As a parent of a 13-year-old girl in 7th grade, I have noticed an uptick in homework assignments from her teachers. On average, my daughter is doing the equivalent of 2 to 3 hours of extra work each night. All of This is after she has been online in front of her tablet for 8 hrs of "regular" school.
I asked myself, what are the effects of too much homework? What are the effects of too much homework?
I find this interesting, and I compare here homework today to mine in 7th-grade back in the late 70s. If I had any homework, it would have been a project or preparing for a test. My normal class work was completed in school during regular school hours, where the teachers were available to help.
The idea that my mom or dad would sit down after a long day of work and help me or my brothers and sisters with homework would have been unthinkable. Another interesting fact is that if I were not in a library, I would not have access to any additional information or research for a particular subject. I would be out of luck.
So, now we have the majority of our children working remotely from home due to a pandemic, and they are limited in-class participation due to distance learning. There are no books for reference as all material is in an app or video, and the kids have to rely on their note-taking ability to go back and decipher what the teacher wants them to complete on their homework. Parents are now required to support the homework efforts after working a full day themselves without any supporting materials or teacher's guide. Does anyone else find this concerning?
In my lifetime I have had the experience of working in corporate America for over 25 years and have seen the toll that stress has taken on myself and my co-workers. I would take mental notes on how many older co-workers I had, and it was shocking to me that most of the older workers were the minority. The average employee was in their late 20s and early 30s. Senior management was in their 40s and 50s. It was apparent to me that most of the people I worked with wouldn't make it long term in this environment.
One of the connections I can see between my daughter's school and my work history is the amount of email and lack of instruction. I can see the lack of support due to distance learning and the low staffing of teaching resources.
All of this begs the question, why are we doing this? Do I want my daughter to stress herself out at the age of 13 so that she can continue to groom herself for a career filled with the same energy? Is there any purpose of training her on how to be a better and more efficient corporate citizen? I can honestly say no, and I will not support this activity moving forward.
In previous blogs, I have shared with my audience the information I gathered about the "factory schools" model and the fact that that it was created to produce better factory workers at the turn of the century. I have also talked about taking your power and being comfortable using it for your best and highest good.
All of this information falls at my feet today. I have to be with the idea that I want to support my daughter in her pursuit of knowledge. I need to feel comfortable with moving away from an academic model that was built 200 years ago and doesn't meet the needs of my daughter today. I will have to co-create a new way of learning that fits her strengths and needs as opposed to the needs of larger businesses.
This opportunity has been placed before me to create something more meaningful for myself and my daughter and I will endeavor to help her build a world that she has a deep connection to rather than making her fit into what is.