Hey Teachers, Stop Asking Parents to Do Your Homework!

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I'm sick of doing my child's homework.

I’m sick of doing my child’s homework.

I have never been so tired of traditional homework. The worst kind is the piles of homework my kids bring home that I have to help them with do that is beyond maddening.

One day it was perimeter in math, which I haven’t done in about 38 years. Then, it was ancient civilizations. “Where is King Tut buried?” Seriously? While this rote memory stuff might be useful in a game of Trivia Crack, I’m not sure it’s something my child should spend 30 minutes working on at home.

I read a pro homework article recently suggesting that parents doing homework with children is a good bonding activity. We have many wonderful bonding activities at my house: Discussions about books, family dinners, board games, playing with the dog, among others. We might even discuss ancient civilizations, but when we do, it’s on our terms, and it’s stimulating conversation–not fill-in-the-blank worksheets.

Explaining a new math concept that appears in a workbook and has yet to be taught in class simply isn’t my job. “Didn’t you learn this already?” I ask. When I’m told, No, it makes me feel as though I’m doing the teachers’ job. Sure, I don’t mind teaching my children, and I believe I have much to offer, but I want them to learn life lessons–things far more beneficial than diagramming sentences or multiplying decimals.

I’ve written widely on the deleterious effects of traditional homework, like the assignments mentioned in this post. But please understand that I’m not against students working outside of school. They should, however, have some say in what the activities are, and any out-of-class work should never be graded.

When kids are invited to enrich their learning with amazing learning opportunities and wonderful, entertaining books, they will choose to work at home. And, best of all, their learning will continue to grow. Shouldn’t this be the goal?

So, teachers, please stop asking me to do your homework assignments.

Unless you want to do my kids’ laundry. Then, maybe we can work a deal.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for amazing solutions to this and other school problems, coming soon from the Hack Learning Series.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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