How to Handle Worksheet Homework

When your child greets you at the end of the school day crying, “I’m stressed! I have yesterday’s worksheet to finish and today’s and the spelling homework! I hate school!” — that is disquieting. After six hours of sitting (with 35 minutes of total recess) and doing what one is told, to end the day with anxiety is a recipe for learning to hate school.

I did not push Claire to do the worksheets, but she decided to complete them. They were easy — tracing and printing the letters C, D, E, and F, on two sides of a paper. Could that time have been better spent? Could she have played, or helped make dinner, or gone for a walk? Yes, but Claire was worried about submitting blank sheets. I asked more about how homework is collected. In past classes, all the folders were put in a bin, and a parent helper or the teacher looked at it. In this year’s class, the folders are kept on the students’ desks. At mid-morning, a student helper collects the pages from each student to bring to the teacher or adult helper to review.

This requires producing papers on the spot, in front of everyone; it will be obvious when a student has nothing to turn in. So, I created a document that we’ll staple to any worksheets, and Claire will have something to submit. (To save paper, there are multiple forms on one sheet.) We’ll circle all the applicable activities for that day.

Worksheet Alternatives

This post is also related to yesterday’s post, To Do Homework, or Not to Do Homework?

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Journal, Motherhood

4 Comments on “How to Handle Worksheet Homework”

  1. redondowriter Says:

    Absolutely brilliant.

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you. What I find interesting is that it does not occur to most parents to push back, and in fact, it took me several years to situate myself on the issue.

  3. Laura Says:

    I am breathlessly appalled that homework is collected in a way that seems designed to encourage the kids to judge each other. Simply setting on the teacher’s desk in a bin as you come in would be simpler, and less laden.

    Your solution is awesome, and I thank you for writing about this now – my oldest starts first grade this year, and I’m trying to figure out where I stand on homework. (His kindergarten homework was 3 double-sided sheets per week, and he had the weekend to do them, and we pushed him to do them, but….)

  4. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you for sharing, Laura. Your description of how you feel represents mine perfectly. You might also find this post interesting (if you haven’t seen it already)

    I grew up in an era where homework wasn’t assigned until about 4th-5th grade, and not much of it was assigned then, either. I grew up just fine, learning the basics.

    Children need time to play and to be. We are strangling childhood in so many ways, from homework in Kinder and up, to not allowing children to go out by themselves, to scheduling their every hour.