How much is too much homework in fourth grade? I don’t know. Maybe any homework is too much. But it does seem to me that school is the place to work in groups and receive instruction, but reading and actual writing and math drilling, and studying to take in the things you learned–those are things you really have to do at home. I’ve come around to homework. It’s fine.
What’s not fine is how long it takes Sam to DO his homework.
He had Nordic skiing after school today, so we got home right around five. He really did sit down with the book he needed to finish for a small writing assignment right away, and the reading didn’t take long. Then he sat down for “math journal” wherein he explains how he did a math word problem. He already did the problem. He took a small break for dinner and wandered over to me a few minutes ago with a question about the math journal. It was 7:50. He had written two sentences.
WHAT IS HE DOING OVER THERE?
He is at the kitchen counter. I am right here. I can see him. He didn’t do anything during that time as far as I could see other than sit there with the paper and pencil.
It’s eight-thirty now, and he’s brought over what’s supposed to be his completed work. It’s not complete, not at all. He’s left out large chunks of his reasoning (and before you get too excited, this should involve sentences like “then I added twenty-five and two to get twenty-seven”). He isn’t anywhere near done. And now he is sleepy, because it is his bedtime, and he still hasn’t done his math, or the writing that has to be done for his reading. He will be up for at least another hour, and probably two, because he’s really too tired to work diligently, even if he were capable of that, which apparently he is not.
I am so discouraged. He’s going to have to quit Nordic skiing, I can see that. This is the third time this month we’ve had a night like this. It’s clear he can’t keep up with his work and do so many things after school. And he does do a lot after school. He skies three days a week and usually has hockey practice at least once. But none of these things is more than an hour, and he does them for fun, not because we are activity crazed parents. We live in the country, and it’s more fun to ski with buddies for an hour than just come home. Why wouldn’t it be?
He is nine years old, and tomorrow I have to make him choose which thing he loves to do after school he is going to give up.