Last Friday, K– asked, “Why do we have homework?”
“K –,” I said, “Why do you ask? All we do is read.”
“I know. We read more at home, so we can grow. I just want to know why homework exists.”
“What made you think of this?”
“I don’t know.”
Exactly where the best questions come from, I think.
So I give him a super-short version of a topic that too many have said too much about.
“Well…the amount of homework has to do with the amount of academic progress you need to make and the amount of it you can do in the classroom.” I look at him. He’s looking at me. This is a kiddo who usually plays tag all the way into class. What the heck? “Does that make sense?” I ask.
Alrighty. With that, check-in, I continue. “When you are young, you do most of your learning in class. You are asked to read in elementary school because the amount of reading you must do to grow a grade level can’t be done in the time we have in class.”
I check again to see if he is with me. He’s listening as are two of his friends. “As you age, ” I continue, “you can handle more learning on your own, and the amount of learning you must do increases. ”
They are still looking at me. So I continue, building the scenario up to college, where one hour of class time requires three hours of study time. And then I stop.
I look at K– and his friends and ask, “Does that make sense?”
Glad I solved that one.