Homework is a good thing. No matter how much students moan and groan about it, there is no doubt that it is good for them. Of course it is important to have the right amount of assignments. It is not good to overload students, but if the right amount of homework is given, there are many benefits derived for the student.

Homework is necessary to give practice of skills taught in school. Teachers do not have enough time to give adequate practice. More and more topics are added for teachers to teach, yet nothing is ever subtracted and no additional time is allowed. Homework is good to help the students develop proper habits of study and self-discipline. As parents either assist or observe their children doing homework, they come to a better understanding of the learning ability and achievement levels the children possess.

There was a time in education that educators thought that if a child simply understood subject matter, practice was not necessary. I remember having a math textbook when I taught second grade that required the children to complete as few as six problems each day after the concept was taught. I knew that the children needed more, so I kept extra math papers available all the time for the children to choose and work as their time permitted. Math, reading and writing are skills. All skills require practice because they involve more than understanding. They involve the use of nerves and muscles. Just because a person can read and understand music, for instance, doesn’t mean that the person can play the piano or any other instrument. It is the same with the skills of reading, math and writing. Practice is necessary to become proficient.

As I have taught GED classes through the years, I have found that many students test higher in applied math than the actual computation. I tell them that I suspect they sat in class, listened to the teacher explain how to do problems, and then said, “I don’t have to do my homework. I understand that.” They usually look at me rather sheepishly and say, “You got that right. How did you know?” Such students indicate that they have the ability to understand but did not practice problems enough to be able to do them satisfactorily.

Some children do well in early grades and don’t do homework, then find out later on that some subjects, such as algebra, require constant homework. Unfortunately, since they didn’t do homework early on, they haven’t really learned good study habits and self-discipline to buckle down and do what they need to do. It is important to have a set time even in the lower grades to make homework a habit. If homework is not assigned, the parents need to come up with things the children can do to add to what they are learning in school. For instance, if the children are learning about conservation, they might require them to look at or read something from the Missouri Conservation magazine. They can check the library for more information or take a walk with dad to see examples of good and bad conservation.

Some may think that their children don’t need to do any homework since they finish quickly at school. We should never let our children think that they are smarter than others and that they don’t need to learn more. There is always plenty more to be learned about every subject. Parents are teachers, too, and parents need to help children develop a curiosity for learning by making suggestions or finding projects for the children to do to enrich what they have already learned.We learn a great deal about our children as they do homeworkPerhaps we learn even more than any report card can show. We can assess how the child reasons, the interests of the child, and become closer to the child. Homework can be a wonderful together time and learning time for both parents and children.