Today’s “Mom on a Mission” is Krisi Repp, a mother of three from Gray Summit, Missouri, with students in public elementary, middle, and high schools. A stay-at-home mother for the past 12-1/2 years, Krisi recently returned to work part-time. Here is a letter she wrote to all of her children’s teachers, right before the beginning of the school year. In an upcoming post, she will tell you about the responses she received.
Letter to Teachers in Elementary, Middle, and High School
by Krisi Repp
Hello there. I hope things are going well for you. Please understand, this letter is not being written with the intent of causing problems or to insult you as a teacher or as a school district. Instead, I hope to simply communicate my feelings regarding the subject of homework. I know that if I feel this way, there are numerous other families that feel the same way, who are not speaking out. This letter is being sent out to all of my three kid’s teachers and I understand that it may not be relevant to each of you.
As a very busy mother, it frustrates me to schedule time for homework. I have been told homework is designed to promote “quality time” at home and/or to prepare our children for their “future”. When I consider both reasons, I totally disagree! My thoughts… I feel the best quality time my kids can spend after already putting in a full “work” day, is to have time for whatever our family interests may be. I have a great interest in the health of my children and find it absurd to tell them to sit down and do their homework when they could be going outside to play (healthy exercise). They’ve already been sitting most of the day. And we wonder why many kids are overweight! As far as preparing for their “future”… after combining their full day at school and homework, both a full time college student and a full-time employee get more free time “after hours”, than school age children!
Another problem is that many kids are missing out on well-needed sleep for their health. Getting home after 3 or 4 p.m. makes it challenging to squeeze in everything and still get to bed at a decent hour. Family schedules include most, or all of the following after a full day of school…. have a snack, complete household chores (a real way of raising responsible kids and preparing them for their future), practice of a hobby or of a sport (fun/healthy exercise), dinner and clean up, attend a school or church event, time for family and/or friends, shower, etc. After, or somewhere in between, we are to find time for homework and still get our kids to bed at a reasonable hour! (Some kids need help with homework and have parents who don’t get home from work until 5-7 p.m. These parents may only get 2 hours a night with their kids, and why should any of that precious time be spent on more schoolwork)? Kids need between 8–10 hours of sleep each night, and mine start getting up as early as 5:30 a.m. Sure makes it hard to accomplish everything on our family plate, even without homework needing to be squeezed in!
My heart also goes out to you as a teacher! You too have already put in an even longer workday. Why should you be expected to spend less family time, etc. due to homework?
In ending, my opinion is that school time should be school time and home time should be home time. I do not agree with home time becoming more school time! My kids have already been away from home, at school, for 8 hours! That’s enough school time. They should be all mine after school.
Thank you for understanding my feelings. I appreciate any attempt you can make to filter out “busy” work that may be normally given as homework to my children.
4 thoughts on “Moms (and Dads) on a Mission: Gray Summit, Missouri”
I loved your letter so much I cut and pasted it into an email to my son’s teacher and principal. I have been in discussion with them over the amount of homework Iain has been assigned [See first “Moms (and dads) on a Mission”], with no good results as yet. I used your letter as a small piece of evidence that I am not alone in my thinking. I am not the lunatic fringe, there are many other normal, sensible, deep-thinking and caring parents who feel the same way … I got no response whatsoever on that one!
Best of luck with your quest!
You are SO right! My daughter (4th grade) has a teacher who believes that smart children should be “rewarded” with extra homework. As a result, she barely has time for other enriching things that stretch her imagination and her intellect: reading a good novel, digging in the garden, taking ballet class, cooking with me in the kitchen, experimenting with my digital camera, making a bead bracelet, or just lying on the floor listening to music. These are the things that make for a more well rounded, critical thinker — somehow I think we’ve lost sight of the goal here!
You are SO right! My daughter (4th grade) has a teacher who believes that smart children should be “rewarded” with extra homework. As a result, she barely has time for other enriching things that stretch her imagination and her intellect: reading a good novel, digging in the garden, taking ballet class, cooking with me in the kitchen,
Amen! I’ve posted here numerous times about teachers who misunderstand gifted kids and think they need more worksheets, more slogging through homework all night long, which only deprives them of the opportunity for self-directed pursuits, innnovation and discovery. On their own time.
Exhibit A; I’m sitting at my computer, watching the vice presidential candidate debate. We are not a tv family but once in a blue moon, I’d like us all watching together. Tonight, I’d like my daughter beside me now, watching, learning and commenting. But she isn’t. She’s in the living room and I’ve sequestered myself in the study, hiding so she doesn’t see me as she works all night long.
I’m watching the debate alone. My husband is reading in the living room to keep my daughter company because it’s late and she’s tired. She is very interested in the political process, what an educational tool this would be, but she’s not permitted to watch with me. She is a homework machine.
Your discussion about “rewarded with more work” brought me a flashback of a conversation I had with my daughter’s 3d-grade teacher back in the public school. It went like this:
3d-grade teacher: “See, when she does a good job with the regular spelling words, I give her the advanced spelling words!”
Me: “Yeah, but that doesn’t feel like a reward to her. She feels like, ‘I did the spelling words and I did them right, and now I have to do more? It’s not fair!'”
3d-grade teacher: “Oh! I hadn’t thought of that.”
What planet do these guys live on?