I had an I.E.P. meeting today. The purpose was to review some outside testing. Generally, the testing affirmed what the team already knew. This kiddo had made tremendous progress in a handful of years. While there was some work still to be done, and there were some definite social challenges to consider, this student was on the right track.
Toward the end of the meeting, the conversation turned to homework. The parent shared that their family life had improved dramatically this year due to the fact that I do not assign homework. She shared what the experience had looked like last year. They were always at odds with their child. There was crying and frustration and stress. The student's self esteem was always a concern. This year, the family was opting to do other things with their after school time instead of homework. They have started a tradition of playing boardgames together. They love Yahtzee. The family also makes nightly reading a priority. Prior to this year, the reading was often passed over because, by the time the child finished the homework, there was no energy or time for reading.
I am a little concerned about last year's class. I worry about whether they'll be able to adapt to the demands of fifth grade. I wonder if they'll have the organizational skills, work ethic, stamina, etc. to keep up with the homework expectations.. I worry that I may have done them an injustice. While the short term benefits are great, I hope that I didn't set my students up for an even greater amount of stress because they didn't have homework in fourth grade.