How do you fit elementary school homework into your routine? Last year, when the boys were in Kindergarten, we occasionally got a worksheet to do at home. But for the most part, their homework was to read and practice sight words.
Since I am a reader, and Jake started reading at 26 months, and I am all about these boys loving to get lost in a book, reading was easy homework. It wasn’t really homework for us.
Now that the boys are in first grade, they get additional homework. A packet is sent home on Mondays and is due back on Fridays. In the packet are enough worksheets for one Reading/ELA and one Math worksheet per day.
For you and me that’s not a big deal (except it kind of is because I was taught math back when you learned it like this:
But now, it’s about all this craziness:
Common Core Blah Blah
Let me just say that I was on the anti-Common Core train at first.
When the boys were little and I had to start caring about it, I dreaded it. But at some point, I learned some more about it.
I do see the value of teaching different ways to think and problem solve.
I also recognized that some of the inane examples of Common Core passed around the internet were not necessarily indicative of the overall Common Core curriculum.
It’s Not What, But When?
While there would be some learning curve for ME as far as the method, my issue is more about the timing of doing the homework.
An Average Day
We leave the house at 7:30 am and school starts at 8:00 am. The school day is over at 3:00 pm and my boys go to the extended day program after school.
Some days they have a “club” after school such as Art Club or Science Club. Those are from 3:30 – 4:30.
Even if I pick them up right after the club, we get home about 4:50 at the earliest. They usually want a snack and since they haven’t been home for 9-10 hours, want to play.
Then there’s dinner, pajamas, teeth, books, and bedtime. If they need a bath or shower, that’s another 20 minutes.
I am suuuper lucky to have a pretty flexible job. But it is still a full-time job. There are days I can’t pick the boys up until 5:30 pm (thankfully this is no longer the norm, as it once was :-(.) So on those days, we get home about 6:00 pm.
Two days a week the boys have Karate from 5:45 pm – 6:30 pm. So we have to get home, get a snack, change into gis, and leave by 5:25 at the latest to get to Karate on time in evening traffic. Those days we get home around usually shortly before 7:00 pm.
Fortunately, my mom has been helping me on Karate days by picking them up from school and bringing them home to change and snack, and then taking them to Karate and back home. I can make dinner while they are there and make lunches and snacks for the next day. I am often also changing clothes over, folding clothes, putting dishes away, washing dishes, getting the mail, paying the bills, and so on.
The Point Is … WHEN?
Or maybe I should say the QUESTION is – WHEN DO YOU DO THE HOMEWORK?!
My boys need sleep. I try to have them in bed and on their way to sleep by 7:30/7:45 pm.
Don’t even get me started on trying to do the homework with them at the same time. My two think so drastically different, that’s a whole separate post.
I cannot for the life of me figure out how to fit this in. Not to mention the fact that they are tired and have been away from home for 10 hours. Who wants to come home from a 10 hour work day to just keep on working.
When I worked around the clock without any relaxing or playing time, it took its toll on me. And I’m an adult.
Not to mention – when can they take piano lessons? Or play on a sports team? Or join a Cub Scout pack?
Homework vs. No Homework
I am not necessarily saying that they shouldn’t have homework, although my feelings on it have changed since they’ve been in school. To be honest, if they didn’t have any homework other than reading, at this age, I would actually be okay with that.
There certainly is a benefit to building the study/homework habit, just like building the habit of brushing teeth.
But I also don’t want them to dislike school for being there all day and then having to come home and do more school work.
I would love to know how you manage homework with your little people. What do your routine and timing look like? This mama would love some tips!
Additional reading about homework
American Psychological Association: Is Homework a Necessary Evil?
Chicago Tribune: Should kids have homework? The great debate.