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Why I’m against the no-homework policy that schools are adopting

Kia Morgan Smith is a popular mommy blogger at Cincomom.com where she blogs about her life as a mom of five children and wife.

I'm writing this as a mom, who happens to be a teacher. There's been a new school of thought and many schools are now adopting a no-homework policy.

And I must say that I'm a bit old-school; I still think kids should be respectful, have manners, work hard, and be challenged to go above and beyond what we expect them to do. I want to raise scholars. I have five kids, four at home, and there's nothing more that I want than for them to be excellent at math and science, able to figure out algorithms with ease, pen amazing prose and become well-rounded students in every subject they're introduced to.

I want my brood to be academic beasts, slamming the SAT like it's an elementary test and later offered full-ride scholarships because they've scored and soared so high. All so I can kick back, put my feet up and bask, brag and boast about how my kid's achievements are better than yours. (Isn't that what all parents want to do?)

A full scholarship means that I can keep my pockets intact and don't have to pinch pennies to ensure they can afford it. My husband and I want to be proud knowing that our children have been fully prepared in school. And getting them ready starts right now with ensuring that their curriculum is aligned with rigorous state standards and that their teachers are helping them meet challenges in the classroom and touch on every standard they have in that grade.

But meeting the needs of the Common Core in Georgia is difficult and hard when there is no homework. And many schools these days are opting for a no-homework policy.

Having no homework is a contentious debate among parents; those who want their kids to be very scheduled, driven and ambitiously focused at school are the ones who want their kids to do homework and learn necessary life skills that will help them advance. And then there are the parents who want a more child-centered life with their kids, who want their kids to be able to explore different aspects of themselves, and they want their kids to have free time.

There is no right or wrong answer to this. It actually depends on what outcome you want for your kid.

Somehow I think many parents don't understand how competitive this world is and what's required of kids in order for them to meet the challenges ahead. Many parents feel frustrated because of the hours of homework their child is doing. Other reasons parents are against homework include:

  • Their children are overwhelmed, trying to cram homework in between their busy after-school schedules.
  • Parents don't know the material and confuse their kids when they try to help them.
  • Bonding between parents and children is often compromised by homework battles.
  • Parents feel the time the child should be allowed to spend with family and rest and play is compromised by the looming responsibility of performing hours of homework drudgery.

But when a child has a good teacher and does not receive busy work, but instead receives work that reinforces what's done in the class, homework, in my opinion, works.

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks/flickr

Here are my top reasons why homework works:

  • Common Core is daunting. Doing homework will prepare students for the big end tests. There's so much material to cover in Common Core and doing homework helps to reinforce learning. Without doing homework, many students will not retain info.
  • Teaching Responsibility. Let's be real: Parents sometimes enable their kids. If you come to your child's defense all the time and do everything for them, are they really learning responsibility? Unless you want them to live with you until they are 35, then you need to let go of the reins a bit and allow them to learn to meet the challenges of doing homework. And your kids will learn to be punctual by turning in their work on time.
  • Study Habits. It helps your child develop positive study skills and habits that will serve him/her well throughout life.
  • Managing Time. Homework encourages your child to use time wisely.
  • Reinforcement. We all know kids are good at saying they've forgotten something they've recently learned. Doing homework helps them to become more familiar and eventually helps them to master the content with a greater understanding of it.

My kids get homework from their teachers, and as a teacher I know just how much their time and instruction in the classroom is limited. There is no way I'd opt for no homework especially since I truly want my kids to excel and get offers from Harvard, Yale, Brown and other top Ivy League schools. Do you think the students at those schools spent their evenings in their childhood riding their bikes every day and playing with play dough? Or do you think they spent their evenings doing research and reading books? And after my kids do their homework, we still have plenty of time to sit around and talk and laugh and enjoy time together. And if they do have anxiety about homework, that's where I kick in and teach them coping skills, not cop-out skills.

In my opinion, if my kids did not do homework, they would not be the strong students they are. My game plan is to set my kids apart from the others. And when they are up against other students who don't put in as much time as they have, they always rise above them. Mission accomplished. Hey, it's competitive out there. But make the choice that's best for what you want your child to achieve.

Photo credit: Voyagerix/iStock/360/Getty Images
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