The Homework War
Can Anybody Win?

There is definitely a Homework War being waged, but you may not realize just how many factions are involved. We've got students fighting with parents, teachers arguing with principals, school districts angry with politicians...

Take a look at my Homework War table to better understand who is saying what to whom:

The Homework War

Student Parent Teacher Principal District Politicians & Big Business
Student to: Why do we have the same homework even though we're at different reading and math levels? You have a computer, tutors and a stay-at-home mom to help you with your homework? Lucky. I'm tired! I want to play! Why do you make me do this dumb homework every night? Hey! Are you supposed to do my homework? I don't understand this homework! This is boring! Can you let me choose what I'd like to study? I have 2 hours of homework each night? Does every class at my grade level get the same homework? Do you have some homework rules you could give my principal and teacher, please? Wanna visit my class? We work very, very hard all day.
Parent to: I know, you've been at school all day and need a break, but we have to think about college! Please sit down, focus, and we'll be finished with this homework faster! I am so worried that my kids won't measure up to yours that I sit next to mine when they do their homework, feeding them answers and correcting each and every problem. (I also do their projects, but don't tell.) Why can't my child do this homework? Did you cover this material? Do you want me to teach new concepts? Should elementary students have 2 hours of homework a night? Why are all the teachers at your school doing their own homework thing? Shouldn't there be some sort of consistency? Could you please come up with a district homework policy based on sound scientific research, teacher experience and common sense? Do you really want my child to grow up to be a happy, engaged and pro-active citizen and worker - or an unquestioning worker bee?
Teacher to: Yes, you have been working very hard, but we have a lot of material to cover before The Test! Please turn in your homework! What about the 'Home-School Connection?' I need your help, not your complaints! Just sit down with your kids and get that homework finished! How much homework are you giving your students? I had better assign more; I don't want to look like the 'easy' teacher. Would you please insist that all of the teachers in this school follow the district homework policy? You do know the homework policy, right? Could you please come up with a district homework policy based on sound scientific research, teacher experience and common sense? I voted for you because you said that you cared about education! All you care about are test scores!
Principal to: Do the homework your teacher assigns! Please support the teacher, make sure your children do all of their homework, and help us raise test scores! Cover more material! Raise test scores! What are you doing at your school to raise test scores? I need a district homework policy that I can give to my teachers and parents! We're raising test scores!
District to: The Test is important! Do better on The Test! It's up to you! Help your children with their homework! Raise test scores! It's up to you! Cover more material! Give more homework! Raise test scores! Are you telling your teachers to raise those test scores? What are you doing to raise test scores in your district? Longer days? More material? More homework? Hmmm... We are doing everything possible to raise test scores!
Politicians & Big Business to: If you do better on The Test, we'll build you a park with a swimming pool and give your dad a new job! We can't help your community if you don't make us look good! Help your children with their homework! Raise test scores! Raise test scores- and do it with less! What, exactly, is your school doing to raise test scores? We can't help your district if you don't make us look good! Raise those test scores! Our test scores are bigger than your test scores!

Disclaimer (sort of)

It's a homework war, but, of course, not every student, parent, teacher and principal is identical in thought or action. (I wish I could say the same for school districts, big businesses and politicians!)

The Homework War table shows parents that the Homework Problem is:

  1. complicated, convoluted and wide-reaching

  2. the result of politicians and big business demanding higher test scores

  3. unfairly blamed only on teachers when, in fact, they have little support and huge demands placed on them

So, parents, when you are faced with yet another worksheet, journal assignment or project, take a deep breath, step back, look at the big picture and say,

"I'm not fighting this homework war!"

Want More Homework Peace?

Stop fighting the homework war (do something else with your kids).

Get some advice about school and homework.

Deal with those homework meltdowns.

Return home!