Last week, I got an email from Laura Reeger North, a mother of three from Midland, Texas, who was a teacher for five years in an alternative education program before the birth of her last child. Laura, who gave me permission to reprint her emails and use her name, wrote to me last week and told me that, after reading an excerpt from The Case Against Homework, she
found the courage to say ENOUGH. We will no longer be a slave to the threat of a bad grade for not doing meaningless homework over things we have already learned. We will concentrate on learning subject matter and learning the lessons of life we have abandoned along with our family life due to pointless homework.
I have repeatedly been told that my children need to do this homework to learn to follow the rules. There is a much better way to teach them the importance of respect and responsibility through the experiences of family life and having the time to talk and listen to my children. Is this an extreme reaction-maybe.
But do not worry that you have led me to this decision. Instead, you gave me the courage to to respond to the decision I had already made for the mental, physical and emotional well being of my children. Do not have a heavy heart or be burdened that you are responsible for my decision. Instead be proud that you have given me the much needed back up that I will need. Again – maybe extreme, but so is 4 and 5 hours of homework a night.
I really appreciated Laura’s email and I did feel proud that she had found the courage to stand up to her children’s teachers through reading an excerpt from my book. After all, that was precisely the reason I wrote it.
The following day, she sent me an email telling me what had happened when she went to her children’s school:
I got a call from the principal today. She said my children would not be penalized for not doing this work???? They will work around it????
That’s it, I just had to say enough.
I should have found your book sooner, or the courage. I didn’t even have to support my actions. “We are not doing it, it is negatively affecting my children and family life,” is all it took. While I am happy with the outcome, I am also dumbfounded.
Thank you. We had a great dinner and played games as a family. One son shared a devotional he will present to his friends in a devotional group the 8th grade boys have started together. The 5th grader, who had been struggling so much, smiled and relaxed for the first time in six weeks. And the 5 year old got his share of time that I previously had to spend helping the other two.
As I looked around the house and at all the daily chores that had had to be ignored, I knew it would wait one more day. Finally we had family time again.
5 thoughts on “Moms (and Dads) on a Mission – Midland Texas – “Finally, We Have Family Time Again.””
Laura — congrats on taking back your family life! Well done.
That’s it, I just had to say enough.
… While I am happy with the outcome, I am also dumbfounded.
This reminds me of a meeting I had with my daughter’s 4th grade teacher and the “challenge” teacher. I remarked that there was a growing movement against homework and that I was planning to join it. As an example, I described homework given routinely by the 4th grade teacher, copying definitions out of the dictionary. The challenge teacher said, “right, busywork.” To my amazement the 4th grade teacher just nodded. He knows the homework is just busywork but he continues to give it! What the …?
On the one hand, kudos to your principal for being able to work with your needs. On the other hand, if even the principal can see that your children could learn just as well without the homework, why does she support a system that continues to assign it?
That’s the kind of letter that really warms my heart — it’s not just about homework, but about empowerment and being a good parent.
It was empowering-but I did not act soon enough. My 11 year old had an anxeity flare( the pediatician said not to call it a panic attack-old school) Sunday evening. I believe, even though he could not connect it himself, that it was related to returning to school on Monday. But we are on the right track now. I will continue to advocate for my children and give them the much needed support they need.
Thank you for your kind comments. Stay in there-protect your children when they need it but allow them to learn to fall so that they are not afraid to climb!!
I read in the newspaper on Monday that symptoms of anxiety and depression are identified or acknowledged by 44% of kids between the age of 8 and 17. I just find that astounding. I can’t recall if they are talking about American or Canadian kids, but hey, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
The main cause: pressure.
We do have to protect our kids. Yay, Laura!
I just wanted to clarify on that newspaper piece. I found the actual piece and I was a bit off..
….44% of kids stress out about doing well in school according to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey released last week. It was the first time the survey included kids age 8-17.
I apologize for my reporting off the cuff, inaccurately…..but still, it’s an alarming statistic. That a survey would reveal this information about children tells us that many kids cannot be learning properly, given what we know about how stress affects the brain, and so many aspects of human functioning.