When my son was in first grade, the dreaded deluge of homework began. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT remember having homework until I was in about fourth grade, at an age where I could be reasonably expected to do my homework by my own damn self.
At age 6, my son was expected to do 10 minutes of reading, along with some weekly spelling word practice and usually a math sheet or something word-related. That works out to three items at 10 minutes each, every night. Easy-peasy, right? Because first graders are all about focus and efficiency!
Maybe if I factored out the two mini and one major meltdown each day, we’d be in the 20 minute ballpark. My type-A brain had a very hard time with the totally age-appropriate lack-of-focus my 6-year-old was displaying. Who stops reading about dolphins mid-sentence to talk about tacos?? His homework was just another line item on MY list of shit-to-get-done-before-dinner.
I know our Case Of The Homeworks was mild. I’ve heard from other parents whose kids have it far worse. One friend was telling me she switched schools after her kindergartener was tasked with creating a report on Chile, complete with tri-fold display presentation. Teachers, please. You have just assigned a report on Chile to a 35-year-old mom who’s trying to manage a toddler, a house and possibly even full-time work outside the home. Expect the report to smell like Desitin and taste (oh yes, there will be flavors) like Gogurts.
My son is in third grade now. The demands are growing. Now it’s 30 minutes of reading (at least!) and an assortment of math/spelling/vocab assignments. But the meltdowns are fewer and farther between. Sometimes he still has to head up to his room to decompress before coming back to his work. But on occasion, I can flip through a magazine or check email while he accomplishes at least one of these tasks. Someday, hopefully soon, he will turn in homework that I have had no hand in.
And to whomever is making the decisions about homework volume for the under-10 set: Please. Just stop.