Children would be “a lot happier, rested and enthusiastic about learning” if a homework ban comes in, according to one expert.
This comes after President Michael D Higgins recently said he believes homework should be done in school, allowing children to spend more time pursuing creative activities.
Comedian Jarlath Regan and his wife Tina, who has 20 years of experience working in child behaviour, have a podcast together called Honey You’re Ruining Our Kid.
The couple say they’re against an abundance of homework in primary schools.
“We’re always talking about not bringing our work home, about rest and recovery for ourselves as grown-ups. I’m not sure we’re extending that level of thought on this subject to kids,” Jarlath said.
“There are very few things in our working life where we go and finish it at home, instead they give you a deadline. Something like that would help kids to spread out the work or get it done early.”
Tina added: “It gives you space to explore your personality. If you want to get it out of the way, you can do that or you can leave it for another time as well.
“There are tantrums in every house, every night and it has to do with homework. It’s not that the children are not able to do homework, they’re tired and there’s pressure because it must be in the next day.
“Even though kids are well able, it’s just the stress of it. Regarding their backs too, not having to bring a school bag home full of homework every night is also amazing,” she added.
Jarlath and Tina spent some time living in England, and when they came back to Ireland with their son, they both realised how different the school systems are.
“We’ve moved home from England and the school our son was in didn’t do homework the way it was done here,” Jarlath said.
“Over there, they were assigned homework on a Friday, and it had to be handed in by Tuesday.
“What it did was, it meant the kids were a lot happier, more rested, and more enthusiastic about learning.
“There wasn’t this acrimony and antagonism between you and your kid each and every evening.”
Tina added: “We miss seeing our son as often as we used to. His evenings were so available to him, but now, the homework must be done by the next day.”
The couple believe homework is unfair when children already have so much on their plates.
“Homework is producing tantrums and exhaustion. When homework gets sent home, it does throw a microscope on the issues that might be at home,” Jarlath said.
“Sometimes that’s not fair, kids who have parents that work extra jobs, they don’t have the help. Kids who have parents to help them with the homework are now advancing further in school.
“It’s an archaic practice if I’m being honest. There’s a lack of trust in the child, a lack of belief they’ll do anything other than cause trouble if they’ve an evening to themselves.
“Some people think if you have homework the kids are just going to go on screens. But we didn’t see that in England.
“This gives the kids space to read books, explore and create their own projects like art and history.
“Michael D Higgins has said it too, but schools can do it on a trial basis, they don’t need the Minister for Education to say it.
“If schools are willing to give it a try, they don’t need Leo Varadkar to sign off on it, give it a go and see what happens. My money is on kids and parents being a lot calmer.”
Tina added: “It’s not anti-homework, it’s anti-homework every day. They should get it once a week to consolidate their learning, but I don’t think it should be every night. The few days to do it takes the pressure off kids.”
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