I had just gotten home and was sitting eating dinner when my kids started complaining about their homework. My kids hate school. Every single one of them even though they excel, have high GPAs, and are well liked by their peers. When I ask them why they don’t like school, their answers range from “it’s too easy” to “I don’t see how most of it relates to my real life”.
Hmmmm. Sounds like a blog post.
Tonight, however, the object of their distain was specifically their assigned homework, which they know that I am anti-compliance-based-homework as it is. Although I have four kids, the two most vocal are my daughter, eighth grade, and my younger son, a sophomore. The conversation went something like this:
Daughter (in her best rage filled voice): “I have MORE problems to do in math. Just because I’m advanced, doesn’t mean that more of the same problems are going to affect my learning”.
(spoken like a true educator’s child)
Son: Well, my homework is about finding an imaginary number. That’s right. A number that actually doesn’t exist. A fake number. I am spending time finding a number that is imaginary. Mom, when have you ever needed to find an imaginary number?
(insert blank stare here)
Daughter: Or how about finding a set of numbers on a coordinate plane. How about that, mom? When’s the last time you did that?
(well, when I taught it in fifth grade, but insert another blank stare with a smirk)
My kids don’t see the connection from what they are learning to their real lives, therefore, they have no buy-in as to what they are learning. They will do it because they have learned how to be students, play school, and get good grades so they can “learn what matters” (in their words) in college. They look at their K-12 career as hoops to get through to learn something that means anything to them. My fear is that they have learned so well to play the game by fulfilling the compliance measures set that they are not even sure about the why behind anything that they learn anymore. It’s so important for us, as educators, to make sure we are creating learning opportunities where students can see the connection to content and their lives and to know that there is a purpose behind the experiences.