Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kids’ Homework: Parents’ Homework in Disguise?

The Wall Street Journal’s parenting blogger, Sara Schaefer Muñoz, wrote a great entry today on a topic that has become a particular pet peeve of mine: Kids’ homework assignments that require parents to complete them either with the children or to complete independently. (The Spouse and I have been given regular homework assignments by our children’s teachers.)

Now I have no problem with guiding my children, trouble-shooting for their assignments, making suggestions when they’re stuck or playing cheerleader when their efforts seem to be flagging. But some of the assignments my second graders get which require direct parental involvement can become too much in the context of the harried days in a dual working parent household with three kids.

Although, judging from Muñoz’s entry, with my rug rats still in grade school, I haven’t seen anything yet. She wrote:

“A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader who said she was fed
up with teachers asking for parental help, including an extensive edit of a
7th-grade paper. ‘Shouldn’t the child edit their own paper?’ she asks. But she
says when she posed the question to an assistant superintendent, the
superintendent ‘proudly admitted to editing her [own] daughter’s senior AP
English paper.’

‘I am not sure I would hire her daughter or recommend her for any job or
college,’ she writes. ‘I would hope that any child in Senior AP English class
could write and edit their own papers.’”

I liken being a parent — at its very essence — to being a teacher to one’s own children where you’re charged with preparing your children for life outside of the nest, where they have to learn how to thrive on their own.

I, like the writer Muñoz quoted, get irritated when it seems as though work that the kids should be doing in school is put onto parents’ plates, or, worse yet, when parents are assigned homework. You see I finished second grade quite a long time ago.

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