Last week a Facebook post from a mom who told her daughter’s school she wouldn’t be doing any more homework, went viral.
(Read the full post here: http://www.boredpanda.com/homework-free-home-mother-letter/)
Basically, after this mom’s 10-year-old daughter began experiencing very visible and worrisome signs of stress overload – such as chest pains – she emailed the school and let them know there would be no more homework in her house.
At first, many scoffed at this mother’s post. How dare she tell the school her daughter was not going to do what the teachers assigned? She had a lot of nerve, right? What made her daughter so special that she should be exempt from something as harmless – yet, traditionally accepted and expected – as homework?
Yet, as people began to take a moment to read what the mom truly had to say, it stopped being so funny. In fact, many found their opinions totally turned around.
See, what this mother had realized is that her daughter’s life was out of balance.
For adults, we call this problem having an issue with work-life balance. For kids – do we say school-life balance? No, not really. Generally, we say nothing at all.
Most likely, our silence, however, isn’t an intentional desire to ignore the problem. Rather, we don’t realize there is a problem at all.
Yet, work-life balance for kids – or school-life balance – has become an issue.
Furthermore, this lack of balanced living for our children is a problem which, if not addressed soon, stands to have awful repercussions. It will produce a generation of adults in the future who have more problems achieving a balanced life than we ever dreamed of…
We think we, as adults, wear many hats! But have you ever stopped to think how many our children are wearing? Often, we don’t consider this because they are young and have tons of energy, right?!
Well, sure! But they are also… YOUNG. Most of them have not yet learned any degree of coping skills for the many demands they get for their time and (seemingly-limitless-but-definitely-finite) energy.
Furthermore, a lot of schools have taken away several of students’ previous outlets for their stress and frustrations at school such as recess, art, and even sports and music.
Thus, in many cases, they are “head-down-focused” for the entire 7.5 hours they are there. Then, they come home and have maybe an hour or so to relax, have dinner, and unwind. Because then, they have homework. Often, several hours of it.
After that homework, they get to bed, sleep a few hours (6-8 if they’re lucky when kids need between 8 and 10), then they are back at it again. If they have extracurricular activities outside of school like athletics, cheer, dance, music, karate, etc., their “free” hours may be even more limited—even on weekends.
When you look at it this way, we are raising our children to be the very thing we are currently trying to get away from ourselves—frenzied and stressed workaholics who have little to no life balance.
Just – instead of work-life balance issues – they currently have school-life balance issues that will likely become work-life balance issues in the future.
Well, the mom in this post had enough of that! She explained that her child loved learning and she gave concrete examples such as reading 10-12 chapter books, on her own, every year.
Furthermore, her daughter took coding classes and art classes on her own too. Yet, she said her daughter had become increasingly stressed out over the past four years—including the new chest pains and exhibiting a dread of school itself. Additionally, she asked how the [7:45] hours her daughter was spending at school wasn’t “enough” so that she had another 2-3 hours of homework… every night?
The mom also asked in her email to the school, “Is family time not important? Or should she become some kind of junior workaholic at 10 years old?” She added, “Did you know in Finland homework is banned? And that they have the highest rate of college bound students in all of Europe?”
You know what, she just might be right. Now, based on the points she made, her email doesn’t seem so silly. Or irrational. Or entitled. Frankly, it seems like common sense.
Of course, we want our kids to get the best education possible. But usually, that’s because we think it will make their lives better in the future.
On the other hand, if we are teaching them unhealthy work and balance habits to get there, is it worth it? This is definitely a question worth considering. Our children are our future. Thus, it’s really not drastic to say the future of our society – and health of society – may just depend on it.