January 20, 2017

Homework stresses

Last night, C-man forgot to bring home an assignment of which I had a part. I never understand these things - didn't I pass 6th grade? Regardless, he's been missing assignments and turning them in late recently, and we've really been on him about being prepared and not procrastinating. So in the middle of some sobs because he was just sick that he was going to turn one more assignment in late, I suggested he text some friends and get them to send him photos of the assignment. So he did. And thankfully, a sweet girl Victoria (why are the girls always on top of these things?) responded with the photos. But then, later that night, came in a flurry of messages from other boys. They had all forgotten, too.

And isn't that sort of ridiculous? What is homework teaching these kids, except to be stressed out? Was my paragraph on what I'm seeing as his progress in reading class really that important? Was there any learning transfer that happened as a result of it?

I don't teach kids. I have a degree to teach adults because I don't want to teach kids. But there are some principles of learning that remain fairly constant regardless. And one of those things is if you cannot apply the learning, then it's not learning. Assignment after assignment comes home, and I just shake my head. It's got nothing to do with learning and everything to do with checking off how many pages of notes they took. Did he learn more about Hitler because he had to take 20 pages of notes than if he'd been assigned a discussion group with peers? Doubtful. But it sure was more stressful.

We have teachers conferences coming up again next month. And I'm really struggling with how to approach this topic, or if at all. I don't want to tell the teacher she's doing it all wrong. I mean, I know my kid has been procrastinating and making it more stressful than it should be. But she's doing it all wrong. How many times does the idea that completing homework for completion's sake have to be debunked before our teachers change their attitudes and policies toward it? And how many parents have to endure the tears before we all just come to our sense?

Until then, I'll be over here helping my kid complete his assignments. Because getting through 6th grade once just wasn't enough.

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