A Message Worth Repeating: Balance Matters
Typically, homework and academic assignments increase in complexity and frequency as students progress from one grade to the next. Students with a strong work ethic and those who set high expectations for themselves may over-prepare assigned work and spend an inordinate amount of time on assignments that do not require such intense work. Students may have difficulty judging what the scope of the task is and exactly what is required to create a thorough report or finished product. Seeking high-achievement levels in school or elsewhere should not mean the sacrifice of a balanced life of work and play. In fact, a balancing of personal and school commitments promotes opportunities for the well rounded development of an individual. At school and at home, we must try to teach children how to measure the scope of proposed work and what effort is reasonable to expend in order to achieve a satisfactory result. Such skills can be taught directly but experience is also a good teacher. We also try to help students learn to “read between the lines” of assignments and tasks to determine their true scope. By doing so, they can begin to use time-management skills to map out how they will proceed to complete the specific task while maintaining all other things they must do in their busy lives. As teachers, we continue to try and co-ordinate subject tests and assignments within our grade so the children will have a manageable workload and time frame for successful completion. We will continue to try and improve this important communication between staff members. Homework, assignments, projects and spelling tests are important. So is hockey practice, ballet, swimming lessons and free time.