Letters from Teens

I’ve received several emails from teens in the past week, in which they write eloquently about how homework affects them. Here’s what Emily, a high schooler from a small town near Sault Ste. Marie, Canada writes:

I must have at least 3 to 4 hours of homework most nights not to mention with my part time job I even have a hard time getting all my homework done on the weekends. I wasn’t even able to join the basketball team this year because I have too much homework. Even then, my parents want to take me off the volleyball team because my grades aren’t that great. I don’t even go out anymore….

For my french class we are doing a debate and my subject is “against homework.” … My principal is even comming to watch our debate because he is really interested in the matter. I hope I am able to do it justice and fight for it as well as you do.”

A ninth grader posted a comment on this blog, writing:

As if I didn’t have enough demands on my time, what with my extracurriculars, the reading I do for pleasure, the many other things I enjoy doing, family, and the friends that are all-important to this age group, I also now have more homework than ever before. A little homework, I really don’t mind, but when you have a speech you have to give the day you return from a Thanksgiving break, a project for an honors course, and other assignments, it seems like a little much. Of course, homework’s not my favorite thing to do, but when most of your courses are honors classes it generally means that you do it anyway. In middle school, I used to enjoy school. Then I had school, but I also had time for myself. Now, I’m beginning to dislike it, which is scary for me because I want to do well. Always have. I don’t really mind school so much as I do what comes after. I already go to school for 8 hours a day. 3 more isn’t going to do that much good. There’s more that I have to say, but I have homework to do.

Margaretha, an eleventh-grader who goes to an International Baccalaureate School in Finland, but attended school through eighth grade in Texas, writes about her school:

…It is so intense. It is more intense than my schooling in Texas; that was hard but this is impossible. I get home at 4:30 and work till 10 or 10:30. The teachers just say it’s part of the IB program, but it gets to the point where it is absurd….

For instance, this week I have a chemistry test tomorrow, an English essay due Friday, a biology lab to work on for tomorrow, a biology test on Friday, and tons of math homework on top of that. Is this normal? And grades were just due, so there is no reason for this. My mom tells me I look very tired, and I am constantly wanting to take a nap. By the way, I am a good student and quite studious. But, that’s the thing, for kids who want to get good grades, we have to work so very hard.

On top of this, the IB program requires 150 hours of CAS (community, action and service hours) to be done inside and outside of school. The guidelines for what they accept are very strict and rigid; it is almost impossible to get any hours. It’s basically how well you can squeeze nothing into something. My friends go to high school in Texas, and they only need 15 compared to my 150 hours, it is maddening!! Plus, the teachers are terrible about it. They always are threatening that we need to get so and so many hours and it just makes me so nervous….

I am at the end of my rope here.

5 thoughts on “Letters from Teens

  1. The homework load for our high achieving teens is unreal, you can hear the pain in these students voices. It seems that the schools are doing everything they can to punish the good students.

    As a parent, I’m caught in the middle. My oldest daughter wants the IB degree, but I wonder if the work is worth it. Does anyone have good suggestions on how to tackle the IB/Honors workload?



  2. I can’t believe that there is a website where parents and students can have a voice to contest the extreme amount
    of homework that is given on a daily basis.
    I also want to be a small part in this movement and add my vote to minimize homework ,maybe the teachers could come to an agreement to have one teacher of a determined subject be the only one allowed to give out
    homework on a designated day. Maybe they cansend only a small quiz just to see where the student is acedemicly so they can place them accordingly.
    I have activities for my children ,and homework for my teenager is not letting him participate. I don’t want his grades to be the only relationship he buillds in his
    quickly dissapearing childhood.
    He has music interests that he hardly ever has time for
    I am in financing and I also want to teach him some of what I know and we never seem to have time to sit down and study other subjects in life other than school topics.

    Thank you for the opportunity to express our frustration
    on this matter ,I think I will also send a letter of concern to my sons school and to the school board here at southbay.


  3. I have way too much hmwrk too i just can’t seem to find enough time to stay connected to this world through tv internet and phones and also stay connected in the “real world” Where there is nothing but work i know schooling is important. But think what do we do at school for 6 hours , schoolwork and when we get home we do about 2 hours of homework and then on weekends we do 2 or more hours of homework. So we get about 35 hrs at minimum of schooling and i am only a 6th grader


  4. well im currently in 8th grade(middle school still) but im writting an persuasive speech in launguage arts as a homework assighnment. which comes to my point.HOMEWORK.(A little to much yooh think)
    well as a middle schooler youd think you wouldnt have so much work right?.well thats were your wrong.
    ive heard from my 10th grader friends that they barely come home with any work.now why is that?
    well i think having so much homework makes as lack any extra activites we really wont to go to because you have to worry about getting home on time to do the work thats due the next day for all your classes.
    if they could i would want them to change the homework policee and reduce how much homework we get.
    school and education is way important but how are you supposed to have time for the “real world” when all you can think about is finishing your homework.
    this is a big issue that needs to be discussed to all school districs

    thanks for reading/listening


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