Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Homework, the Wrong Way

Here's my latest e-mail to the Head of School at Natural Friends.

I read the [newspaper] article about the second-grade mock economy. I liked everything about it until I got here:

"Students also can save money for luxuries, such as a no-homework pass ($65)..."

If the homework was necessary for the child's education, you would never give a pass, right? Conversely, if the homework is not necessary for the child's education, why assign it at all?

Think of the message that the kids are being sent -- "Homework is an unnecessary chore that we assign for no other reason than because we like to make kids do stuff. We know you hate it, so for the right price we're willing to let you off the hook."

Second grade is way too young for homework in any case. It's an extremely rare child of that age who can consistently remember to do homework, so it really becomes Mom's responsibility (nobody criticizes Dad if the homework wasn't done.) Speaking as Mom, I have enough opportunities to fight with my kids, thank you very much, and I don't need the school to provide more.

I hope you will consider abolishing homework for the lower grades. If you can't abolish it, how about letting parents opt out? Thank you. -- FedUpMom.


  1. You can opt out, Fed Up Mom. If they tell you that you can't, say something like "Well, then you're going to have to come over and make my daughter do her homework, because I just can't mush her through it like a sleddog on the Iditarod anymore." If they spent the energy and time on teaching that they waste on this homework nonsense, we'd all benefit!

  2. Kim, you can bet that I'm planning to opt out, whether it's official policy or not. I would rather see it as an official policy, though, because that means I don't have to have some ridiculous conference about it. Let the admins and teachers sweat it out, and then I can just check the box that says "no thanks." Wouldn't that be great?

  3. That homework pass is what killed the desire for homework in my child. Believe it or not, she actually initially liked it. I didn't but she did. The battles were over my monitoring it so in first grade, I stepped back, let the chips fall where they may, and she got it done. Doesn't make me like elementary school homework any better, though.

    She liked it until third grade. And that's when the teacher began handing out homework passes. It taught my girl very well that homework is yucky, a mindless chore, a punishment, something to be done because adults make you, and if you do all your homework, you don't get to do more! That's how you got a homework pass. If you went two straight weeks without skipping an assignment, your reward was that you got a night off.

    Ridiculous destructive concept. Sometimes school truly feels like the blind leading the blind.

  4. HWB, your kid held out longer than either of mine.

    My younger daughter thought homework sounded like fun for about the first 2 weeks of 1st grade, but now she hates it. I'm not making her do it, either.

    The "no-homework pass" business sends a very clear message to the occasional kid who actually likes homework: if you like homework, there's something wrong with you, since even the teacher thinks it would be a treat not to do it.

  5. PsychMom stirs....

    What could be a clearer message that homework is a horrible chore, than a "get out of jail free" card? Do the teachers even have the slightest clue how ridiculous this concept is?

    Here's my latest beef. The kids finished one of their class books (novel study) just before a winter break, justing wrapping up here in Halifax. I asked if the new book could come home during the break to get a jump on the reading. Not in any forced way...just if dear daughter wanted to...
    No book came home. To my mind this is the way that a dislike for reading builds. There is a distinction being made between reading for pleasure and reading a school book, when there should be no difference. Next week the new book will come home and this prescripted reading will spoil the book and turn reading it into a chore.

    Two weeks away friom that place has been refreshing.