Homework: The Bane of Parental Existence


Homework is essential.

Or so they say. The statement was being debated on Facebook over shared meme. I have mixed feelings about homework.

Parents make plans to be organized during the school period, but things don’t always work out the way they ought to. A late day coming home or a bad day at school can warp into late homework and a miserable, argumentative, frustrating, and tiring night. (Been through a few of those in September that I never want to repeat.)

Breathe, my lovelies (including me).


Carefully laid plans which rely on children’s ‘perfect’ behaviour rarely go the way we parents dreamed. Rather, we go off – and not in a good way. There have been many a night when I have prayed for patience – and not strength – when homework time stretched past 10:00 p.m. and the frustration level was high for all involved. While sometimes my son just had to tough it out and get the homework over and done with, sometimes I drew back from the frustration long enough to realize that he was miserable probably because he was tired. The saying goes “A hungry man is an angry (hangry) man”. But we also need to look at “A tired child is a miserable, irritated child.” That’s not the best mood/space to do homework in. Sometimes, if the homework’s not critical, I let him go to bed with it undone. Forgive me if I sound like an irresponsible parent, but sometimes the homework is just not worth the stress.

Organizing and Tracking Homework

I check my son’s books for homework every day, especially since he’s transferred schools this September. It’s not that I don’t trust him when he says there’s no homework, it’s just that memory can be faulty – especially a child’s about something they’re not fond of.

For keeping track of homework/projects, especially those that need pictures printed or research done, I’ve used these two main options.

Use Calendars

Digital Calendar

Add homework/activities/projects to a calendar. I use Google Calendar. I have one for me, and one for my son’s stuff. I set my reminders and try to do my best to act when it’s time. Procrastination can equal forgetting and I don’t like the “Mooomm!” look (You know it!). I don’t like being the reason my child is berated by a teacher or doesn’t get all his marks or stars because I forgot to print a picture.

Printed Calendar or Whiteboard Calendar

I saw a cute whiteboard marked out by the month in a store. Loved it, but didn’t really have anywhere to put it in my room, so I didn’t buy it. But hey, it might work for you. What I’ve just started last week is pinning an index card over the timetable on the wall and writing the assignment and deadline on it. Don’t know why I hadn’t done this already since I’ve got a monthly calendar on my wall at work with meetings and events for the whole year. (I really like being able to see the whole year at once just right there). The thing is, I’ve found the index card tactic messier as I erase so I’m going to try and get the whiteboard.

Buy a printer and ensure there’s always ink

I bought a multifunctional printer at PriceSmart and it’s served me well. It’s a good idea to have your own printer at home, especially if you don’t have free access to one at work. The machine doesn’t have to be an expensive laserjet, but good enough that images print well. Check your budget and then your local stores. Listen, if you are not techy, please get some advice from an IT person so you get your money’s worth.

Mount Everest of Homework

Sometimes I am just sick of homework. Have you ever felt that way? Like you could scream like a banshee? Cuss some unholy words? Throw all the books out the window? Have your own adult-sized tantrum at all this schoolwork you have to supervise (and sometimes don’t even understand!)?

I really think they can ease up on the homework. Yes, the children need practice, but would it kill the school administration to be more considerate of the following:

  • how tiring it is to be at school all day (made more tiring if there are extra lessons and extra-curricular activities – which many schools encourage)
  • how exhausted the parents are after a full day’s work
  • how the high volume of daily homework can be mentally overwhelming for children, actually decrease learning and increase resistance to schoolwork
  • how the high volume of daily homework can limit the amount of bonding time between children and parents
  • how annoying and dare I say unfair it is to have homework to do over holiday periods. It’s like I’m on vacation and my boss telling me to enjoy my time and get some rest, but still check emails and clock in some work time. Not cool at all.

Do you think that these asks are unfair or ridiculous?

The Long and Short of It All

For most parents, homework is a daily part of their child’s educational duties. It’s needed for reinforcement and practice. But too much of a good thing can become a frustrating, scream-inducing thing, and as a parent, I would kindly ask school administrations to be more aware of the stress of too much homework.

Ah beg you, please…have mercy on us!

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