After putting in much more than her eight hours at the office, Julie Price returns home for a long night of supervising her daughter's homework -- a process that often lasts for hours. "It's exhausting," she said.
She's not the only parent with this routine. Reader response came flooding in after my recent column on whether homework is preparing the next generation for the workplace of the future. The message: Excessive student homework has become an overwhelming burden on working parents.
Parents wrote to tell me their home lives have turned into a burdensome flow of homework, tests and projects. Nagging about homework and kids' stress over it looms over the evenings and weekends, infringing on family time. Other parents wrote to say they had to quit jobs, change work schedules, even sacrifice career advancement to deal with the homework insanity.
Dan McLaughlin, a former teacher and author of "The Parent's Homework Dictionary," says he sees just the opposite of what most working parents contend: "Parents are putting too much responsibility of raising kids on schools." He believes parents are important teachers in a child's life, and that working on assignments together at home and creating habits early results in a better outcome for students.
Almost all parents who wrote said they weren't opposed to homework. They just resented the volume of homework and the idea that their kids struggled to learn material at home that they hadn't been taught at school.
Gemma Carillo, a spokesperson and teacher for Miami-Dade Public Schools, says parents may sometimes need to approach the teacher in a nonconfrontational way, as a collaborator in the education process. If that doesn't work, talk to the school principal. "Don't forget: If a teacher gives homework, she has to grade it. We want a life, too."
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC.