Laditan, who's very vocal about the challenges of modern day parenting on social media, didn't mean that her 10-year-old daughter, Maya, had finished her work for the evening - she meant Maya is done ... for good. "She's in school from 8:15 am - 4:00 pm daily so someone please explain to me why she should have 2 - 3 hours of homework to do every night?" she asked.
It's a question thousands of parents, all over America, have grappled with. When it seems as if the stack of worksheets, book reports and diorama projects (remember those?) are piling up too early in your child's academic career, it's natural to question the system. Laditan, though, is done questioning.
"She's been very stressed and is starting to have physical symptoms such as chest pain and waking up at 4 AM worrying about her school workload," Laditan wrote in an email to her daughter's teachers, which she later posted on Facebook. "Maya will be drastically reducing the amount of homework she does this year."
Laditan is trying to help Maya refocus on the things 10-year-olds should be able to do, like "play with their parents in a relaxed atmosphere," "play with their siblings," and "just enjoy their childhoods." Those things, said Laditan, should not be weekend-exclusive activities. And considering the fact that Maya reads independently, researches topics (outside of school!) that interest her, takes coding classes and paints, it doesn't look like she's about to slip behind the curve.
In fact, it looks like the kid just needs a break: "Children need downtime after school the same way adults need downtime after work," she continued. Preach.
But unfortunately, while this may be true for Maya and many other kids like her, it's not a done deal that schools can or will accommodate a reduced homework policy - something that Laditan doesn't blame the teachers for: "I want to state that I'm in no way blaming her teachers. They're incredible and I know they have to do things a certain way. This system just isn't working for my family or my child."
If Maya's school can't adjust, she will have to learn at home - something that Laditan is nervous about, since she works from home. "I'll have to hire a tutor to help me and will need to find a group of parents doing the same thing, but I have no choice at this point," she wrote.
Laditan's heartfelt message - the respect she has for both her daughter's education and physical and mental wellbeing is palpable - has touched other parents who feel that their children's homework load is hurting more than it helps.
The post, which has been shared over 10,000 times and has nearly 5,000 comments, has a comments section that could act as close reading for education policy makers: Teachers have written in, expressing their support and agreement, stating that they refuse to give their students homework. Parents of students, past and present, have also voiced their concerns, lamenting the "hours of family time that just went missing" due to "constant guilt about stupid, ridiculous, useless 'homework.'"
Regardless of your stance, Laditan is doing what's best for her family and child - and when your 10-year-old starts experiencing chest pain and insomnia, there probably isn't a better time to establish priorities. "I just want her to be intelligent, well-rounded, kind, inspired, charitable, spiritual and have balance in her life," Laditan wrote, in conclusion. "I want her to know that work is not life, it's part of life. Work will not fulfill you. It will not keep you warm - family, friends, community, giving back, and being a good person do that."
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