“The onus will be on workers to structure their time,” said Lynn Karoly, a senior economist with RAND Corp. who has studied the future workforce. From her own kids’ homework experience, Karoly said she’s seen a shift, with teachers giving short and long-term assignments, team projects and verbal presentations. “That’s indicative of the way students are expected to learn and the skills they will need in the workforce.”
Tell that to Debbie Regent, a mother of two girls, 14 and 10, who says homework stress is ruining her life. After a day of work, she arrives home to several hours of homework supervision. “There is a value to reinforcing what you learned that day through homework. There is not value in torturing a kid with five pages of math problems, when they have other classes with homework assignments as well.” Regent, a campaign executive with the Jewish National Fund, asserts that homework, much of which is just busywork, not only keeps kids from needed down time, it burdens parents, too.
Today, most working parents juggle multiple responsibilities at work, home, in the community and even as coaches on the soccer field. I suggested to Regent that our kids will be better prepared for their juggling act. “You could say we’re trying to prepare them for a society where everyone is having heart attacks or is on some kind of drug for stress. If you call the real world a stressful, frustrating place, then I guess there’s a point to be had there.”
Cristy Leon-Rivero, vice president of marketing and human resources at Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy, says that homework teaches responsibility, work ethic and time management — critical skills for workplace success. Today, with laptops and smartphones, few of us truly leave work behind when we exit the office. “I think it boils down to one word — discipline,” said Leon-Rivero, a mother of three. “We’re teaching our children from a young age that they have responsibilities and that their actions carry consequences and hard work will lead to results.”