Today’s “Dad on a Mission” is Rafael Ortiz, the father of a 7-year-old second grader in a public elementary school in Los Angeles. Ortiz, who has a B.S. in Kinesiology, takes things into his own hands when his daughter’s teachers don’t respond to his homework concerns.
Operation Daddy to the Rescue
by Rafael Ortiz
Since last year, when my daughter was in first grade, she started to question me about why she had to do homework. She told me that she went to school the whole day and then still had school work to do at home, but her mom didn’t have to bring her work from work. I would tell her it’s because that’s what everyone does- it’s school.
But then I started thinking about it and realized that all this homework gives little time to explore out of the box. My daughter used to asked about underwater life, what’s out in space, loved to solve riddles and liked to invent stuff. But homework is burning her out.
My daughter has been bringing home homework since kindergarten. All of it seemed to be a waste of time; none of it was challenging or interesting. Now, in second grade the homework is still not challenging BUT rather longer. It takes my daughter about one hour and 30 minutes some days. She has lost that happy spark she had and she has started complaining that it’s too long.
I discussed it with the teacher and asked her to show me research on how long homework should be because I felt that my child was getting too much homework. Her response was that it’s the district policy that second graders need to spend 30-35 minutes and that if the student spends more time than that they should not advance to second grade. Knowing my kid I knew right away that this second grade teacher took it personally, but I held my ground and told her that it should be quality rather than quantity. She then said that she had been approached by other parents where they demanded that she give more homework. So I told her then to go ahead and give them more but that I was requesting less for my kid.
So this is the 8th week and we still go back and forth on the homework issue. The teacher still hasn’t modified my kid’s homework, so I took what I called “Operation Daddy to the Rescue,” where I looked at the homework assigned for that day and I choose a few problems (math, English , vocabulary, etc) and I tell my girl to do for example 5 out of 20 math problems and the rest I give her the answers. It seems to be working because her so called weekly test scores have not gone down.
The reason why her teacher says she gives the students a lot of homework is because of some number that schools get assigned every school year by some government test. The higher the number, the more prestigious the school is. Who cares!!! They are using my daughter like a robot – they want output and zero creativity.
For her x-mas vacation I plan to let the teacher know that my 2nd grader has plans and will not do HOLIDAY HOMEWORK!