I’m asked often by parents, how can they extract their child from the irrelevant daily ritual of homework? The process is often simpler than first thought.
“The child belongs to the family. A child is not school property”. Heather Shumaker
6 steps for Saying No to Homework:
- Know your stuff . Have a look over the research and feel confident that freedom filled afternoons will be more supportive of your child’s development and wellbeing. If you’re new to this topic, read The Facts on Homework, or listen to this conversation I had with Alfie Kohn.
- Read your school homework policy. Does it reflect the research? Is homework considered optional or mandatory? Are classroom expectations congruent with that of the school? Look for threads to weave through your upcoming conversation.
- Ask to meet your child’s classroom teacher, to discuss your stance on homework. (That way, you’ll both enter the conversation with clarity and preparation).
- Have the meeting. Reinforce that you both want the same thing, the growth, development and wellbeing of your child. However, your own observations and that of the research, suggest homework free afternoons are the best way to achieve this. Remember the school homework polic mentioned in step 2? This will further inform your approach and anything else that needs to be included in the conversation. (For example, the need to explicitly state that you do not want your child to miss out on play time as a consequence of not doing homework).
- Rinse and repeat. Your initial conversation may be the only one that’s needed, as many educators will support your stance on homework. Others may not, instead requesting a further meeting (perhaps with a member of the school leadership team). Jump through the necessary hoops, staying calm and focussed on what’s best for your child…no homework!
- Consider joining your school’s governing council or speak to one of its representatives, raising the topic of homework and your desire to review the current policy.
“Parents and teachers are partners. Partners tell each other when something is wrong”. Heather Shumaker