Sir, – Every now and then the issue of school homework raises its head, and most recently a news programme for children featured President Michael D Higgins saying schoolwork should finish at school, allowing young people to engage in more creative pursuits when home.
An evening ritual of stress at the kitchen table is an argument presented against homework, with a second education shift in the day, causing pain rather than gain for some young people. The day may be nearing when the schoolbag is thrown aside when the young person arrives home, its use consigned to carrying a lunch, not even needed if the school has a canteen.
Within the family home, conversational interaction has lessened over time with the advent of TV and computer games. Doing homework connects parents and guardians in the home with their children and dialogue in the home could diminish further in its absence. By providing appropriate avenues for discussion and interchange of ideas, doing homework provides parents with the opportunity to give advice and approaches on how their children can live a healthy life.
The existing thread of communication connecting home, child and school through assessment and feedback by way of homework could default to the annual parent-teacher meeting, possibly too late for supportive interventions if needed. Learning away from the hustle and bustle of the classroom allows the young person time to think, read and practise skills at their own pace, consolidating learning encountered at school.
By accurately pitching the amount of homework, enough time for leisure will be assured and time for involvement in creative pursuits for those lucky enough to afford and avail of same. – Yours, etc,