More and more, parents tell me that their children never get homework.

When there is homework, it is often a battleground.  Refrains such as, “It’s stupid,”  “I hate it,”  “It’s not fun,” and variations on these themes occur across the country starting in the afternoon, continuing through until about 8:00 at night.

Of course, there are the dutiful soldiers who don’t complain (rarely the boys), getting started on their own, completing the assignment (putting a check next to the completed task in their assignment book) and even putting it  back in their backpack so it can be found the next day in school.

I never have known whether homework has legitimate value as a learning tool for reinforcing or broadening skills. However beyond the potential reinforcement of skills, I do think homework has symbolic value.

Without stating it directly to children, the symbolic value can be summed up quite simply.   It goes something like this:

In order to be a functioning member of society you need to learn a few things, like getting out of bed and showing up on time.  As adults you will probably have deadlines for different tasks doing this thing we call a ‘job’ and it is in your interest to meet the deadlines.  Just going on YouTube, TikTok or playing video games for hours on end is not going to cut it.”

If kids are given a message like this directly it would likely  be tuned out, with the child staring into the attention-deficit ether, not hearing a word of it.

Homework conveys this message indirectly, starting in first grade continuing through high school and even into college.

With the current trend that homework has no value and is seen as purposeless, how will this message be delivered?

Probably not through TikTok or Fortnite.

Feel free to make comment below. 

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