Dear Homework,

Dear Homework

Dear Homework,

Thank you so much for your many messages over the past few weeks since the kids started school! I thought I knew you pretty well but you’re throwing me some surprises this year – keeping things fresh, are you!? TBH you’re coming on pretty strong but I’m trying to adjust to the new seriousness of our relationship. With my oldest starting high school, my second son starting middle school and the youngest in fourth grade – which is when you really get involved – I’m getting at least 16 messages a week through email, HAC, Canva, Remind, the school district, the PTA, SeeSaw, and S’more. Am I missing any? Thank you *so much* for helping me stay on top of my technical skills with all of these super helpful tools. I  know, I know that this isn’t your problem but I also get messages from every sport and every club and every activity, not to mention I keep track of my own work schedule, my spouse’s work travel schedule, and all the messages that come with running a home.  

The olden days of a paper newsletter and calendar are passé, though I must admit that I take time every weekend to comb through all these messages and write down all your expectations with a pencil on a paper calendar. I know, I know, you want those kids to develop independence in keeping track of you but here’s the thing:: even if they could manage their own schedules, they still have no overview of the moving parts that have to coordinate in order to keep our lives going. They need me for that, whether or not I want that job, amiright?

Homework, I hate to bring it up but there’s a lot of debate over whether or not we even need you. Plenty of schools have “no homework” policies and some global leaders in education have outright banned you. I’ve noticed some teachers trying to uphold educational best practices by only assigning what students don’t finish in class, and I know teachers encourage students to use their home-base/advisory time to complete their homework. But here’s the thing: what if your kid works slowly and can’t get done during school hours? Two out of my three kids fall in that category for different reasons, which means we get to face you every.single.night.

I’m lucky, Homework, because I get home early from work so I can get them started on you before supper. They are at three different schools with three different start and end times but for simplicity sake, let’s say they are at school from 8am to 4pm. They come home and have a regulation break – you wouldn’t expect an adult to work for more than 8 hours without a break in addition to their lunch break {because eating in a cafeteria with hundreds of other kids then having 20 minutes to run around in the Texas heat is so refreshing} – then get started. Most teachers seem to have “reasonable” expectations of 10-30 minutes of reading or studying a night but when you multiply that by four or more classes and two or more kids, we are looking at hours with you every.single.night.

Here’s the kicker:: no matter how hard we parents try to put up with you, Homework, it’s often not enough. We often have to get our kids into tutorials at school or tutoring outside of school which is pricey and time-consuming. We try to balance you with other things that we know are good for our kids like family meals together, chores at home, adequate sleep, extra-curricular activities like sports, music, dance, Scouts, swim team, etc. and time for free play. It’s a juggling act at best and I confess that balls get dropped on the regular.  

I want to level with you, Homework, that you are, in fact, unreasonable and most adults wouldn’t put up with your expectations unless they were earning a very good salary. You add a whole lot of stress to the kids and families you claim you’re helping. I’m sure it’s hard to hear but someone needs to be straight with you whether or not it makes any difference. My kids and I could happily live without you and probably do just as well in school. If I had my choice, our relationship would end now and I bet we would have the best school year yet.

Yours sincerely,

Nicole


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