Thursday, June 16, 2005

Busy Work

Too Much Homework = Lower Test Scores

"'Undue focus on homework as a national quick-fix, rather than a focus on issues of instructional quality and equity of access to opportunity to learn, may lead a country into wasted expenditures of time and energy,' LeTendre says."


Piles of homework, projects to finish, reading and comprehension to complete in a set time period -- sound like fun? You might think that homework only plagues children in a traditional classroom environment, however some homeschooled children also face this burden of busy work.

In my local community, homeschoolers may enroll their children into local home-based charter schools. These charters help to take off some of the burden of book keeping and lesson planning for parents. They are a great help to those who want it. Charter curriculums tend to be quite rigorous and furthermore overcompensate by giving students a workload heavy enough to break the camel's back.

Overcompensation may be taking place because of the fear that it looks like homeschoolers are not doing enough "time on learning" for their children. Knowing that you may be investigated is surely something that is on parent's minds. Charters certainly help to structure this time. However, busy work is often at the expense of the child's happiness.

As a teacher to homeschoolers, I understand the value of quality time spent on a project versus busy work. One project is loosely assigned, as student participation is always optional, per week. Students are also encouraged to tweak the assignment in anyway that they like. My flexibility as a teacher has encouraged my students to feel confident with their work. No stress, crying, or frantic parent calls -- just flexible fun and growth, that's teaching.

Kenadee, my eight-year old student, says it best, "You're the best tutor because you give us free choice!"



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