I hate homework. I think I complain about homework more than my three kids do combined. I get frustrated when their homework gets in the way of my plans for us to be outside or run errands. I especially get annoyed when they tell me they can’t do their chores because they have to finish their homework.
Really?! Writing your spelling words three times each is more important than loading the dishwasher. You need to pull your weight around here kid. Write faster!
I recently learned that the homework battles are a century-old tension between teachers and parents. Did you know that the editor of Ladies Home Journal, Edward Bok, published an article titled, “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents,” about the evils of homework in 1900? According to a recent Brookings Institute report, the article was so influential that the state of California banned homework for children under the age of 15 in 1901. The theory was that homework interfered with children’s natural inclination towards play and the parents’ right to decide what the kids should be doing in the home.
Homework causes a major loss of free labor in my house. Over the summer I ran a tight ship. The house was relatively clean and all I had to do was direct traffic and oversee the work. I taught them how to do laundry, fold clothes, unload/load the dishwasher, mops floors and clean the bathroom. I brainwashed them to the point that I had my two oldest fighting over who got to clean the bathrooms (don’t ask me how I did that – I’m still not sure). It was what I dreamed life would be like with four kids at home! Lots of little helpers. They were cleaning more than they were destroying! Finally, I was winning!!
Now with homework after school every day, they politely explain to me that their homework is more important than my chores. I have grudgingly agreed and have cut them some slack on the condition that if I catch them playing around and not doing their homework, the chores will be back. The good news is that I don’t have to remind anyone to do their homework. Since it is the lesser of two evils, they just come home and get it done. The bad news is I find myself again shouldering the bulk of the chores and losing the war against kid-created entropy.
Maybe I can convince my kids’ teachers to assign chores for homework. Two birds with one stone, win-win and all that!
How about you, Smarties? Do you ever feel like rebelling against homework?
Stay tuned for the next part in this multi-part series on homework, where I tell you what I REALLY think about reading logs!