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Homework – or dadwork?

May 5, 2017

My heart went out to the Quebec mom who told her child’s teacher she wouldn’t be doing any more homework unless it was a school project.

Homework is a cop-out for teachers. The kind of work that gets sent home and the amount that is assigned tells me it’s really the school saying they didn’t have time to teach this to your kid – so now it’s up to you.

My kids were lucky. My ex-husband is good at math and was able to help them with their work. As well, we were able to hire tutors to fill some of the gaps. But I used to wonder what happened to families who didn’t have those resources. It’s one reason, I suspect, why school performance is inherited. If your parents didn’t graduate, likely you won’t graduate – because your parents can’t help with your homework.

We took part in an exchange program with students from the South of France when my son was in high school. Those kids loved Toronto. Why? Because they didn’t have to be at school until 9 a.m. And they finished at 3.15.

They started school at 8 a.m. and went until 6 p.m. But they had no homework. Why? Because their teachers taught them everything they needed to know and then made sure they understood it.

My ex often had to teach my child the concepts of math. He wasn’t just helping them practise it, he literally had to teach them the math from the text book.

So yes, teachers need to scrap some of the homework and make sure the kids understand the concept – before they leave the classroom.


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  1. J-P Cousineau permalink

    There was a time when teachers were asked to teach all day. But now they must take the time to put up with children with behavioural problems, disabilities and so on. They no longer have the right to discipline under penalty of loosing their job or worst. Children are not brought up to respect those who have responsibility for them. Parents are willfully blind to their children’s bad behaviour and ignore teacher’s comments about these young princes and princesses. When I was in school I listened and behaved because my parents would hold ME responsible if the teacher gave me bad report at school. You reap what you sow! Parents, start taking responsibility for the way you raise your kids because you have taken away the teacher’s means of doing it for you. You want the teachers to do both, teach and raise them, but they cannot! And no, I was never a teacher!

  2. Tom D'Amario permalink

    The following is an OPINION.

    Dear Christina Blizzard,

    My apologies for the following comments but there is a lot to say.

    I have read articles regarding the failings of elementary school children, teachers, the system etc.

    The following points are likely reasons and are escalating.

    1. Lower income families have less time to assist their children because needing to earn money to sometimes barely make a living (at low income part time or full time jobs) so as to buy the necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter etc.).
    2. Many families are immigrants that have enrolled in the public system with minimal or no fundamental English language skills, You are right about just giving homework but also consider the ministry has mandated the curriculum requirements. Personally, I believe the system began to break down when they removed grade 13 and pushed the expectations down a grade (grade 8 became grade 7 requirements). The children don’t have time to absorb the knowledge.
    3. Special education needs that take years to professionally assess (a waiting list and inequitable rules that won’t allow them to be assessed because of the short period of time in the country).
    4. ESL requirements trump their special needs because, again, too little time in the country.
    5. Behavioural issues are rampant (narcissistic, ill mannered, no self discipline-regulation and entitlement) because their self esteem is priority. Parental discipline has been disallowed or frowned upon. This has created individuals unable to stay focused, teamwork, problem solve, finish a task within a timeline, don’t understand the honour of keeping a promise and control violent destructive behaviour. Human addiction to technology is spiralling out of control.
    6. Teachers are directed to create an I.E.P. (individual education plan) because students are below grade level for numerous reasons (special needs: ADD, ADHD, Autistic, down syndrome, ODD behaviour or issues raised in point 5). How do you help children when classes may have a large number of I.E.P. students (how about 23 out of a class of 30 students) and split grades?
    7. Student’s which have I.E.P.’s write the EQAO-CAT 4 tests which is irresponsible because they are below grade level, can’t decode, understand content but must write the test because students are individually funded by the ministry. They don’t write they get a 0 evaluation which skews the school results creating an inaccurate assessment of student abilities. This creates biased opinion towards schools.
    8. Cancellation or reduction of jobs for education assistant, CYW or other support staff which assist the teacher with a large number of students that have an I.E.P. (for multiple learning disabilities, see point 6) which haven’t been identified with a special need. It is a 2 year wait to go through the process through school unless the parent seeks private assessment. This doesn’t begin until grade 2.
    9. The FULL day kindergarten program is a fiasco. 30 children in a class that must follow a program that insists on the majority of the day being play time does not build self discipline especially if some children having learning disabilities. FUNDAMENTALS of Language and Math must be priority. If the traditional system was wrong then our (50 years old) and past generations must be flawed and dysfunctional.
    10. Teachers don’t need more training, they need to teach, not be: a parent, police officer, social worker, psychologist, therapist and so on. Teachers spend the majority of the day with Classroom Behaviour Management because students can’t self discipline or stay focused. This has caused massive stress and burnout. This falls under the Learning Skills of the report card. This has occurred because of the breakdown of the family (father, mother, and child) and human decency. Each plays a specific role in developing a decent human being-citizen.
    11. Inadequate facilities and outdated building environments leading to extensive heat, cold or lack of ventilation severely affects the environment for everyone involved: student, teacher, administration and so on. We cannot function efficiently.
    12. Irrelevant consequences (progressive discipline) to abhorrent social behaviour (irresponsibly and disrespectfully using social media, mimicking behaviour displayed in movies, not accepting the importance of learning, disrespecting educators and so on) because of blatant stupidity, narcissistic behaviour, disregard for others well being (not following laws: texting while driving, aggressive driving and so on) or entitlement.
    13. The ministry and school boards not asking teachers what they know works for student learning instead of wasting millions of tax dollars on experts, committees or studies because standardised testing (EQAO) is absolutely necessary. It’s not! P.S. Tests are changed and modified every year to affect results. All political and it stigmatises schools that do poorly.
    All these issues are the consequence of inept governments that don’t deal with the problems and enable abhorrent behaviour (consequences must be valid and accountable). They just create band aid approaches that always fail and the cycle starts again and gets worse.
    I am a very concerned citizen, parent, teacher and tax payer. We must get back to honourable ways and NOT allow the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. Also Hypocrisy, corruption and fraud) to control us or the future will be lost for the ALL. That’s why God once flooded the planet (Noah).

    If a religious practice trumps human dignity then that is the greatest Human Evil. Humans are responsible for their actions because we have conscience. No other creation on this planet has the ability to make decisions. God helps those who help themselves.

    Please reply at your convenience. I would appreciate your opinion.

    Tom D’Amario
    Citizen, parent, teacher, tax payer.

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