My Children Have Too Much Homework

By Thomas L. Carlson

I am not sure if it is federal and state education testing mandates that have created the homework monster that we see today.  It is possible that the, “no child left behind” has turned this generation into a society of, “childhood left behind.”

As a parent of 2 teenagers, I have concluded that my children have too much homework.  I remember when I was a kid, homework was something that I was rarely assigned.  If I did receive an assignment, I was usually able to complete it during study hall.  My kindergarten career started in 1976, in a small school in Duluth, Minnesota.  My memories of childhood are filled with days of playing outside and just being a kid.  I was the kid in school that got average grades and enjoyed my childhood.  When I am an old man and reflecting on my life, I will not be saying, “I wish I had been assigned more homework.”

My concern over homework began with my daughter when she was in elementary school.  After she started 5th grade, I noticed she was spending an extreme amount of her time after school preparing for the next day’s assignments.  It was not until 6th grade where my wife and I really began to get concerned.  We were going to bed each night at 10:00pm and she was still working on homework assignments she started when she got home from school.  If I had that sort of schedule, I would not be able to function properly the next day.   This made me go into deep contemplation of how different her childhood was when compared to that of mine.  I began doing research online and found out that our concerns over excessive homework were not unusual.

We decided to schedule a meeting with my daughter’s teachers and the principal.  In preparation for the meeting, my wife decided to spend an evening doing the same homework assignments that our daughter had been assigned for that day.  My wife has a Masters Degree and says she has always been an “A” student.  After 3 hours of doing worksheets and other assignments, my wife finally completed her homework.  This made us really think about how long of a day a 12 year old has to endure.  If it took a person with a Masters Degree 3 hours to complete the assignments, what type of stress is our 12 year old child going through?  Later that week we met with our daughter’s teachers and principal.  During the meeting, the teachers initially said that their assignments were not excessive and the levels of homework that they assigned were appropriate for 12 year olds.  After their explanation, my wife told them that she had done the same assignments our daughter had been assigned and it took her 3 hours to complete.  The teachers then began to discuss assignments amongst each other and they concluded that they were not doing any sort of coordination of assignments between their classes.  Assignments were being made without any regards to workloads imposed by other teachers.

My daughter is now 15 years old and is in high school.  My son is 13 years old. I still think the amount of homework they receive is excessive.  I am not sure if it is federal and state education testing mandates that have created the homework monster that we see today.  It is possible that the, “no child left behind” has turned this generation into a society of, “childhood left behind.”

This article was written by Thomas L. Carlson.

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Posted in Guest Post on September 27th, 2011 | Permalink | Comments »
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