Help me out here

I'm trying to figure something out. This isn't meant to be snarky or back handed, I just really do not understand. I've been reading and hearing in lots of different places about parental frustrations with homework. I'm not in that world. We don't have homework here. We are able to get the bulk of our schoolwork done in the morning and we move onto to other things. I truly do not understand homework.

When I was in school, until I got to upper grades, the only time I had homework was when I didn't take the time to get the work done in class. I never had specifically assigned homework. There might have been a special project assigned every so often, but in my memory those seemed rare. (And the only reason I spent hours on a report on horses in sixth grade was because I wanted to. Turning in a multi-page report complete with multi-page bibliography and illustrations says far more about me than about the assignment.) I don't think the children of the human species have changed so much in the past 40 years or so that they need different education techniques.

So, I don't get homework. I don't understand the purpose of it. I mean, what child is really going to get anything beneficial out of more book work at the end of a long day? And I really don't understand why, if parents hate it so much, they put up with it. Perhaps this specific question, once again, tells far more about me than about anything else. What would happen if parents just said no? We are done with homework. We want to reclaim the lives of our children and our families. We want to be free to pursue other interests and activities that are just as important as book work.

Really, I don't mean these questions in any derogatory sense at all. I'm really trying to understand why parents cede that much control over their lives to the schools. Yes, I know I don't play well with others, by the way, but I still wonder. This really is a genuine question. Why?


Anonymous said…
I am 68 yrs old and agree with you....I cried so many tears over
math homework that I wasn't able to understand!...this went on for
years. By today's standards, I have a learning disability. I process information differently than others...I remember always getting in trouble as a youngster, answering a question, answer was logical and sounded right to me, but I had "misunderstood" and got in trouble because I didn't answer the way the teacher had in mind....
This even continued into my adult life, deeply affecting my job/career life.
Also, my now adult "high functioning" developmentally delayed son had so many hours of frustration in our home over homework. I had a husband who wanted him to succeed so bad, he mostly did the work for him...I am sure much of this stress in jr. hi and high school, helped cause my marriage to dissolve!
You hit a nerve with me on this. I and my children were never"home-schooled"..I was subjected to not only my disability, but to abusive nuns in a Catholic schoow!....thank you so, vancouver,wa.
Carla said…
I agree. I was very surprised to hear that my nephew's school says that you should expect 10 minutes of homework x their grade level. So even first graders are expected to do 10 minutes of homework every day. That just sounds bizzare to me.

I can't explain it, but one tiny little thing I will say in "defense" of homework is that parents often today do not read to or engage their children in learning conversations anymore. They assume the schools are responsible for all the teaching. So schools, in an effort to have some sort of learning happen at home, have prescribed massive amounts of homework. I can see this in that if my sister-in-law didn't have to spend 10 minutes reading with my nephew each night as a part of his grade, she probably wouldn't do it. Ouch! I guess this isn't as much a defense of homework as it is a criticism of many parents today.
Anonymous said…
I think it's probably because parents want their kids to succeed and if it means dealing with homework so be it (though I'm not saying that homework is the key to success).
I live in Canada and graduated from high school less than five years ago. I rarely had homework because I could get most of it done during school. Here, during the elementary years, the only homework students get is reading. For many families it's natural to read to their kids, but the point is to encourage families when literacy isn't a priority.

With home school you are able to get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. I was book smart and my brain responded well to the way I was taught, but when I did my lessons independently I was able to complete them is a much shorter time than when learning with my peers. Additionally there are many distractions at school.
Ugh, the dreaded Homework Packet of kindergarten. Every week, my kids would bring home about 10 worksheets stapled to the weekly "newsletter" from the teacher. Every week, we'd be cramming the night before it was due to go back, lol. Oh, there were a few times when we did 2 worksheets each night, but the reality is, most of the time it was a scramble at the last moment.

I did say, "I don't think kids should have homework in kindergarten" to one of the teachers. I got told that they would be marked down for not doing it (implying that they might not be passed to first grade), and that part of the reason for homework is so the parents can see what the kids are learning. ...You know, as if the REAM of papers they bring home each week isn't enough of an example for us.

SO glad all my elementary kids are homeschooling this year. I have 3 in the local Christian high school, too, but at least they're capable of doing their own homework, with only the occasional request for posterboard or index cards or a new print cartridge. (Whether they choose to do it or not is a whole other issue.)
Lucy said…
I think they (parents/students) are brainwashed by the schools on two fronts - 1) The director of the daycare my oldest daughter attended commented to me once how much smarter 4 and 5 year olds were these days than when we were little. So they create that expectation what kids can handle it because they are soo much smarter these days. I think I rolled my eyes at her then; so what if 4 year olds can operate a computer? I could have too if there had been computers when I was four. It means nothing. 2) When that same child went to kindergarten she was given math drill worksheets to complete every night because (we were told) this is what kids need to keep up with the educational standards and succeed. Fortunately the helpers at after school care made sure the kids finished their work before they played, so it rarely made it home.

Now we homeschool. The kids are smart, advanced mathematically, no after school work.

Maybe it should be called "afterschool work" instead of homework? That might change the emphasis to school time being inadequate or inadequately used, as opposed to home time being worthless unless filled with government mandated activity.

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