Blogger Bunmi Laditan sent her 10-year-old’s school a clear message.
“Hello Maya’s teachers,
Maya will be drastically reducing the amount of homework she does this year. She’s been very stressed and is starting to have physical symptoms such as chest pain and waking up at 4 a.m. worrying about her school workload.
She’s not behind academically and very much enjoys school. We consulted with a tutor and a therapist suggested we lighten her workload. Doing 2-3 hours of homework after getting home at 4:30 is leaving little time for her to just be a child and enjoy family time and we’d like to avoid her sinking into a depression over this.”
A++++ parenting 💜
I’ve talked with a whole cadre of child therapists and psychiatrists about this very issue. There is little conclusive evidence that homework significantly improves elementary school children’s grades, understanding of subjects, or facility with various operations, processes, etc. However, plenty of evidence suggests that ever-increasing amounts of homework for young children lead to stress, anxiety, emotional fatigue, resistance toward academics in general, lack of leisure time to build social/interpersonal skills, and poorer family relations. (My kids were doing about 3 hours a week IN KINDERGARTEN, at age 5 – so that’s ½ hour every night, after a 6.5 hour school day, or else saving it up for long slogs over the weekend, even more disruptive. And that wasn’t including reading practice!)
We have stopped doing homework altogether with my 7 year old as a result of severe anxiety/depression and a learning disability. She had gotten to a place where she had so little self confidence and truly believed that she was stupid and worthless, not just because of homework of course – but every time we tried to sit down to do homework with her, it’d end in tears with her really vehemently berating herself, and no amount of encouragement could ameliorate the damage done. Now, granted, she’s got other things going on besides just an overload of school work. But in NO WAY did the homework help her, either academically or emotionally.
No little kid should have to spend an hour or more each night getting through homework. Now, my deal with Siena is that if she wants to give her homework a shot, I will absolutely help her if she wishes for help, but I no longer force her to complete all of it or to work on it for some set length of time before finally throwing in the towel.
Guess what? With the pressure taken off, she’s actually doing MORE independent work now, purely out of the desire to learn and practice, than she ever was before we’d decided with her therapy team and school that homework was just not a thing this kid could handle.
Luckily for my older daughter my school’s 3rd-grade team decided to hand out homework only 3x/week, and the sheets take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. That is totally reasonable for 8-9 year olds!
Anyway tl;dr just because the school system may require it sure as shit doesn’t mean parents can’t, or shouldn’t, fight it. Do what’s right for your kid, and above all, let them be kids.
I eventually stopped doing homework because I was overwhelmed by it.
There was an article just the other day in the local paper about a primary school that’s abolishing homework! You can read it here (autoplay video, gives you a few seconds to stop it).
God I wish this had been an option before we had to give up public school for me, I’d spend literally all my time at home doing school work, it was horrid.