My solution to stressing out about homework? Get rid of it!
Elizabeth Lindell: Helping my daughter with homework used to be the worst part of our day. She would forget her workbooks, not recall the instructions for the assignment, complain of hand cramps from writing out spelling words, and erase the paper along with her mistakes in frustration. Her school days were long ones, full of emotional highs and lows, absorbing information, navigating friendships, and trying to produce meaningful work. These days were not unlike adult work days, and at the end of them, she needed to unwind and release tension.
Many progressive schools believe that homework is busywork and is counterproductive to the learning process in gifted children. With homework out of the picture, there is more family bonding and time for the student to develop passions outside of school. Discovering a child's passions and talents while educating them can prevent them from a future of busywork at the end of each day.
The home should be a sanctuary and a safe place to escape the stressors we face every day. When there is work to be done at home, it should be work that inspires us instead of work that drains us. As parents and educators, we can teach our children that projects outside of the school day are meant to enhance the learning experience and not make students too worn out or dread the next day.
My daughter is now at a school where there is no homework. She spends her evenings riding horses, painting, and trying new recipes for her future restaurant. We have time to stop at the park after school, and with her day of productivity officially complete, she will unwind and reveal her day, sharing with me the way she once did in preschool, before she ever knew what homework was.
Instead of greeting her in the car line with, "Did you remember your assignment folder?" I can now peacefully say, "Hi. Wanna go swing for awhile?"
|Elizabeth Lindell is a journalist, fiction writer, wife of 11 years and stay-at-home mom to a blossoming tween daughter. She happens to have lupus and bipolar disorder, and has blossomed herself, since moving to Los Angeles in 1996, from a small town in Indiana.|