I Hate Homework

132 Comments

hate-homework

I have a confession to make: I hate homework. I hate doing it, I hate helping with it; I hate the mere existence of it. Oh, I have a kindergartner. And stop laughing; he gets a lot of homework.

He gets a packet at the beginning of the week that needs to be completed by Thursday. It is all worksheets and most of the instructions are incomplete and I don’t understand what the teacher wants and I don’t know how to explain it to him. And then he gets worksheets that were to be finished in school that say things like “please finish” and have no instructions of them. Besides saying, “Michael, do you know what you were supposed to do here?” how exactly do I have him finish this?

And then there are the reading books and poetry folders and family homework. Family homework? I went to kindergarten thank you very much.

Did I mention KINDERGARTEN?

I may sound disgruntled, but I’m tired of spending every night fighting about homework. I’m tired of teaching concepts that did not get taught in the classroom but have homework about them. I work, my husband works, we rush home, make dinner, and then do homework. Then it is bath, bed, and we start over the next day. My son is surprised on the days we say, “you don’t have any homework.” Normally, this is weekends.

Not to mention all the research out there that says homework in the early grades mean nothing. It is not indicative of learning or progress or teaches kids anything other than burnout. We fight and there are tears, some of them mine. By first grade my son is going to hate learning. What is this going to teach a child?

I am not an anti-education parent. I’m a lawyer. I volunteer at the school. I believe strongly in education and reading and writing. I’m just not sure why worksheets and drills and mandatory nightly homework with research projects teach a five year old. And don’t kid yourself. The parents are doing this homework the further you go in the upper grades.

And then the kids aren’t learning anything.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Jessica says

    My daughter is in 1st grade and sometimes I don’t understand her homework at all. In kindergarten she didn’t have near as much homework as your son. I hope you can find a way to help your son not become burned out on homework at such a young age.

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  2. 2

    Lana D says

    That’s insane! I used to teach HIGH SCHOOL students that didn’t have that much homework. I think you’re right – all they are learning at this age is how to hate homework. And what about the students whose parents don’t really give a rip? What are they learning except how to feel like failures?! Crazy!

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  3. 5

    Theresa says

    Sounds like your son’s teacher needs some ambiguous homework of her own. I would suggest asking her to fill out some ridiculous form, due on Thursday. I would be happy to help you compose one…

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  4. 6

    Lori Z. says

    I’m pro homework for kindergarten (am I going to be shot for saying that?) My daughter likes her assignment every week of writing a book report. She gets to pick the book. I ask her questions. She writes about the things we talk about and paints/draws/sews a picture representing the book. It works for her and I like that she’s in a routine for next year.

    That being said, last year in Pre-K we had homework–horrific worksheets that mirrored the rote exercises in class. Ludicrous! Copying things over and over kills creativity and ultimately made my daughter scared of doing something in case she wrote it out wrong. Despite a bit of talking (and I only brought two of my old textbooks from college) to the teacher, she kept sending them home. And my daughter kept doing them, because even though I told her she didn’t need to do them, letting her teacher down was unfathomable.

    Ah, to trust and revere someone that way!

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  5. 7

    Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) says

    I totally agree with Lori. Busywork? Boo. Creative homework that makes them think? Definitely. Even though it’s a pain.

    And trust me, it IS a pain. We have had epic homework battles in this house. He’s finally, in third grade, settled into a homework routine. He’s also realized that he has to listen to the instructions in school, because Mom isn’t omnipresent and can’t always fill in the blanks for you. (This might be a bit much for a kindergartener, though.) Being lost about what’s expected, and the attendant horribleness that causes, has actually helped him, in a way. Not listening has consequences, yo.

    That said, I’d be lying if I said I never resented homework time when it’s gorgeous outside and I just want to lie in the grass with my kid. Of course, I usually have deadlines at the same time.

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  6. 8

    Kristine says

    My daughter had a Gr 2 teacher that gave her two hours of homework every night. I went storming into the school and told her and the principal that 2 hours of homework every night was retarded. By the time she got it done, had supper and had a bath it was bed time. No kid time. The teacher was moved to another school…
    Now my kid is in Gr. 6 and she has had homework a total of 3 times all year. I think it depends on the teacher.

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    • 9

      Margaret says

      While I’m not all that thrilled with your use of the word “retarded”, I otherwise couldn’t agree with you more. My seventh grader has gotten so slammed with homework this year my stomach literally knots up when when I pick her up and ask the dreaded question, “What homework do you have?” She is very, very smart but also high functioning autistic so I need to stay on her quite a bit to keep her focused, and it’s been such an energy drainer I dread when she hits high school.

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  7. 10

    OHN says

    I don’t think you mentioned how old the teacher is…but my bet is that she is fresh out of school and all gung-ho, rah-rah about teaching. She needs to get a life.
    My two oldest are in college and still find that each teacher/professor/nutjob feels that their class is the only class that matters, therefore, they EACH unload copious amounts of assignments on the students. This has been going on for centuries. (well, at least since my kids were little).
    WAKE UP TEACHERS. We love you, you ARE important, but family time and giving your brain a rest are important too. Not everyone’s life is consumed with fractions, the Battle of the Bulge (except in my jeans), their-there-or they’re (though this happens to be a personal pet peeve of mine….along with then and than, why people can’t get those right just blows my mind).
    Anyway…kindergarten is ridiculously early to be assigning homework that takes more than 10 minutes, and even then, it should just be a one page refresher of what was covered in school, to keep the parents up to speed. Get a band of parents together and talk to the teacher about her over zealous ways. Bribe her with movie tickets. If she is out at night, she can’t be “grading” homework from small children that still have all their baby teeth.

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  8. 11

    Skinny Mom's Kitchen says

    Oh mama I hear ya! My daughter fortunately does not get homework every night but probably once a week and I NEVER understand what the hell I am suppose to do with it. I do not look forward to what is to come when she gets into the older grades.

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  9. 12

    myevil3yearold says

    I have a second grader who has homework every night except Friday. Then, he has 7 tests per week to study for on top of this.

    It is out of control! One of his 20 spelling words this week was “petroglyphs.” What? What is that? I had to google it and he is 7.

    I also realize how badly I suck at grammar now after helping him.

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  10. 14

    Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 says

    As a former middle school teacher, I used to think that homework was very important…I still do, but we really need to watch the amount and the quality of homework we send home. Those hours that a family has together are precious and few…why fill them with confusion and frustration? I taught math, so you really do need to independently practice math skills…therefore, homework. The sheer amount that some teachers give is maddening though…I could totally understand your frustrations. What a timesuck!

    It’s sad though b/c so much material is getting pushed down to the lower grades and there just isn’t enough time during the school day to hit it all…we need a serious overhaul!

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  11. 15

    Lynn from For Love or Funny says

    If it’s any consolation, my kids had lots of homework in elementary school. They learned how to manage their time, become efficient students, and process information. As a result, when my oldest started high school, the homework wasn’t an issue. However, she has a number of classmates who don’t know how to study, and they are struggling big time. So, the skills your little one will learn now will definitely help him later.

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  12. 16

    Lori Stefanac (Lola) says

    My oldest son (6th grade) is doing this thing called an IDU (Interdisciplinary Project) I keep calling it an IUD but clearly that is incorrect. Anyhow this project counts for a major grade in (get this) ALL classes. Kids are expected to do 90% of this project at home. Which means parents do 90% of it at home and then correct the 10% that the kids attempted to do at school without guidance during class. It is, in actuality, nothing more than a massive “parent project”. It artificially improves the childrens’ grades and makes the school look GREAT. I should probably tell you that MY IDU is turning out to be pretty fricking awesome. Uh…I mean my son’s IDU. However, under his bibliography? You will find a huge photo of ME!

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  13. 17

    lisa says

    “RACE TO NOWHERE” !! you have to see it. it’s a fantastic documentary showing all over the country about exactly this issue…
    i have three almost grown children (about to graduate college and go to law school, in college, and in high school) and i can tell you emphatically that it only gets worse. sorry.
    my advice…let them do what they can and attach a sticky note to the teacher (every day if necessary) that YOU are not doing this and your child has done the best he/she can. if that’s what everyone did, maybe the teachers would ease up (and i am a former teacher…fyi).
    on another note, as long as i’m at it, take your kids out of school any time you want to take family vacations. the schools complain, but in ten years, will they remember the quiz that they missed or the wonderful times you had as a family? we’ve done it every year for 15+ years and it has been totally worth the grief we’ve gotten.
    okay, enough preaching…it’s just one of those mornings.
    http://www.racetonowhere.com

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      • 19

        Jessi says

        In our school system, you are only allowed six absences without doctors’ notes per year. At number seven, they take you to court. It’s a ridiculous waste of everyone’s resources. Brynna has missed 5 days this year for migraines and stomach viruses. I’m not paying a co-pay so the doctor can look at me blankly and say, “Yep. She’s sick.” So, now we’ve got one absence left and 2.5 months to go. It’s terrifying.

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        • 20

          Tanya says

          In GA the elementry school told my boss that they would inform child protective services if he took his kids on vacation because they would miss too much school. I think they only missed around 6 days of school!

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      • 21

        Cindy says

        You know, sometimes what we learn outside the class room is just as important. If not more important. So Sorry that these teachers don’t understand this. I know you can miss super important things in school.. but that is why you ask for assignments for them to do in the evening while your away or to do up quick in the morning before you head out!

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        • 22

          lisa says

          i know about the doctor excuses…lucky for us, my husband IS a doctor and he gladly signs those excuses.
          ironically, one year, my son missed 145 days of school ( he had a bone marrow transplant) but the following year, we got a notice about “excessive” absences when he reached 9 days! we could only laugh.

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          • 23

            Wendy says

            In my county in SC, if the child has 5 unexcused absences (meaning doctor excused, not parent excused) the parent has to go to a conference where the school has to inform you that child protective services can be called.

            Not only is this a waste of my time, it questions my ability as parent to decide if my kid is sick or not. If they allowed more absences, maybe schools wouldn’t be such havens for germs! If my kid is puking or has a fever, clearly they don’t need to go to school. That does NOT mean they need a doctor. I’m smart enough to know if my kid needs a doctor. Why does the school think I’m not??

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          • 24

            Jessi says

            Absolutely! What bothers me the most about this policy is that with her migraines, she sometimes throws up at school. Then, to protect against germs, she has to stay home for a minimum of 24 hours, meaning that unless she practically walked in the door and got sick, she has to stay home the next day – even though migraines are not contagious and she is fine. But I am not allowed to make that decision. But I will be taken to court and CPS will get involved if we miss over 6 days. It makes no sense.

            And of course, it all comes down to keeping their funding up – not keeping the kids in school.

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          • 25

            Wendy says

            And apparently supporting the doctors and pharmaceutical companies. What ever happened to letting a fever do what it’s supposed to do? Your body temp rises to KILL THE GERMS. Duh.

            Thank God my kids don’t have migraines. They’d never go to school! And does it REALLY matter if a 5yo misses time at school? It’s kindergarten!

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  14. 27

    Laurin says

    My kids are in second grade and also get the homework packet for the week on Monday. My friend’s daughter is in the same class as my daughter and we are constantly calling each other and texting WTF?? to each other because of confusing homework instructions. We both have graduate degrees and should, in theory, be able to handle second grade math. Yet, this has been going on since kindergarten. It’s maddening.

    Our kids also get 2 warnings and then detention if we forget to sign either a homework sheet, study guide, project or beside the date in their agenda book each day. You can sign 5 things, but if you miss one you get written up. Fun.

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  15. 28

    Vinobaby says

    Yikes. I was in heaven last year when our Kindergarten team of teachers announced there would be no “official” homework for the school year. They decided that at that age/level it was pure busywork and not worth our time. Hallelujah! Now, when 1st grade started this fall and the “real” homework began I had to threaten to duct tape my son to his chair to get his homework done. Now it’s routine and he usually buzzes through it. Except for some of the math homework which I had to look up online to understand. In 1st grade. Yikes.

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  16. 29

    Kmama says

    We get the same type of packet. And what kills me is that half the time, the worksheets didn’t print right so letters are missing or whatever and we’re flying by the seat of our pants to try and figure out what we’re supposed to do.

    The only thing I think the homework might teach them at this early age, is that a certain part of each night is set aside for learning. Of course, that doesn’t mean much in our house because my son would rather do it all in one evening, and typically does.

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  17. 30

    QueenMahin says

    Yes, totally agree. Not sure what we are teaching the kids by drowning them in busy work. Just watched “A Race to Nowhere” two nights ago. I second Lisa’s thoughts above.

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  18. 31

    Memoirs of a Single Dad says

    My son had the same homework setup in kindergarten! He’d come home with a binder of homework for the week, due Friday. Now he’s in 3rd grade and I’m already starting to struggle helping him with some of it. Apparently, I am NOT smarter than a 3rd grader.

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