Too Much Homework: Bunmi Latidan and Bad Parenting
Have you ever watched someone preface something by telling you what they’re not? I’m not a scientist, but if the ice in your beverage melts, your cup doesn’t overflow, so how are rising ocean levels a problem? I’m not racist, but don’t all lives matter? I’m not a doctor, but if you fuck a monkey, God just give you AIDS. Those kinds of people. Our latest example of that is social media company owner and part-time mom Bunmi Laditan (hereafter “Bunny Lad”), who in a criminally long Facebook post [LINK], just denounced the value of work.
The entire thing is worth a read, but in essence, Laditan – mother to a ten-year old daughter – claims that the 2-3 hours of homework her daughter receives daily is enough to “consume a child’s life.” She goes on to say that her kid is “done with homework,” and cites how homework is nonexistent in Finland and how working adults don’t bring their job home with them. She even condescendingly wrote to her daughter’s teachers that “Maya will be drastically reducing the amount of homework she does this year” in your typical this-is-how-it-is-gonna-be way. In the middle of her soliloquy, she emphasizes “SURPRISE – I’m not a teacher.”
Well that explains it just a bit. This is a lady who has written books on parenting – because of course – including one titled “Toddlers Are A**holes.” Charming. Let’s go through this bit by bit.
Bunny Lad claims that her kid “loves learning” to the point that she’s reading books, writing stories, taking coding classes, painting, Hm, I wonder why her kid doesn’t have enough quality time with mommy and daddy. It’s hard to believe that a ten-year old has such a passion for such a breadth of topics – I only expanded my breadth from crying and masturbation at age 16 (just kidding I didn’t cry, I used up all my bodily fluids in the latter). It seems like this whole ‘kids should go out and play’ mentality could benefit from some parental enforcement – maybe sign your kid up for some soccer classes? Don’t worry, her hands won’t get messed up so she can still paint and code and all that.
Sidenote: This Roblox thing that Bunny Lad doesn’t know about – a problem solved by a quick Google search – is a ‘online gaming platform’. Feels a bit disingenuous to lump this in with all of her other apparently educational tasks.
By the way, if your kid is as good at school as you say, the homework probably shouldn’t take 2-3 hours. Let’s do some math – a subject that you probably could have used some more instruction in when you were in grade school. She gets home at 4PM. A conservative 3 hours of homework puts us at 7PM. Dinner and taking a shit probably eats up another hour, so we’re at 8PM. That’s a solid 3 hours of free time, and your kid still gets a full 8.5 hours of sleep until she has to wake up at 7:30AM the next day. And that’s not even including the almost full freedom that weekends have to offer!
She begs, “someone please explain to me why she should have 2-3 hours of homework to do every night.” Gladly.
Homework isn’t necessarily about the work. It’s awesome that your kid is doing well in school right now. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be true for the rest of her life. For me, that turning point was college. The physical brute-force work is part of it, sure, but it’s more about building habits. Discipline, a strong work ethic, and independence all stem from doing homework – not to mention a rewarding sense of pride when you’re able to get the right answers. And when those right answers don’t come to her naturally anymore, she’ll need those first three habits to fall back on.
One of my part-time jobs is in a group instruction environment for math. Students come to us to help with their homework, and to do assignments that we have created for them. It’s incredible how many gaps there are in these students’ knowledge about basic number sense, fractions, etc. I’d wager that the parents enrolled them precisely because they weren’t getting their homework. Even in Berkeley, I was impressed with the number of students in non-STEM areas that didn’t have an elementary grasp of something as basic as dimensional analysis. I’d guess that their parents also didn’t place enough of an importance on homework until it became unavoidable.
Just because your snowflake kid gets the material doesn’t mean that repetitions aren’t necessary. With that logic, might as well opt out of tests too, right? If they understand it in concept, why bother evaluating it at all? Just have the kids draw penises on their multiple choice and give them a participation trophy.
Surprisingly to you, there are kids in your daughter’s class that are struggling at that level. They need the homework. Sorry that their struggling is too much of an inconvenience to you. You think she’s “dreading school,” but I’d wager that her time at home isn’t peaches either. This dreaded school time isn’t eight hours of nose-to-the-grindstone work either – my main memory of the fourth grade is a teacher that had a slightly-alarming Diet Coke addiction, not having my arms turning silver from the amount of pencil dust I was breathing in from all my work. You mainly listen to the teacher, take notes, watch a video or two, read the textbook out loud together, and watch the clock tick down until recess.
Bunny Lad also cites Finland, a country that she claims gives no homework to its students. The problem with that kind of comparison is that the teacher-to-student ratio is doubled – DOUBLED – such that each teacher deals with half the students. It also might help that teachers there are paid well, required to have a Master’s degree, and have social standing akin to that of a doctor. There are about half the students in ALL of Finland than there are in New York City. When you can provide a better learning experience in the hours that you’re in school, there isn’t as much need for homework outside of it.
She also cites how adults need downtime after work. Sure they do. But work is fundamentally different from school – work already assumes you know how to do whatever you need to do. At work, you do it, you implement. Work has a greater percentage of implementation than raw learning, but you still learn at work. Just because school is mostly learning doesn’t mean you should avoid implementing altogether. She even says “work will not fulfill you.” Gee, that’s terrible to hear that a business built on social media isn’t giving you the validation you need. Maybe if your kid does your homework, she might build a career that is fulfilling.
“I just want her to be intelligent, well-rounded, kind, inspired, charitable, spiritual and have balance in her life,” says Bunny Lad. I don’t know if homework is the antichrist that stops all those things. Based on the way she wrote her e-mail, I’m inclined to think that SHE might be contributing to that unkind and uninspired sentiment. SURPRISE! That’s why you’re not a teacher.