There is a big debate over homework in this country and, for many reasons, I stand firmly on the side advocating for its abolishment. Of course, the amount of research that clearly states little, if any, positive impact on academic success is one rationale, but my primary motivation for supporting an end to homework stems from the angst it causes in my house.
A sure way of prompting an utter meltdown in my two youngest boys is assigning copious amounts of homework. These episodes often result in my patience fraying rapidly and tears being shed, mine privately of course.
For a moment, let’s ignore the fact that the assignments themselves do not relate to the individual needs of my children, nor do they promote a deeper understanding of the content. Instead, let us explore the strange phenomenon that occurs with regard to time. You see, the task of completing homework takes hours in my house, hours. This is not a result of the quantity, oh no, for there typically isn’t a large amount of workshits, I mean worksheets, given. This has everything to do with how my boys go about completing these tedious assignments.
To begin the homework process, one must have a snack. I fully support eating while doing many things, particularly consuming chocolate while working on math as I am convinced there must be a correlation between mathematics aptitude and chocolate. Choosing a snack is a relatively painless operation, assuming I have a well-stocked pantry, and once the desired food has been selected, homework can commence. And it does, for about ten minutes. It is at this approximate point in the homework process that numerous things can, and do, occur that derail homework completion in an acceptable time frame.
A glimpse into my evening:
Homework begins with snacks at hand. Children are focused and there is little noise to be heard, aside from chewing and the scratching of pencils.
The dogs want to play.
Floyd, the cockatiel, is after the pencil eraser.
An inquiry about dinner is voiced.
Someone’s cup has spilled, splashing water onto a workshit...er, worksheet.
Pencil lead broke and the sharpener is upstairs.
Gus is whining, again.
Someone farted. I think it was Sparky, but who knows?
Soon, two hours have gone by and, guess what? Homework is still not done. Then my husband gets home and, literally, opens a box of noisemakers. I’m not joking. He opened a box containing maracas and a shekere. Shall I give you a visual of the ensuing chaos?
Picture this: A ten-year old bounces out of his seat, grabs the maracas and begins to shake them vigorously while dancing. At the same time, my husband is banging against the shekere, producing noise at decibels that begin to hurt my ears. The other two boys are now up and the dogs are barking.
What about the homework, you ask? Let’s just say, I think I’ve stated my case against homework with ample, supportive evidence. This mama, rests.