Homework for Parents?

Maybe I’m just tired from staying up until eleven, or maybe I’ve just got PMS (seriously, it is bad), but right now I’m kind of hating homework for parents.

Last month my son’s third grade teacher (who totally rocks, I love the woman) sent home information about a heritage project the kids were doing at school. It consisted of a hand written documented interview (for the record getting a third grader to hand write anything is kind of like going to the DMV on a Monday morning), hand drawn flags from three different countries, a hand drawn world map, plus a display and oral presentation. The display needed to include things like food from one of the cultures, an artifact or piece of clothing, etc etc.

Apparently he was supposed to do the majority of this project at home–in addition to his math homework, weekly spelling assignment (which is helpful but huge) and unfinished class work.

I. Hate. Homework.

When the original information went out I figured they were working on it at school and he’d be bringing home some of the projects, or there would be deadline reminders. And frankly, being a person who lives and dies by deadlines I hate it when my kid has one. I forgot to put it into my phone and knew the project would be due “sometime in February,” but February has a ton of days. It could have been any of them.

I haven’t heard a word from Harrison or his teacher about this &%$@ project for a month now. Because I’m not a complete slacker I went ahead and had him interview his grandmother last week and requested a ton of other information from my sister about our family, but that was all me; he hasn’t given this a fleeting thought.

So last night at six o’clock he waltzes into the kitchen and says, “Oh yeah, Mom, I hate to tell you this but my Heritage Project is due tomorrow.”

THIS IS NOT A SMALL STATEMENT. It’s also not a small project.

Let’s just say last night my kitchen was not a scream-free zone.

I don’t understand why third graders are given such a huge Mommy Motivated project. We all know who did 75% of the work on this, or at least was the only driving force behind it. He wouldn’t have known where to start with assimilating this kind of information.

I am all for teaching kids to accomplish multi-faceted interactive projects, but wouldn’t it be more helpful to set small deadlines for each of the categories? Like, interviews are due this week, or maps due next week. That way parents wouldn’t be staying up until 11:30 the night before frantically frying up Johnny Cakes and rummaging around for an old piece of cardboard.

I know I am to blame here for not checking sooner, but I do not agree with giving a third grader this kind of project without more step by step instruction. Throwing it together the night before didn’t teach the kid a darn thing, and with all the unfinished homework he brings home (that’s another story I’ll tell you later) I don’t know when he’s supposed to be a kid.

Forgive the rant, I wish this country sold Pamprin.


  1. Having a surprise project for my first grader last week. I completely agree with you. That kind of project should have included small deadlines before the whole thing was due in my opinion. Good luck.

  2. This sounds totally reasonable.

  3. Seems like a lot for both parents AND 3rd graders. That’s a huge project!!

  4. Teachers are seriously delusional if they think parents aren’t doing the majority of the work. We went through it in Dec with Brody. I had all of the ideas, but we made him do everything he could. Now another project is looming. He hasn’t mentioned it and I don’t know if I will. Maybe a big fat wake up call the morning the teacher asks for the project and he doesn’t have one will be the kick in the pants he needs for a little self motivation. He’s in 2nd grade and the project is for his “class for the gifted kids,” so i don’t think an f on one project will kill us. However, maybe they ought to gift those kids with calendars that have mini deadlines on them-love that idea! Cause it’s driving this mom nuts too.

    Good luck with it all. I know we’ll be going through our own on this side of the ocean.

  5. you have to wonder how many of these projects as you said…are just done by parents, with the kids looking on.
    It needs to be put in more manageable catagories as you said.
    and also….do I need to send you a calendar. for deadlines and stuff (tee,hee)

  6. Amen sister!