Homework hell

This will come as a surprise to many who know me (but not to those who know me REALLY WELL), but I’ve had to work really hard to gain back my self-esteem. Granted, it’s been a long time since I’ve become my former confident self, once again.

So it really burns me when something happens that takes me back to a place of doubting myself. How is it that a teacher who has known my child less than a month can bring me there, with one short phone call? I know it’s not her intention, but it’s truly where my head goes.

I don’t even want to get into the homework discussion right now, that’s a topic I am determined to write a poignant well-researched and targeted article about. But what’s burning me is that if homework is an issue for my 9 year old, it’s my fault. She doesn’t get it done because I don’t make it our priority. Sure, it’s her work, but how many 9 year olds will choose homework over biking? Homework over playing with the neighborhood kids? Homework over gymnastics club? Homework over Harry Potter? Homework over time with her mom? Homework over… well, anything?

If homework is going to get done, it will be because I, “the parent”, am disciplined enough to ask my child upon walking in the door (at whatever time of day that might be, but that’s another discussion for another day about today’s family obligations) “what’s for homework”? And it will get done because I, “the parent”, establish an expectation of her getting it done over doing anything else.

I’ll save my opinion of what takes priority in my house for another article. This one is about me, and my self-esteem. When my child feels bad about herself for not getting her homework done when the teacher does her rounds, it’s a reflection on me and what a poor mother I am.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not taking this to heart. I don’t hold myself up to some standard set by the teacher of the day (or year, in this case). But I resent the expectation that this is somehow my responsibility. So, if the only real purpose to these exercises are to form “good habits”, if my daughter is too young to form this habit completely independently, then is she really learning anything from it? Well, yes she is. She’s learning that her teacher and her mom are in cahoots and that if she wants to feel good about herself, her mom needs to make her sit down and do pointless repetitive exercises so that she can go to school and say “yes’M I got my homework done!”

Just whose self-esteem are we really talking about here?

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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13 years ago

..and this is why I don’t assign homework. My students need to finish what was not done that day but I don’t assign actual homework. I do my best to give them as much time as needed and possible to finish all work at school.

I just found the hassles it caused at home and the tracking of it for me is just not worth the massive hassle.


13 years ago

Yep, and I posted on your FB too….as my father (a teacher!) once said that homework became of greater importance in the Regan Presidency (sp?)…it was deemed to be better for kids…but was not as important before….you think my mother could do homework at night when she had tons of chores to do on the farm? No…certainly not. Granted there are fewer farm kids around today but shift work and single parenting are here to stay….

13 years ago

I am right there with you on the homework issue, and yes, I feel guilty if my 9yo doesn’t get it done. It’s hard enough for families to find time to be together, we need to allow the children to have some time with families, doing activities, sports, etc. They already spend enough time at school.

Melissa | refashionista

I’ve a 6.5yr old and an 8.5yr old in school right now. What kills me is the nightly “required reading”. The books sent home as their class-required reading are lame, terrible examples of literature — usually lesson driven (we’re learning synonyms) instead of actually interesting.

My kids read every night.But I rarely make them read those books. I am confident enough in their abilities to know what they need to work on and reading is not one of those things. some teachers are understanding of this, and some are not.

As parents, we’re predisposed to doubt ourselves — especially when criticized by people in a position of authority over our children. It can be hard to advocate when we wonder if we’re wrong. Regardless, my kids *will not* do the required readings unless they want to. I don’t want them to be turned off of reading by silly, pointless stories when they could be reading what they *want* to read, instead.

Ironically, what they choose on their own to read at home is far more challenging than the books sent home from school.