As millions of children head back to school, they, along with their parents, face the dreaded homework battles. In fact, I'm convinced that homework is just a means of torturing kids and parents alike. Nothing wipes the smiles off my sons' faces faster than me asking, "Have any homework tonight?" At the mere mention of THAT word they turn into Gremlins. Not the cute, furry kind. The nasty, biting, obnoxious ones.
My oldest manages his own time fairly well, but it is still not uncommon for him to enter into a complete hissy-fit over an assignment. He is the master of bitching for two hours over homework that ends up taking 10 minutes to complete. My younger one wins the procrastination award so I'm still on time-management duty with him. Homework will turn this sweet, easy-going kid into the Tasmanian devil.
In general, my husband and I have chalked this behavior up to laziness and complete lack of motivation. But maybe it's something more. Are their brains just completely fried by the time they get home? Is the school day simply too long? My sons have had 6-7 hours of school everyday since they were 5. No wonder they're burned out.
I never gave my mother grief when it came time for me to do my homework (yes, she has vouched for this!) Why do my sons take their homework blues out on me? I sure didn't assign it and, honestly, probably hate it more than they do. But every night without fail, the hurricanes roll in and despite years of preparation, I'm never ready for them.
As a kindergarten teacher I gave very little homework and only because it was required by my administration. In addition to 5-10 minutes of nightly reading, written work was limited to something that students should have been able to complete by themselves in 5 minutes. I can't tell you how many parents over the years asked for more homework. I told them what I'm about to tell you - "Your child is only 5 once. They have many more years of homework ahead of them. Let them enjoy being kids for now."
Obviously, other parents and educators feel the same way as we see a shift toward more schools assigning less homework and others adopting a "no homework policy." This August one of these schools opened in my county and parents flocked to it stating that was one of the benefits. Thankfully, the school both my boys attend now doesn't give what I'd consider an excessive amount of homework. Even projects are either partially or entirely completed IN class. It's a glorious thing and has provided me with the validation that the quantity of homework does not determine the quality of education your child is receiving.
Clip from The Middle
As I write this the homework has been tackled for the evening and I'm happily watching, out of the corner of one eye, my oldest son outside swinging from a rope the neighbor's have tied to a tree. And, although this is giving me slight heart palpitations, I thank goodness we've made it through another week of homework assignments unscathed and have three days to recuperate before it starts all over again. In my ideal world, students should have the following nightly assignments: to read, complete two math problems dealing with concepts taught that day, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, and help mom and dad with the dishes. Who's with me?
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