Homework: Tulsa Families Sound Off On The Subject

Thursday, April 14th 2016, 5:05 pm
By: News On 6

Many parents are resigned to the idea that homework is just part of learning and succeeding in school, but what if your child's homework is actually counterproductive?

That's one of the arguments being made in the great homework debate.

Frania Corniel's living room is now set up as a classroom.

She started homeschooling her sons and niece after Olivia came home from kindergarten, piled with homework.

"Every day she had to do reading, phonics, writing, word math," Corniel said.

"It was very hard and I didn't like to do homework," said Olivia.

In Tulsa, Janet Hasegawa knows the feeling. "The norm at the school was to give a lot of homework."

Janet holds a PhD in child psychology, but found herself struggling along with her daughter when it came to homework.  

Cora's learning style didn't fit with the classroom, and what the teacher considered a "normal" amount of homework, became a tremendous burden.

"She would come home, take a very brief break, do homework, have dinner, do more homework and go to bed," Hasegawa said. "I feel in many ways it kind of cost her her childhood."

The irony of it is, many studies show all that suffering and all those tears at dining room tables across the land isn't even worth it.

In fact, studies show that for younger children homework can even be counterproductive. Instead of teaching math and reading skills, it can kill a child's love for learning and place a tremendous amount of stress on the entire family.

"Homework is a doubled-edged sword. It really is," said teacher Megan Elliott.

 Before Megan Elliott took on counseling duties at Sand Spring's Northwoods Fine Arts Academy, she spent 16 years in the classroom.  

Elliott said, "Little kids especially need to be playing. They need to be eating dinner with their families. They need to be moving."

But Elliott says teachers are finding it harder and harder not to send extra work home... because of government mandates on what children should learn and when.

"The school day doesn't allow for us to teach all of the things we have to teach," Elliott said.

Still, Elliott says that parents who find their child and themselves overwhelmed,  should talk to their teachers.

"Know your kiddo and know, my kid can't sit here for 30 minutes," she said. "We're going to do 15 and then we're going to go play. All the teachers that I know would absolutely be on board with that."

At the Hasegawa household,  long hours are still being spent pouring over homework at the dining room table. Cora is now a successful college student, but 15-year-old Richard is just finishing up his freshman year at Booker T.

"A lot of time in class we spend almost the majority of the time just correcting homework," he said.

And Janet is still not convinced its worth it.

"What is the purpose of it?  What can they get from it? There has to be some kind of balance in your life,' she said.