“But mama, I want to go out and play. I’ve been sitting doing work all day!”
“You can go out and play when you finish your homework.”
Every parent with a school-age child has had this discussion before. Your child spends all day at school, learning and engaging their minds. Then, after a long day, they come home and are bombarded with even more school work. Their little bodies just want to move and play after a day of sitting still and following the rules, but yet they are expected to continue the work even outside the classroom doors. Most adults aren’t expected to continue their job at home after putting in a full day’s work, but that is not the case for children.
As soon as your child enters “big kid school” the game changes. Within their first few weeks they are handed their first piece of homework. In kindergarten and first grade the tasks don’t seem too daunting, and since they revolve around basic skills most parents feel as though it’s necessary to work on things at home.
As your child grows, homework becomes more intense and instead of 10 minutes of homework, your third grader is sitting down with 30 minutes. Your sixth grader, a mere 12 years old, has an hour’s worth of homework. And this is on top of any extracurricular activities they may have and time spent with family, which at this point is non-existent.
If you break down an elementary school child’s typical day to day schedule, it may look something like this:
- 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.- School
- 3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.- Snack, begin homework
- 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.- Soccer practice
- 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.- Dinner and clean up
- 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.- Finish homework, reading
- 7 p.m. to bedtime- Family
Now, this is a pretty generous schedule. There are often times in between, like transportation to and from school or practices, that eat up much of your afternoons. In the end, the price that is paid is time for kids to be kids. There is no time left in our days for kids to just play. To go out with neighborhood friends and start up a game of basketball. To ride bikes around the block. To create fun, imaginative games at the playground.
No, instead we’re demanding homework is done, and quickly, so that we can move on to the next thing because there is just no time.
So teachers, No, my children will not be doing homework.
We will not spend hours pouring over worksheets and questions that are supposed to be answered verbatim out of her textbook. We will not be completing a similar addition worksheet to the one you did in class a mere four hours earlier. We won’t be creating fact sheets or reading 12 pages out of her history book each night. No.
We want our daughters to enjoy school, not loathe it because it consumes every second of their life. We want them to come home happy and excited, telling us all the things they learned that day or the new discoveries they made instead of dreading the coming hours where we are harping at them to just finish their dang homework already.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and school is one of them. Too much work makes for an overwhelmed and stressed person (this goes for children and adults).