So I recently posted on Facebook about how excited I get when the kids come home with no homework for the day. Of the 32 people that liked the post, 1 was my husband purely because I think he can sense from the mood when he comes home that there’s been no frustration on that day. The other 31 were all mothers who probably feel the same way as I do. And I’m guessing that there are many more that can relate.
Look I’m not lazy when it comes to doing homework. Ok, maybe only when it’s long division because that stuff just confuses me beyond words! It’s more of an issue because of the amount of homework the kids get these days. My boys are in grade 3 and grade 1 and having to spend at least an hour and a half each day with homework is just craziness. With the elder one it’s not so bad, he does most of it by himself and I have to just check it. With the younger one, who also happens to be the middle child, it’s a fighting, screaming, crying (mostly by me) episode most days. I have to beg and bribe him just to sit down, he hates it, does it untidily just to get it done and even resorts to ‘forgetting’ his books at school just to avoid having to do it. And all this in grade 1 only!
I’ve tried all sorts of tactics to get him writing his letters correctly and the right way round, to do his sums neatly and to read his mind-numbingly boring readers with some enthusiasm, but he couldn’t care less. He thinks it’s all a waste of his time as he doesn’t use it at all and he won’t need it one day when he grows up and becomes a robot maker. (Maybe he’ll create one that does homework for kids) He doesn’t follow the instructions – use a red colour to show the smaller object – no; he’ll just use blue to show how much he feels it’s a waste of time. And it’s not that he can’t do it or that he doesn’t understand the work. He just doesn’t get enough time to play and unwind.
I agree. By the time they’re done with school, extra murals in school and Islamic classes after school, its 4.30pm and there’s hardly any time for free play. I don’t remember getting that much homework or my mum having to sit with me every day, breaking her head with homophones (yes I now know what those are), nouns and number lines. Don’t they have enough time during school to finish all the work? Are children nowadays not as bright as before so they need extra work?
And all the while that I grit my teeth and wade through the mountains of Maths, English and Afrikaans, I think about how much harder it’s going to get as they get older. I have friends with older kids who find it necessary to point this out to me. Even if they didn’t, I can see it in their sallow faces having been up till 11pm helping with science assignments and art projects. Then again, maybe we’re all just over-parenting…
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2014.
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