Dear Sober Dad,
My third grader has way too much homework. I don’t even think they should have homework at all at that age. I’ve talked to the teacher, but they won’t make any changes. What do I do?
Jerry R., Sabetha, Kansas
Sober Dad is outraged by the amount, and perhaps even the existence, of homework, especially for younger children.
We adults are constantly hectored to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and yet we are encouraging our children to “take their work home with them” by giving them homework every night.
Sober Dad views homework as an admission of failure on the part of teachers to get across all the lessons they needed to teach over the course of the school day.
Perhaps some homework is appropriate for older kids, but what’s the point of making a third grader do times tables endlessly, especially when a calculator is within easy reach on one’s smartphone?
The reality is that in today’s world, teachers and schools are judged by students’ scores on standardized tests, so cramming children full of information is a survival skill for teachers and administrators.
I empathize with the job teachers have—they have so many mandates with which to cope, and they are essentially being asked to take over many of the duties of raising children which, in happier times, were left to parents.
The whole point of being a child is to grow, and much of growth comes through play. If we are saddling children with far too much homework, we are preventing them from developing, and simply from moving.
Am I the only one who has noticed that there’s an obesity epidemic going on with our kids?
Let them play.
Let them move.
Sober Dad confesses that when his kids were younger, he would often do much of their homework for them. He would say, “You do the first three, and once I see that you know how to do it, I’ll do the rest.”
Professionals would consider this sort of behavior enabling the children and diminishing their respect for authority figures, and even outright teaching children to lie, claiming that work their parents did is their own.
Sober Dad shamefully admits guilt in each of these areas. However, when he discussed this matter with the principal at his children’s elementary school, the principal admitted that he often did the very same thing.