Do negative thoughts cross your mind when you hear the word 'homework' ?
When we were writing this blog, seeing these images and captions made us laugh. It seemed ironic to us that we share similar stressful sentiments about doing homework. Yet as teachers, we still assign homework.
So what do we really think?
There is a lot of debate about the pros and cons of homework. Whatever the views out there, we agree that homework if given appropriately with a clear and meaningful purpose, is beneficial. At THS, we give out missions -- they serve a purpose and are done at home -- instead of homework. Missions are opportunities for our children to practice skills, consolidate knowledge and make inquiries on extended topics at their own time and pace at home.
We believe that missions do something even more important, too. They connect teachers, children and parents in an intricate web of partnership and collaboration that help children flourish in their learning. The successful cases of our students who have made great improvements at school this year come from the open communication between all three parties through missions. Missions help us to show parents what we are teaching their children. They help parents see first-hand their child’s grasp of the underlying concepts. They allow for a time during which to share their lives at school with their parents and bask in the praise of their achievements.
After discussing our views on homework for this blog, we were extremely curious to know how our students felt about it. We therefore decided to host a discussion about it as a class. We asked them what they thought about homework and if it helped with their learning.
Here are their thoughts:
“I get better by practising my math and reading at home. My dad asks me some questions [about what I learnt in school] and if I can answer those questions, he [is] happy and gives me presents.”
“If I’ve done something wrong in class, I get to correct and practise it at home.”
“Our missions and quests help us improve. I had some issues with counting money at home before and when we learnt counting by 10s, it helped me do it well. It helps me learn new things as well. “
“One time my dad tried to trick me by saying the sun goes around the earth and I told him that the earth goes around the sun. I am addicted to my homework. I want to keep doing it.”
“It helps me be faster at doing sums. It helps us practice and do well in our tests. It helped me learn more about how to tell time.”
“I learnt more about the sun and our galaxy from my homework.”
“I practiced counting by 5s at home and it helped me count money as well.”
“My dad reviews my homework with me. I like that."
The students’ answers astounded and impressed us. Even more surprisingly, when we asked them in conclusion, “So, should we keep giving you homework?” they all shouted in unison, “YES!”
Who are we to argue with that?