Here’s a recent email I received from a mother in Atlanta, Georgia:
I just found out about you, your work, and your website via an internet search spawned by my mounting frustration with the homework load. I hope that you can help me channel my own heated feelings on the issue into a message that might be listened to by teacher and school administrators.
I have felt this growing sense of desperation since the beginning of the school term related to the amount of homework imposed upon my 6-year-old, first-grade daughter. At first, I assumed that the amount of homework was a beginning-of-school push to compensate for the summer break. But the volume continued.
On alternating Fridays, she has to submit and present a book report or recite an assigned poem in front of the class.
She and her fellow first graders have to read a minimum of 20 minutes each night including over the weekend and fill out a book log, which must be signed by student and parent.
Then, Monday through Fridays, she is given a packet of 7-10 worksheets — all 2-sided –to complete. I don’t care how it’s stapled, this amounts to 14-20 pages of homework!
And finally, the first grade teachers have developed 50 or more “creative” activities to do with the 16 or so weekly spelling words; so she’s supposed to complete 2 of those creative exercises each night. They thought they were doing a good thing here, I know, but they effectively turned memorizing spelling words into 2 nightly projects each school night.
I walk in from work at 6 p.m. and have to spend the next 3 hours drilling my daughter through her homework. We have no quality time. We have no play time. Forget exercise and running around the back yard.
I’ve been forced to cook quicker meals, speed through dinner time, and give my children fewer baths. I find myself grateful that my 3rd grade son, in the same school, only has an hour and a half of homework per night. I also find it interesting that 2 years ago, when he was in 1st grade, he would get a single packet of worksheets on Monday and have the whole week to complete them. Here alone, my daughter’s homework is 4x more than my son’s was 2 years ago.
I want to reclaim our life.