August 29, 2016
As homework fades from fashion, should the church also find ways to prioritize sanctuary over spiritually fruitless busywork?
AMEN and AMEN! As a teacher I completely agree. Additionally my daughters spent much of their childhood at church while their father and I took care of things that could have been done by others, if they needed doing at all. We need to create more time for young families to grow together. Well said Johnathan.
I disagree. Jesus believed in hard work. He himself was a carpenter and a teacher. It's nice to think kids will spend more time with the parents, but we all know our society commands both to work.
Homework is also essential to learning. We as humans only retain 30% of anything we hear. Kids need to review later that day what they heard and then practice. This is how learning takes place. To take away homework is also to negate shirt and long term memory. Jesus absolute wants unity in the family, but not at the risk of sacrificing intelligence.
Children are also able to learn concepts better at young ages. Later in life the brain is unable to learn as fast.
Another way to think about this is how the church ask folks to be active. A number of years ago, my church looked at the difference between strategizing and doing. We had people who loved doing a task (fixing something that was broken or a group of women who claimed the kitchen as their domain), but hated sitting around in committee meetings. On the other hand there were this who loved committee work thinking creatively and solving problems. Matching this folks to their likes and talents made the work part of running the church better and didn't burn people out and make church a chore. People were freer to engage in worship and biblical study. This takes knowing your membership.
As a pastor, licensed public school teacher, and former principal... I have strong feelings about this. Homework can and should be... first and foremost... done well. I have seen too many lazy teachers and I've seen too much busywork passed off as homework (not to mention the homework that never gets "graded"). Besides... telling your students to enjoy family time, exercise, and read for enjoyment IS homework. We know these activities contribute to every child's physical, mental, emotional, and social health... thus contributing to the learning process.
In Reply to Athornia Steele (comment #28961)
Yes! Matching work assignments to gifts--using the work they do to help cultivate a passion of theirs and help them FEEL useful--that's part of what I think the church is supposed to do for its members, because that's the Body of Christ working with "anatomical efficiency." (That is, an eye doing what it does best...a foot what it does best...and even a toenail what it does best.)a
Thanks for elaborating. I couldn't agree more.
In Reply to Ken (comment #28962)
You're absolutely right...and I'm so glad that facet of this story--that this teacher's request that families spend time together--is a form of homework. It's essentially a respectful way of calling out parents who, in the midst of their OWN busyness and chores, so easily forget the formative role our deliberate time with our children in the evenings really plays in their development, and to treat it with the same kind of sincerity that we would devote to helping our kids with their homework.
Thanks for sharing, Ken.
In Reply to He Brews (comment #28959)
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Your points are shared by many, but lest it sound like I'm anti-homework, let me be clear that the research does reveal the very tangible benefits for late middle-school and high-school level students. So a "no homework" policy aimed at elementary age students (fifth grade and below) would be unwise for high school students.
To extend the metaphor to the church, I think there's a level of discernment that comes in here, too. More "mature" Christians are probably capable of being assertive about their workloads and receiving feedback from their pastors and such when they seem on the verge of burnout. Spiritually "younger" Christians and those who have unusually high needs to "be served" at this point in their faith walks may need the "elementary age" treatment that privileges play more for them than their peers.
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