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Homework

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Homework. I hated it. As a kid I'd much rather turn on the Amiga 500 and play TV Sports Basketball or ride my bike outside with the other kids. The thought of conquering the Dungeon Master on the PC or flicking through my basketball card collection was a far more attractive proposition.

At high school I was more envious of the kids who were the better athletes or who could play a guitar. I never wanted to be that kid who would hand in a 40 page science assignment when the requirement was a one pager (that actually happened). I wasn't so naive to think that I would grow up to be an elite athlete and I was certain I wasn't going to end up studying at Harvard.

Part of the problem was that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I left school. If I did know then perhaps I would have applied myself in a greater capacity to study. Like my mate Dan who knew that he wanted to be a pilot before he was a teenager. He had the vision and he worked bloody hard to achieve it.
Seven year old Kid A brings a variety of work home each week – maths, nightly spelling and reading, a weekly assignment... As individual pieces of work I understand their importance but as a collective I wonder whether the time commitment is right for a grade two. At her age, is learning how to ride a bike, building social skills, or learning life skills in general a better use of 'out of school' time than homework? If she knew now that she wanted to open her own own Boost Juice franchise, then I'd rather her sit out the front selling lemonade than sit on the computer learning about grasshoppers and wolf spiders.

As parents we too commit time to our kids homework. We need to correct spelling, help with multiplication, and assist a little with the weekly assignment. Perhaps our biggest role here is prompting and reminding Kid A to start her homework. I certainly remember my parents helping me, like the time mum helped me piece together my Australian Explorer project (some guy called McDoull) or when we made a pirate map together by staining paper with tea and burning the corners with the gas stove. Dad would help me with maths. I thought he was a mathematical genius, and in part he is, but what I didn't appreciate at the time was that he would read up on trigonometry after I went to bed so that he could help me the following night. Looking back at this I've come to realise that it's the situation I remember, not the content we were studying together. I built a stronger bond with my dad by kicking the footy in the street or playing cricket out the back.

It's my conversations with other parents on this topic that inspired me to write this. Some see homework as an opportunity to spend time with their kids and some see it more as a waste of time at this point in their development. What's your opinion?

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:44
Bucky

Bucky is a proud triple dad to three girls aged eight and under (Bookworm, Foghorn and Boo). He left the full time corporate world in late 2012 and he's not sure whether he's a SAHD or a WAHD, but either way he's spenidng more time at home with his family. Once upon a time Bucky played guitar for a garage band, now he can only play nursery rhymes.

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