As a parent, one of your ultimate responsibilities is to ensure that your student has an appropriate education to prepare them for adult life and teach them how to interact with the world. For some, the best route to that education is through a traditional public or private school. In some circumstances, however, you may elect to homeschool.
If you’re a Christian parent considering Christian homeschooling, you probably have a myriad of questions.
One important question you may also have is this: What do I do about homework if we homeschool?
Homework is a hallmark of most education. It is typically believed that homework is a useful opportunity for students to get more practice with a certain skill or to prepare for the next day’s class. But if your students are always at home, isn’t all the work completed essentially “homework”?
Here is what you should know.
The necessity of homework in a traditional school arises largely from the fact that, in a big classroom, a single teacher cannot provide help to all students at all times. Sometimes, homework is used as a helpful gauge to determine which students have gathered the requisite knowledge for each unit and which will require additional help. Homework can help measure these things.
In a homeschool setting, teaching is usually conducted at a 1:1 student to teacher ratio. Or even if your homeschool family has multiple children, it is much less than the typical 1:25 student-teacher ratio in many traditional schools.
In this case, you are uniquely qualified to evaluate your student’s mastery over a given skill. Without an enforced curriculum guide or timeline, you can move quickly through certain subjects and spend more time on others at the pace necessary for your student. It is very likely that the initial work conducted during instructional time is measurement enough to demonstrate what your student knows and homework could be an unnecessary task taking time from other activities.
Homework is also assigned for the sake of continued practice with a set of skills, for both review and/or reinforcement. In a homeschool setting, there are still ways to reinforce the day’s lesson, some of which are unique to the homeschooling process.
Because homeschool families do not necessarily have to follow a prescribed schedule, there are numerous opportunities to take your students’ learning outside of “the classroom”.
Students can travel to a local museum to learn about your state’s history or go to a nearby zoo to learn from the experts about biology. Providing these real-world experiences can reinforce the material your child is studying in a textbook. It also provides added opportunities for your child to socialize, ask questions, and exercise their imagination. In this sense, reinforcing the content to your students will not be found in traditional “homework”, so extra worksheets and papers are probably unnecessary.
It is important that students get the opportunity to practice their new skills without the assistance of a teacher. In many cases, homework is assigned as an opportunity for students to work through problems and answer questions on their own and express their independence.
In this case, homework can be a meaningful practice, if implemented well. Depending on the homeschooling resources you use, there are different types of curriculum that provide additional worksheets and workbooks with concrete ways to facilitate additional practice of necessary skills.
Sometimes, your student doesn’t need you to re-explain how to perform a certain skill, they simply need more opportunities to practice it. For example, if your student struggles with their multiplication tables, the best way for them to memorize may be to simply practice over and over again. In this case, a workbook with a number of activities to practice this skill may be the most efficient use of your student’s time.
When your students are homeschooled, not bearing the additional burden of extra work after “school hours” can be of tremendous benefit to your child. This may afford them more time for social interaction, extra-curricular activities, and family time – things that seem to be in short supply in the go-go-go lives we often lead.
When Christian families choose homeschooling, each family has the opportunity to carefully tailor their child’s learning to the child’s specific needs. Homework, in this sense, is not an excuse to assign busy work or a means to achieving a passing grade. If your student does need extra practice, this “homework” is really just a necessary extension of the work that you’re already doing in your lessons to ensure that your student achieve sufficient mastery over each subject.
If you are a Christian family considering homeschooling, or you’re looking for more resources to add to your current teachings, Minno has a variety of media for child development, Christian homeschooling, and Christian parenting. Check out Minno’s catalogue of positive media to enrich your homeschool experience!