ENOUGH ALREADY!

Riddle One

First I tried because I thought every teacher did it.

Then I tried because I thought it was important.

Then I tried for my reputation’s sake.

Then I just tried.

Then I tried to try.

Then, cynical and disillusioned,  I didn’t try anymore.

Then I had to try again.  Boss said so.

With all the trying I succeeded only once.

Riddle Two

Combine two four letter words and you get a dirty word.

Riddle Three

It contributes to teachers blaming parents, parents resenting teachers, and kids

becoming proficient liars.

Answer?  HOMEWORK

I will make this very clear.  I HATE HOMEWORK.  If it were up to me, homework would be eliminated – period.  Now I know it will be mentioned as one of the requirements for a good educational system.  But I’m not backing down.  I think any teacher who demands homework should be tried for child abuse!  (Ouch, teachers, I’m exaggerating.  Don’t really mean that!)

Let me state my case:

  1. Kids head for school sometime between 6:45 and 7:45; they get home somewhere between 3:00 and 4:30. I say that’s ENOUGH ALREADY.
  2. They have about three to five hours somewhat-free time in the evening. They need it.

The arguments for homework are most apt to be these.  #1  Kids have too much free time.  #2  If kids don’t get their work done at school, they need to finish it t home.  #3 They need more practice than they get at school.  Practice makes perfect.

Let’s look into these arguments.

Kids have too much free time.  In truth they only have about half as much time as they have had in school.  The government has determined how children spend about eight to nine hours of their day.  After checking graded papers which children bring home, parents and kids should determine the rest of their day.  There are plenty of choices.  Church, clubs, ball games, gymnastics, karate, dance, singing, music, computers, visiting.  And time for some TV, daydreaming, and horseplay would even be nice.

Kids don’t get their work done at school, they need to finish it at home.  No, the school administration needs to figure out a way for the truly slow to cope within the system.  Other students need the discipline to do their work at school and, if they do not do so, their grades should reflect the problem.  If there were not so much socializing at school, more work would be completed.  Some children would rather goof off at school with their friends so they plan to do the work at home.

They need practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Not if the child is practicing wrong.  Not if someone else is doing it for them.  Not if it contributes to sloppiness, carelessness, and shortcuts.  In truth, the child who can do the work well enough to do it at home, doesn’t need the practice (with the exception, perhaps, of drill to become faster as in math facts).  The one who needs the practice, doesn’t know it well enough to do it at home.  That child needs more help from the teacher.

Should parents have to supplement the teacher?  I think not!  Parents should be involved by reading, playing table games, going to the library, making tapes, embroider, fishing, cooking, repairing bicycles, gardening, visiting neighbors, etc.  They shouldn’t have to hound the kids about homework.

In my introduction, I mentioned having one positive experience with homework.  It consisted of my giving each first grader a Pringles can for taking home a short and easy lesson.  In the can we put a pencil or crayons as needed, so they wouldn’t get hung up by lack of material.  My goal was to teach responsibility – not to teach lesson content.  The Pringles cans came back quite well.  Kuddoes to me on that activity.

With apologies to King Solomon, my version of his philosophy regarding a time for all things:

To everything there is a time and place.

A time to linger and a time to race;

A time for school and a time for home,

A time to sit and a time to roam;

A time to work and a time to play;

But it’s not time to study at the end of the day.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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7 Responses to ENOUGH ALREADY!

  1. Anand says:

    Personally, I think that kids are given homework so that they can be kept from bothering their parents. It’s a racket run by parents and teachers combined…

    • oneta hayes says:

      Well, there’s a mew thought! If kids happen to be obedient little robots, I guess it would work! Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope to see you more.

      • Anand says:

        Their designs went haywire…but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Parents and teachers are still in cahoots, trying to discover new ways of stopping kids from running (or ruining?) their lives…

  2. shoreacres says:

    I really can’t comment on what you describe, because I don’t experience of how the homework situation is handled today. I do know that the educational system has become, to a large degree, a system designed to feed kids, to provide contraception, to offer grief counseling, and to move them along from grade to grade so the schools will get their money for “good performance.” Teaching to the test is an abomination, and… well, you don’t need my rant on that.

    I remember homework quite fondly, actually, but I grew up in another time and place. In grade school, there were spelling words to learn, and times tables, and we drilled on those in the evening. There were books to read, and book reports to write. And always, there were little projects, like dioramas of the Greek temples. But homework never took more than an hour, and it was understood that it was to be done before dinner, apart from drills. After dinner, my dad or mom would help me with “whatever.”

    In junior high and high school, there were bigger projects: research papers, debate preparation, and so on. There was a lot of library time — but it was mostly fun.

    The key was that school hours were devoted to instruction. We had world history, state history, geography, Western Civ, two years of Latin, English lit, world lit, and American lit, algebra, geometry, biology, chemistry…. You get the picture. We graduated with a better education than many of today’s college graduates.

    I always remember this comment from the writer Flannery O’Connor, and remember it with a smile: It’s more about education than homework, but it says something important:

    ““The high-school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. He will teach literature, not social studies or little lessons in democracy or the customs of many lands. And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.”

    In other words — no more letting the inmates run the asylum. Give teachers back their authority, allow them to fail students who aren’t passing, and remove remediation from the college curriuculum. That ought to do something.

  3. oneta hayes says:

    Shoreacres, your thoughtful response pulled me back to my homework experiences also. I loved it. I was good at it. Any chance to prove myself, I relished. As a country kid before TV, I had plenty of time for it. As a teacher/parent I generally had at least two hours of papers to grade in the evening; I was not gracious about teaching my kids also! (Bum mom?) Also as a teacher, I marked + or – for homework done. I don’t remember ever giving any real grade or serious thought to what was done. I knew the achievers did it well, and I knew the underachievers lied or cried, cursed or coerced, copied or cheated. How many “science projects” are the work of parents? One can reason that the parent taught something to the child during the process. But was the “something taught” a lesson of content, or was it a lesson in how to claim credit for something someone else did (in other words, lying or cheating)? How about the mom who says “it’s getting too late, go take your bath and I’ll finish this for you? Or how about the parents who have three children, each with “only” one hour homework four nights a week? Guess I only got started with my tirade; I might have to go back for a second post! Thanks, as always, you are a very special talented lady. I can easily see why homework was a delightful experience for you.

  4. Ah Oneta, a tricky thing….. homework. Since I teach art, I don’t give the traditional homework that “core” subject teachers do, but I do encourage my students to draw and paint and create at home. I feel that homework is forced by an educational system that is constantly overreaching its ability to “do everything” and constantly cram more and more into an already overcrowded curriculum. Plus homework is something that can be “graded” and fed it to the statistical machine that our educational system has become. Parents are pushing back and asking for limits (which my district has) on how many minutes of homework teachers can assign. The diabolical thing is that the schools still ask the teachers to constantly meet unrealistic testing goals in a shorter and shorter amount of time. Do I have a solution? No. But I do feel that children need time to be children, to play with their pets and friends, to talk to their parents, to go to Church, to participate in chosen after-school sports or activities and yes….to process what happened during the day. I know that in some districts where parents are really involved with their children’s school, they can be partners in helping their child understand a missed concept. But how rare is that? And for those children without parental support, to those many that struggle at school, we sometimes just heap another chance to fail at something at the end of an already overwhelming day. So in the end I say, I am with you. No homework. Give all you can during the school day and come back to each day fresh.

  5. oneta hayes says:

    Debra, I didn’t feel “finished” without your opinion on this subject. Thanks for coming in. Of course, as I told shoreacres above, I probably will come back for more discussion at another time. If I were skilled enough on the mechanics of blogging, I would like to conduct a “conference” or a survey on the subject. Maybe later. May your new year be a blessed one.

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