How should a high school student invest time

Homeschooling : Why can children no longer do their homework alone?


Read on one side

"Hallooo, hallooo, is mom there too? Can she come to the screen and say something on page 46 in the workbook?" The teacher of my elementary school child seems a little helpless. So mom is right there. I crouch at eye level at the monitor next to my child. "Yes, that's right, we didn't quite make it to page 46 yesterday evening, I wasn't quite sure what to calculate with the number boxes, but for that we finished calculating money in the Indian journal." As I speak, I frantically leaf through my child's red loose-leaf binder, in which I have marked the relevant pages with yellow post-its. A message from my Google calendar, ping, reminds me of the various deadlines for the flip project or the Cornelia Funke reading role. With two primary school children, I get about ten pings, i.e. schoolwork, per week, making at least one reminder a day. And there again. Ping. Tuesday, get the frog notebook ready.

Can children no longer do their homework themselves? Parents, including me, are constantly asking themselves this question in social networks, with friends and in class chat groups. The answer is a clear no. You shouldn't be able to do it any more. There is no other way to explain why, in times of homeschooling and alternating lessons, primary school students should work through 30-page topic folders and complex math workbooks every week. In addition, you have to learn the time, master the squiggles in cursive L without pressing the pen and fill five sheets with text every day. My son and his classmates, students at a normal Berlin school, cannot do all of this on their own at the age of eight or nine. They prefer to play football and watch the clouds pass by from their desk in the sky. After a year of pandemic, your school motivation is no longer there. "Does your child do the tasks?" The parents ask each other in the class chat. The common answer: "Yes, but only when I'm sitting next to you."

More quality time

The fact that children did not do their homework themselves was also the case before Corona. After two lockdowns and months without face-to-face classes, the lack of independence is worse than ever. This is also what the federal government's family report published at the beginning of March deals with. It is the ninth since 1968. The current report states that, since 2012, there has been a significant increase in the daily time that parents spend looking after and bringing up their children - not just for fathers, but in absolute terms even stronger with the mothers. The time that mothers spend with their children as so-called quality time, i.e. intensively occupied with their children, has tripled since the 1990s - from 31 minutes to one and a half hours a day. The increase in the fathers was more moderate: from 19 to 51 minutes a day. According to the family report, this is, it is said, "remarkable against the background of the increasing participation of mothers in the labor force".


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In fact, more than three quarters of mothers go to work with school children. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office, around 78 percent of mothers living in a partnership were gainfully employed in 2018. This means that this share has increased by almost ten percentage points in ten years. So there are millions of working women (and of course men too) who fry fish fingers in the evening and then find out with their child under the electric light of the desk lamp why farmer Roggenschuh has the most sheep or why Werther was actually depressed. Afterwards, when everyone is in bed, many of these parents open their computers again to plan their own working day the next morning, put fresh clothes out of their sleeping children and then start correcting the multiplication table - it has to be finally to be handed in tomorrow. And one wonders if that should really be the case.