Homework Blues

By: Jessica Aldred

I don’t know about you, but after school pick-up, extracurricular activities, dinner prep and baths the last thing I want to do is homework. After being on the go for ten solid hours, my son has no interest either. However, the unavoidable task of homework presents itself at least four nights a week.

We’ve got spelling, reading, math, and writing with the additional added projects. Everything arrives on different days and is due on different days. Oftentimes, it takes a two adult conference to understand exactly what he’s supposed to do. With the new core math standards aside, simply trying to understand what is being asked of him is often a challenge. Teachers claim our kids should take ownership for their homework and listen to the instructions while in class but how many six year old boys are 1. Paying attention by the end of the day and 2. Retaining what was instructed at that point.

We try and spread the work out the best we can throughout the week, doing the heavy portion of it on the nights we don’t have extra activities. It really shouldn’t take all that long, but when you add an exhausted six year old who has been doing similar stuff at school all day, often times it’s like pulling teeth. The poor kid acts like we want to be doing homework, as if we wouldn’t prefer to be playing a game or watching a movie as bed time approaches. We somehow become the homework law and power through to get it done. It might not be the neatest, and it might not be done as his teacher intends, but it’s done and in that backpack ready to go.

papers-262731__180Now this is only first grade. I can only imagine what the more advanced grade levels have to offer, or worse, when multiple kids have all different homework coming in and out on different days. I have no idea how we’ll keep who’s working on what and when everything’s due straight. I’ve heard rumblings of book reports and full dress-up presentations before they even leave elementary school and I’m dreading it!

Who do they think makes those poster boards so neat, prints those perfectly trimmed captions and sews their little costumes? I’ll give you a clue, it’s not the student. Now if I’m up late at night printing pictures and text for my kid to glue on his posters and sewing WW2 era jackets for his presentations, who is learning what? In sending home all this homework after a full day at school and the almost required sports/extra classes, how do they see this homework time going down? Sometimes I feel as though they’re trying to teach us, the parents, a lesson. We’re the ones grunting the bulk of the meltdowns and attitudes as we power through that last math worksheet. We’re the ones budgeting their time so that their projects are done on time or so they get that good grade and don’t slip to the bottom of the class.

I don’t disagree with homework in principle, however I do think there can be too much too soon. Children shouldn’t feel the stress of this excessive amount of work outside of school so soon. They should be able to come home and play with their siblings and relax after a full school day. In our case, this homework situation is discouraging my child from enjoying his elementary school experience. He doesn’t want to go to school because “all he does is work.” If all he’s doing all day is work, then comes home and is expected to do even more work, it’s no wonder he’s got a negative view of school. This is not how I’d like his early educational experience to go, however it’s the unfortunate hand we’ve been dealt.

I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject or how your family handles these homework blues?

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