Wednesday, 22 June 2011

My Rant on Homework

Sorry for the late post, but Blogger was not working this morning!

I am so done with homework!

Homework is my nemesis.

In fact, when I was teaching, I fought very hard to have homework abolished.  For me, it is a form of cruel and unusual punishment; not only for the kids completing it, but the adults who assist them and the teachers who have to mark it and prepare it.  Homework eats into valuable family time, and I see no value in it for children in grades K-5.  Mind you, I do recognize the value of children reading at home each day.  The most bizarre thing I have encountered in the past two years is that the younger your child is, the more homework they have.  I know!  Crazy isn't it!  This year Avery had reading (at least 3 different things), math, and spelling, while Elliot had reading and spelling.  Then my middle-school aged child, who is supposed to be preparing for high school, had none!  It makes no sense. 

Homework assumes that the home does not provide adequate reinforcement of things learned in school or valuable learning opportunities.  Unfortunately, this may be the case in many homes, but from my experience, these are also the homes that do not complete homework anyway.  So why do we do it?  I really think that it is just something that has always been done and is not questioned.  Thankfully, I am able to stay at home to raise my children, but what about single-parent families or families where both parents work?  They already have limited time to spend with their children at the end of the day, so why make that time as unpleasant as possible?

 So, here was our afternoon yesterday, and I want you to tell me if it would have been better spent slaving away over worksheets or doing what we did.  Seriously, comment away!

As soon as the kids get home, they are hungry.  We typically start with a fruit smoothie and then move onto the goodies like Fudgsicles or nachos.  Then they head to the screen of their choice for one hour, and trust me this is not written in stone. It all depends on how busy, or lazy, I am feeling that afternoon.  The boys LOVE their after school cartoons and Zoe heads for the computer.

After their screen time, it is typically homework time, but not yesterday!  I scrambled to think of something to do with them.  It would have been great to take the dog for a walk or run down to the river for a quick splash, but I had a million things to do to ensure that we made it to the soccer field on time.  Just in that moment when I began to feel overwhelmed by all the dirty dishes littering my counter, the unfinished laundry downstairs, and my starving garden outside, it occurred to me that I did not have to do this all alone.  So I assigned our tasks: the boys were on garden duty, Zoe was on dish duty, and I was on camera duty, or I mean everything else duty . . . tee hee!

Look at my little workers!  You can't tell me that helping around the house is not a valuable life lesson.

Elliot is so funny because he is very dramatic!  After only watering two rows, he exclaimed: "I am so done with gardening!".  I wonder where he gets this from?  Tee hee!

Once my garden was watered and my kitchen straightened up, I was able to tackle dinner and the kids could enjoy some free time. 

The biggest benefit to no homework is the opportunity for kids to be kids, and my kids did just that!

Welcome to Zoeville!

Here in this imaginary land, Zoe is the mayor and controller of all things. She hands out the money and the assignments, while the boys do whatever she tells them. 

Here is Elliot's hovel. 

Derrick got a new BBQ for Father's Day so the boys got the boxes  Nothing better than a large box!

Elliot is the security guard for Zoeville because "he likes to shoot things", and he drives around town on his skateboard looking for trouble.

Here is where Avery resides.

Avery is a fish police officer (to make sure people don't fish in the off season, which is a HUGE problem here in Zoeville), and a builder.

Their day is filled with taking orders from the boss lady and shopping at the market, where you can buy anything from Justin Bieber concert tickets to "gun-shooter" t-shirts.

In one afternoon, my kids learned how to work and contribute to the family, they exercised their imagination, and they even got a little math in there.  And all of this happened without any worksheets!

Now it is your turn to voice your opinion.  Is homework a valuable use of children's time? 

Come on, don't be shy!

Oh, and if you are anyone other than my siblings, feel free to disagree with me!

Happy Last Wednesday Before Summer Vacation!


  1. As you know, I do not have children and have never had the experience of doing homework with those children that I do not have, but I still think a little bit of homework is a good thing. It teaches children time management, so they can begin to understand the importance of taking responsibility for oneself and our actions. Sometimes homework is assigned because students do not complete the assignment at school, for whatever reason, but they are still responsible for completing it. A child may need more time to complete out of necessity; they learn at a different pace. Also, it teaches critical thinking. Learning something in a classroom, under the watchful eye of a teacher, is very different than thinking about it outside of class. There are many distractions in a classroom. Letting children think about the how and why of something on their own, and in their own time, is a great learning experience. It teaches them to be independent thinkers, not only from an academic perspective, but from a life perspective as well. And finally, homework reenforces what they learn at school. It gives them extra practice. All that being said, maybe teachers are giving too much homework and I'm not saying that it's right, but one or two small assignments to complete at home is not the end of the world. It teaches them the value of an education, while teaching them important life skills at the same time. We live in a privileged society and we forget that there are children in the world, some closer than we might think, who do not have access to a free education. Education is a privilege and maybe we all take it for granted?

  2. Hilary, didn't you read that everyone EXCEPT my siblings should feel to disagree! I do see your point, though, but I feel that this can be done in grades 6 and above. Not the little guys! They need time to play and to be their mama's slave . . . ha, ha!
    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Ha,ha! But you know us too well to think that telling your sisters and brother not to comment is just asking for trouble. We are a wonderfully misbehaved bunch!

  4. haha I remember hating homework so much in middle school and high school I scrambled to get it done at school and was successfull for the most part. *fart sound* to homework

  5. I completely agree that the lessons your children learned yesterday far out way the benefits of homework. I too feel that homework takes too much time away from the family. Madlyn doesn't get home until 3:40pm, that doesn't give her much time to wind down, practice her piano, and do her homework before dinner. It sure makes for a hectic afternoon. I can't imagine if Steve had to bring his work home every night, he would get grumpy really fast. Home should be a place to debrief from the day. The only things that I like about homework is that it makes me feel connected to Madlyn's education because I know what she is doing and learning, and it teaches good time management skills.

  6. Man, that is late, Jacquie!