’t think I assigned enough. And I taught pre-K.
Homework has become such an ingrained part of our education culture that we not only don’t question it, we have begun to demand it. So much so that even research suggesting homework in the elementary years has no favorable effect on academic performance while at the same time creating extra stress holds little sway for a parent concerned about their five year old’s future success. Much less on a school district obsessed with state testing.
A Vermont school decided to act on the research, however, and instituted a school-wide, no homework policy. Instead, they wanted students to eat with their families, read a book and play outside. The result?
Six months into the experiment, Trifilio says it has been a big success: Students have not fallen back academically and may be doing better, and now they have “time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions.” ~The Washington Post
“Time to be creative thinkers and follow their passions.” Two of the things I think homeschooling provides children. And really, it has to do with simply having time. They have time to get bored. They have time to daydream. They have time to dig deeper into the topics which interest them.
And we do it without homework. That isn’t to say they have no independent work. But I don’t assign the kind of busywork I was assigned in school. You remember those assignments? Book reports designed to prove you had read the book, copying spelling lists 5, 10 or 15 times each and the endless number of math worksheets. And I was in elementary school back when they still thought 15 minutes a night was ideal.
What do they do instead?
They read. They love reading. The library is one of their favorite destinations. They read fiction and nonfiction and check out books on the oddest things I never would have thought they would be interested in, but they saw the book and decided to see what it was about.
They write. Three of my children are working on writing a book . . . four if you count the six year old who is filling a journal with his random letters that he calls his book.
They build. Unfortunately, they lost their fort in a series of storms and a suspected raccoon rampage, but they had a pretty nice one made from scrap they found in the barn for some time.
They garden. Each year, they’ve been allowed to plan a small container garden with flowers for the porch. This year, they are each getting their own raised bed for their own vegetable patch.
In other words, they explore. And almost every pursuit they choose has more value to who they are than any worksheet I could have designed just to keep them busy.
This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!