Homework assigned on an activity-filled evening is a douche move. Homework assigned on a family-gathering evening is a douche move. Homework assigned on Friday is a douche move. Homework assigned when I have plans is a douche move.
All right, I go too far. I hear you. Homework needs to be a priority, and forcing kids to complete projects in a hurry so we can get to the fun stuff is all part of learning good time management skills. And of course kids need to bring work home so they can practice all that adding and time-telling and whatnot. And of course parents need to see what their children are learning in school, which may or may not correspond with material learned “back in the day”.
I am definitely pro-homework.
I just have a few issues with the method, timing, and amount.
Homework Kills Board of Education budgets.
I am not happy with homework that comes from a workbook which is produced by a textbook company which, much like college textbooks, “update” annually so as to charge schools even more than they did the previous year for the most current edition.
I understand there must be a baseline curriculum from which to teach, or else teachers would have to come up with lessons on their own (*le gasp*), but… can’t we stop spending school monies on book sets, and maybe start looking for material that is more readily attained?
Like, for example, them webby-webs?
Seriously. What lesson CAN’T you learn online? What information DOESN’T Google know? Why are we still buying textbooks??? Information is free. Let’s get some.
So my first point here is absolutely a fiscal one, and therefore is sound in reasoning.
I was a responsible adult just then.
Homework Kills family time.
Maybe I’m a strange mother, but I happen to like my kids. I like their company. They are fun people. So I resent things that take them away from me.
We are a split family, so time with my little one is extremely precious. I don’t like that I have to be all grownup and make her do more school work right when she comes in from school. I would rather listen to one of her numerous stories, or color with her, or read a book together.
But no. When she comes in from school, she gets a snack and must start immediately on her homework. Because that is the correct and proper thing to do.
Fortunately, she was not assigned any homework on Beggar’s Night, so nothing school-related interfered with our Tricks-or-Treats. But then on Halloween-Actual, she WAS assigned homework. Booo!
What if I wanted to celebrate Halloween that night? What if we had family plans to drive around and visit relatives? What if I had an elaborate meal cooked? What if we wanted to attend a swanky Halloween function?
None of these things happened, of course. But still — what if?
Homework Kills brain cells.
I am not happy with homework accompanied by an answer key that teachers rely upon religiously for the correct answers. Because why? Here — let’s look at a real life example!
My niece brought home a worksheet whose questions were all multiple choice. I don’t remember the exact wording or the point of the assignment, but it was something to this effect:
Since you tracked mud into the house, please ____ up the floor.
Now my sister is a lot cleverer than I, because if I’d seen that silliness, I wouldn’t have had a fucking clue. She intelligently surmised that the correct answer was (c) Hop — and that it was a typo meant to read as “Mop”. Totally makes sense.
My niece was afraid to pick that answer, however, because obviously one does not “Hop up the floor”. So she picked another answer instead. Which was silly, because clearly they are all incorrect.
The paper came back home with the answer marked wrong. So my sister wrote a note on the homework, sending it back in with an inquiry as to the correct answer. It came back with no note, merely the word “Hop” circled.
Now do you think the teacher even a little bit had read that worksheet? Nah, I didn’t think so either. Unless we’re crazy. In which case, I seriously want to know what the fuck it means to “Hop up the floor”.
Homework Kills credibility
in a teacher’s knowledge and authority.
In a similar vein, my daughter brought home a reading assignment a couple weeks ago, in which she was supposed to read a chapter and answer corresponding questions. One of the questions states, “Why would Polly Peacock be jealous of Mortimer Mustard? (Look to page 3 for assistance!)”
Not having read the chapter, I didn’t understand my daughter’s answer. She wrote, and defended emphatically, “Polly is jealous of Wendy because her mother works in the school.” After we argued over this for a bit — as her answer clearly doesn’t correlate to the original question — I read the chapter myself to see why she was so firm in her resolve.
The answer, according to page 3, is that Polly ISN’T fucking jealous of Mortimer. It clearly states on page 3 that Polly is jealous of Wendy — and furthermore, it clearly states WHY she is jealous of Wendy. Turns out, my baby girl knew her stuff.
When I asked the teacher about it, she indicated that the group had discussed that answer to see why Polly might be jealous of Mortimer. Instead of just saying, “YEP, that’s a fuck-up, right there!” we were expected to pretend it was a for realz question.
Which is stupid.
Mistakes in textbooks happen. I get that. We’re all human, and we all goof. That’s fine. But by golly, teachers, don’t be so fucking dependent on a goddamn answer key that you defend its answers tooth and nail!
Homework Kills a child’s interest in learning.
Last year, my kiddo brought home assignments almost every night. It wasn’t difficult stuff, by any means, but it was tedious and time-consuming, and thus a pain in the ass. She would bring home these thick activity packets that needed to be completed throughout the week. Good thing it was so easy, or I’d have been a little more irate about how long it took to get it done.
This year, she brings home hardly any homework at all. And when she does, it’s usually really simple stuff. As in, she completes it in sixty seconds flat. Maybe five minutes on a rough day. It all seems to be a review of stuff from last year.
The irritation factor here is twofold:
(a) If it’s so easy she whizzes right through it, then it’s not really necessary to bring it home… right? I mean, it would be like me-n-you practicing our times tables with multiples of three. Either you got it, or you DON’T got it. And once you got it, no more practice is required.
And yeah, I know I just used horrendous grammar there. But see, I KNOW better, so am allowed to break the rules. #Winning
(b) If it’s not necessary to practice this baby-caca garbage, then why the fuck are we wasting our limited time on it? That’s thirty minutes (twenty-five minutes of procrastination + four minutes to find a pencil which is sitting right in front of her + one minute of actual work) of my life wasted. And THAT, my friends, is bullshit.
Homework has become so freaking boring, she now dreads the word and cringes upon hearing it. Thanks for that!
Homework Kills a child’s trust in her parent.
And since you forced me to endure the aforementioned wasted half-hour, my child now thinks I’m full of nonsense and stuffing when I tell her that SOMEDAY the homework will indeed become more difficult, and at that point she’ll be glad of the practice.
I can see why she doesn’t believe me. It sounds like a lie. Funny she still believes in Santa, though.
Homework Kills my trust in the system.
Look, all I’m saying is, if you’re going to give students homework, please do so wisely. I’ve put together a few bullet point for you, to make your life (and thereby *MY* life) easier. And who doesn’t love bullet points?
- Plan around the holiday schedules. Even the ones not on calendars. When in doubt, you should always just check with me first. After all, it’s my planet.
- Make sure the assignments aren’t riddled with errors.
- Don’t go overboard with it. There’s no need for a kid to be swamped in this shit.
- Ensure it’s truly necessary. If even one student obviously “gets” it, that one student shouldn’t be forced to comply just for the sake of a checkmark next to her name. That’s called BUSY WORK. She will get enough of that as an adult.
- Have a fucking clue what the real answer is, regardless of what the answer key states.
Look the truth is, Homework Kills. Period. They don’t make a pill for that. So let’s get it right.