Tuesday, April 05, 2011

TDSB Homework Ban?

So I'm becoming increasingly worried that my brother isn't learning enough. Gosh these kindergartens these days don't teach them anything of substance. They say today that children in grade school are incapable of doing simple math like addition and subtract. Well I say it's obviously because they don't get taught before how to do that! Parents spend too much time at work, too little patience at home. They let their kids slobber down in front of the TV (aka idiot box) or on a computer trying to seem older than they're mentally able to.

Ok, all this aside, at least my brother still gets homework, little book summaries that my mother had to write for him. Better than nothing right? Right. Oh wait, guess what? TDSB is going to ban homework!

So apparently not doing homework is good now. Ok, I guess homework does give kids a lot of stress... well you know what I have to say about this? GET OVER IT KID! Seriously, how else are they going to learn to take responsibility? How else are they going to learn study habits? How else are they going to learn how to manage their time? You have to start somewhere, and I personally feel that high school is NOT a good time to start learning these basic life skills. My thoughts are that once a child can understand empathy, they have to understand that the world sucks and start learning how to deal with it. And homework teaches us how to manage to live a decent life even if there's something boring to have to do for say 30min a day after school.

Their argument for getting rid of homework mainly consists of the fact that it stresses kids out, and that what may take 1 kid 10min will take another kid 40min. I don't quite see how this is suppose to be an argument against homework... it's basically saying that kids don't learn at the same pace... I thought we all knew that already.

Now there are some people don't need homework to learn, but even people who know the material can benefit from a bit of practice here and there. Concepts are important, but homework shows how to apply it, and if you're seeing a question on the test for the first time, sure you can figure it out, but it'll take some time. Whereas if you did your homework, then you already know the fastest and simplest way to the answer since you've seen the general format of the question before. I speak from experience.

The biggest problem of a homework ban, I feel, is that kids will suck at basic math. Math at lower levels is all about memory. You memorize how to add, how to subtract. You need to memorize your multiplication table (unless you know how to add and subtract so perfectly that you can get to the same answer in relatively the same amount of time). Regardless, time needs to be spent fine-tuning these basic skills, and I honestly know no other way to do that than by doing homework. Do things enough times and it will be memorized. And that's what homework is for.

So, going back to the kids who don't do homework since they don't know how to start on it. Ok, look at the question long enough, fire off at least some neurons on the topic, and when the teacher takes the homework up the next day at least you'll know what the question is. After all, figuring out the question is quite a bit of the battle. And since I'm hoping all kids at least know how to read and interpret written text, then just attempting the question (aka. reading it) will give the kid some (maybe minor) understanding of what it's asking for. And the littlest bit of understanding can help both teacher and student with the learning process.

This of course, does not apply for the ones who sit in front of their homework and stare at it all night hoping that the answer will come flying in through a window. If you don't think, don't expect to know. And since kids seem to be complaining about spending so much time doing homework they can't do, I have slight suspicions that this is exactly what's happening. Again, parents are too oblivious to notice the real problem so they blame the school system. School system is part of government, and so must satisfy the parents.

Well I know that this summer I will be teaching my brother how to add up to 100 and the multiplication tables of 1-3, 5, 9-11 & all the squares of numbers (which are the only bits of multiplication that I myself memorized). And if YRDSB (holy powers forbid) ever adopts the homework ban, he'd better be expecting lots of homework from me.

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