There are lots of reasons to dislike homework, and I agree with pretty much all of them. Kids need more time for unstructured play; they already spend seven hours a day doing school work. It isn’t proven to actually improve learning. It takes away from family time. In many cases, it is more work for the parents than the kids.
This last one! Most of the time, homework is at least as much work for me as it is for my kids and here is why. As Elementary school students (who shouldn’t even have homework!), my oldest two basically required me sitting at the kitchen table next to them to ensure they were actually doing what they were supposed to be doing. They needed constant reminders to stay on task. Oddly, #3 is way more self-sufficient as a 2nd grader than #1 or #2 were. Some days, I’m just not sure where he comes from. They needed me to repeatedly hand them a new pencil when theirs mysteriously fell onto the floor for the eighth time. They needed me to keep them from bugging and distracting each other. It was not enough for me to be in the room; they needed constant attention. And it wasn’t that they wanted this. It was that NOTHING would get done without me or Oliver standing over them.
While they have become way more independent in terms of homework, tonight it became evident that not much has significantly changed.
Me: “O, go do your homework.”
O: Shows me a paper about a field trip that is happening next year. Tells me about the field trip. Explains the difference between the two 8th grade teams.
Me: “Great. Now go do your homework.”
O: Tells me about the prize he will get if he has managed to keep all of his RPS homework from the whole year. Goes in search of the few he is missing. Insists it is part of his homework. Comes back to show me he is missing only one.
O: Goes outside to dig for worms while I’m not paying attention.
Me: “So you finished your homework?”
O: “Not all of it.”
Me: “Get back in here and finish your homework.”
O: Proceeds to tell me about the worms he has caught and what he has named them.
Me: “I don’t want to hear a single word about worms until your homework is done.”
O: Sits down briefly to do homework, then comes back into the kitchen. “I have this project where I am working with other kids, so I need to call them to talk about the project. I’m not just chatting. I’m doing work. Oh, my phone is dead.”
Me: “Perfect. Do the rest of your work and then your phone will be charged enough to call your friends.”
O: “I’m just going to feed the fish a little bit.”
Me: “Seriously? DO YOUR HOMEWORK!”
O: “You know I’m procrastinating. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA.”
I have come to the realization that homework is why parents drink.