I have yet to figure out how “homework” fits into “homeschool.”
First of all, if you want to be technical, all of our work is homework, as it is all done at home. I know, it’s not the same…and yet, it sounds kind of silly to label something else homework, when we’re always doing homework.
I also haven’t figured out if I *should* be assigning extra work just to assign it, and if so, at what grade level (because it sure hasn’t happened yet!). One of the reasons we homeschool is to cut down on unnecessary busy work, and I view a lot of homework, particularly in early elementary school, as just that. I know that practice and repetition are important, but then there’s overkill, and I don’t want my children to come to dread school because of redundancy.
It’s also not like they ever have unfinished work that needs to be taken home and completed, either…if they haven’t finished something, we just wait to move on until it’s done. Of course, in the event of someone (and by someone, I mean Bunny), being stubborn about completing his or her work, I will occasionally just tell that student that the work will be completed after school is done, when the other student is having playtime. But that’s really a wilfulness issue, not an “inability to complete something during classroom time because of the large number of students requiring direction” issue.
Now, in the case of them struggling with a concept, I suppose I have technically given them “homework,” but even then, it’s still almost always done during school time. An extra math worksheet until they’ve mastered a new skill is the most obvious example. I have very rarely had them work on something after the school day was over, but again, that’s usually related to a struggle of the wills, in which they tell me they “can’t” do something so often that I finally tell them that they’ll have to spend free time working on it until they feel that they can.
It doesn’t usually take them too long.
I have also been know to have them do extra writing, to work on their creative writing skills, but they have no idea that they’re doing it for school–they just think I want them to write me stories. They don’t realize that they’re working on brainstorming ideas, character developement, plot creation, etc. Does it really count as homework if they don’t know that that’s what it is?
Anyway, I do know that at this point, their evenings are school-free. We have no reason to work on school work after our school day is done, and I see that pattern continuing for quite a while. Even when they need to start doing research and writing more complex papers, I have a feeling that a lot of that will be accomplished during the hours that most people consider a normal school day, because with such a small class, it’s inevitable that our school day will always be shorter than that of their public (or private) school counterparts.