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Thursday, May 26, 2022
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How many days of school are left? Come on, everybody has a calendar somewhere where they are “x”ing the days out and counting down until school is out. As Alice Cooper sang, “School’s out for summer!”

There are many reasons why you may be counting down. Maybe you are tired of carpooling. Maybe your child has had a challenging school year. Maybe you are sick of preparing lunch for your finicky child.

Do you want to know my reason? Homework!

I graduated high school over 20 years ago. I have an undergraduate degree and three master’s degrees (creative writing, literature, and education). My chosen profession is a high school English teacher. Therefore, it is safe to say that I spend much of my life in a school setting. You can rightfully conclude that I appreciate education and the education process.

My professional opinion is that a reasonable amount of homework should be part of the education process. Quality homework (not busy work) reinforces what was taught in class. When a teacher reviews the class’ homework, he or she can get an understanding just how much the students have learned. Homework allows the child to work independently (parents can and should guide as needed and not do it themselves), giving him/her a sense of confidence that they can accomplish work themselves. Lastly, students learn about responsibility and time management.

Yet, I CAN’T WAIT to be done with homework. I know I just noted valid pedagogical reasons why homework is important and practical. However, my children—kindergarten and 3rd grade--get it nearly every night. Our schedule revolves around it. Now, on those rare days when there is no homework, our whole schedule and outlook changes. We make s’mores, write poetry, and listen to classical music. Well, not quite, but it is a much appreciated bonus and leaves the household calmed. All these years later, and I’m still thrilled when the teacher says, “No homework tonight, class!”

Generally, my children do their homework well and with little fighting. Unfortunately, there are those times when the process doesn’t go that smoothly. Voices can get raised, tears shed, mutterings uttered underneath breath, and that’s just me. Can you relate? In fact, this friction caused by homework between parents and children is very common. It is especially so in families who are serious about and concerned for their children’s education. Because the homework challenge is so common, there is a trend toward hiring people whose sole job is to help kids with homework!

Of course when the school year is over, parents are left to entertain their children, juggling work schedules, especially on those days between the end of school and the beginning of camp. Yet, I’ll take this challenge. Why? Because it means no more homework.

Now, how many days till school the end of school?

Larry Bernstein is a teacher, tutor, and freelance writer. He and his family live in Bergen County. Visit his website at larrydbernstein.com His blog is memyselfandkids.com

Larry Bernstein

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