Thursday, October 6, 2011



How is the new school year?  So far, so good.  I'm enjoying the long days of quiet and the ability to get all household/work errands done without my offspring present.  The children like their teachers.  The  6 year old has adapted to going to school for the full-day and the 11 year-old has grown accustomed to having his head stuffed into the toilet in Middle School.  

Ha, ha!  Just kidding.  Middle School is going well, too.  We just have one complaint about the start of the new school year -- but it's a doozie:


@$%#^! Homework!

The amount of homework these three children have been getting is staggering.  I've begun to dread the 3 o'clock hour and not because I'm sad that the kids are coming home... I'm sad because the homework is coming home.

Henry has six subjects and about 45 minutes of nightly homework for at least four of them.  This does not include the never-ending stream of long-term projects and tests.  I'm sure there are some children (cough, GEORGIA, cough) who come home and do their homework quietly and unassisted, but Henry is not one of them.

Henry prefers to spend 30 minutes stressing about Not Being Able to Finish His Homework before he starts and actually finishes his homework.  And he likes to do this worrying aloud and in the presence of his mother.  I've spent the last month and a half helping Henry organize his assignments and his homework scheduler, helping him to figure out what he has to do and where it has to go in his notebook once he's finished.  Some days are easier than others.  Let's just say that we are making progress and Henry is doing well.  I can not say the same for me.  I seem to be getting more and more stressed.

I can understand why my sixth grader has a lot of homework, but does it make sense that my first-grader is coming home with a backpack sagging under the weight of her nightly take-home packet?  And it's all pure busy work! I kid you not, two days ago, Gordy and I spent 45 helping Josie write out the answers to a full-page questionnaire on why we, her parents, chose to name her Josie.  Huh?  We liked the name!  Who cares!?

And let's not forget Georgia!  Third grade has it's own set of challenges and, apparently, a whole lot of work that must be completed at home each day.

I've done lots of research on the subject of homework.  I've also talked to all my friends with children and I know homework is a heated subject.  You either think that the amount of homework children bring home is ridiculously large and preventing said children from exploring, playing and having a childhood, or else you believe that the children of today do not have the school time necessary to learn everything they need to learn to make it in this fast-paced world and bringing home extra work each night will help them compete with their international peers.

I don't know what to think.  The answer is probably some mixture of both rationales.  I just know that when the sun is setting and my kids are all on their second hour of homework after having spent seven hours at school and they are complaining and crying and tired.... well, let's just say I want to throw all their papers in the recycling bin, call the school and complain. 

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