Soul to soul, we are renewed and healed. This is the spiritual work of home.
I am not an educator in the public schools. I have not studied whether homework actually improves the performance of children in test scores. I am not writing this because I have any data about the effectiveness of homework. What I am educated in, is the spiritual lives of children and families. In fact I have studied this for the past 30 years and, from this knowledge base, I would like to propose that homework needs to be eliminated.
Why should we eliminate homework? Because eliminating it would strengthen the spiritual resiliency of children and families. We all know that children need time with their parents and parents need time with their children. Families need time to talk, time to play, time to snuggle, time to read books together, and time to heal from the hardships of the outside world. We enter our family sanctuary and, in that emotional and spiritual safety, we remember who we are. No matter how hard the day was, we remember in our home safe space that we are precious, that we matter, that we are loved and that we are strong, delightful and talented.
The reality for most families today is that they have about two hours a day, once school and work end, to be together. And that precious time, where they should be together in a relaxed atmosphere of love, acceptance and joy and where, in this family time together, their “cups are refilled for the next day,” is filled with homework assignments.
At best, homework time prevents intimate conversations and, at worst, it leads to arguments, tears and anger. Time that should be spent bonding, sharing and engaging eye-to-eye, turns into looking at a computer screen and completing math problems or staring at a book and filling in the correct answers. Meal and bath times are condensed into a hurried rush. There is not time to take a walk or play outside after dinner. And forget quiet times of reflection and prayer!
The bottom line is this: the majority of children spend six to eight hours a day learning compared to about two hours a day with their parents. When they and their parents get home, they need to relax and enjoy each other. We need to do all we can to give them at least two hours a day bonding, healing and refilling their cups with joy and love.
While I am aware that homework is not the only thing cutting into evening family time, eliminating daily homework would at least be a starting point to allow space for families to “be” together. –Be still and know that I am God.