Homework is one of the most contested topics in education, with many parents, teachers and students questioning its purpose. This leads us to the question: how is homework beneficial for today’s children?
We all know what it’s like when kids walk in the door from school. Some are tired, others are restless and some just want to go out and have fun with their friends. But first, they have to do their homework.
Toowong-based clinical psychologist and former teacher Dr Judith Locke, of Confident and Capable, says there are no definitive answers to the ongoing questions around homework and that research shows both positive and negative outcomes for homework. She believes the real benefit is the skills kids develop.
“What they are developing is self-regulation, which is the ability to stop current pleasure for future gain,” Dr Locke says. “It is good for children to not turn on the TV or go outside until they have done their homework as they are developing their self-regulation skills.”
The development of self-regulation during childhood leads to heightened skills in budgeting, time management and self-paced learning. The development of routine also enhances the child’s work ethic as they move into adulthood. That being said, Dr Locke acknowledges that there are many successful adults who never did their homework and the regular completion of homework is not the only way to develop these skills.
A spokesperson from the Department of Education and Training told haven magazine that homework is effective in supporting learning when it is related to class work, suits individual age and learning needs, and is monitored by the teacher.
“Homework assists students to consolidate their classroom learning, it provides opportunities for involvement of family members in learning and it sets up patterns of lifelong learning for the future.”
While there are positives and negatives to the completion of homework, maybe it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get it all done? There are countless ways for parents to create a supportive and engaging learning environment in the home to continue developing their child’s knowledge and skills beyond the boundaries of the classroom.
Words: Nicholas Grech
Dr Judith Locke is the author of The Bonsai Child, which explores current parenting trends and their impact on the development of today’s children and adolescents. The book also provides strategies to help parents develop their child’s confidence, resilience and self-regulation. Available in hard copy and on iTunes, $14.99.