NBC 7 Education Reporter Rory Devine: "I have to say, this was one very fun assignment, for me and it was, as one parent said, “eye opening.”
It’s not uncommon to hear parents and students complain about too much homework assigned by teachers.
As California transitions to the new Common Core curriculum focusing on critical thinking skills, some parents and students say the homework situation is only getting worse.
So NBC 7 put parents to the test.
For one week, three San Diego moms tried to complete the homework assignments given to their children.
The mothers took the homework assignments and did them alongside their children, not in place of the kids.
The women, each very smart in her own right, kept track of the time it took each night.
They even videotaped themselves doing the assignments and occasionally asking questions of the students.
Gladie Jaffe did her son Cooper’s 6th grade homework. A working mom whose busy season was upon her, she said it was hard to find the time to do it.
She felt it was a lot of homework “especially for kids who are busy doing things.”
“They’re at school the same kind of hours we are at work. Then to come home and have another hour or maybe hour and a half of work, it doesn’t give the brain a whole lot of time to rest,” Jaffe said.
Wendy Van Dyk did her son Mitchell’s 5th grade homework. A mom who works mostly from home, she said, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
But, she adds, her week of homework was not as bad as the week before, when she says it took Mitchell an hour and a half to do his Math homework.
The Math problems are more complicated, in that instead of doing just the worksheet, “you have to create a Math problem and explain how you came up with the problem,” Van Dyk said.
Gretchen Veihl did her daughter Allie’s 8th grade homework.
When I checked in on her one Friday night, she was excited she had been assigned an essay to write.
Veihl said the homework can pile on, especially when all the tests come at the same time. One week, she says, Allie had to study for three tests.
Still, all three moms felt the homework was overall “quality” homework, and even relevant.
“I don't remember when I was growing up ever getting anything that related to why I had to know something to the 6th power,” Veihl said.
They also said homework was important to teach kids time management skills.
“One day I did it when he was at swim practice, so I had to shut the other moms off from coming to talk to me because I was sitting down doing my homework, so I didn’t get to socialize,” Van Dyk said.
Finding the right balance, they told me, is the challenge. Finding the time is another.