Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My friend Leah left a comment on the post below that deserves a post of its own.  She mentioned that in her area 3rd graders are at school eight hours a day and expected to do two hours of homework a night.  Sure, the eight hour day may include travel time, but two hours of homework a night?  These are eight and nine year old kids! 

My question is,

Why are parents tolerating that?

In the middle of all these posts encouraging homeschoolers, I want to say a word to encourage public and private schoolers:

You are still in charge of your kids.

You get to decide.

I like to use the analogy of building a house.  You, the parent, are the general contractor.  You are in charge of the whole project.  In fact, you're like an owner/builder.  You have a double 'stake' in the project! 

A good contractor often hires sub-contractors (plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc.) just like you do - teachers, coaches, tutors, and the like.  But you are still in charge of the project, and you hire those subs and expect them to work toward your goals on the project. 

Now, you don't hire subs to argue with them over details that they specialize in and you don't, right?  You hire them for their expertise.  They may have a different way of doing things that you can learn to appreciate.  Or tolerate.  Even so, they may know more about the details, but you know more about the project.  You see the big picture.  And if they don't, you either correct their course, or you fire them and hire a different sub, or you do it yourself.

This is especially pertinent for those of us with HoH kids.  We see a lot of specialists.  Probably most of them are wonderful, compassionate, and helpful.  (Hi Darcy!  Hi Kimberly!)  But I've run into a few with their own agenda.  And I've run into a few who really think that parents are idiots who ought to just shut up and let the specialists run the show.  Thankfully, they seem to be the minority.

Getting back to the hours of homework issue...  when our kids were in public elementary school there were times I felt they were being given too much homework.

So I told their teachers we wouldn't be doing it. 

And we didn't.

Now, had they been goofing around at school and not completing the work they should be doing there, that would be different story, and not what I'm talking about.  The school already had them for the majority of the day, and I was not about to 'give' the school any more of our family time. 

Our life is far more enriching
than a bunch of busy-work.


Cutzi said...

Amen! AMEN!! AMEN!!!

I cannot tell you how many of my facebook friends have been lamenting over homework since school started. Their kids are anxiety-filled and over tired and I see it causing so much stress and tension in homes.

I'm going to share your post on my page.

melanie said...

Yes, I'd say this is a post worth tabbing on your home page, Julie. Yikes.

leah said...

Very, very true. It does seem a lot of the homework is "busy work." I totally understand the need to practice spelling words or multiplication tables, but one has to wonder what they are doing all day long if they require so much homework at night! They certainly aren't developing thesis statements for a dissertation in the third grade, for goodness sake.

Fortunately, Matthew hasn't brought home any homework from Kindergarten. I don't think there should be ANY homework in Kindergarten. We read books at night, we play, and he has had a full day at school (he leaves at 8:15 and arrives home at 4:10 on the school bus. He is FIVE years old. Enough already)! I have heard tales of another K teacher who assigns homework EVERY night. I wouldn't do it.

Thanks for the reminder that we are still in charge.

leah said...

Oh, and I read another thing in our local newspaper that made me gasp in shock. A quote from a local universal Pre-K teacher:

"the role of the parent is at times more important than that of the teacher."

Seriously? AT TIMES? The role of the parent is ALWAYS more important than that of a school teacher.

The full article is here:

The dB family said...

Eeks!! That is scary!! I can't say that it's like that here. There are times though were my kids seem to have waaay more homework than I think they should. It's usually those busywork project times. Grrr.


humanics said...

Oh my gracious. If I only had a quarter for every time a parent had a complaint about their child's school and I wanted to yell in their face, 'THEN TAKE THEM OUT OF SCHOOL!!!! YOU ARE STILL IN CHARGE!!!! YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!' I hate the fact that parents, in general, don't have the feeling that they are STILL the ones in charge of their own kids- not the big bad government. That's one instinct that the present social order has all but taken from parents.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Leah, that attitude (of the teacher) just makes my blood boil!

Go, parents!

Hope this encourages some of you :D

Herding Grasshoppers said...

And P.S., Cutzi, feel free to share :D

tammy said...

Thank you for your comment on my page and leading me here. I've been behind in my blog reading due to all this homework! lol After a week of it, I knew enough was enough, and we weren't even finishing it all! Insane. I immediately scheduled an appointment with her teacher and her intervention specialist and let them know, I'm an involved parent, in charge of my child, and I will make sure they're following the IEP. I also STRESSED it shouldn't take an IEP to modify when needed, but if they seriously wanted to go there, I'd call an IEP and make sure I documented every.little.thing (which I'll be doing anyway). NOT.ALL.STUDENTS.LEARN.THE.SAME.WAY and are one the same level! It's my biggest pet peeve.

Teaching fourth and sixth grade, I was never a big homework or "at home" project teacher. My theory was if I had to send them home every.single.night with all these worksheets, then I wasn't doing my job. On top of that, I was never a big worksheet type of teacher ... which seems to be the norm lately ... and I hate every minute of it. I've never thought twice about homeschooling UNTIL I moved to Ohio. My oldest is now out of the public schools and in a private high school because of this. I thought I'd give K one more year in public, but I'm ready to pull her out and homeschool her .. and Aiden's not far behind.

So sorry .. this is getting lengthy, but great post and I could go on and on how much the whole hw issue irks me. Kailyn came home tonight with TWO books due tomorrow - one assigned last week (120 pages that she's almost done with) and one assiged yesterday (90 pages) - along with another worksheet and a test. K is also active in sports, and I refuse to give up that time, but I will give up this overload. enough's enough. She's 11.

sorry ... I could go on and on. Had to vent. ; )

leah said...

Thankfully, Matt's teacher shares my views on homework and there will be NONE in kindergarten. Nolan's teacher, however, sent home a homework sheet today. And he's in PRE-K. ROFL! This one just sent me into a fit of giggles. It should probably anger me, but the idea of homework for a four year old just made me laugh out loud.

Also? NOT doing it.