In Favor of DepEd's 'No Weekend Homework' Policy

The Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) recently issued a memorandum that bans public elementary school teachers from giving their students homework on weekends. The move was of course, criticized by some, teacher's groups in particular, but I as a parent can't help but feel thankful for it. My daughter is studying in a private school so technically, they are not covered. But I am grateful simply because I believe it is a wise move. Keep on reading to find out why.

“No homework/assignments shall be given during weekends for pupils to enjoy their childhood and spend quality time with their parents without being burdened by the thought of doing lots of homework,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in his memo.

The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) is one of the first to criticize the ban, saying that homework is not meant to "burden" the children and that teachers are capable of deciding on the amount of homework as they deem reasonable. TDC president Benjo Basas further added that homework teaches self-discipline, self-learning, and time management.

Well, I understand what Mr. Basas was trying to point out but I was also a student for many years and am fully aware how stressful student life can be. Our daughter is in Grade 1 and she spends seven hours a day in school. Seven hours. Long ago when I was in the same grade, our classes took up only half a day (five hours, more or less). I suppose one reason why today's class hours are much longer is due to additional subjects in the curriculum on top of the basics: English, Math, Science, Filipino, and Sibika.

Anyway, going back, I mentioned in a previous blog entry how our daughter barely has time left to rest when she gets home from school everyday. I get frustrated when we do her assignments together and it turns out that she doesn't have an idea about the assigned topic at all - which means extra work for both of us. (For the life of me, I can't see the logic behind giving homework BEFORE a lesson is discussed in class. It's elementary school, not the university!) I'm stressed, she's stressed, and we retire to bed in not so pleasant moods to wake up early again the next day.

For this reason – that weekdays are stressful enough for her already – I would not want to deprive my daughter the joy of playing, just being carefree, and doing things she enjoy on weekends. So I thank Mr. Luistro and all the proponents of this order because at least, someone understands my demise – the demise of many other mothers like me. May you come up with more brilliant ideas such as this. (Now if only private schools would follow suit…) 

The policy is being put to the test over the next six months. Basas and his group predict it will likely affect the performance of the schoolchildren. I am no child psychologist, but I personally believe that allowing a child's brain to rest and refresh itself during the weekend makes him readier to tackle new lessons in the coming week. And last time I checked, the memorandum did not say anything about not allowing children to browse their books and review their lessons as they please on weekends, right?

They can still do that, study on weekends, with their parents even – but now, minus the pressure to getting all the answers right, or meet project deadlines, or finish everything just in time for Monday. I also think it's highly likely they will be looking forward much more to their classes if they are allowed to just rest and do whatever family activity they have on weekends. Leisure studying, I call it. Why not, right? 


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