The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

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Friday, May 18, 2007




I hate homework. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Nick, my fourth grader, spends about 90 minutes a night struggling with homework. I think 90 minutes a night at 10-years old is ridiculous. For some of his classmates, the time is 45 minutes to an hour, but Nick is too fried after school to work very efficiently.

Nick’s teacher is fabulous (other than his extreme sports approach to homework) who plans fascinating class activities and terrific field trips. But Nick’s memory (and mine) of fourth grade will be how homework came to dominate our lives.

Nick has nightly homework, a weekly project and a monthly independent reading report (the dreaded IRP). My son is one of the easiest-going people I know, but planning for three distinct activities stresses Nick. We’ve had several bouts of tears this year. And he’s told me that every time he leaves the house, he feels like he’s forgetting something. Again, at 10 years old, I find this ridiculous.

I’ve talked to the teacher. Even if he is unwilling to change his requirements, I want him to know the impact of homework. The latest advice I received from the teacher was to teach Nick some stress management techniques. My son is a 10-year old child. Why should he need stress management techniques to deal with school? Ridiculous.

I don’t get a lot of support for my dislike of homework. Most moms I talk to think the homework is a good thing, that our kids will be better prepared for the rigors (tortures) of middle school. My husband tells me to stop the complaining, that it’s just the way it is. All kids have more homework these days.

There are plenty of studies showing homework does nothing at this age. But an hour or more of homework a night has become so usual that many adults accept it without question. I’ve decided to speak out against gratuitous heavy volumes at every opportunity. I want my happy learner back. I want to take walks after dinner. I want to play board games. I want to play catch. The time has come to take back the night.

By Marianne Lonsdale

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Take back the night, Marianne! Maybe even just one night a week could be: homework for 20 minutes max, an exhilarating game of catch, and then some more homework if you both think you're up for it. (?)

I love that line -- happy learner. That's how I like to think of a 10-year-old, too.

Best wishes.

You are not alone! My, do I have a lot to say about this subject! I will (later :) For now I want to state that I do not find the homework necessary in the amounts my first grader receives (comes home at 3pm and can spend 2 hours on it(!!!). I call it busywork. Just to keep kids (and parents) busy. I wonder when we are supposed to have family time? how do other parents do it? when can he learn what he likes to learn (he does have interests that go well beyond the grade school)? when can he just unwind and be a kid?
Again, you are not alone. my eight-year-old suffers every night trying to finish two hours of homework. he has six pages to do and frankly another child might be able to get through that in one hour or less. but not my boy. he's smart as a whip but feels like he's not because he "fails" at this homework thing. someone suggested meds -- adhd medicine to help him focus. all because an 8-year-old doesn't want to do two hours of homework. there's something seriously wrong here. thanks for writing about this. Laura-Lynne
I actually like the homework. We take maybe 15 minutes to do it and our school does take the kid's interests into account. We just did an animal project-each kid picked their favorite. They got no other homework all month! I am finding it is relatively quick and easy in first grade. I can still help! Plus homework is a fact of school life so it is good to get in the habit of doing it every day. I can't imagine what schools are giving kids hours of homework at such a young age! Teachers need to hear from the moms-they are just trying to prepare kids. I am dreading later-like middle school. Cathy
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