You hear a lot about love/ hate relationships. Well I’m one mom who, when it comes to homework, has a straight up hate relationship with my child’s homework. Not only do I resent being forced into spending hours every night of my own free time working alongside my child, I also hate seeing my child up until 10pm on a weeknight finishing her work. Why do I have to spend my limited hours with my child arguing or nagging her to do her work? And what about extracurriculars? Some would say that those come second. I argue that participating in extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, made me the well rounded individual I like to think I am. Is it fair to ask a child to give up a sport they are passionate about because they have too much homework? Yet, these are the choices we are often asked to make in regards to our child’s schooling.
Homework in definition is just that; work to be done at home. Reading or studying for a test is logical and necessary, but what about the packets and packets of worksheets that sometimes seem more like busy work? As a former teacher, I have a hard time understanding why my child spends 6+ hours, 5 days a week in a class room (by the way, that’s more than I get her) and yet she still has work to do at home? My intention is certainly not to complain about her teachers. I know without a doubt that they are underpaid and overworked. I just have a hard time understanding why she isn’t getting more done while in the classroom. Is it the disruptions from other classmates? Is it the time spent waiting for others to finish the assignment? What is the reason that we cannot complete our work in classroom time?
My husband and I had this situation hit us right between the eyes with our oldest daughter. She was attending a “college prep” school and in 4th grade was averaging about 3 hours of work a night. Now, keep in mind she was a child that academically struggled, but in talking to other parents I realized that even if it took our daughter a little longer, it was still a very (in our opinion) unreasonable amount for a 9 year old. Think for a minute about when you were in school at 9. Do you have memories of coming home from school and hunkering down for 3 hours doing homework? I certainly did not. I remember going outside and playing with the neighbor kids. I don’t remember any real amount of home work until I was in High School! I don’t think any child should have 3 hours of homework a night no matter if you are college bound at 9 years old or not! No amount of organizing your time is going to allow for a nightly routine of 3 hours of homework. In addition, that work which is being done after a full day’s work is not going to be their best work or retained for the future.
Our daughter was suffering, our family was suffering. Life was just not fun for any of us any more. Every day we struggled to keep up and we got to the point of sinking. What frightened me the most was when I found out she was having trouble sleeping because of anxiety over her work. She was getting up unbeknownst to us and completing her work in the middle of the night. Not only that, but another physical symptom of stress was her hair would not grow – what did grow, she was pulling out. When we approached the school about this situation, we were told to have her tested for disabilities. She certainly may have disabilities, but 3 hours of work at home after working already all day would give me a disability also!
I have come to believe that the majority of home work assigned is not necessary. It’s not necessary to get my child into college and it’s not necessary to make my child a successful adult. What I do think is that homework is making many of our young children stressed out, depressed, and very unhappy individuals.
So, I am here to say, as a mother… enough homework already!