homework requires parents

Tonight, we are going to finish part of a book report, write three black belt essays, practice a bow staff routine, create a utility use report and study chemistry. This weekend, we are going to make a miniature medieval castle, an edible Mondrian reproduction, finish a biography report, study chemistry and turn Tommy’s paperless ecology discussions into an old fashioned print scrapbook.

Don’t tell me that homework is only for students. My 11-year-old doesn’t have the sense to choose materials or use them safely. I keep a good collection of basic craft supplies, but there is frequently some odd item that requires an adult driving somewhere in the car. I already know we’ll need to visit the local pizza place to ask politely for an unused box to transport the edible art. We made a library run today. Papers need proofing by an adult. Studying works better when you have someone quizzing you. Some children just need more help than other children.

We used to have a neighbor who refused to help her children with homework. She was so opposed to the entire concept of homework that she didn’t care if the children did it, wouldn’t get them supplies and would not alter her schedule in any way to accommodate anything related to school during her time with the children. I suspect there are other parents who passive-aggressively sabotage homework. I think the much more common problem with homework is parents who are working multiple jobs, juggling childcare, incapable of understanding the assignments and/or unable to buy any kind of supplies. I worry about those children. Do teachers fail students for their parents’ inability or unwillingness to assist with homework? Is homework a privilege or a punishment?

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