I ranted on Twitter last night about the amount of homework that Bud, my first grader has. I am all for reinforcing the concepts of what was learned in school that day and I am up for reinforcing good reading habits at home (he has been reading chapter books since he was 5). But when I open my 6yo’s backpack to find that he is to write his spelling words 3 times each, complete a math work sheet, do a family leadership activity, AND read 6 of the 12 books in his bag as well as pick his favorite 2 to RE-READ, I get a little bit antsy. He spent over an hour on homework last night, and I think it sucks.
Yet I try to project a positive message about it because I don’t want him to associate annoyance with homework because of me. He’ll learn it on his own soon enough. Let’s not forget that Hub or I do not get home until about 6PM. FIL usually takes Bud to TKD, (which is an activity his school promotes) and they are waiting for me when I get home. FIL is not really the “help the kids with the homework” kind of guy. There are some things they can do on their own, but typically, they need to wait for Hub or me to get started. (We also have a standing rule that they CAN NOT TOUCH THE GD PENCIL SHARPENER!! On account of there being pencil shavings all over the kitchen on numerous occasions) So yes. They wait.
Yesterday I got home much later than usual, and Lucy had done all of her homework. It was completely wrong. Bud had started on his spelling work while Hub was cooking dinner. After we ate he did math while I helped Lucy fix her work, and then he pulled out all of the books. This was about when Hub was leaving for work, and I about passed out on the floor. BUT he read the books on the couch while I got the girls ready for bed, and then I had him read his re-reads out loud to me. It was 9pm before he was in bed. 9. PM. (and we skipped the leadership activity because it was lame. And you don’t have to turn anything in on it.)
The message that the school sends is that the reading is important and the progression of his reading skills is important so we must do this every night. Comprehension is important as well, not just being able to read the words, so parents should discuss the concepts of the books with the child after the fact. I’m kind of at a loss here. Obviously, we are going to do it. And I don’t want to sound like the crazy lazy parent at open house next week and admonish all of the book reading, but I do think that I need to come up with a way of expressing that this is a bit too much. Open House is on Thursday and if he comes home with 12 books that night, when we are required to bring the children with us from 6-7:30, I am going to lose my damn mind.
I started hating homework as a kid when my second grade teacher made us write every number from 1-1000 on these skinny strips of paper that she had stapled together. 50 numbers on each side of each page. I’m not kidding when I say that was the turning point for me, where school work became a burden. It wasn’t fun, and obviously there was no freaking point in me writing the same GD numbers in different combinations over and over again. Second grade was 25 years ago and I still remember how helpless and bored and trapped I felt. I don’t want that for my kid.
So what is the balance here? Am I wrong? Do I say anything to the teacher? Or the principal? Do I just suck it up and have to go through it all again when Lucy hits 1st grade next year? While Bud will probably be sent home with an encyclopedia to read every night?
I really have no idea.