not again

I Just Don’t See The Point Of Homework For Young Kids

They are exhausted at the end of the school day, it’s the last thing they need.

Originally Published: 
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I’m not too fond of homework. I don’t see the point, and I don’t care if my elementary-aged kids do it. Before every educator in the world comes for me, let me explain.

Let me be clear: This does not reflect my opinion about the importance of school, structure, or commitment. I value education immensely. But I also appreciate the sanity and happiness of both myself and my kids in my home. And for that reason, with homework — I’m out!

When I pull out their folders and place the packet in front of them, the meltdown begins. I remind them that I, myself, did not assign them the work and yet somehow I am still the enemy. They become fresh and frustrated, and it ends up being on me to check, double-check, urge, and persuade until completion.

There are many things in this life that my kids put up a stink over, and I make them do it anyway. I am willing to have the necessary battles. I am all in on toothbrushing and bedtimes. I believe those things are necessary to keep them safe and healthy or help them grow. So, it justifies the battle. And conversely, when I do not find things to be super necessary or helpful, I like to avoid the fight.

So then the question is: Is homework helpful and necessary? Well, that’s kinda the tough part. Studies have shown homework does not always correlate with achievement, often raises issues of inequality, and highlights our American obsession with competitiveness and overachievement. That sounds about right to me!

I am a mom of four kids, but I can only speak to homework’s impact in my house. I have no experience being a teacher. But for my kids, worksheets are never done thoughtfully. They are rushed through purely with the intention of completing the task. Plus, by the time we get to them, they’ve been in school all day and they’re wiped. So what is the point? They are not learning anything doing this rushed assignment.

You see, my kids engage in an extracurricular activity each season, usually a sport, and nothing too intense. But most days, they arrive home and have a few hours before practice. After practice, they get home, eat dinner, shower, and get ready for bed. The only window for homework is right when they get home. And the problem is they are coming straight from school! They usually arrive home tired and hungry and needing a break from their long school day and before their other activities. On days I force homework, they often become more irritable and tired; on days that I allow rest time instead, they regroup and seem generally happier.

So I don’t fight it. If my kids are up to completing an assignment, I encourage (and sometimes reward) it, but if they aren’t, I am okay with it. I just feel like childhood is so fleeting, and I want them to spend their non-school hours doing non-school stuff. I also feel that preserving our positive relationship outweighs the importance of a few pages of reinforcement practice problems or reading packets. And like every other decision I am making for them, I hope this is the right one. I guess we will see.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

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