It seems strange to put ourselves on imaginary Mom teams, but we do, I do. I do it all day. I see you out there wearing your “uniforms” of yoga pants, or work clothes. Off the bat I can think of a few other teams I see, Team Organic, Team Academic, Team Athletics and Team Low-tech. Usually joining a team gives you credentials to have opinions about those not on your team, and although you don’t wish harm on the other team, you definitely hope your team wins, in the end.
So I will tell you about a team I just recently joined. It is called Team NO-Homework.
I wasn’t always on this team.
There was a time when we tried to do all our homework after school, and it took us hours. Hours we will never get back in our lives. It makes me so sad when I think back to that kindergarten year when we fought over doing more than an hours worth of homework after a full day of school, Monday through Thursday. When I was on this team, there were tears, fights, hours sitting at the table, and a whole lot of mindless and mindful work done. I never signed up for this team, but I guess I was forced to join, we attended a highly academic charter school, and it just was part of the deal. We did it so my son didn’t lose his recess or was not in trouble the next day. We felt like we didn’t have a choice.
Before I was a mom, I was an elementary school teacher, for 14 years. I remember the pressure there was to assign homework, from other parents, from standards, from what you thought it should be. But research shows again and again the benefits from doing homework are just not there in the early grades. Why are we all stuck on this ritual of homework after school?
And it then happened, one day in second grade I decided we would do as little homework as we possibly could. Sometimes we skipped it altogether. So I decided to get permission from teachers to not do it all. Once I told them that it was too much for my active son, teachers were kind and understanding, and allowed modifications on our daily work. We changed schools, and now attend the local elementary, with considerably less homework, and we still don’t do it all. What do we do with all that time. Something that I find way more valuable. We explore. We go on trips outside, to the beach, to parks, and just play.
Last week we went to the beach, and explored the low tides, found caves, ran into a small seal, and collected trash off the rocks. We found sea glass, and a heat shaped rock, and peace of mind. We are coming away from that few hours enriched in nature, and full of memories of fun and friends, and I am pretty sure my ten year old learned more in that afternoon than he could have at any desk.
(The pictures of me are from Michelle Nicoloff and her amazing talent, the others are my iphone)