Monday, October 16, 2006

I (Heart) Homework...?


So I'm beginning to wonder why MY kids have so much homework these days, and I had relatively little in comparison when *I* was growing up? Is it overzealous teachers? Overzealous school curriculum? Who is to blame here? I don't remember them having this much at any of the other schools they attended. So it is definitely this new school. That we pay taxes out the nose for them to attend...
For example: Thing One usually has two to three pages when she comes home. Thing Two has three to four. Thing Three has one to two. And yes, they are in KINDERGARTEN, SECOND and THIRD GRADE!
I didn't have that much homework until I was in Junior High! So, after school, the kids come in, have a snack, and we spread out the homework and spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, completing it, while I bounce back and forth between all three kids.

My kids hate this. They seriously LOATHE it. I mean, they just spent seven+ hours at school, and they have to come home and do an hour more? (We've tried night time, but it doesn't work.)

And as their mother, I'm stuck doing it with them, because they are so young, I have to help explain concepts, or help them stay focused. It's really become drudgery. I've tried to make it cheerful and positive, but I'm met with a chorus of groans every time.

Deep down, I think having this much homework at such an early age is making them NOT LIKE doing it, and they will carry this prejudice over into their later years. But I'm holding firm. If I don't teach them to do it responsibly, they won't do it at all, if given the choice later on. They won't have good study habits.
But then I run the risk of them getting "burned out" on homework, and frankly, I think we're in jeapoardy of that now.

So what can one do? Am I crazy, or is something not quite right?


Unknown said...

Well, there's always homeschooling. Bwahahahaha!!

I keed, I keed!!

Lowa said...

You REALLY do NOT want to know what I think:) LOL

I homeschool my kids. Until this year. Three of the four are in public school, just for this year. To try something different and give me a bit of a breather. It is actually MORE work for me to have them in there, but that will take too long to get into and this will be long enough as it is:)

They have never had homework before (obviously) and seem to be doing it on their own with not a word from their father and I. I don't care if they do it or not. I think it is ridiculous and have a very bad attitude about it. So they are basically on their own and doing fine. Their teachers seem blown away with their work ethic and how they are "free thinkers". Yeah, that is because I encourage them to think on their own and question things and they have not been stuck in there for years being molded into the mold the others kids get forced into.

My 6th grader is usually one of the first finished his work and spends much of his day running errands for his teachers and helping other kids. Much of class time is wasted, which I have always known and is one of the many reasons that I saw no need for my kids to be in there anyway. A lot of people think that you need to have a college degree to teach kids and that kids need to learn to get used to it and sit there for hours upon hours and have all this forced upon them. Look at the education system in this country. Is it working? I think not!

For the past three years, I have used no curriculum at all. We just live our lives. We play, shop, go to the park, read, and have a blast. I worried sometimes that IF my kids went back to traditional school, they may be behind the other kids in certain areas. That is obviously not the case. All those years playing and being kids caused them to THRIVE and they are in there HELPING the kids who were sutck in there all these years supposedly "learning" anyway??

People worry that homeschooled kids do not get socialized. Lots of people are unhappy with the education system and want to do something to change it, yet they worry if they homeschool, they will be sheltered?? How will them having more time with each other and their parents, going out in the world and interacting with many people every day in the day to day running of the household, etc etc, shelter them?? To me, sitting in a room with the same kids day in and day out is sheltering them.

Ok, I am sorry Lara. I did not mean to go on so long. I am not even suggesting that you homeschool (although it is HONESTLY much easier and the kids are less stressed and a lot happier) or anything. I am just saying that I agree with you that it is ridiculous, the amount of homework they give kids. Absolutely criminal! I don't remember much of what I learned in school all those years anyway. WHat I retain is what *I* want to learn and seek out on my own, because I WANT to. That is how my kids have been raised. If they are interested in something, we find out about it and learn about it together. I guide and support, I don't force. They are forced to learn all this stuff in school. And who decides what they need to know and when they need to know it?? We just send our kids in there and let other people influence and take over what our kids are exposed to. Many of my kids teachers this year are very rude and can be mean. They humiliate the kids.

For example, today my 11 year old had a sub for Band. His Sax is in the shop being repaired, so my husband wrote a note. It was made out to his regular teacher. When this sub looked at it, he said in a mean way to my son, "Do I look like Mr. R to you??" Like, what was the need for that??? Obviously, my husband had no idea that Mr. R was not going to be there?? This is only one of many examples of what has gone on this year and they have only been in there for six weeks. They take it in stride and don't mind too much, but they find it immature and petty, a lot of the things their teachers do. My almost 14 year old says he finds it amusing in ways, the odd things the teachers do and say. It is a good experience, this new stuff they are being exposed to.

The goal is to get the kids' test scores to be higher so the schools get more $$$. That is what it boils down to. And they don't get that forcing the kids to do this, backfires. When I was using a curriculum, my kids averaged 91 and 92. Once I stopped and let them lead their education, their scores when up to 98 and 99! Makes a big difference.

Anyway, good luck with the homework nonsense. I feel it is all a waste of precious kid time, what on earth were the poor little kids doing in there for all that time anyway!?!??!

Lara said...

I think there are pros and cons to both schooling and home schooling. Laura, homeschooling has worked for you, and I applaud you for that.
I am not cut out for homeschooling, plain and simple. But there have been times when I have been tempted, I'll be honest. Kids at school are so mean and have so many problems they bring with them from home, and it's those kids who make it hard for the others, and the teachers.

As far as the homework, I am going to talk to my middle son's teacher. He has special needs and this homework is killing him. She will understand, and if she doesn't, I will talk to someone who will. My kids mental well-being is more important to me than all the homework in the world.