Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One school's homework policy

I came across this article, written by a school psychologist from a school district that appears to have a better than average homework policy. It provides options for parents whose children are having difficulties with their homework and those options include creating time-based requirements, a concept I have frequently advocated. I am curious about two concepts in this policy. It talks about accommodations and modifications that parents can ask for. It highlights that these provisions can be enacted for children with special needs. It's not clear if we are talking about kids with formally documented special needs or special needs as they have been identified by the parent. As the readers of this blog know, I have concerns about the under-the-radar learning problems, difficulties with working memory and processing speed, that may not reach the level of a true learning disability but are, nevertheless, significant when it comes to homework completion.

There is one other line which makes me cringe, and that is where the policy states that "It’s your job as a parent ..." I have some problem with the notion of schools defining for parents their jobs. I think the parents' primary job is to raise their children the best they can. It is certainly their job, and their legal responsibility, to send their children to school. Most parents will accept as their jobs the need to guide and support the child in the various components of their lives. But the notion of an external entity, the school, defining a parents' responsibilities, is riling. I also think that, although the tone of this article gives parents more options, and the right to choose between options, than I've seem elsewhere, I am concerned that the policy has not more forcefully addressed the notion that schools have a way of vesting "authority" over the home in the school and "responsibility" over the child's behavior with the parent. I think schools need to understand and operate on the notion that kids need parents to have high levels of authority in addition to the great responsibilities they take on in having kids.

For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. 

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