Book Bags and Homework

One of the most appealing aspects of a neighborhood school is being able to walk to school. It is, as I've noted before, one of the reasons we considered the switch from private to public in the first place.

Apparently, the School District of Philadelphia doesn't share this viewpoint. If they did, they'd rethink how much homework they're sending home each night.

You may be aware of this whole campaign to have school children do homework every single night irrespective of age. Last year, my kindergartener was bringing home assignments and while I kind of felt that it was all a bit much for her, I understood the idea of reinforcing learning. But reinforcing learning and homework for homework's sake are two different things.

This year, I was a bit shocked to see how much homework was being given early on. I was even more shocked when I went to pick up my daughter's book bag. It was distressingly heavy. In fact, it was so heavy that I had to carry it home for her. She couldn't manage the entire trip home carrying her book bag and she's a fairly strong girl for her size. I decided to give it a quick weigh. It was nearly 13 pounds. Considering that the recommendation for book bag weight is about 10% of body weight, that would be fine if she weighed 130 pounds. But she weighs less than half of that.

Realistically, I'm not expecting that the school is going to give on the homework side. We'll have to come up with another solution. I fear it may be driving which is the complete opposite of what attracted us in the first place. Another solution is one of those scary stewardess type bags on wheels. I know that adults use them for work in Center City. It just shouldn't be what kids are pulling around in grade school. It's just not appropriate.

How are your children managing?


  1. Can you suggest that teachers give photocopied book pages to use for homework instead of having the child bring home the textbooks? That's what we do in schools that don't have enough books for everyone.

    If that doesn't work out, I'm not seeing why a book bag with wheels would be scary or inappropriate. It doesn't resolve your concern about her having too much homework each night, but it would resolve the heavy book bag issue.

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