If homework is consistently disrupting your child's life, it's time for you to stop the madness. "Just say no" may rightly apply as much to homework as to dangerous drugs. One of us has a friend who often sends her daughter to school with a note saying that she didn't do her homework because she was too busy or too tired or had family obligations. We know another parent who has more than once done math homework herself to save her crying or desperate child from censure at school. Parents have a right to reclaim their family space.
Measures to reduce the amount of homework can also be made in the classroom itself. Since the standard 8am-2pm school day often leaves children exhausted, we propose to include an hour of personal academic work within this schedule. If classes ran from eight to two at the high-school level, students could receive help in school on designated projects from two until four o'clock. Since teachers themselves are often overworked, assistance of this sort could be provided by hiring extra staff and/or drawing on other members of the community with special gifts in the subject area. By keeping academic work in the classroom, it keeps the responsibility of education on the school -- and not on the family.
How Is Homework Affecting Your Family?
You can begin to determine how homework affects your child's life by asking yourself the following questions. It might even be helpful to share your answers with friends as a first step to bringing this issue out in the open.
1. How much time does your child spend on homework?
2. What is the nature of the homework, and do you think it contributes to your child's development?
3. What other experiences and activities are lost to homework?
4. What impact does homework have on your child's health, rest and sense of well-being?
5. What impact does it have on your family's life?
Do you think your child has too much homework? Discuss it with other moms now.