You woke up early, made a wholesome breakfast, organized the Pinterest-inspired first day of school photos, and loaded your kids up with their dream back pack, and freshly sharpened pencils. You don’t know how you did it, but you got your crew in the car and to school on time. Once you kiss them all and send them off you realize there was one thing you have forgotten in this otherwise perfect day:
Tonight. Begins. The. Homework. Saga.
For so many parents, memories about our educational experience include homework: writing or diagraming sentences, math problems, spelling lists, and reading comprehension questions. And even though we despise the practice of having our kids do homework, one of the first things teachers are asked during Back to School Night is, “Can you explain your homework policy?”
Most teachers hate to give homework. Even more teacher hate to receive homework. And many teachers are happy to do away with the practice all together.
So why are our kids still doing homework?
The simplest answer is–many schools maintain a homework policy to keep the parents happy. Despite the deep-hidden angst about homework, some parents push their feelings aside in lieu of homework’s “rewards: naturally setting boundaries, helping students practice learned skills, building study habits, and (let’s be honest… these are our favorite excuses nowadays) homework keeps kids off devices or away from bickering with siblings.
But the truth is our children can still achieve all of those goals without homework. Jessica Smock wrote about the 31 Things Your Kids Should Do Instead of Homework and I think today’s teachers should send that home as a weekly to-do list rather than a spelling list.
Though the homework debate is sure to continue well in to my retirement, I urge you to advocate for your child’s body and mind. Just like this teacher urged, spend your children’s “homework time” doing something more meaningful like: playing outside, cooking together, or learning about something you’re passionate about… their minds, their body, and your sanity will thank me later.