From My Mailbox: “I dropped out of school because of homework”

Here’s an email I received from an adult who dropped out of school because of too much homework. The writer, now 35, told me he went on to get an associates degree, joined the military, worked as a flight attendant, and is now a contract worker, using skills he picked up in the military:

I dropped out of high school during my junior year. Why? I got tired (of homework). I was mostly an A and the occasional B student while growing up. Honor roll student every quarter/semester. But I failed my first course ever in the first quarter of my junior year. In fact, I failed four of six classes that quarter! Why? Homework. Believe it or not, I quit doing my homework. I had enough.

I was a bright student. I was quick to learn. And, I still passed all my tests. A’s. Maybe the occasional B. I paid attention in class. I took in the knowledge. And, I gave that knowledge right back to them when tested. Typically you would think that my test scores would show competency and success. I understood what I was taught without a doubt. Yet I failed four courses! Because I wouldn’t (no, because I couldn’t!!!) do my homework. It was too much. Way too much. Years and years of excessive homework took its toll on me. I was tired. I was fatigued. I was beat. And I dropped out.

The system turned a successful, smart kid into a worn out dropout.

2 thoughts on “From My Mailbox: “I dropped out of school because of homework”

  1. This could have been my own history. Being a bright kid and an avid reader, I loved primary school from day one, but I couldn’t stand doing homework. Teachers appreciated my curiosity, creativity and general knowledge, but were frustrated that I didn’t finish assignments on time or at all. This only became a real problem when I started eleventh grade (in Europe) and couldn’t get by just by paying attention. Pretty soon I started failing courses, since I couldn’t bring myself to do the homework.

    The difference between me and the author of this email is I didn’t really drop out, but started over junior year with different subjects. Having started with chemistry and maths the first time around, I now chose to study arts and language. I figured I just needed the right setting to succeed, while a friend of mine sarcastically commented that it was easier to cheat in arts than in natural sciences. I got average grades but performed well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and so could go on to university.

    Now almost 30 and only halfway through a master’s degree, I still have a hard time getting things done out of my own motivation. But I’m going to finish my education and be good at my profession. When I have kids of my own I’ll try my best to nurture their curiosity and help them to love learning and to not let excessive homework hamper their education.


  2. I do not have any school aged children “Yet” (3) 5 and under. I do have a 15 year old sister who has at least 4 hours of homework every night. I myself had learning problems when I was younger and struggled everyday with school work giving me a low self esteem and all the homework I was given didnt help in fact it made everything in my life worse, I cheated alot just to try and get a better grade and had a number of late or un turned in work. This made my home life worse because I got in alot of trouble when my Parents saw my report card. Both parents worked full time and with 3 siblings had almost no time to help me. I ended up blowing off school smoking weed and drinking and I strongly feel a little of it had to do with how dumb I felt in school and how much I struggled with it every day and how in ways it damaged my self image. So I feel “school should be school” and “Home should be home” I mean If kids cant take their dirty clothes to school to wash because they didnt finish there chore’s then they should not be asked to bring there school work home because it wasnt finished in class.



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