By: Patrick Miller, Intermediate Math Teacher
Why is Homework Important? What does my child gain from doing work outside the classroom? These are questions parents often ask when it comes to assignments outside the classroom. Homework should be positive in the eyes of the children. It should be short and to the point. The goal is to practice on the concept that was just taught in class and to be a review of previous concepts. Also, if a student feels confident about the homework assignment, it will translate in the test scores on the particular concept. If a student struggles on the concept, it gives the student a wonderful opportunity to reach out and ask for help. Homework teaches children major life skills they will need for the rest of their life. Three major life skills are time management, problem solving, and self-discipline.
The time management piece is one of the most difficult for children. If a student learns about time management and how to prioritize all of their tasks, deadlines will be met on time. Learning to complete assignments on time and prioritizing assignments based on length of assignment and due date will help them in the future. Time management has a real-world connection, such as, paying bills as an adult.
The problem-solving piece is a wonderful way for students to overcome challenges at an early age. Having students think through a problem to reach a solution is valuable and beneficial in the childhood development. Every challenge is not going to be a one-step process. Challenges in life often require multi-step problem solving. Also, another valuable life lesson in problem solving is every challenge is not going to be solved the same way. For example, 2 x 1 = 2 and 4 x ½ = 2. One person might have said that the correct way to solve the problem was 2 x1 while another person may have said 4 x ½. If students get the correct answer and justify how they arrived at their answer that is most important. If there was a minor mistake, a student can learn from their mistake if work is shown.
The self-discipline is another challenge that students face each day. Do I want to go to the movie with my friends or stay at home and finish my homework? We all know what is probably the most fun choice. However, if we teach self-discipline at an early age it makes all the outside distractions easier to work though. This will be very beneficial for students later on in high school and college. Also, this self-discipline will equip everyone to being a life long learner.
Homework isn’t something teachers take lightly. The goal isn’t to punish the students or to give busy work. Homework serves a purpose in your child’s education and one that will help them throughout their life.