Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why I hate homework

Okay - so now that we are in the 4th week of school, I can officially say - I HATE HOMEWORK!

What exactly is the purpose of the children spending 6-7 hours in school, then spending another 2-3 hours pouring over homework? I am not talking about high schoolers - no, this is the average for some elementary school kids! And it isn't the teachers struggling with the homework issue - often it is either a credit or a non-credit score; either the child brings it in completed or they don't.

Parents, on the other hand, get to deal with the daily battles of a tired child who wants to decompress from school and run around in the fresh outdoors (since most schools see recess as unnecessary and don't have PE because it is "un-testable" - translation: it isn't important) who is instead having to regurgitate the days' lesson with busy work.

I personally have incountered many times where my children are doing homework on concepts that haven't even been covered, or covered poorly, so then I become the teacher. Granted, I have a degree in education, yet I think about how many parents come home from a long day at their jobs to have to become a teacher. Instead of having some time to reconnect with their children in a meaningful fashion, then end up having to argue and fight with them, sometimes late into the night. I was talking to a parent of a 9 year old the other night that came home from her son having football practice to work until 11 pm helping him with his homework! Another mom of a 2nd grader tells me her 7 year old has up to 2 hours of homework NIGHTLY! That is just madness!!!

A few schools in our area have gone "homework free". One school actually had a teacher who assigned no homework to her students for a whole year, then compared her students' test results with the students in the other grade level classes. Her result - there was no significant difference in the test scores. She felt that it was her job to cover what they needed in class, not the parents.

While the idea appeals to me, I am not 100% sold on the idea. I worry how these kids are going to go from no homework to the truckload that appears in middle school. I have seen some middle-schoolers breaking their backs with the homework books they are carrying home in their backpacks. One poor girl last year went through two good backpacks because the weight of the books ripped the shoulder straps.

I think there is a middle ground. I have heard that the standard rule of thumb is 10 minutes of homework per grade level. So that 2nd grader should have only 30 minutes of homework per night, versus my 7th grader having 80 minutes. That, to me, does seem reasonable.

And, if it hasn't been covered in class, don't send it home.

So as my 10 year old is crying that he doesn't understand how to do a square-root number array, I really trying to keep my blood pressure down enough to help him. Oh goody - he just told me this is only page 1 of 4 of his math homework. Oh, and he had a report due on Monday, and he needs to type it on the computer...and bring it to school on a flash drive.

There goes any hope of a relaxing weekend...

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