Home News Beware the effect of homework on children, experts caution

Beware the effect of homework on children, experts caution

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By Otii Esse

TUE, SEPT 18 2018-theG&BJournal-Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, CEO of Edumark Consult in conjunction with Concerned Parents and Educators Network (CPEN) says, extra assignments given to children, particularly younger school going children, can lead to unhealthy levels of stress.

She said this at an event in Lagos on Monday 17 September, 2018. According to her, if the children are bombarded with countless lessons at school and at home, they may feel stress and anxiety, should they fail to complete the assignment on time.

“Students need to learn in a classroom setting, but they should also be able to spend some time exploring other things outside of the classroom”

Farida Ladio-Ajayi, a mother of two children under the age of five, was one parent who complains of too much homework for her son who just turned two.

“He gets homework every day. Sometimes it is fair but most times it is difficult because of his attention span and how much it takes him to do the homework,

“I have mentioned to his teachers that his homework is too much, but they said they want him to be challenged.”

Another angry parent, Mrs. Ogolodom Mary, calls out teachers in private schools and accused them of shifting the responsibility of teachers to parents, by way of giving them too much homework.

She said it become clear to many parents that the task of teaching their children has been shifted to them despite the huge fees they keep doling out to private schools. She said, “children come home with homework that requires over 6 hours to complete and the children are usually clueless about the topic.

“Clearly some of these topics were never introduced in class and the burden of breaking in the topic is shifted to the parents.

“In some cases a topic is given a very brief introduction in class then a slew of tasks is bundled as assignments and becomes the ugh responsibility to ground the child in the subject.”

Swadchet Sankey, education specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, says children under five do not necessarily need homework.

“At this stage, it should be about early stimulation and learning through play. They can however be given tasks such as gathering items for play from home, homework that involves play and stimulation activities with parents. These should be tasks that allow for more play and engagement with caregivers. Homework only becomes important when children move from preschool to primary school,’’ Sankey says.

However, Mrs. Bennie Ojo says, “It is generally accepted that when children transit to primary school, homework becomes very important, especially activities that reinforce learning and encourage critical thinking and creativity.

“At this level, homework can reinforce learning, build self confidence and encourage the spirit of research, exploration and creativity”.

She said “homework can provide the opportunities for critical thinking; and can serve as a means of increasing parent/caregiver interaction and involvement in their children’s learning”.

Mrs. Ogunde said, with all the activities in school, students, particularly those in the kindergarten and primary school, are already weary when they get home.

They have spent the day solving difficult math problems, reading several chapters and memorizing long lines in school. Bombarding them with homework will make them feel burnt out.

According to her, Rather than improving educational achievement, heavy homework load can negatively affect the performance of the student. The stress of having to complete homework every other night can affect the student’s performance is school.

Sankey added, if homework is too long or inappropriate, “it can result in disadvantages, such as making children over-burdened or too tired; homework that is too focused on rote learning can be discouraging.”

There are benefits of doing homework, but research shows that these benefits do not begin to occur till later years of schooling.