Like it or not, homework is a part of growing up. The problem is some children get hours of it, which can take time away from family and friends–and society.
While it’s important for kids to review notes, practice what they learn and study for exams, it’s just as important for them to build character through learning kindness and empathy. No one can do that when they’re stuck at the kitchen table doing schoolwork for most of the evening.
But one Irish school wanted to fix this dilemma. Last year, the administration decided to assign “acts of kindness” in lieu of homework.
Students at Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty, were given a task of kindness to complete each night for the weeks of December. Mondays were for reaching out to an elderly relative or neighbor. Tuesdays were for helping out at home without being asked. Wednesdays were for random acts of kindness of the student’s choice, and Thursdays were for doing something to take care of their own mental and emotional wellness.
The children kept a Kindness Diary to keep track of their “assignments.” They also participated in the Kindness Bucket where they were encouraged to write positive observations, results and affirmations. Each Friday, a selection of entries from the Kindness Bucket were read aloud.
Finally, each class brainstormed a group project that would benefit their community.
This was the third year for the school’s December kindness project.
Imagine if all schools supported their communities and students like this placing more emphasis on character building.
If children are the future, teach them kindness and charity alongside academics and technical skills.
That’s a future to get excited about!