Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homework Woes

*Rant Alert, don't say I didn't warn you.

I hate homework. I mean I really hate it. As a kid I hated it, in fact I often refused to do it. As a teacher I hated assigning homework, I did because district policy required it, but I didn't like it, and refused to count it as anything more than a completion grade. As a parent my relationship with homework has hit a whole new low. Homework is public enemy number one in the Cyberbones household causing daily battles and disrupting the family peace.

As a former student, former teacher, and current parent of school aged kiddos I am familiar with all the reasons for assigning homework. It (supposedly) reinforces the skills covered during the day. It (is supposed to) promote responsibility. It (theoretically) teaches study skills and time management. And it is often one of the only ways that parents know what the kids are learning at school.

Now I don't know about you, but except for when I was a teacher, I simply didn't work on work outside of the work place. Work was for work, home was for family, chores, hobbies, romance, love and laughter, food and fun, but it wasn't for work. I say except as a teacher because the dirty little secret of teaching is that for every assignment you give to your students you have assigned the grading of that work to yourself, as homework, multiplied by the number students you assigned the work to. If you LOVE homework teaching may be the gig for you. If we as adults generally aren't willing to spend our leisure time on work, why do we expect kids to?

Of course I think there is a time and place for homework. I actually don't have huge problems with older kids having regular homework, although I think it is best reserved for special projects and studying for tests. But daily homework in kindergarten or first grade?? Seriously? How is giving a 6 year old homework at all helpful? Is it teaching time management or responsibility when he can't tell time or even read the instructions for himself? If you want me as a parent to know what is being taught try sending newsletters and weekly packets of graded work. That would be a lot more effective and I would have an idea of how he is actually doing in class so the report card wouldn't come as such a surprise.

I know that I should write a conclusion summing up all the points I have made into a nice concise paragraph but as this is a rant I find myself either repeating myself or going off on a tangent. I will instead simply thank you for your attention and go see if the oldest boy is finished with his homework and send him off to bed.


Lisa said...

I am totally with you on this one. I find myself counting down the days to the weekend simply because there will be NO HOMEWORK! Even my preschooler has homework now. It's an all new level of ridiculous.

Bethany and Will said...

I am so about NOT giving homework. As a teacher like you, these kiddos work so hard in school already! Some teachers give homework because they think they HAVE to. I give kiddos adequate time in class to finish their work, and if they don't finish it, then they can take it home with them or work on it another day. Kids need time to just be kids!

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear! OMG, we were just drowning in worksheets in ES. Entire forests died for no good reason that I could see. And I keep being told that there are lots of parents who ask teachers to give their kids more homework. Who are these parents and what is WRONG with them??

Connie said...

I can see homework, when it actually does reinforce what they learn in class - BUT even the kids can tell when work is just 'make-work'. Fortunately, their school doesn't give them a lot of that - and reasonable times/amounts for kids is definitely required. The majority of my kids' assigned homework time is actually reading, 30 minutes every day. I am definitely ok with that!

I also have to admit that, with my son in particular because his grade requirements are more complex, but with my daughter too, I like how homework HAS taught them to be organized, manage their time, prioritize, and be responsible. I do still have to remind them to get to work at times.. they're kids!... but they really know what has to be done, how it needs to be done, and how long it will take... they get to it and get it DONE fast. One thing that I think helps us there, is that I will only help/direct/manage my kids with their homework IF they request, but in general, I do not even check their work unless they want me to (and they often do - I just don't push) so there's no fussing, delaying, whatever. It's on them. They get it done. Good work so they will get good marks, fast, so they can go play! My 3rd grade daughter thrives on that control.

I would change my tune if I thought the work they did was a waste of time - but they have good teachers and creative assignments. I would also put my foot down if there was too much homework and no play time. We need play time!

Monica said...

i have one (c) that handles homework really well. she has actually learned time management, composure, etc. the other two - not so much. m. rarely does his and when he does it's on the bus or late at night and s. complains the ENTIRE time usually accompanied by loud annoying whining and/or temper tantruming. :o( so, in this house, homework is not really a friend.