Is homework turning your primary school kids off learning?

While holidaying recently in Bali I chatted with some parents whose primary school-aged children attend international schools. They shared their concerns about the excessive homework demands imposed on their kids who, according to one dad, are expected to spend hours nightly on traditional paper and pen homework.

If your kid enjoys putting in more hours at the end of a school day, good for them. I’d suggest most kids don’t.

I’d suggest a weekly homework contract for more formal academic practice peaking at 2 hours/week max by year six. Of course, regular reading is a given and kids should be encouraged to read as much as possible, That IS homework that has immense and lasting benefits. 

For me, however, traditional homework often fails kids in primary school. Expecting kids to work hours after school is ridiculous, short-sighted and often harmful. I’d rather see homework projects set where kids are given a one to two-week timeframe to complete a project of their choice. The purpose here is to identify, nurture and develop a talent …in art, photography, sports skills, multimedia, technology, science …whatever. Project-based learning (PBL) set as homework, can be very effective AND engaging.

Here’s what the research says …

PBL allows kids to be creative and to succeed in an area of interest rather than struggle to complete textbook exercises. Practice always helps … just not that much at home.

Primary aged kids need creativity, play, and opportunities to experiment and learn about whatever it is that interests them.

We can lift the academic demands in the year prior to middle school, but until then – can we give kids a chance to be kids, unencumbered with a ridiculous academic load that often does more harm than good. 

Traditional homework is an anachronism. 

What are your thoughts? How does your child’s school approach homework? Is your child over-loaded or disengaged?

Performance Coaching Tip # 1:- Your child is a brain and a body

Most tuition is academic. When your child needs assistance in Maths, for example, you seek a Math tutor or a tuition Centre option. Nothing wrong with that of course.

Now I prefer to offer a tuition service where parents and students can actually choose to develop the body and brain at the one session delivered by the one tutor.

When obesity in youth is a major problem in many developed countries, when students everywhere spend so much time in front of a screen, and where they’re driven or bussed to school, there has never been a time for greater emphasis on physical fitness. 

Children who have not been physically active can start with low-intensity activity. Activities don’t have to be tightly structured and should be fun and recreational.

Behaviors formed in childhood have a high probability of persisting into adulthood. Active kids become active adults. Sedentary kids become sedentary adults – placing them at significant health risk.

As an ACE accredited Personal Trainer, I know that bone and muscle development activities can have beneficial effects on bone mass before and during puberty. (American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual). p558

So to develop your child fully, consider combining academic tuition with physical activity. The benefits could last a lifetime.