Friday, June 3, 2011

Homework Sucks- Part Deux

Wow- the response to the Homework Sucks blog have been overwhelming, amazing, tear and laughter inducing- simply awesome! It is so comforting to hear the stories of other's issues and challenges- to be able to commiserate with other moms that have the same frustrations I have. And thanks to the amazing founder of Moms Who Drink and Swear (MWDAS) I have got a lot more feedback as well as some new friends on Facebook!

But alas, with the good comes the uptight so I just want to make a few things crystal clear. I do not like homework (in case the subject was lost on anyone) and here are MY reason's why:

1) There is no evidence that proves that mountains of homework, especially in the elementary years, is at all helpful.

2) Children on the Autism Spectrum or those with ADD/ADHD have a hard enough time sitting and focusing for an entire school day- having to sit still, concentrate  and listen quietly is quite a challenge- much less when they come home and just want to relax. (I am sure this also holds true for other children with special needs- I can speak only to what I personally deal with)

3) When homework literally makes a child cry- that is ridiculous and I will draw the line.  I want to spend the afternoons with my kids- not doing more work , and certainly not having them throwing screaming fits that ruin everybody's night. Who would want that??

4) With very few exceptions- homework is busy work- or at least in my experience with all three of my kids.

Worksheets are boring and brain sucking. Having to write repetitive sentences is just that, repetitive and while it may be useful for some kids - it is just a hassle for many.  Packets of worksheets are redundant and simply unnecessary,

The exceptions to this are (in my opinion) a) multiplication- the repetitiveness of this task is actually very important- it is a skill that will be used all the time throughout life. b) Reading and book reports - now this is also depending on the format of the book report and the books they are supposed to read.

Now- in the younger grades, usually 3rd grade and up- they are beginning to learn about genre, setting, plot, etc. Teacher's that help kids find books that are at their reading level and of INTEREST to them find that they don't have as much resistance- same with the parents. c) Nope- that's it. Can't think of any other reasons.
My goal is not to put down any teachers for their teaching styles or homework policies. I understand that many teacher's have no choice and are forced to give more homework than they would like. Like I said.. I LOVE my son's teacher- she works with me and we communicate regularly- that is KEY to any parent teacher relationship- communication.

Now I know from experience with my other kids that the older they get the harder it becomes to communicate- once they hit middle and high school- they are being groomed to live in the adult world and mommy and daddy hand holding is not needed anymore.  It also becomes harder as teachers see an average of 150-180 students a day and the personal level of elementary school is lost.   This is something that I worry endlessly about with my Autistic child..we have enjoyed a very close relationship with his teachers from mid-kindergarten until now- and I am very concerned that this will become a thing of the past- or even worse, become a destructive rather than constructive tool.

So- thanks to all who commented, gave advice, and vented! Your input is all amazing and I appreciate the fact that you all took time to read my little ol' blog. Keep reading, by all means!  I wanted to share some comments I received. Enjoy!

Oh lord, I have lived that pain with my oldest - he has ADHD and is on the spectrum. Excruciating. And I was a teacher. Who worked with special needs students. My kids at school were never like my son who would suddenly lose the hand strength to hold a pencil or fall out on the floor writhing when we tried to write a sentence, or erase the paper till he ripped a hole in it and insist on starting over with a new sheet. 10 times.  (Summer from MWDAS)

Homework takes up to 4 hours a night at our place. I've argued with the teacher, but she's adamant...and homework is HALF their grade. You're right, Meg...they aren't teaching anymore. Schools have become a self learning environment.  (Chrissie from MWDAS)

My son is 6 1/2 and has Autism, and is "mainstreamed". While we haven't hit multiplication problems yet, he also HATES to write ANYTHING.... and he gets spelling homework almost everyday and has to write the words 3x each and put them in sentences. I fell like I could have written that blog..... that is EXACTLY what happens in my house every freaking day. Literally. Even my husband stepping in and then telling them both how to do it while I am in the kitchen. (Barbara from MWDAS)

These are a very small sample of the comments- I got some great advice from someone ON THE SPECTRUM- definitely some material to research and food for thought.  Check out the rest of the blog site- read the comments and by all means go to   not for the faint of heart or judgmental  pearl clutching variety- but a great place to vent, have fun and get a good laugh at shit that might otherwise make you cry.

Cheers my friends, Here is to a (hopefully) homework free weekend!