homeworkEveryone warned me that life would change once my son hit first grade, because that's when homework -- real homework -- starts around here. I pishawed the whole thing, thinking a few worksheets here and there couldn't possibly be that big of a deal, but oh how wrong I was.

My son is bright and has never struggled with school work, but homework is a different story. It's a battle of wills, because he doesn't want to do it. He wants to play, watch TV, stare out the window, or anything other than the work he has to do. It's been more than a little bit of a painful adjustment with tears from both of us at some point or another. So when I saw a movement in New Jersey to abolish the source of our frustration, I almost thought about starting my own movement at my son's school.

Almost, but not quite, because it's a really awful idea.

The parents say students are spending too much time on homework, and that it should be at least limited if not done away with altogether. Limits are one thing, though I have a problem with those as well because they limit a teacher's judgement and because what takes one child 20 minutes could take another two hours. But the idea of getting rid of it altogether is an extreme reaction that would just further compromise our nation's schools.

Homework is good for kids, as hard as it may be. It teaches them how to focus and to accomplish tasks independently. It also supplements and expands the learning that happens in class. It's when those "aha" moments start to occur. Perhaps the quality of assignments may need to be addressed in certain cases, but homework as a whole is a good thing.

Besides, what else do our children have to do? If they're that over-scheduled in sports and other activities, then perhaps that's the problem that needs to be addressed. Learning isn't supposed to be a walk in park, and I don't think it hurts our kid to learn how to work hard. They're going to have to as they go on to higher education and the working world.

Yes, kids need time to be kids and enjoy life, but they also need to be well prepared for the future, and if heaps of homework (deemed appropriate by educators in whom I place my trust) are what it takes, then bring it on ... I'll just be counting the days until summer vacation.

Would you like to see homework abolished?


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