Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Homework, schmomework

Over the weekend, Ancarett pointed to a Salon article about the increase in homework for kids in the younger grades. Given that I mention homework a few times here, I wanted to weigh in . . . again.

We're getting better on the homework front. I do think that it is important for Geeky Boy (and now, Geeky Girl) to learn time management and personal responsibility. But I'm tired of the argument that homework somehow helps students learn. The Salon article points out that this is definitely not the case for most students in the elementary grades. And the homework amount is definitely geared toward the concept of having a parent at home during those couple of hours after school lets out. If this is not the case (as it is for us), it makes getting that 1-2 hours of homework done very difficult. We get home at 6:00. We then eat dinner, usually around 6:30 or 7:00. It's often 7:30 or 8:00 before Geeky Boy can start his homework. That means, it's often at least 9:00 before he's done. Yes, he could do it during after care, but he doesn't. He prefers to take a break and I don't blame him. Plus, he often has questions about his homework and it's more comfortable for him to ask us rather than the aftercare teachers. That also means that our evenings are not relaxing--for any of us.

You know, I was at a meeting last week and we were talking about the way we're all trying to do "more with less." I'm done with that. There's no reason we should work ourselves to death. And I think all this homework does is reinforce the idea that we're only on this planet to "be productive." Balance, people, balance. If we really want to have closer families, better citizens, even more productive citizens, we would strive for more balance. Work would not take up 10-12 hours of our day. There would be more down time. We shouldn't have to do more with less. We should just do less.