The Toronto Homework Policy After Two Years: One Parent’s Perspective (part 2) Before I attempt to answer the question, ‘why two years later am I complaining about my children’s homework?’ I should note that many parents I’ve spoken to have indeed noticed a decrease in their children’s homework. But my experience and that of other French immersion parents I’ve consulted has been that teachers continue to assign homework inconsistent with the new policy. Grade 4 French ImmersionOn curriculum night in September 2008, the Grade 4 teacher warned parents to expect a difficult year. She explained that the nature of ‘mid-immersion’ its compression compared to immersion programs starting in Kindergarten made it necessary to work the children particularly hard. (There was scant mention of the new homework policy, no hint that the program might have to be adjusted in order to comply with it.) She was not kidding. On a nightly basis, students were expected to review copious notes from class, practice spelling words, complete math and grammar sheets, and study for tests (two per week). In addition, there were projects to be completed outside of class. Although my daughters loved learning in French and their grades remained strong, they were unaccustomed to a such a heavy workload. They began to show signs of stress (read, meltdowns) almost immediately. By Christmas, they were proclaiming their hatred for school; I prepared to pull them out of French immersion. After the holidays, homework eased up marginally, but enough to convince me I would not be irreparably harming my daughters by keeping them in the program. Grade 5 French ImmersionGrade five was initially better. On curriculum night, the teacher professed her dislike of homework; as a parent herself, she understood how busy today’s children are. Yet this teacher is renowned within the school as a kind of project queen. Every year, her students (or their parents) produce extraordinary projects in science and social studies, which are displayed on designated days to the other students and teachers in the school. And sure enough, it was the projects spaced inconsistently and piled on top of regular homework that nearly did us in. Three of them were clumped together in the space of five weeks in the spring term when, as my daughter put it, kids have ‘had it with the torture of school.’ To be fair, the teacher allocated class time to the projects, but often project time encroached on core subjects such as math and grammar, so more homework came home in those subjects. Moreover, class time was not allocated to the building of temples or eyeballs or machines; parents were responsible for supplying materials, and were expected to provide space and time at...