Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer: Parenting Tips

Here we are again at the end of another school year and about to embrace the lazy, hazy days of summer. Graduations are taking place everywhere in the month of June. Every student is preparing for the next step in the journey of an academic career. Some students are getting ready to attend new schools after the graduation ceremony. It is a crossroad of change for all students as they face the challenges of a new school year. Many will be in different classrooms with a new teacher and routine at the start of the next school year and with that comes the topic that has an effect on students and those who help them with the after-school part of their schedules; homework. Does the new teacher give a lot of homework or not?
There are all sorts of hurdles that come with helping a young student with homework, particularly when it comes to math, where the subject can seem virtually unrecognizable to a parent or caregiver in comparison to the way another generation followed instructions in the subject matter. Nothing can bring homework help in math to a screeching halt faster than a student sighing and saying “That’s not how she said to do it.”
We’ve all heard the stories about the students in a class that are burdened with an overwhelming load of homework on a nightly basis. Granted, many of these tales may be somewhat inflated by the time we hear them.  The question remains; what is the appropriate amount of homework for each school grade?
Some people argue that homework should not be a part of the school day at all and that it puts unnecessary mental and emotional pressure on students. There is a documentary making the rounds, called “Road to Nowhere,” made by director, Vicki Abeles, who is also a parent, and the movie is igniting a movement against assigning homework to students. Do students get all the instruction they need in the academic school day or is homework an integral part of the overall picture serving as a review of work done in class?
Whatever your thoughts are on the debate of the relevancy of homework, pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade, relax in a hammock and rest comfortably knowing that aside from a summer reading list, there are no new homework assignments due until school opens again for the 2011-2012 school year. Enjoy your vacation.    

Be well, 
Alice Knisley Matthias
Education Writer


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