Friday, February 26, 2010

Homework is stupid

I think as teachers it's important to see the view of homework from some parents' perspectives. We need to make sure that homework that is assigned is necessary to review a concept or teach a skill, not as busywork or "be quiet" activity.

Homework is stupid

Especially homework for kindergartners. Actually, if I had it my way, kids K-6 would not have homework.

If the energy our family has wasted on homework could be converted into solar energy, I'm certain it could power our city for a year. Seriously, if I see another photocopied worksheet I might poke my eyeballs out.

Now, not all homework is created equal. I have no problem with flash cards or special creative projects. But I'm darn sick of reams of those "shut-up sheets."

You do know what a shut-up sheet is, right? It's a photocopied worksheet designed specifically to shut-up the kid and keep him busy.

My sons are convinced it's a form of torture. I happen to agree.

I mean, the last thing my kid wants to do after six hours of school is sit down and do another worksheet. And yet, as The Good Responsible Parent, I'm supposed to force him.

When my kids get home, I shoo them outside and let them run around. They're dying to release all that pent up energy and if I dare require them to SitDownBeQuietAndDoYourHomework, we'll have a full-blown mutiny.

I'm talking tears. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth.

Homework interferes with our life on almost every possible level. For one thing, homework time coincides with that wicked time of day known in my house as "The Witching Hour." This is when Mommy is already tired but still has to prepare dinner, mind her babies and help with homework.

Homework hangs over our head like a wrecking ball. It has the potential to destroy even the best of days.

By the time my husband gets home I'm so exhausted that I'm ready to take up permanent residence on a deserted island. Except, we still have baths and bedtime routines to manage.

Looking back over the last 12 years (cumulatively speaking) of grade-school homework, I can hardly see any educational benefit. At least, no benefit that outweighs the many tears, anguish, frustration and sometimes, sheer outrage.

Because here's the thing: not only do my kids have to complete the homework, but I've gotta check it and then sign the little assignment book. Every.Single.Day.

Dude, I don't even shower as often as I sign those infuriating assignment books.

And if I prayed as often as I've signed 'em, well, I'd be so holy that I'd be raptured by now; shot straight up to Heaven in a flaming chariot of fire.

By the time my twins hit kindergarten, I'm just gonna roll up to the classroom with a recycling trash-can and toss those stupid homework packets right in. If anyone asks, I'll simply reply: "Hey, I'm only removing the middle-man."

I dunno. I'm so fed up I'm seriously considering a Homework Strike.

Anyone wanna join me?

'Cuz me and my kids wanna know: IS THERE LIFE AFTER HOMEWORK???
[edited to add: it's important for me to clarify that I do not place blame at the feet of teachers. I see homework as a symptom of a larger problem in our public education system. My kids' teachers have been hardworking, dedicated and I've truly appreciated them. They love what they do but are often hamstrung by curriculum requirements and standardized testing which forces them to "teach to the test" for a significant portion of the school year. Despite this mess, I still find great inspiration in the teachers who daily strive to provide creative solutions to these challenges.

OC Family


Anastasia said...

my friend has a 9 year old son. he comes home with math homework that would be impossible for a 3rd grader to's basically work for a 6th/7th grader.

CAT said...

Our district wants every 8th grader to take and pass Algebra. When I was in 8th grade, Algebra was for more advanced students. Research has shown that boys and girls brains are ready for algebra concepts at different ages, yet with NCLB (Bush's policy), schools are being forced to push their students. And for math, this means homework every night to review concepts taught in class.