An End To Homework

One of the biggest parenting challenges, at least in our house, is homework.  Perhaps not so much in terms of having the kids learn and understand the material — although that can be a challenge too — but just getting kids to sit down, focus on their work, and get it done.  For us, this involves a lot of whining, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth.  And the kids don’t enjoy it either.  To make matters worse, my oldest will be entering 4th grade next year and the amount of homework sent home is reportedly kicked up a notch.  If we lived in Los Angeles, however, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

It seems the Los Angeles Unified School District doesn’t think homework is all that important.  Their new policy limits homework to a mere 10% of a student’s grade, meaning that an A is possible without ever doing a lick of homework.  While I would have loved this idea when I was in school, as a parent, I’m not so sure this is a good idea.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the change is “intended to account for the myriad urban problems facing the district’s mostly low-income, minority population.”  I suspect, however, that it will give a free pass to those students who need the extra practice the most.

As a parent who has fought with a child about completing homework despite the material having been mastered years before, I can see that limiting the influence of such — in our case — busywork has its advantage, but, really, the importance of homework to a student ought to be decided on an individual basis.  As for those who face challenges in completing their assignments — jobs, duties at home, extracurricular activities — certainly some accommodations can be made (and homework for subjects already mastered could be reduced or eliminated), but isn’t it better to teach kids to resolve problems and overcome obstacles rather than simply giving up?  What are your thoughts — would you rather see homework keep its significance or have it relegated to an “if I feel like it” sort of status?

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