Education · Parenting

Three Perspectives

Homework and projects are a hot topic these days, and everyone has an opinion. Below are three examples.

Dear Parent,
Did you see today’s homework?!? What a joke. We need another worksheet like we need a hole in the head. Honestly, what is the point of this? All it does is create a stressful time at home before we take our kid to activities. We also need to get the sibling to activities. We do not have time for this. And what about the creative poster thing we have to make? Why do teachers think we have all these arts and crafts lying around our house? Now we need to go to Hobby Lobby and/or Michael’s to buy stuff because we refuse to let our child just use crayons and come to school with the worst project.

Also, what is this “read for 15 minutes”? We read every night. Sure, sometimes we forget or don’t have time or our kid reads on their own, but we do not need a reading log policing us. The teachers need proof that our kid read? Why don’t they just call us liars to our faces?

Homework sucks. Let’s ban together and send nasty emails to the teachers about how homework is ruining our lives and our child’s life.  There is no point to the homework, and we know we all spend countless hours complaining about it to each other.

Another Parent

Dear Parent,
I know I have homework. I know I need to do it now. I know we have somewhere to go. I know I need to hurry. I also know I need some down time. I need to eat a snack. I need to process my day. I need to use the bathroom. I need to unwind. Please stop telling me to hurry. Please stop telling me I cannot play with friends or siblings because I have not finished my homework.

Also, will you please stop hovering over my shoulder and pointing out my mistakes? I know you think you are doing what’s right, but you are making me nervous. I understood the material at school, but now that you are asking so many questions, hurrying me, and parenting my sibling all while making dinner, I am getting confused. I need help, but I don’t need the answer. I need you to provide me a quiet area and time to complete my homework.

My homework is important to me. My teacher has told me to complete it independently. I love my teacher. You raised me to respect my teacher, and now you are complaining about her and this assignment. I know you think you are mumbling or whispering to a friend, but I hear you. Is my homework not something I should take pride in? I don’t get why it is bad. Isn’t homework my job as a student? I also like the reading log. It gives me time to read, or if I am lucky, you will read to me.

Please do not teach me that homework is a nuisance. It will not pave the road for good study habits or a positive outlook on my education. Complaining about my homework, constantly monitoring my answers, and rushing me does not make me feel good.

Your Child

Dear Parent,
Yes, I know I assigned homework. Yes, I know it is annoying to you. Yes, I know your child has activities or stays late at school because you work. Yes, I know every excuse you are going to email me. Do you know homework is not my decision? I did not create that worksheet. I did not decide to start the reading log. I did not choose the creative assignment that has caused you so much angst.

I have a grade level chair, a department chair, and administrators telling me what to do. I have state legislatures telling me what to do. I have curriculum to follow. I have a list of standards each child must learn by year’s end, no exception. Yes, I know your child is gifted or has a learning disability. Every child has “something” they need. The homework is used for reinforcement. It is not new material. Please trust me and my years of experience above the miscommunication you hear. Please do not give the child the answer. Please just check for completion.

As the teacher, I need to know which child needs to be retaught. If the child is struggling at home, take that as an indicator of to how they are doing in class. If the child is breezing through the homework, that too is an indicator of how they are doing in class. I know if your child is struggling. I know if the work is too easy. I know because I am the teacher.

Homework should not tear us apart. It should bring us together. Homework shows you what we are learning, shows you how the child is doing with this material, and gives an opportunity for the child to practice what has been taught. Again, this is the child’s work, not yours. Homework also teaches responsibility and pride. It is not the evil you have made it out to be.

Please do not send an email to me complaining about homework. Please do not send an email to my administrators complaining about homework. These same administrators approved my lesson plans last week and approved the homework.

Please remember I became a teacher because I believe in your child; I believe in all the children. I believe they can succeed. I want what is best for them, just like you.

The Teacher