"Children show respect for parents by obeying them. Parents show respect for children by expecting them to obey. "

The Homework Conundrum

Question

I am completely on board with John's homework recommendations, but I have some struggles that have only intensified since Kindergarten. In my opinion, teachers are consistently asking the kids to do too much or things that require my involvement. In K, they are asked to do research on the computer and writing. In K and 1, they were asked to do occasional at-home projects that definitely required my help. In 2, one of my boys had homework that wasn't that long, but included things that were not a part of what they were learning in class and required my "teaching" or explaining each night. Now, this year, in 3rd grade, both of my boys' teachers send home work and they have a combined total of 3-4 tests each week. Yes, tests! Am I just stuck back in 1985 in thinking that elementary school kids should learn and do work at school and get report cards based on their effort and progress? These kids are required to study at home for these tests and it's just crazy! They are getting number grades on not only math, spelling, and reading, but also in social studies and science. This is crazy! On top of all of this studying, they have homework 3-4 nights each week. When they are at school 7 hours each day and don't get home until after 4:30, I'm just struggling with it all. I want my kids to have time to play and us to have time together as a family. I've already told the reading teacher that I will not read the story and work through the comprehension questions with my kids every Monday. Our boys are responsible to do that themselves. Yes, the other kids may be getting better grades because their parents do it with them, but I refuse. When my kids bring home a math packet, it's 6 pages of very involved problems that I often have to figure out how to do and then attempt to explain. I am not a teacher and "teaching" math problems is not one of my talents. They don't have a textbook or anything that shows how to do things or what they've been learning. It's just a packet of problems. For the most part, my boys are pretty good about working through it all themselves, then they will come to me about any specific questions. I don't check work. I don't review or walk them through it at all.

They bring home a weekly calendar provided by the teachers each week that says what materials they are to bring home, bring in to school, assignments, test, etc. for each day. The kids write in an agenda each day what they are supposed to be doing each night at home. It is so much stuff to remember, do, study, etc. that I honestly think my boys just shut down after a point in time, not to mention they get on the bus at 8:15 and don't do outside the school building for recess until 3:00...UGH!

The weekly calendar is specifically written for parents to know what their kids need to do and materials to have each day. My question is with so much stuff going on and so many requirements, how do I know when and where to step in and out of things? I know that as 3rd graders, they still need some guidance, but I have 3 kids and don't want to be spending my evenings walking through school work. Should I be asking them if they have their things, guiding them in what they need to do each night, or saying nothing? If I say nothing, they will fail 3rd grade. I said nothing and blindly signed agendas the first 9 weeks, but found that the teachers don't hold them accountable. One teacher even had my son call me from her desk 2 Fridays in a row to bring him his notebook that he forgot at home. I, of course, said no, sorry. But, to her, it was my responsibility, not his. There was no consequence for him not having it. My boys aren't excited about some of the bad grades they receive, but it really doesn't matter than much to them. In reality, they are in 3rd grade, and who cares?

I may just be complaining, but I think there's a legitimate question in there somewhere.

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