A Seventh-Grader’s Views: Homework Indirectly Ruins my Life

A 7th grader from Virginia wrote to me:

Hello, my name is Chris and I’m in the 7th grade. I currently attend an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School (also known as a “smart kids school”). I enjoy the aggressive strategy of education IB schools have, and also like the curriculum of my county and state.

However, we are supposed to set away 2 HOURS for homework every single day, but some days, that is just not enough time. Sometimes, I get back from school and I work on homework all the way until I go to bed, with few breaks. To be honest, I’m a very good student in my school, so I like to take my time on assignments; it’s obviously not an educational problem. Homework indirectly ruins my life. Sure, I have lots of time to do stuff on weekends/breaks, but when I have homework there’s not much time to do anything. I do not like getting 0’s on homework grades, so there’s no choice about it.

I have little time to spend time with my friends, family, or even have time to do something fun when I get loaded on homework some days. Projects – don’t even get me started. Projects slam me in the face left and right. Finally when homework loosens up, I get a huge project I need to focus on. Don’t get me wrong – school is fun and interesting; but working your butt off should be done at school, not when you should be spending time with people close to you at home.

9 thoughts on “A Seventh-Grader’s Views: Homework Indirectly Ruins my Life

  1. Chris — I’ve been thinking recently that it’s especially the bright, well-intentioned kids who take the brunt of school overload. A good education should include time for you to be creative, time to think, time to call your own. Achievement and learning are not the same thing! There’s a good book called “Doing School”, by Denise Pope, that might be interesting for you.

    Hang in there. I hope you discuss your concerns with your parents and teachers. Maybe over the summer you could get a group together to try and address these issues. Good luck!


  2. Fed Up Mom wrote:

    Chris — I’ve been thinking recently that it’s especially the bright, well-intentioned kids who take the brunt of school overload. A good education should include time for you to be creative, time to think, time to call your own. Achievement and learning are not the same thing! There’s a good book called “Doing School”, by Denise Pope, that might be interesting for you.


    I’m so glad we are finally focusing on the gifted and their homework burden. Because until now the sentiment goes, if you don’t like it, leave. Gifted education isn’t a prize, survival of the fittest, enter at your own risk. It should be an intervention for kids who need it, kids who just don’t fit in anywhere else.

    For some reason, educators think that gifted kids must work all the time. I don’t know why they conclude this as I’ve spoken to gifted giants (Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, Hoagies Gifted, Gifted Development Center, Davidson and the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa) and not one of them agree you work these kids to death.

    But in fact, that is exactly what elite magnet schools are doing. I know. My daughter is in such a school. She likes being with other nerdy kids, says she’s not teased and bullied, wants in-depth learning without useless busy work and wants to stay. But the flip side is what she must give up. The choice should not be rigor or sleep. Can’t we get both? Why must she work all the time? Chris, you say you get weekends and holidays off. We’d “kill” for that! My daughter hasn’t had a homework-free weekend or holiday break since September.

    As I wrote before, the only way to get relief was to homeschool. It was the only way we could feed her mind and still allow her to be a kid. She wanted harder not more and the school choices were either be bored to death or worked to death.

    In that homeschool year, we removed all that darn stress and sleep deprivation and it opened up her soul and mind to rediscover the passion of learning and inaquiry. She practically finished writing a novel that year, she read about a hundred books, we took one to two field trips a week. She did geometry to the strains of Stravinsky, wrote an essay by the fireplace in her jammies, did a science experiment in the back yard with dad, Can any school do better than that?.

    It doesn’t have to hurt to be good. You don’t have to draw blood. I don’t know if I can take one more evening where she sits there rubbing her eyes, forcing herself to stay awake, refusing my pleas to take a walk. This after four hours of homework and it’s still not done. On a local gifted school group I subscribe to, someone began a homework discussion. I took up the beat and was asked by the moderator to stop, that parents like homework.

    At this rate, all we will do is burn out our brightest and best students. And why? Thanks, Sara, for posting this essay and for shining a light on this problem, the unspoken quiet desperation of advanced learners and their insurmountable work load. All this will do is burn them out and kill their boundless curiosity and innovation. Is this what our society wants?

    And never mind that many many highly gifted kids (to include highly, exceptionally and profoundly gifted) also are twice exceptional or 2e (GT/LD to include a learning disability, learning difference, ADD, visual spatial).

    Fed up Mom, you reference Denise Pope, I’ve been meaning to contact her. My daughter is in a high achieving school. What to do? Must make some decisions fast and I think Denise Pope will have some wonderful insights for me.



  3. i am in grade 6 and just about every weeknight night i am having to do my homework. i have like no time for my friends to come over.


  4. I’d like to know if these kids REALLY feel like they are LEARNING. And it so, do they really think the knowledge lasts past the after they take the test. Or if they think any of that knowledge is even applicable in the age of information at your finger tips?

    Upstart, cutting edge companies DO NOT HIRE “A” students. EVERY single entrepreneur I’ve met will gladly hire a “C” student over an A student every time. If you want to work for a large, slow moving, boring, Fortune 100, then your “A” will get you in the door. The misery of the day to day drudgery will suck the life out of you and you will NEVER be happy.

    Kill the “A”, hang with your friends, and use your brains to do some good. Solve a problem for a neighbor. Take apart a car and put it back together. Build a guitar…from scratch. DO ANYTHING, but STOP DOING SCHOOL!


  5. i am a 6 grader and basicially everyday even on the weekends i am doing homework and it is just ruening my life. say i wanted to go out on a thursday i would have to have all my homework is done.

    September the 15th,2008


  6. I currently attend an IB school too, and I’m in ninth grade. Under the IB curriculum, there is PYP (Primary Years Programme), MYP (Middle Years Programme) and DP (Diploma Programme). I’m currently in my Fourth year of MYP. My brother is in DP in another school.

    I always wondered why do I have so much more homework than my brother, although he is at a higher grade level. He has time to play World of Warcraft while doing his Extended Essay at the same time, and read comics while working on his poetry commentaries. But why don’t I?

    I asked my MYP Coordinator. This is our conversation.

    So I tell him about our different in workload and he says, “Precisely. And when you go into DP in this school, your workload will be even more.”


    “We want to prepare you for college.”

    What kind of logic is this? When you’re in preschool, (haha, ‘pre’.) you prepare for elementary school. When you’re in elementary school you prepare for middle school. When you’re in middle school you prepare for high school and when you’re in high school, you prepare for college!

    You want to prepare me for college?

    Well guess what, before I even get there I’d be crushed dead by this grueling amount of work.


  7. I’m Ally, and welcome to my world. I’m supposed to be doing a stupid project on making a children’s book on child labor on top of all the other homework on the weekend. Ironic, isn’t it? Labor done by a child about a protest to end child labor.


  8. I am in 6th grade and all my classmates look dead from the workload. some drink emergen-c almost every day to basically stay alive. the teachers don’t care and they pile more work because they couldn’t do it all in class… man teachers can be idiots


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