When I first became a teacher, I was so focused on my students and their education that I never really stopped to think about how homework was affecting their parents. Boy, has that changed! I have realized that parents struggle with educating their children because kids don’t want to listen to their parents. Kids never trust their parents’ knowledge and are constantly reminding them that the teacher does it a different way.
When my oldest son began school, my husband and I couldn’t wait to see what school was like for him. He did well from day one and continues to excel. He completes his homework without complaining and is flourishing in his honors classes. My second son enjoys school, but not the academic part of it, only the social aspect. He does pretty well, but we have to stay on him and make sure he keeps up with his work. My third son has struggled since day one. Sometimes it is like I am banging my head against the wall when we do homework together. Some days I feel like that would actually be less painful! My daughter still likes doing homework because she is only in 1st grade. But there are some days that she just wants to play, not do flashcards or practice her sight words. My kids are probably like many other kids across the country that don’t like to do homework!
I am extremely grateful that my kids’ teachers only assign an appropriate amount of homework that is used for reinforcing skills, not just busy work. Since my kids have started school, I have a new-found understanding for the parents of my students. This is why I assign valuable homework that allows my students more practice with the concepts taught at school.
My Second Job
When I leave my teaching job at school, I go home to my second teaching job. This one is often difficult and can be very overwhelming. Honestly, I dread doing homework with my kids. It is a battle every night to get my children to sit and finish their work. All of the advice I have given to parents over the years about making their kids set a timer, blah, blah, blah…not working here!
Even though I value homework as a teacher, doing homework with my own kids stinks…the tears, the yelling, and the crying…all of it. I do not think of it as bonding time with my children, but actually more like me turning into a crazy parent forcing them to do something they strongly dislike. It is like torture for both my kids and myself. The homework battle has become ten times worse since the Common Core Standards have been introduced. The problems don’t make sense and the kids become frustrated more easily. They tend to give up before they even start. At least that is how it is for my third grader and many other children out there.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the importance of homework, and I think the CCSS are actually beneficial in some ways. I like the idea that there is consistency across the states in what the kids are learning at each grade level. I have no problem with raising the bar to get students to think a little bit deeper. But, many of the standards are developmentally inappropriate. Some of the math homework is so difficult that the students and parents are not even sure what the problem is asking. Setting kids up for failure is not my idea of teaching. Despite this new educational idea, I have trudged on trying my best to get my children to cross the finish line. Even if it means just giving my son the answer on his homework because we have been staring at the same problem for forty minutes!
I am sorry to all the parents out there struggling to help their children. This is a hard job! Parents and teachers are in the same boat; we all want kids to succeed. But, we must continue to fight for what we know is right and not accept what is harmful and stressful to our children.