November 15, 2012

The 6th Grade Blues

“Mom! It isn’t fair.”

“Mom! I hate my life.”

“Mom! I’ll be doing homework all night!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these words come out of Ashley’s mouth the last few months. My girl is miserable. Why?


Ashley’s daily afterschool routine goes something like this:

· Arrive home 3:20pm

· Get Drink/Food

· Begin Homework 3:30pm

· Eat Dinner 6:00pm

· Do More Homework 6:15pm

· Take a Shower 7:30pm

· Do More Homework 7:45pm

· Go To Bed 9:30pm

If you are doing the math, that is give or take about 5 hours of homework each night. Is this an exaggeration? No. It’s the straight up truth.

Each night she has homework which consists of Word Study (spelling/definitions), Math (worksheets, book work & IXL), Reading (Group Reading, Independent AR’s and RazzKids), and either Science/Social Studies/World Language work. She even has received an assignment to write a paper for her GYM class!

Now, I am the type of parent that believes kids should have homework. Hey – I had it – I basically had the exact same experience (minus the computer work because computers were not invented way back then) when I was in 6th grade. I hated school, and in particular my teacher, Mrs. Pelham. She was mean, piled on the homework and always sent home progress reports showing my parent’s just how bad I was doing. I’m sure my mom heard me complain a time or two or a thousand about her. I couldn’t wait for 6th grade to be over. She would always say “You kids will thank me next year. I’m just preparing you for 7th grade.” Well you know what, she was right. When I got to 7th grade, the fact that she pushed me to be the best student possible, helping me develop awesome study habits, and by proving to me that if I did 1500 math problems, I’d get an A on that test. It wasn’t an easy year, but I got through it.

After visiting with Ashley’s teacher at conference’s this week, the words she spoke were very familiar to me. “you know Mrs. Dunn, I realize that it SEEMS like a lot of work right now, but next year, she will be ready to tackle on the faster pace of 7th grade”. I get it – but how do you get a 11 year old girl who is unable to have a social life because she is always doing homework to “get it”. The teacher even gave homework on Halloween. I was a little pissed about that. Like really? The one day that she knows 90% of the kids will be out for at least 2 hours of the evening? We got it done, but bedtime got pushed out to 10:00pm.

It also seems unfair to her right now because her brother has homework, but it normally takes him about 5 minutes to complete it. No lie. You can see her blood pressure rising when he gets his done and is able to watch TV/play video games/etc. That poor girl.

Ash homework

My question to you – what is a reasonable amount of homework for a 6th grader? Did you ever have “that teacher” who you thought gave too much homework? How do you explain to an 11 year old girl that it WILL pay off eventually?


Jessica said...

My girl isn't in school yet, but have contact with many parents and teachers in our area schools and have family with kids that are in school. Not sure where you live, but the GENERAL rule for homework here in Colorado is 10 mins times the grade they are in. So 6th grade would be 10x6=60 that doesn't happen all the time, I hear sometimes it's a little more or less, but never much in either direction. I remember being in school in Nevada many many moons ago, I was in the Gifted and Talented programs throughout elementary school and then advanced classes in jr and high school and I think the most I still managed to have was 3-4 hrs of homework....

That's quite a lot, especially for 6th grade!

Nicole said...

ok but HOLY CRAP (pardon my language) but that much homework in 6th grade. We weren't even allowed to take books home then because they were afraid we'd leave them at home and then be up a creek without a paddle. Sure reading, but not the rest. Truthfully I had some homework in 7th grade but never the amount you're talking. Poor girl. I'd hate school too and oddly enough even though I "hated" school from time to time I actually really liked it.

Laura said...

Wow, that seems excessive. My heart goes out to the poor Ashley.
I think it is a hard transition from elementary school to junior high. My kids had a lot of homework but I dont remember it being 5 hours worth. Writing a paper for gym class? Seriously?
I would think 2 hours worth is plenty. That even seems like a lot.

Faith said...

To be honest I think that's ridiculous! It's 6th grade! 5 hours of homework per night is crazy!! Something is wrong with her teacher.