Assessing the Trend toward Increasing Parent Involvement in Homework

Who is doing the learning here, anyway?

In my kids’ school, even first graders have significant homework every night. Basically, whatever the class doesn’t finish during the day is magically transformed into homework. This practice offers teachers complete flexibility, while destroying busy families’ hopes of carving out unstructured evenings together.

Because such young children have not yet developed independent study habits, of course, parents are drafted into supervising assignments, reviewing materials, and even tutoring their children about the subject matter.

Honestly! Homeschooling would be less of a time commitment than managing homework!

As kids advance to higher grade levels, the expectations intensify. Soon, science projects, leaf collections, geography projects, and even 4th grade term papers are assigned. Visual aids must accompany reports.

Stroll through the elementary wing of your local school, and look at the colorful displays of student work in the hallways. Actually, much of it is not STUDENT work at all. You can clearly see which projects were truly completed by children.

What are we teaching kids, if homework is so complex that it requires parent involvement? Supervising assignments is one thing, but completing the work is quite another!

In one 3rd grade class, an insect collection arrived in a glass shadow box with freeze-dried bugs attached to foam-core board with surgical pins and actual sutures. Guess what? The student’s parent was an cardiovascular surgeon. Who did the work here?

My kid’s project included the expected number of bugs, hot-melt-glued to the inside of a shirt box with hand-written labels. Who got the A? You guessed it

Just wait till those kids start their creative writing projects. Hand me the keyboard. My fingers are tingling already!