Living Sky School Division promotes home life over homework

By Katherine Svenkeson
January 11, 2017 - 3:16pm

Some parents might believe that their kids are receiving too little homework to prepare them for life after high school, but a superintendent with the Living Sky School Division (LSSD) believes that less means more.

With exam season on the horizon, a survey on meadowlakeNOW asked parents what their stance on homework was. Out of 41 votes, a majority said that their kids receive too little, and an equal number said they either receive too much or the right amount.

Jim Shevchuk, superintendent of curriculum instruction with the LSSD, said that homework isn’t everything, and less time spent on homework means more time spent with family.

Shevchuk said that homework is a tricky subject and the amount a student receives, he said, depends on grade, school, teacher and region, making it impossible regulate, in some cases for good reason.

“We view homework as a strategy. For some folks, they should be spending a little bit more time because we value practices. I think practice is key for certain things, especially for some of our younger students,” Shevchuk said. “I think if you’re in Grade 12 and you’re preparing for exams, half an hour a day is probably not a lot to be asking. If you’re doing half an hour every day in Grade 1, that’s probably too much to ask.”

While he said that homework has its place in academics, it shouldn’t take precedent over family life.

“Sometimes, and as a 25-year educator you might be surprised to hear me say this, the assignment isn‘t more important than going skating with your kids or reading with your kids or going out and looking at Christmas lights,” he said. “If we can somehow spur some positive things as homework being one of the strategies, we’d really like that. If we can reinforce what they’re doing at home that’s great, too. But if they have to learn new stuff or if they’re getting copious hours and they have to quit ballet class or swimming lessons, then it’s too much.”

He addressed how little time some parents spend with their children, and how homework can be an added factor to that unsavoury reality.

“I think there’s been a case against homework and I think there’s several myths and several valid concerns out there but the fact of the matter is most of the studies are telling us that kids under 14 barely spend 10 to 15 minutes a day with their parents every day,” he said. “I don’t think you can ever go wrong with spending too much time with your kids, but I recognize that [homework] overburdens some families and it really disrupts family life and I think balance is the key and really most important,

“We recognize that we’re not here to disrupt family life, but a little bit of homework at home doesn’t hurt anyone.”

 

Katherine Svenkeson is a battlefordsNOW reporter. She can be reached at katherine.svenkeson@jpbg.ca or on Twitter @ksvenkeson

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