There’s an organization out there called S.O.S. (Stressed Out Students). They’re promoting a movement to remove homework. They point out that between the requirements of extra curriculars, the length of the actual school day, and the heap of homework that schools assign beginning in kindergarten, children have no time to play and families have no time together. They’re not wrong. If you think about it, if school gets out at 3:30, and the kids have half an hour of music lessons, an hour of some sort of sport, and two hours of homework, it’s even tough to squeeze in dinner. S.O.S. is also concerned that by assigning all that work, the parents are being required to do the actual instruction that teachers can’t seem to get done in the over-crowded, distraction-prone classrooms. All that stress isn’t good for kids either, stress being the number one cause of health issues for all age groups.
Homeschoolers are already doing all the teaching (save special courses they’ve paid to sign their kids up for). One could argue that all homeschool work is homework, since it is all done at home, still, I don’t have to assign my son work outside of our pre-designated class time and I choose not to. In fact there’s at least one point I absolutely agree with in the S.O.S. movement — kids need to play. And with what my child has on his plate health-wise, I hardly want to add more stress to the stack.
For a child, play is their work. They learn amazing things that you may not even consider from every activity they do. For example, you see a messy sidewalk grid, they see a hop-scotch route, and an occupational therapist sees an outlet for learning balance and spatial positioning. You see blocks all over your living room floor, they see fun in the form of a new game called kaboom, and an engineer sees a method for studying sturdy base building by learning by example. You see scissors laying on the coffee table and your favorite magazine destroyed, kids see pictures of little animals they can now paste all over their toy box, and a child psychologist sees a child improving fine motor skills.
My kid can play with the neighbors if they are done with their homework, he can read, he can build legos, he can do any number of things with his time. He has great toys that he’s picked out and he loves the chance to use them. Soon enough he will have homework with college courses, but for now he gets to be a kid, and I can be proud of myself for allowing him that time. Childhood is entirely too short. He should get to enjoy it.