At Calvert, we often get asked, “Is there homework for homeschoolers?”
It’s a logical and reasonable question.
Many parents are very concerned about homework overload, which has been common in many school systems across the country, and about the general value of homework in relation to academic performance and learning.
Some public school parents have reported that kids as young as elementary school age have more than 1 to 2 hours of homework on some nights. A study done in 2015 and shared in the American Journal of Family Therapy reported that elementary school age children were often given 3 times the amount of homework recommended by National Education Association, and that added homework was causing student and family stress.
In public and private schools, homework is normally assigned as extra work to be done outside of classroom time. Its purpose is to provide additional practice, preparation, and skills development for a student, while also bringing a parent into greater connection with their child’s curriculum.
In large classrooms of 20 or more students, like in many public schools, the teacher is not able to provide as much, if any, one on one instruction. With a fixed lesson plan and schedule, teachers often move from topic to topic regardless if all students are ready to advance or not. In cases where students struggle, the teacher will assign additional work outside of the class, so the class can move onto other lessons.
In a homeschool environment, there is one-on-one learning, so lessons can take as little or as long as necessary. The nature of a smaller classroom size and one on one learning means that less time is wasted, and the focus is on a student learning the subject matter, and not the pressure of a lesson plan, schedule, or the needs of other students. Since everything is handled during the classroom activities, there is no need for extra work outside of the class.
Unlike public school, homeschooling uses more out-of-class / real-world experiences as part of teaching skills and information. Since the focus is on mastery of knowledge and skills, a homeschooler may have their science, math, history or other lessons reinforced with a field trip. A lesson on geometry might include a field trip to an architecture firm. A lesson on electricity might include a trip to a science museum.
Of course, many of our homeschool families integrate learning into many things that they do together as a family. This is done without the idea that added learning is required or somehow a source of frustration or obligation. Including learning into fun activities helps to reinforce the notion that learning takes place constantly, and not just in a classroom. It also helps to generate a much stronger love of learning and new experiences.