File this under: Woman, you are singing the song of our people.
It’s the thing we all want to say about the insanity that is homework but are too afraid/people-pleasing/worried about retribution from school. And Bunmi Laditan said it. Loud and clear. How fantastic is that?
Laditan, author of the popular blog The Honest Toddler, is one spectacularly honest mom. Her daughter’s homework-related anxiety and exhaustion had reached a breaking point at their house, and Laditan decided it was time to take action. She emailed the school to let everyone there know that henceforth, their family would be opting out of homework. Boom.
“My kid is done with homework,” she posted on Facebook about her decision. “I just sent an email to her school letting her know she’s all done. I said ‘drastically reduce’ but I was trying to be polite because she’s finished.”
We’ve all seen the dreaded 2-inch-thick “homework packets.” We’ve all watched our children burst into tears in utter frustration and exhaustion because there’s no time between school and bed for them to simply be kids. It’s happening at younger and younger ages. When my then-first-grader toted home a 20-page “packet” of work to be completed in 48 hours outside of school, I lost my mommy cool and said NOPE. But the packets kept coming, week after week. So my daughter’s anxiety ramped up in the obvious tug-of-war between her mom and her teacher. What’s a parent to do, honestly?
Hold your ground seems to be Laditan’s approach, and we’re eager to hear what the school’s reaction is. Her Facebook post is full of good sense — we wish more schools in the U.S. would consider this point of view.
“Children need downtime after school the same way adults need downtime after work. They need to play with their siblings. They need to bond with their parents in a relaxed atmosphere, not one where everyone is stressed about fractions because — SURPRISE — I’m not a teacher. Children need time to just enjoy their childhoods or is that just for the weekends (although we do homework on Sundays also).
Laditan is aware that the school might not see eye-to-eye with her on her “we out” manifesto. She’s considering her options.
“My kid is all done with homework. If the school wants to punish her for it, then I guess I’ll have to figure out how to homeschool. I’m very nervous about it because although I work from home, I do work. I also have a 3-year-old who only goes to preschool two mornings a week. And a 7-year-old in second grade. I’ll have to hire a tutor to help me and will need to find a group of parents doing the same thing, but I have no choice at this point.”
It’s a sad world when a kid is so tired from staying up late to finish homework, they’re barely functioning in school the next day. And it’s a sad state of affairs when a mother can’t count on a school to honor her need to safeguard her daughter’s mental health.
Laditan added, “We all want our children to grow up and succeed in the world. While I believe in education, I don’t believe for one second that academics should consume a child’s life. I don’t care if she goes to Harvard one day. I just want her to be intelligent, well-rounded, kind, inspired, charitable, spiritual and have balance in her life. I want her to be mentally and emotionally healthy. I want her to know that work is not life, it’s part of life. Work will not fulfill you. It will not keep you warm—family, friends, community, giving back, and being a good person do that.”
Seriously, we can’t applaud this woman more for telling it like it is. We’re eager to see if other parents will follow Laditan’s lead in just saying no to homework. (We’re sure thinking about it.)