Is there really no homework at Montessori East? Last week we gave a workshop for parents on ideas for what kind of ‘home-work’ is appropriate for children. Our Top 3 Homework Myths is a good place to start when considering if homework is beneficial for children.
Myth 1: School is where learning happens
At school children learn but they also spend time socialising and doing physical activity. The same continues after school, with the addition of vital rest and sleep. Children need plenty of rest time and the opportunity to learn through free time. It’s during unstructured time that the creative brain kicks in and develops the child’s creative thinking.
Myth 2: The more hours of formal learning, the higher the achievement.
Working a ‘second shift’ after the school day can be counter productive and turn children off learning. Just like us, they’re tired at the end of the day so their ability to focus decreases dramatically. In adult speak, productivity goes way down. Recent data released by the OECD shows that Australian children spend more hours at formal school than any other OECD country, yet test result data does not reflect a stronger academic performance.
Myth 3: Home should be like a Montessori Classroom
School is school and home is home. The classroom is carefully prepared by highly trained teachers to entice and support learning during school hours. There are many wonderful things parents can do at home that compliment the Montessori approach without having to set up Montessori materials in the lounge room or bedroom.
Supporting Primary School Children
As children progress through primary school, here are a few other simple things you can do to nurture learning at home;
- Follow their interests. Support them with reading, craft, encouragement.
- Inspire their interests, eg. foster music by going to see an orchestra play
- Routines - set up a daily routines to incorporate things like reading and chores.
- Family meetings - use to review upcoming events for the week, or family discussions.
- Typing practice will help proficiency for high school.
- Some things like times tables need practice, so find fun ways to revise without pressure, eg. in the car but keep it short.
Recommendations if you’d like to read more about these topics
The Homework Myth – Alfie Kohn
The Case Against Homework – Sarah Bennet and Nancy Kalish
Read Aloud 10 Commandments—Mem Fox
The Read Aloud Handbook - Jim Trelease
Handout — For more detailed ideas see our Homework Guide, or via the website www.montessori.nsw.edu.au/Parents/ResourcesBooks