Is this their homework or ours?

How many of you have seen the massive amount of homework our kids are getting these days? It is unbelievable at the ripe age of 7 or 8 that the homework is so extensive. We are at the point where 50% of our kid’s education has become the responsibility of the parents at home. For some of us, that is no problem, but for many who work long hours and are exhausted after work, it is a tough assignment to now become a school teacher at home.
My kids now have computer assignments that are to be completed each week, reading every night for 30 minutes, math homework daily, social studies, journal writing daily and Spanish. That is all after they have completed a full day of school and finished their after school activities like piano and soccer practice. You can nearly forget the after school, “free” play time. There is barely room in the day for our kids to be kids. They are too busy preparing to grow up.
Our computer assignments are posted on the school website by the teacher and must be completed each week. Having the assignments available to be completed when the kids have time is great, but teaching them to log onto the internet (a scary thought at 7 years old), enter their passwords, complete the assignments and log out is all on the parents. Throw in a few pop up sales gimmicks to mess up their process and they literally need their parent by their side every minute. Not to mention the fact that as they are logging onto the internet we never know what will pop up and be advertised or exposed to them as they are just trying to do their homework.
The opportunity for computer assignments is great if smart kids and aggressive parents want their kids to get ahead. However, for kids that are already struggling and parents that are either not at home much or are not as engaged, it may just create a greater divide between what should be expected of a normal kid in second grade and what is attainable if pushed to the limits. Keep in mind that we are talking about after school learning here.
The other day, an algebra assignment popped up on my second graders math assignment page on the computer. She tried to do it and after a while got frustrated and called for my help. After reviewing the assignment, I couldn’t believe this was homework for a second grader. I thought, “she must be behind”, so I spent the next several hours teaching her how to add and subtract larger digit numbers and combining that new skill with algebraic equations using addition and subtraction. I was amazed that she actually learned everything in one day. I later found out that assignment was for the end of the third grade year and should not have been posted to her assignment page. Well now she knows how to add and subtract into the hundreds of thousands and balance equations and is in honors math in second grade. Good thing that was a math assignment.
For parents, it sure seems that our kids are going to do only as well as our own skill level can take them at home. If a parent doesn’t know how to teach math or writing or reading at home, how are they going to help keep their kids up to speed in school.
Our country has a crisis in education going on and it may very well be a crisis in the ability of our children’s parents to teach them at home rather than in our kids learning on their own. Or, are we trying to teach so much information to them in such a condensed timeframe that it is leaving far too much learning for the home and on the shoulders of parents who are not professional educators.
Maybe part of the answer to our countries crisis in education is for the school districts to have classes for the parents. These classes would outline the expectation the educational system has for their role in their child’s education. There could also be classes to show parents how to teach their kids the basic fundamental skills at home. The goal of a program like this would be to help the parents teach some of the fundamentals to our younger children at home and for the parents to learn how to teach their children to study at home. Really, most of us do not know what we should be doing with our kids homework and how involved and in what way we should become involved with their homework and their education. Then again, is it their homework or ours?
— Lance Waite

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.