Has homework had a negative impact on your child’s life and yours?
When we are in first grade, we learned about compound words. They are two individual words that make up a new word. Homework, by definition, is a compound word that means work that you do at home.
It does not mean that all you do at home is work.
I have been a teacher for 25 years. For twelve of those years I taught elementary school in a wealthy area, with parents who were unafraid to speak their minds. I have been a mother for seventeen years, and have three very different children when it comes to doing homework.
While I believe that some homework is necessary to help reinforce newly learned concepts, the amount of homework my children receive needs to decrease.
Many years ago, when I had my own classroom, I used a simple guide for assigning homework. My third grade students got 30 minutes of homework. I told parents on Back-to-School night that if they found their child working beyond 35 minutes, tell them to stop and write me a note. We needed to talk and reassess the assignments given and make accommodations for their child.
My students were very busy after school with an assortment of activities, so I only gave homework I felt would be beneficial. For example, the math worksheets in the program we used always had 20 or 30 problems on each page. After the first 10 were finished, was there any point in doing the rest?
In my opinion, no. Kids got sloppy with their work when more problems were assigned, as they just wanted to get it over with.
Some days we did even numbered problems and others we did the odd. Spelling words only needed to be written three times each, and only the words they did not know how to spell.
The bottom line is that homework has its place but it should not be busywork nor should overtake a child’s life.
Homework That Is Busywork Has No Value
There are certain kinds of homework that my children have brought home that have gotten on my nerves. Coloring pages is one of them. I spent many years coloring and crafting with my children, and paid their preschool plenty of money to help them work on these fine motor skills. In elementary school, if you’re asking my children to color, I am going to help them finish.
Another homework assignment that bothers me is creating your own puzzles. My younger daughter had this assignment almost every week and it took forever for her to complete it. I never saw how this could help her spell.
If the teacher is going to give a homework assignment I need to see the educational value for it being brought home.
No Homework Days Are a Blessing
In my twins elementary school, there is no homework on the weekends. My kids are free to go to a friend’s house or have a friend come over, without worrying about doing homework. It is truly blissful.
There is also one school-wide homework free day each month. It is my favorite day of the month! My kids can just breathe when they get home. No more fights with me about getting homework done before playing with a friend or going outside!
My older daughter did her homework quickly, easily and without drama at the kitchen table. I wish I could say the same for my twins, but alas, I cannot. Doing homework with children who are at the same developmental stage is a challenge. When your kids are a few years apart, the older ones, if they are capable, can do homework independently. It makes them feel like a "big kid". Having two first graders needing help on different assignments or reading help made homework time tense in our home.
It also did not help that in our tiny school, I could see which teacher gave more homework and what kind they gave. I chose not to keep my twins together in the same class, so I know just about everything that is happening in our grade! On more than one occasion, I have had to write the teacher a note telling her that I refused to have my child finish an assignment because she gave too much homework and it was taking too long.
I had to be my child’s advocate. When other mothers called me sharing stories of homework horror, I encouraged them to do as I did. If we did not stand up for our children, who will?
Too Much Homework Impacts Family Life
Once the elementary school pass by, the homework of the middle school and high school years overtake your child’s life. My oldest daughter is an honors student. Can I tell you how much homework has changed her life? We stopped seeing her sometime around ninth grade.
My daughter is literally holed up in her room night after night with hours and hours of homework in each subject. Each teacher thinks that s/he is the only one who gives assignments.
When my daughter was in middle school, we used to spend time together in the evening. Now, right after dinner, she disappears and we only see her when she wants a snack. I used to spend time in the evenings with my mom taking walks or watching a program. My daughter has no time for this. She has too much homework.
Summer Homework Assignments-What the !@#$%&*!
No more pencils,
No more books.
No more teacher’s
Remember when summer was a carefree time to work (if you are a teen) and play? You were able to leave the worries and cares of September through June behind you.
If your have a smart child who takes high level classes, they no longer have carefree summers. There is a boatload of assignments that need to be completed before they return in September. Kids are still tethered to school and homework when they really need a break.
I would love to give the rocket scientist who started the nonsense of summer assignments a slap upside the head.
There is negative impact for assigning too much homework. Teachers need to carefully weigh the value of each assignment before asking a child to complete it.