I am Old and Have Too Many Children

So does five children.

I am really annoyed with Primary school teachers. Why, for the love of snickerdoodles, do teachers have to load up my child with sheetloads of homework every week? Yes, I’ve read all the studies done on the glorious blessings of giving kids homework. Yes, I want my kid to be a super intelligent and economically viable creature when she grows up. But Im pretty sure she can squeak by without a worksheet that expects her to: complete a Sudoku puzzle, compute 20 math problems, write a story about bunny rabbits, research maps on the internet, learn 15 spelling words, draw a Gauguin masterpiece about bunny rabbits,read two comprehension passages and answer a zillion questions.

Do teachers think I have nothing better to do with my time then sit and patiently walk this child through all this waffle? The days when I would take pride in every shakily executed A B C are long gone. When I would listen with an encouraging smile to the whining. No. There’s no more gentle persuasion or syrupy smiling at homework time in my house. Now, I am in complete agreement with that whiny child. You dont want to do homework? Me neither. Let’s chuck it. Now, I snarl “What’s wrong with your teacher anyway? Is she crazy giving you all this stuff to do? Dammnit.” and “Give me that paper, hmmm the answers are 12, 3 and 46.Now that’s enough, go run outside. Better yet, go play Xbox.” But mum, the teacher said I have to learn these spelling words. “Agh, your teacher’s being ridiculous. Nobody cares if you can spell properly these days. Thats what Spellcheck is for. Trust me. I’m an English teacher. And a writer. I know everything.”

I’m lodging an official complaint with the primary school teachers of the world. Stop giving kids so much homework. No, revise that. I’m pretty sure that parent enthusiasm for their children’s homework is directly correlated to how many children they have. So teachers should find out which kids have no siblings and then give THEM buckets of homework. All the kids with 2 or more siblings? Forget it. Their parents are hanging on by a thread to their sanity. Dont risk pushing them over the edge by giving their kid homework. Trust me. Some of us parents are just old. Lazy.Tired. And we have too many children.Have pity on us.

Have you got homework in YOUR house? Please tell me I’m not the only one who whinges about my mother homework duties.

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4 comments

  1. I'm not a parent but I visit relatives who have young children and I must agree with the homework overload for primary school children… in fact, even for pre-school level! When I was in kindy, it was basically advanced day care – drawing, painting, jigsaw puzzles, singing songs, learning the alphabet, basic writing, very basic math equations, etc. No homework. Now pre-schoolers are expected to write stories, do online quizzes (arranged via school website), learn multiplication tables, and read a chosen book aloud… and a parent then has to sign a note that the tasks have been completed at home. It makes me wonder about families where the parent/parents just have no time to sit down with the kids and go through homework – No time to teach times tables, no time (or the knowledge how) to edit a story, no time to read through a book together. What happens to those children – Are they the ones who fall behind? Do the teachers actually teach and take them through step by step, or are they there just to see whether homework was either done satisfactorily or not? Is it all really necessary for that age?Ahh well, I'm sticking with the plan to home-school my own kids when/if I have any!

  2. Lani, there is some kind of homework plague going around in primary school these days. A friend of mine has two sisters in primary school who have tons and tons of homework, plus they go to Saturday school, plus they have tutoring on Sundays. It's insane. When I was that age, I was catching bugs and making up fairy tales. I think there is a real fear amongst a lot of parents that their children are going to get left behind so schools are expected to start the kids off at an early age. What they don't seem to realise is that kids need to be kids and in my opinion a childhood is worth more than learning useless maths which you will never EVER use again. I did pretty well at school (I'm Asian, it comes with the territory) but that didn't stop me from floundering around at uni without a clue as to what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. For the most part, I was unhappy. Until about a year ago when I figured out how much I loved to write. Something I would have learned years ago if the schooling system wasn't so busy shoving homework and crazy expectations down my throat. And to top it all off, there are so many books buy wealthy, successful people who didn't do s well at school, but they lived a life and so were better equipped to tackle the real world. So, the moral of the story is…stuff the homework unless it's absolutely necessary. Kids grow up too quickly these days anyway. The more time they have to be young the better.

  3. I have two children, one of which is in school and the other wishes she was! Although child #1 does well in school and enjoys it for the most part, homework nights often include tears and drama at our house. This past year his grade two teacher did not give any homework and I have to say, what a wonderful year it was! We created our own homework which included reading books, drawing pictures and completing made up math problems. I really enjoyed this and so did our son. But, as we move closer and closer to the start of a new school year in September, my anxiety is beginning to kick in…son #1 will be taking grade three in French, not only will there be homework but it will be in a different language. Anyone have a tissue box…I'm going to need it!

  4. Im glad Im not the only one who's noticed the homework/schoolwork overload these days. I think its closely connected to the drive to get kids to be these super talented, super driven and (over) achieving individuals. Like many of you, I spent my childhood playing outside, reading books, chasing bugs ( or hiding from them), building forts and annoying the heck out of the neighbors. Nowadays, ouch. Wheres the room for children to breathe? Dream? Just be? And Elizabeth, thats an excellent point about parents who both work and only have slivers of time and space to fit childrens homework into. Im a 'fulltime' mother rite now and i still struggle to read with all the young ones or get through their blinkin worksheets. I hate them with a vengeance. I homeschooled 3 of my children two years ago and we had a blast.Every day was a discovery.Sure there were boring and (a few minor)yelling bits – but it was mainly fun learning. Homework today? Ugh. the opposite

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