Saturday, January 12, 2013

Homework sucks

I'm helping Boo with her homework. I know. But she needs the help. She has to type a book report by Monday. She doesn't know how to type, and she doesn't really have writing skills, because she's 9. So the only way this will happen is if I help her.

There's a problem with homework right there: if she can't do it herself, then isn't it MY homework? What is the point, exactly?

She said she didn't want to do it, and I said, "Okay, but then you have to accept the consequences."

"What are the consequences?" She asked (wisely.)

I said, "That's up to your teachers, but the worst consequence I can think of is that they wouldn't let you be in the presentation with the other third graders.

"I guess I should do it then," she replied. "But I'll need some help."

Which brings us to typing a report at 7:20 on a Saturday night.

*Here I must interject that Hopper is knitting right now, which is awesome.*

So it's possible that Boo is learning some responsibility from this, and I have to work harder to stay out of things and let her step up. But I feel like the job of teaching responsibility is put on me by the homework assignment, and while I'm all for teaching my child responsibility, can't I do that on my own without an outside assignment? I give her chores, she takes care of the gerbil, she's required to have manners and to come home from her friends' houses when she says she will. I'm teaching her responsibility. But right now, I want to be doing something other than this.

Why do I have to spend time working on this report when I could be reading with my child, or playing a game, or cleaning the house (or knitting?) It pisses me off that this unpleasant task is foisted on my family. We have enough unpleasant tasks. Just this morning, I had to wake up.

If there must be homework, it should be in the form of giving credit for things the child does at home. At the beginning of the year, the teachers could give the family a list:

  • Tell us one creative thing your child does this year.
  • Tell us how your child gets exercise outside of school.
  • Tell us one generous thing your child does.
  • Tell us how you celebrate your culture.
  • Tell us what your family does for fun.
  • Tell us how your child practices responsibility.
  • What are you reading as a family? What is your child reading?
And then, over the course of the year, the child could write little reports, or the family could blog, or the child could teach a lesson in class and the teachers would be able to assess whether these things are being done, and the parents would be gaining skills as parents, and the kids would be practicing the skills that the school thinks are important.

Wouldn't that be better?

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