The Nine Circles of Homework Hell

Confession: I was a total nerd when I was a kid. In fact, I skipped two grades (K and first) because I was reading at an eighth grade level by age 5. Needless to say, my best friends were always books.


I went to a private school and can fondly recall the homework. I never felt inundated or overly challenged because they didn’t pile it on too thick. Most of our schoolwork was done where I believe it should be – school.

Fast forward to 2016: My second grader has 30-45 minutes of homework PER NIGHT. He gets very stressed out about it and quite frankly, I don’t blame him. It causes him to have anxiety, which then causes me to have anxiety. The cat even gets anxious and flees the room once the backpack emerges.

Homework, in fact, has been a point of contention between my son and me since he was in kindergarten. It all started with sight words and drawings, and now we’re knee-deep in Common Core bullsh*t.

Speaking of which, what the f*ck is the Common Core, or perhaps a better question – WHY the f*ck did we change to the Common Core?

The first night that he brought home math homework, I had to turn to the internet for help. Yes, I – Mr. Advanced Calculus Brainiac had to relearn how to add and subtract. I saw what looked like a pair of balls hanging off of a number and apparently you’re supposed to break it down by tens, then ones.

Got it.

We’ve had to make homework a priority now because he’s a kid and just wants to play when he’s not at school. If you add up the hours, he’s probably focusing for almost 9 hours a day, which is next-level for a 7-year-old boy to handle.

Also, his school is relentless with the variety. He’s learning Spanish now, which boggles my mind because he still isn’t close to mastering English. I’m of course supportive of him becoming bilingual, but I also have to look into his zombie eyes after a long day of school and realize that the kid is el beat.

String lessons are mandatory – I was forced to rent what looks like a doll-sized violin for him to add to his already insane curriculum. I’m just thankful he didn’t go for one of the larger stringed instruments because I sure as hell wouldn’t be dragging a bass around.

Regardless, I’m worried about his little brain.

I feel like if it were a hard drive, it would be approaching its limit. There’s only so much you can cram in there before things start acting wonky.

Is this much homework worth it? Will he benefit from this when he’s an adult? Will it make him loathe work and become lazy (Hello, millennials)?

As his father, I can’t really protest this because all the other kids are being weighed down with the same burden. It’s probably easier for some of them, but I guarantee there are many who are also stressed.

I’ve tried my best to make the activity fun, and always patiently do the work with him. If I sense that he just isn’t having it, I write a note to the teacher telling her he’s overloaded.

Without question, my son has become a raging homework-phobe. He reacts the same towards homework as I do when a wasp is flying at my face. I am trying to break that fear, but I feel like Sisyphus – every time I reach through, they pile on more work and all progress is lost.

Now who wants to join me in a nationwide boycott of homework? I’m dead serious – let’s get our kids’ freedom back.

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