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Fed up with homework January 30, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, societal commentary, teaching, younger son.
Tags: ,

I’m not fed up with my own homework. (I’m pretty much past that stage, thank goodness.) I’m fed up with the fact that the younger boy, who in first grade, is being given homework.

You know, that stuff that has shown to be absolutely useless for elementary age children?

Every weekend, we get a packet of homework. I’ve had to come up with reverse psychology measures to induce him to complete these. One of the most sure-fire ways is to start doing it for him, but make sure I’m reading aloud the problems because he’s probably hiding somewhere near by. I also read the wrong answers that I’m putting down.

I know he hates it when things are wrong, so he eventually feels the need to come over and correct my erroneous answers. He laughs at me because I can’t figure out his homework when it’s so easy. Then he whips through it in about 15 minutes or so.

That’s the thing that gets me: it’s easy for him. But he hates doing it with a passion. In the past year, I’ve been seeing my fun, easy-going boy turn into a stress bomb.

The kids are also supposed to be doing book reports – two a month. The handbook says that parents are supposed to be helping and that they need to be either neatly written or done on a word processor. However, on the last one, the teacher said that he needed to hand write his book reports now because she wants him to practice his handwriting. (And believe me, it’s really not that bad.)

A six-year-old is now supposed to spend time writing out paragraphs by hand?

As you may have guessed based on what I’ve already written, this caused a horrid reaction. After spending the afternoon attempting to coax him, listen to him crying, seeing him scared to come near me lest I force him to sit down with a pen and paper, I’ve given up. For the rest of the year. Maybe the next one, too. I’ve wasted too many weekends coercing my child to do something I thought was ridiculous rather than enjoying our time together doing something fun.

I am not going to make a first-grader hand write a book report. My husband didn’t even know how to read or write when he entered first grade. Neither of us recalls doing anything as extensive as a book report until at least third grade. And when we did them, we were given papers that prompted us to fill in particular information. We had to write one or two sentences at most.

And you know what? It obviously didn’t hurt either one of us to wait that long.

I’m in favor of challenging children…when it’s developmentally appropriate. I know that my son is physically and mentally able to perform these tasks. However, he’s not emotionally ready, and I think pushing this on a kid this young is doing more damage than good. There are so many other ways to learn at this age that are fun and just as educational.



1. FrauTech - January 31, 2011

That is pretty crazy. I can’t remember writing anything that intense until probably 6th grade and I don’t think it reflected poorly on my writing skills. I did however have a lot of homework, just that most of it was math if I remember correctly.


2. MommyProf - February 10, 2011

It’s funny – we went from a very low homework in the early grades school district (like “read a picture book every night” in first grade to “do these 10 review math problems” in fifth) to our present one where our sixth grader is writing a research paper on opthamalmic migraines because she was told she had to pick a topic on neuroscience. The amount of homework she has is crazy.

I liked the other district better. It makes me crazy when my kid has to suffer just so someone can feel like their program is rigorous.

You have my sympathy.


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