“Our school’s approach to homework strengthens our family’s bond, builds our children’s confidence, and allows us to be actively involved in their education. By thinking outside the box, they have really impressed us.
We’re seeing it work, too. Thanks to their homework policy, our children are excelling academically and blooming right before our eyes. Their progress is measurable, not only in the classroom but at home and socially as well. With the support of the school, we are seeing our children flourish and develop critical skills they will use for the rest of their lives. The homework policy has led to our children taking on personal responsibility, learning life skills, expanding their relationship skills, cultivating creativity, exploring new areas of interest, establishing work-life balance, and, perhaps what I appreciate most of all, fostered family connection totally free of stress.
Of course, this is for our children in second, fourth, and sixth grade but a similar approach for our high schooler is having a comparable result. They’re all feeling capable and enthusiastic about learning and they’re excited to learn and try new things.
But the best part?
There’s no dread, no afternoons or evenings filled with anxiety, tears, or frustration. We’re able to enjoy the time together, rather than feel like it is something we have to do, and there’s no fighting. It’s so great to not have to struggle with them over their homework. They love it and so do we.
After having had some experience with more a more ‘traditional’ approach to homework and now experiencing this, I don’t ever want to go back.
Our school doesn’t really do homework and when it does, it is minimal. There is none for before 4th grade, only three to four times a week after that, if any at all, and it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. The policy is if it is causing stress, takes too long, or interferes with other activities the family has, it should be skipped. Our sixth grader only has project-based homework, not even every week. For our high schooler, it is studying for tests and otherwise project-based after schoolwork but most of even that is done during school time (she is homeschooled so that gets a little murky).
Students spend 6 and a half to 7 hours in school. Just like adults usually get to leave their work to go home without taking work home, so should kids.
Everyone needs downtime. Even kids. Especially kids.
After school time at home is our time with them as a family. During that time, they are learning in other ways: unstructured free time (work-life balance!), reading, household responsibilities (life skills), cooking with us, picking up dog poop in the backyard, sticking out an extracurricular commitment, engaging in meaningful conversations, being physically active (run, play, climb, ride a bike, kick a ball, jump rope, dance party, MOVE!), developing and practicing conflict resolution skills with each other, learning how to budget and price-compare while grocery shopping with us, getting to a place where they can talk about a difficulty they are having, getting ready for the next day, personal hygiene, and a host of other ways.
That is our ‘homework.’ Goodness, how we love it.
I’m not worried they won’t learn the value of doing something they don’t want to do. They still have to do dishes, clean toilets, and pick up dog poop.
I’m not worried they won’t understand working hard. They’ve built clubhouses, painted their bedroom, designed a ballgown, published a comic book, learned sonatas, learned choreography, played back to back soccer games, and written novels–to name a few of the hardworking things they’ve done.
I’m not worried they won’t learn time management. They get themselves up with an alarm (yes, even the 7-year-old) and get themselves ready for school, soccer games, church, and choir most days. They complete their household responsibilities, personal care, and music practice time to be able to have unstructured free time for reading, socializing, creativity, and whatever else.
I’m not worried they’ll lose what they learned in school. They’re only out of school 3 to 6 hours of their waking day anyway. This IS learning. Giving their brains a chance to process and work on information in a relaxed state helps them digest the material and truly learn it.
I’m not worried they’ll fall behind their peers who do homework. They’re excited and motivated to learn, thanks to not being burnt out. Their natural curiosity has the time and space to lead the way.
I’m not worried about being out of touch with what they are learning at school. Our teachers communicate regularly and send home completed work. Our children love to demonstrate, totally stress-free. They’ll create work just for fun to show us their new skills and every day, fill us in with great detail on what they’re doing in class.
We’re so grateful. Thanks to this homework policy, our children have time for the really important things like cuddling with a little sister, reading a book, filling us in on their relationship struggles, or going for a bike ride. Our school’s approach to homework has been good for our whole family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber of We’re All Human Here. Follow We’re All Human Here on Instagram here. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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