Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is The Honeymoon Over?

I love the excitement of the fall and the first couple weeks of school.  I always loved being a student and the start of a new school year.  The energy at school during these first few weeks is usually positive, hopeful, happy and light-hearted.

And then...homework begins, and all that changes.

I just received an email from a blog reader.  This is what she said:

"Hi Kerry, I just found you and your blog. I have a 2nd grader in the SRVUSD and I am stressed already about homework this year. I am absolutely against homework in elementary school knowing what we do about how there is no correlation between success level.

I am a pretty active parent and my daughter benefits from several resources funded by our donations. (Barton, Touch Math and others.) I feel as if they have her for 6.5 hours a day. I want her to come home and be a kid. To play and do art and watch a little TV is she wants to. 

My husband and I both work full time and I pick up our daughter at 4:30 or so from aftercare. She is fried by then. To begin homework at that time of nights is nearly worthless. The quality of the homework done during "homework time" at aftercare has not been great either. 

So, here we go into another year of the homework battle. I just want to opt out. I don't see links to any district info or PTA petition but would love to jump on board with you. Happy to support any way we can! "

I would like to point out for all you other SRVUSD parents that I have a link to our district's homework policy on this blog. In the green box on the right side of my blog is a link that says, "Link to My District's Homework Policy" - Click on "SRVUSD Policy." And then notice that I've highlighted in red all the parts of the policy that I like best.

To address the above parent's concerns, notice that the SRVUSD homework policy says:

"Grades 2-3: 30-45 minutes of homework per night (reading included)
Except for reading, homework at the elementary level should not be assigned over weekends, holidays, or extended school breaks."

So, if I were the parent who commented above, I would encourage about 15 minutes or more of reading with my 2nd grade child sometime after school, maybe at night before bed, or anytime that is relaxed and not rushed. If I felt compelled to have my child do more homework than reading, I would put a time limit on it - no more than 10-15 more minutes and sign off on the top of the page that your child completed 30 minutes of homework (reading included) as per the SRVUSD homework policy. Do NOT panic if your child does not finish the homework packet. Being non-rushed after work and school is more important than stressing out about second grade homework. Send the message to your child that non-hurried family time is more important than plowing through worksheets and getting everyone upset about it.

Reading is a wonderful way to reconnect with your child after a busy day. Remove all screens when you read. Devote full attention to your child and the story. Enjoy. They are little only once. It truly goes by so fast.

Can you tell I have one off to college? Long gone are the days when he was small enough to curl up in my lap or snuggle in bed and have a story read to him. Those are precious times, and they are full of learning. Don't let those moments slip away and replace them with worksheets or with checking your emails.

Let's try to keep the positive energy and hope of the start of the school year going for as long as possible.


  1. We have found that reading was and still is the most important thing our children should do each night - the other "homework" helps the child slowly transition and get use to doing additional school work down the road (Middle School, HS), but keep things in perspective and don't worry about not getting it all done. But, reading each night does make a difference.

  2. I am a parent of SRVUSD students in 8th and 10th grade. I feels the teachers and the district disregard the homework policy. There was not one teacher who mentioned the policy at back to school night. I can't remember the last weekend where my kids did not have homework. My 10th grader has spent a few night staying up past midnight trying to get all of the assignments done. It barely leaves time to study for tests.

    It is a no win situation for the kids because if they do not get the homework they will not get the points.

    I have emailed teacher before whith my concerns, but I have been brushed off. I would be happy to hear any suggestions.

    1. It is a no-win situation for parents and students. As a teacher of thirty years I am passionately opposed to homework. I have written a book, Simply Too Much Homework! It is a short, easy read that looks at both sides of the issue so it is a good book to give to a teacher to stimulate the conversation. It is available of

  3. I, too, have noticed that the teachers do not mention the SRVUSD policy at Back to School Night. I would suggest emailing the teacher your concerns with a copy to either a counselor or administrator. Feel free to quote the parts of the homework policy that you feel are being ignored. You can talk with other parents, too, to gauge their children's feelings about the work load. One parent may be ignored, but ten most likely will not.