Most of us went through the public/private school system, we were assigned homework to complete and turn in to our teachers, but did that homework do any good? I'm sure some did, but there was so much that was what I would now see as simply, "busywork," work that was meant to keep us busy while moving from point A and point B.
So is homework just busywork? Sometimes, but sometimes it's just another symptom of a broken system.
If you're new to homeschooling, or just considering taking this (terrifying) leap, chances are pretty good that you've had some complaints about the volume of homework that your school-aged children are bringing home. Some of it completely unintelligible because of the recent changes happening within the schools. What's a family to do? Do you do all of this homework? Do you sit at the table for hours, while your son or daughter breaks down in tears, because there is so much work that their teachers have asked to be completed?
I didn't. We didn't turn in some of the homework, because my husband and I felt it was just too much. Too much work, too much ... banality. It took away from quality time we could spend as a family, and took away from the activities that really brought joy to our boys. They were being beaten down emotionally by the demands of a system that is broken, and I don't blame their teachers! Their teachers had their own demons to wrestle with, test preparation, assessments, and worrying about whether little Johnny was going to act out again.
As a result, much of the teaching had to be abbreviated, and work sent home with the families.
As I began to understand what was going on, and why they were bringing home so much work, a question began to form in my mind, "If the teachers can't do their job because of regulations, why are we sending them to school? Why not cut out the middle-man and do it ourselves?"
At about the same time this question was forming, I was doing my own Common Core research, but that's another blog, with a whole other can of worms.
When we decided to bring our boys home, we did so armed with the best information we could find, the best support we could find, and heads full of ideas. I wanted to give them the education I never had, the education that would set them on a course of success and a life long search for knowledge. This is something that isn't found within the pages of dusty books, rather, those books should be sparking questions, inspiring the reader to learn more.
The books in schools have become so watered down and truly mind-numbing that it's easy to see why kids do not enjoy school, and goodness knows they wouldn't want to do the homework!
Sometimes, homework can be useful. For my boys, it's typically things that they should be doing on their own anyhow, writing a couple of paragraphs, reading a couple of chapters in a book, practicing math facts. In short, the homework I give is to promote independence in study habits, and strengthen skills they have already attained through the course of our normal school day. It's not the "leftovers," things that couldn't be finished during school; but rather, planned, and assigned knowing full well what they are capable of doing on their own, with a little work.
I don't believe that a teacher of 20+ students has the time to figure out what each student is capable of, they try, and they mean well, but they do not have the time. No matter how caring your children's teacher is, they will never match the love and devotion that you can pour into their education. You have a vested interest in their success, the fear you feel right now, of failing your children should propel you forward into greater success because you will work tirelessly to see that you do not fail.