Every afternoon I help my son with his homework. He is 5 years old so he isn’t exactly coming home with exercises that make you question your own intelligence as yet but I swear to you that this is probably the biggest test of a mother’s patience there is.
Now I love that my son enjoys school and loves to learn but have you ever done homework with a 5 year old? A 5 year old who is exhausted after a long day at school and whose regular attention span is, as my husband puts it, like a goldfish on drugs. It is extremely frustrating to say the least.
Let’s take a writing/penmanship exercise for example. Trace the word YELLOW.
Y… mummy you know I dreamed that a dinosaur came to eat me
E… mummy I am thirsty, I am going to drink some water (and run away)
L… stare into space for a minute
L… mummy did I tell you about my dream?
O… stare into space for another minute
And finally W.
And this is just one exercise. Imagine two pages of writing, a reading exercise and ten spelling words.
I spend the entire time saying “do your work”, “focus”, “sit still”, “stop spinning”and “no a dinosaur won’t eat you”. And, by the time we are done it is late, he is practically sleep walking and I want to shoot myself.
The thing is, I have seen my son do his work with drastically less intermissions, less complaints and less mistakes and it makes me wonder if homework, at this stage, is just an overkill. He spends all day at school paying attention and doing these very same exercises and is completely drained by the time school ends. In this state his little brain is overflowing with information and there is simply no more concentration and focus for him to give.
Every evening then becomes more of an intense struggle between him and me to try to finish his homework before his bedtime and less of a relaxing evening at home spending time with family. And I hate that.
I hate that instead of playing with his puppy when he gets home from school he has to rush to bathe and eat dinner just so that he could finish his homework before it gets too late.
It feels as though he is being robbed of some of the best parts of childhood just because he has homework.
Some studies have shown that homework could have a negative impact on children’s quality of life and schools and individual teachers in places such as New York, Maryland and Michigan have abolished or made homework optional in the elementary years (http://time.com/4250968/why-parents-should-not-make-kids-do-homework/).
Unfortunately this is not the case with my son’s school and for now we will just have to continue to battle the homework demons together.
What are your thoughts on assigning homework to five year olds? Do you think that it is necessary for their development or is it too much?