Encouraging Homework in Sixth Grade

Tuesday, 10 January, 2023 - 7:45 pm


January 10, 17 Teves, 5783

Dear Sixth Grade Parent,

This letter is intended to inspire parents to encourage students to do homework.

In the development of children, there are age-specific stages. The uniqueness of the sixth-grade year is its combination of independence, intellectual growth, and free time.

To expand on this point, the logical skills of boys ages 11-12 develop greatly, their daily interactions begin to be experienced with elevated levels of emotional and psychological interpretation. In addition, individual identities begin to assert themselves.

The interests of our students at this stage of their life often informs their future. For many of our students, next year will be filled with bar mitzva preparation. The impact of the bar mitzva preparation remains for many weeks after the bar mitzva when they feel they need a break after the intense preparation. Once the pressures of bar mitzva preparation are over, they may reflect back on the interests of the sixth-grade year.

Many of our children's life-long interests are shaped during this year.  Learning should be a key interest and part of their identity. Your help is crucial in cultivating this interest. You should do everything you can to have your child learn at home. 

Learning at home can be defined as even a few minutes spent learning. Any area of Torah, in any language with or without a partner, over the phone, or listening to a shiur are all great ways to engage him in learning.  

The cheder asks you to make sure that your children spend a few minutes doing homework and effectively bringing Torah-learning into their lives, as the Torah is our life. כי הם חיינו.

Excuses to avoid learning at home after “a whole day of learning” should be dispensed. Find out just how much of the day was actually spent learning. 

Advocate for your child to integrate their personal life with their Torah life, the Cheder, and home. Help your child overcome the yetser horo of keeping learning out of his life when it is up to him. 

We cannot make decisions for what happens in your home. We can and do reward learning at home, and ask you to help get him there. 

Wishing you much hatzlocho in continuing to reach your child,

Rabbi Kaplan

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