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Homework is a social issue all through childhood. We have addressed the matter at least three times in the past It is not just educational. It is social as involves, of course, the children, the parents, the teachers, the school system (advisors, authorities, and regulators), the home environment and planning and, eventually, the health universe of children, parents, and teachers. Its complexity may, indeed, drive you crazy.

Pros and cons abound and have evolved over the years. Some are related to changes–improvements–in schooling and some other in changes in the family settings, the number of children per family, the access to employment of mothers and huge developments in cyber-access to information through the Internet. Also the perception of homework by the main subject: the children.

Cultural differences may get lost in translation. Whereas in English speaking countries homework is understood, literally, as work you do at home, out of the school, or grown-ups out of the office o whatever job they may have, in Spanish homework is called “deberes“, that is duties, a definite form of obligation or also debt, something you owe to the school, a much more negative perception. All in all, most children, if given the choice, would vote homework down.

Homework also collides with the always growing set of extracurricular activities, those being music, sport, ballet, church or community affairs, as well as many others not contemplated by the school curricula.

It is absolutely necessary to assure that homework is work for the children, but very often ends up as work for the parents. The contribution of parents to formal education should be as encouragement, providing tools, books, and space, but should not force the parents to go back to school once more again with each child.

Of course, the amount of homework varies with age. Some experts have advised to grow by 10 minutes for grade-year. Therefore first graders would do 10 minutes, second graders 20, and so on. Teens could take up to two hours. We feel that should be a very MAXIMUM.

Or nothing at all. The argument of parents implication in their children education should take some other path. It should be taken into account many parents may not be up to the job of helping their children, they themselves lacking the skills o the educational level. Recent immigrants may bump into language difficulties and cultural distance.

At any rate, homework should be limited, appropriate to age and family settings and never, ever, be used as “punishment”.

We are not making homework a clinical category to be included as a potential psychosocial problem. But health professionals and educators ought to be aware it is an activity that might weigh onto some other difficulties a child may have, and give it proper consideration.

X. Allué (Editor)

Written by pedsocial

18 diciembre 2017 at 7:01

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