THE IMPORTANCE OF HOMEWORK IN YOUR CHILD�S EDUCATION
Dr. Sam Goldstein
Dr. Sydney Zentall
Homework is important because it is at the intersection between home and school. It serves as a window through which you can observe your children�s education and express positive attitudes towards your children and their education. As children grow older, homework and the amount of time engaged in homework, increases in importance. For teachers and administrators, homework is a cost effective way to provide additional instruction in practice.
Lets examine the six constructive purposes for homework in the context of your child�s educational experience. The first two are the most important and obvious. Through (1) practice and (2) participation in learning tasks, homework can improve your child�s achievement. Thus, it would be expected that if homework were completed accurately, not only would your child�s general knowledge and grades improve but your child would also increase mastery of basic academic skills, such as reading, writing, spelling and mathematics.
Homework can provide other benefits. Your child�s ability to bring an assignment home, gather and organize necessary materials to complete the assignment, return the assignment and receive a grade, strengthens his or her sense of responsibility. Time management skills are learned. There is also improved (3) development of personal skills such as time management gained by completing homework. Further, when homework proceeds smoothly it can become (4) a positive aspect of your relationship with your child.
Finally, although we often do not consider that homework serves a school administrative role, it offers schools an opportunity to let parents know what their children are learning. Thus, homework can play a public relations role by (5) keeping parents informed about class activities and policies. Homework can also fulfill (6) an administrative role in helping schools achieve their overall mission of improving student�s achievement.
Homework is a bridge that joins schools and parents. From the school�s perspective there is the opportunity to monitor students' independent progress. For parents there is the potential to gain a greater appreciation of education and to express positive attitudes towards their children�s achievement.
In this weekly column we will provide tips, guidelines, suggestions and solutions to common homework problems. Homework is an essential part of your child�s education and can serve not only to enhance your child�s achievement but also to enhance family relationships.
This column is excerpted and condensed from, Seven Steps to Homework Success: A Family Guide for Solving Common Homework Problems by Sydney S. Zentall, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. (1999, Specialty Press, Inc.), available from the ADD Warehouse.
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