JoAn Martin

Have you seen the latest survey on the popularity/unpopularity of homework? 

After dealing with four rebellious children and the battle of doing homework every night, I am viciously against it. I remember that daily struggle with kids over an assignment.

We moms don’t care for our late-to-bedders announcing, “Oh, I forgot to do my homework.” Dads hate going to Walmart after 9 pm to get poster board for a project (assigned last month and due the next day). 

“Get a big one, Dad. We have to draw the 254 counties in Texas.”

Teachers have our little darlings 6 to 8 hours, five days a week. Surely all the learning they can tolerate could occur at school. If that doesn’t work, just keep them an hour longer.

Maybe the participants/students could have a vote. They would prefer the type of homework that is the team effort where they meet at someone’s house to work on a project,  drink cokes and eat popcorn. Usually one conscientious, smart girl ends up doing all the work after the party kids go home.

The only positive point in favor of homework is the creative excuses the teacher hears at school the day the homework is due.

“The dog ate my homework” has been overused, especially if the teacher has heard Tommy’s moaning and groaning about his father being allergic to dogs. 

“We went to Grandma’s house,” but the teacher might respond with, “SO.” 

Debate seems to be heating up over how kids should spend their time after they leave the classroom. Experts say homework should not be exhausting work that turns kids off, but should be play that builds learning. 

Consider how teacher-assigned homework will replace other fun, but learning activities: What about a check-off chart for kids to choose jump rope, planting a garden, writing a story, walk the dog, dig in the sandbox, ride bikes or just zone out.

When I was an elementary teacher, I assigned the same homework every night: read 30 minutes independently or with a parent. I remember that worked every time to turn a non-reader into a voracious reader (if they did it).

“Homework, Oh, Homework! 

I hate you, you stink!”

You’re last on my list, 

I simply can’t see

Why you even exist,

If you just disappeared

It would tickle me pink.”

JoAn Martin is a retired teacher with five published novels. Reach her at or


(1) comment


I loved this on 2 levels and that is a rarity Lady. You are a gifted writer.

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