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Building a “Case” Against Homework: Is it Really Necessary?

by Jessica Parnell | May 06, 2014 | 2 min read

“How much homework should I give my child if we do our schooling from home?” is a frequent question for many families who have chosen the homeschool path. Often parents come to realize, if they aren’t careful, the issue of homework assignments can begin to play out a bit like a B-rated ‘good cop-bad cop’ movie routine.

Traditional school kids seem to have it even worse. One mom lamented, “Every evening results in a test of wills that I have come to loathe. I fear it is damaging our relationship as a mother and son. Right now it seems I am only an enforcer – homework, technology, television time — all we do is clash.”

This is a scenario we all wish to avoid! Why SHOULD children need to embark on a “second shift” of educational work rather than spending quality family time, playing outdoors, going places as a family or with friends — the really good stuff that life is all about and lifts us spiritually?

Pros of Homework Time

It appears that the biggest argument in FAVOR of homework in younger years is that repetition promotes the ingraining of information. However, rote repetition can often prove monotonous, boring, and creativity-crushing.

An additional benefit would be the preparation through reading or review before a test – this can be helpful in boosting quiz or test scores.
As children age and decide to pursue a degree at a university, homework is going to become essential. If they have the discipline instilled to handle the sudden influx of homework, they should be fine. But a homeschool graduate who’s never had to complete additional assignments out of “classroom” time may find it a bit of a culture shock.

Cons of Homework

According to literacy expert Harvey Daniels, “Most of what homework is doing is driving kids away from learning.” In early years, too much homework can stress children, sap their enthusiasm, and push them away from intellectual pursuits.

Many parents do feel that it is damaging to the parent-child relationship when their precious family time becomes a power struggle over homework.
Even if you regard grades or test scores as good measures of learning, which many do not, doing homework has no statistical relationship to achievement in elementary school.

How Other Homeschool Moms Weigh In on the Case of Homework

  • “I don’t specifically give homework, but often my oldest has work to do in the evenings. If he takes too long doing his work during the day, then he has to carry over after dinner. OR, if he has made too many mistakes on his work I don’t waste ‘class time’ having him make the corrections. He has to do it while his brothers play later in the evening.”
  • “I do not give homework. I hated it when my kids were in public school and I don’t want to deal with it now that they are home.”
  • “Personally I do not like to assign homework. If my son has homework most weeks, then I would reevaluate his work load. That is just me because before high school, I do not believe homework is necessary. School should be enjoyable especially in the younger years.”
  • “Yes, we have homework. It may not be every night. They can choose to do it after their lesson or save it for the evening. Usually they complete it after the lesson. I feel that they do need to learn some independent study. My kids are older though, 8th and 10th grade. I want them to be responsible.”
Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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