I am irritatedly looking…

I am irritatedly looking over Kavi's schedule for today, and even with just one after-school activity (which we want to keep, because it gets her moving, and otherwise, she has a bit of a tendency to just do school / tv / art and be a bit too sedentary), homework takes up way more time than we would like. It's not all bad homework -- she's enjoying the culture box project. But overall, it's just too long, taking up too big a percentage of her day after school. So for today (at age 8):

6:00 - wake up to alarm, get dressed, watch a little tv
6:45 - find mommy, get Anand his clothes, go downstairs and start her breakfast (she makes herself oatmeal in the microwave)
7:20 - shoes and coat and off to the bus
2:55 - school ends
3 - 4 - after school sports activity
4:20 - get home, have a snack, watch one short (22 min.) show
4:45 - 5:30 - math homework (I think this is too long, and frankly, would cut it entirely)
5:30 - 6:15 - work on culture box homework (kind of a fun crafty project, but still, time-consuming -- I would have spread all the work for this over three weeks, not two)
6:15 - relax, have dinner
7:00 - was supposed to do her 30 minutes of reading -- she's starting to like reading some, but it's still work for Kavi, which I think a lot of people forget when thinking about kids and reading, and also, she's reading a book assigned by the school which she finds boring. This is where she started to lose it a little; overtired from having a cold. Told her she could just watch tv instead, and catch up on her reading tomorrow. Kavi didn't want to do that, because then she'd have to do an hour tomorrow, and she had more culture box work to do tomorrow (drawing a flag, taking photos, printing them out, attaching them to the box for Thursday's big presentation). She was stressed out and teary about not finishing her homework. I reminded her that tomorrow is early day, and she wouldn't have afterschool activities, so she'd be home by 2:15, so an hour of reading would be okay. After some discussion, she agreed it'd be okay to put off tonight's reading and catch up tomorrow. Curled up on couch and watched tv.
8:00 - bedtime.

If you count up how much playtime / relaxing time she gets, you'll see it's shockingly little.

The big problem, we think, are the parents who are so anxious about their kids getting a leg up / not falling behind that they pressure the schools to assign the homework. We need a vast social movement pushing back against those pressures.

2 thoughts on “I am irritatedly looking…”

  1. She may be spending 45 minutes doing math homework, but how long was the assignment expected to take? I’ve found the amount of time a child spends on a homework activity decreases significantly if the reward (tv) is after the effort (homework), and a few days sitting with them to keep them on task and aware of how much time is being expended is well worth it.

    I have written many notes to teachers that I have shut down working on assignments when my child has hit the amount of time the teachers have stated they expect to be spent on homework (usually 30 minutes plus reading time every day for k-1) but I have also forced children to work through the tears and past bedtime because of their own bad choices. I’ll sit with them to keep the stress level down and to minimize the amount of time it takes to finish, but they don’t get a pass because they decided to sneak electronic game playing instead of doing their homework.

    No tv during the week also rendered life and homework easier. I got away with that until about junior high school.

    1. Mary Anne Mohanraj

      The follow-up was that it wasn’t supposed to take nearly that long; the teacher said that she’d give Kavi fewer math problems going forward on that kind of sheet, and told us to feel free to let her stop if it was taking too long. I think Kavi was also heading into a cold that day, but we didn’t know it yet, so she probably wasn’t concentrating as well as she normally would.

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