Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Much is Too Much ! ? ! ? !

Okay. . . so, on the subject of homework - seriously - how much is too much ? ! ? ! My sister Pam was telling me how her kids were needing a lot of help with their homework lately and how she was having such a struggle with it. She said that she finally told them, "I've already been to highschool and worked very hard for my grades, thank you very much - I really don't want to do it again!"

Well . . . . . for me, it all started when I pulled my kids out of school to go to DisneyWorld I figured I needed to help them with catching up because they had a lot to catch up on - and I did. However, now they have decided that they need me to go through every little thing with them and so they wait until I get home before they even do their homework. So, by the time I get home I start with each of them - Zac is the best but he has the most homework - right now anyway. I have had to try and figure out sixth grade math again, and am very embarassed to say that I don't remember how to do it - he doesn't have any instructions on his page of how to do even one of them. When I ask him if he can bring the book home so we can go through some of the instructions together he acts like I'm crazy and tells me he doesn't have a book. I asked him if his teacher goes through examples on the board with him - he says well he goes through about two with us - then he tells us that he's challenging us to figure it out on our own when I ask him questions. SERIOUSLY - does a teacher expect a kid to figure it out on his own when his paper has no examples and no instructions on it and they don't have a book to refer to either - PLEASE!!!

Then we start with Josh - he has spelling (which he hates it's like pulling teeth to get him to go over the words and practice spelling them out). Next he has reading comprehension (not too bad for him - I, on the other hand, always hated those things). Then he has a home work sheet usually just wants to do one side - I don't blame him! It has math, geography questions & sentence structure exercises. Then he has to read for 20 minutes and then he has to record a little message about what he read. This is usually about 1-2 hours later.

In the meantime I'm trying to fix dinner. Next off is Hayden's homework (remember he's in first grade). He has spelling words to practice (which he's not a big fan of - plus he doesn't really know how to read well). Then we are suppose to read for at least 15 minutes (which means I read to him and he has to pick out the words he knows on each page). Then he has a math packet which consists of two pages double sided he will do at least one page a day. Then he also has a making words sheet I try to get him to fill in at least three each night. Then he has another activity with spelling - he must do at least two each week - he's pretty slow with the whole writing thing so I break it into four nights half a page a night. Then he's suppose to practice a poem so he can pass it off, and finally he has site words that he is suppose to review each night. Okay, so all of that is at least another hour.

So, then there is usually just an hour before they go to bed. I seriously am worn out by this time and I'm feeling really frustrated about my new routine. Then you know I'm suppose to clean up the dinner, do a batch of laundry, clean up the house - which is usually trashed and then read the scriptures to them, before they go to bed.

Last year seemed to work out great. They would come home at 4pm they would read for 20 minutes, do their homework sheet (count it one homework sheet!), review their spelling words and by the time I got home at 5p their work would usually be done - all I had to do was review what they were stuck on and make sure they were "getting it."

So, I ask you again, how much is too much?? How much help are you suppose to give them? How much are you suppose to do with them, and how much are you suppose to have them just do? I'm being torn. I want to be a good mom and encourage them to get their homework done but I don't want to continue with this new routine every single night!!! It's like Josh said to me, "Mom why do I have to do homework anyway? I've already done all this stuff at school - why do I have to do it again at home?" How do you respond to that?


Valerie said...

Ok. So I'm keeping track of all the possitive to being single! I'll add this to the list! lol
I get to come home and do whatever I want! :)

Kathleen White said...

That is too much! The district says kids should have about 10 minutes per grade level of homework each night, 3rd grade=30 minutes. I never found that to be the case, though. Some years they would have no homework other than reading time. Other years they seemed to have WAY too much. I think it depends on the teacher and how much the kids work while they are in class.

Trudi & Gary said...

Hey Cindy,
This may be a good opportunity to empower your kids to feel needed. Ask the oldest to help the middle, and the middle to help the little, then you can help the oldest, that way everyone feels like they are helping, and everyone gets helped.
Also, Angie is now a teacher. She may have some advice, tips, or resources that can help (email her at
The only hands on experience I have is from my time as a nanny when I was in college. I tried the above idea and met with resistance until they realized that their experience qualified them as tudors. The teaching/helping time they spent with their younger siblings ended up helping them re-think their own homework assignments to solve problems faster than before.
Good luck,

Pam said...

It's amazing the difference a teacher can make. We switched my son's math class, and now I don't ever have to help him with math anymore:):):) Haylee has no homework this year and had about an hour a night last year. I never have to help Heather with homework either but she does sometimes have 2 hours of math. Her teacher last year was brutal, she had to do 3-4 hours of homework (I mean homeschool) each day. Amanda has no homework somedays, and 3-4 hours others - but that's because she procrastinates, and had 3 AP classes, and stories to write and edit for the school newspaper and literary magazine.