No Homework for South Coast Montessori
Five Reasons Why Taking Schoolwork Home Isn’t Perfect for Children
With an emphasis on personalized learning for each child, South Coast Montessori will expand its elementary program starting in fall 2022. Until then, parents — and their kids — can continue to expect one-on-one and small-group instructional settings, along with equal importance placed on emotional learning as academic excellence.
To a parent, that all sounds great. But there’s something else, too. Many parents can attest to weighty homework loads cutting into a kid’s home life and afterschool sports and free time.
At South Coast Montessori, they understand. For details, we called on Mishelle Ordosgoitia, the school’s lead elementary guide, to walk us through five reasons why homework is terrible for children.
1) It’s stressful! “Children are in school almost all day,” Ordosgoitia explains. “Academics should be happening in school, and children need to be allowed to have a balanced life with lots of activities or down time outside of school. Research has shown there is no real benefit in assigning homework. So much more learning could be happening — learning how to be a good human being, a good brother, a good friend, [plus] age-appropriate expectations and responsibilities at home, [such as] setting up the table, baking, anything that brings joy to your children and also allows them to feel like a contributing and essential member of the family.
2) Homework has a negative impact on outdoor activities. “Children should be spending as much time as possible outdoors. Going for a walk, riding a scooter, going to the park or beach. We live in a region that allows us to spend most of our year enjoying the outdoors. Children should have at least three hours of outdoor time each day. In our Montessori classrooms, we have seamless indoor/outdoor activities. [They can be] done inside, or the children have the option to work outside in fresh air. “
3) It takes away from family time. “Children should be spending time out of school with their family and friends and be involved in daily aspects of family life. Grocery shopping, running errands, reading books, drawing, cooking, laughing. School requires a certain behavior and expectation, and they spend lots of time joyfully learning different subjects and most importantly developing a love for learning. Reading books every night is the only assignment I give as a teacher, and it’s with the intention to develop a love for reading. Homework does not support parenting; [it’s asking] parents to teach concepts that should be being taught at school by a trained teacher. There is so much parents can do to teach other very important life skills that have nothing to do with academics”.
4) Homework limits time to pursue interests outside academics. “As parents, one of our most important jobs is to be observant and support our children’s passions and interests. What makes their eyes sparkle with curiosity? Is it horseback riding, dancing, jujitsu, art, studying a second language, baseball, or soccer? The list goes on. Find what your child loves and is moved by and unconditionally support them in their endeavors.”
5) It negatively impacts free time. “I strongly encourage parents to purposefully schedule free time. Time where there are no set commitments or anything that absolutely needs to happen. In this time in society, it is so easy to get caught up in the ‘busy’ world and drag our children with us. Children need downtime and time to be bored so creativity can spark.”
In closing, Ordosgoitia reminds us: “They are only children once. Children need to be children, not little adults.”
7421 Mirano Dr., Goleta; (805) 845-6555; southcoastmontessori.org