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Moms Talk: At What Age Should Children Have Homework?

Our question this week deals with homework and whether it is beneficial or too much for young children.

Just the other day, a member of our Moms Council said one of her children who attends kindergarten was sent home with what she believed was too much homework for someone so young.

So that got us thinking about our question for this week:

At what age should children be assigned homework? Also, is it OK for adults to help or should the children be left to their own devices?

Douglas Brennan April 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM
Dear Becky: There are acts of Omission and Comission. Do not fall into the trap that the act of Comission is somehow a superior choice. Actually you suggest that someone else might be doing an experiment on their child. Did you consider that the choice you are making is also an experiment? Much of the homework assigned is busy work. But what each child needs differs depending on the child. Don't worry we have done our experiments, chosen our own paths and made our good and bad decisions. But what you have chosen is the "safe, conventional" way. It is also an experiment. All of my children are independent thinkers. When they had homework that was helping them learn I made sure that they understood that it was important and that it should be done and done well. However when they got busy work I indicated to them that this was busy work and it was not worth their time. In this way they began to separate the wheat from the chaff, they developed self awareness and self control. They formed opinions which they needed to support with facts, logic and reasoning. Yes these were good skills for them to acquire when they convinced me that about half of the stuff that came home was just a lot of crap and nonsense. They also knew that not doing homework had consequences that might be grade related but not learning related.
Douglas Brennan April 20, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Thank you Gwen. Well said. however I would not attribute "some culture" to being at the top. I know that you are not prejudicial. All these "cultural" sterotypes are rather amusing. But you are correct that certain cultures do better then others in school. Maybe because there are fewer single parent households? Maybe because there is more discipline? Maybe because there are fewer children and therefore the parents can focus more on those that they have? Maybe because the parents valued education and have passed their values onto their children? Maybe because the parents have a good work ethic and have passed this quality onto their children? Etc. Etc.
Ann April 20, 2011 at 06:08 PM
All have very valid points! I feel that homework can reinforce difficult concepts, but have also seen so many assignments that are really just busy work. The discipline of doing assignments in the younger grades does prepare students for a much more difficult program in middle and high school. The comments left about family time and time to "just be a kid" are quite valid, but remember we all live in a town where most of the parents read to their children and involve them in other enrichment programs like Odyssey of the Mind, sports, art etc. Not every school system has families who do this in CT, so the mandates that come from the state for our schools pertain to the general population in many cases. Great points everyone! This is a really nice place to share thoughts and ideas!
CT Yankee April 21, 2011 at 12:48 AM
This fact can also be beneficial! For kids that don't do well on tests and quizzes the homework can be a godsend. Many kids choke when formally tested but their homework is perfect. So screwing up the tests can be saved by perfect homework and they can now bring home a C or better instead of failing the class.
Susan McGuinness Getzinger April 22, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Here's some homework for the taxpayer/parents and for the children to learn about government and civil rights and the law...http://newtown.patch.com/articles/cutting-it-close-but-with-a-possible-cushion

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