Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mail Bag

Dear Like I Was Saying:

Just wait til your kids are older. My daughter is in 8th grade, and has been an A student her whole academic career, and continues to do well. However, 4-6 hours of homework per night 6-7 days of week is not going over well with me. No, she doesn't have "extracurricular" activities. When would she have time for that? She barely sees her friends at school as it is. She will have a few months of a sport coming up, which she has participated in for several years now. But our nights & weekends are dictated by how much homework she has. And no, she's not waiting til the last minute on a project, cramming the night before a test. This is her daily routine since hitting 8th grade in September. How many hours a night do you think would be appropriate? Yeah, get back to me on that one....

P.O. Parent


Dear P.O. Parent:

Thanks for your comment on this post. I appreciate your viewpoint. I looked at many of the other links that your search found on this subject and realized that my opinion was definitely in the minority. It does seem that there is so much of a problem with excessive homework in schools that many of the comments I read were from parents who had decided to take back their lives and homeschool their children.

I do think 4-6 hours of homework is excessive. The guideline in my school for an 8th grader is 90-120 minutes per day. That seems much more reasonable.

My bigger beef is with parents who want to undermine the authority and respect of the teacher by telling their child to just not do the homework. Switching schools or homeschooling may be options you'd want to explore as a solution, or, maybe you could do some research on what acceptable homework limits are for various grade levels and present those to your school. Ask them what their philosophy is on homework. Work with them to come up with a homework policy that reflects the goals of their learning environment while fostering mutual respect for all parties...especially the family unit.

I'm not pretending to have all the answers and I do realize that since my kids are still young I may have a Pollyanna viewpoint. Although this doesn't seem to be your issue, I do still ascertain that a lot of the stress at school could be eliminated if parents would be better gatekeepers of their children's time and energy.

Thanks for your comment and I hope we can keep the dialogue going.

Sincerely, Like I Was Saying


Melissa said...

My first question to P.O. Parent is "Are the other kids her age taking that long to do their homework?" Is she taking advantage of study halls? My oldest is in 6th grade and only spends about 30 minutes each night on homework because she does the rest of it in a 40 minutes study hall.

I don't think I had 4-6 hours of homework each week in college much less 8th grade!

I think the point of your post regarding all this was the fact that parents were undermining the teachers and in a sense, "blowing them off" when it came to their disagreement over homework. As I serve in youth ministry and at our middle school, the biggest problem with that age group is their lack of respect for people, even authority figures. Where does that come from?

Actions speak louder than words.

Melissa said...

I meant 4-6 hours of homework each DAY, not week, in my previous comment!

The Gang's All Here! said...

What a thoughtful and controlled response to a less-than polite diatribe.

Although I agree with much of what "PO Parent" says, I also agree that whatever schooling option we choose we must teach our children to respect the intrinsic authority & boundaries built in to each system. I deplore the absence of Shaggy's face from my kitchen every weekday from 4-6 and again after dinner; but he's good at managing his workload and very good at being willing to pay this price - as being in this school environment was largely his choice.

In general, I do agree that homework should be limited in nature: time required and work assigned. We've all witnessed busy work and I admit: I've been one of those moms that sets the timer, and if it's not done AND it's been busy work, I send them off to play and write a note to the teacher. Rarely, but I've done it.