A High-Achieving Teen’s Thoughts on Homework

I’m posting a recent comment posted by a teenager on an old blog entry, because I want to make sure everyone gets to see it:

I am in high school and have a GPA of 4.214.

The price I pay is far too high. It sucks the life out of me and my teachers do not care. (I swear that they torture me on purpose.) I end up spending my Saturdays dreading having to do my projects on Sunday. The state just keeps passing laws that continue to raise the bar, but don’t help students learn. What frusturates me the most is that all the work is done for nothing. I end up learning so little after working so hard. I can’t even explore interesting topics, I have to work specifically on one thing. My teacher finished her curiculum early and decided to create a massive project that was due two weeks later (which just happened to be the day my 20 minute english presentation was due, on an African poet!).

This is ridiculous!

5 thoughts on “A High-Achieving Teen’s Thoughts on Homework

  1. Even worse, though…is after all this work, how much of what they “learned” will be retained? As a former Valedictorian, I can vouch for almost zero!!! If you don’t actively use your knowledge, it seeps away very, very quickly. Instead, this kids do what has been done since the beginning of scope and sequence curriculum: learn it long enough to pass the test and then dump it so there is room for something else! It’s sad, for there is no way for them to focus on the things they might actually be good at in a manner that would allow them to excel above and beyond anyone’s imaginations.

    Sure glad we home educate….

    HomeDiscipling Dad Blog


  2. This young person’s account reminds me of a wonderful exchange I had with a very bright lovely 17-year old two years ago. We had just begun homeschooling and I was chatting with a mom and her homeschooled daughter. We were talking about our county’s gifted programs and homework overload. Mom said daughter was profoundly gifted and she pulled her out after 7th grade and they’ve never looked back. The girl ambled over and we talked about homework and projects . The girl summed up that gifted experiece thus:

    “I never worked so hard, to produce so much, to learn so little.”

    If only we listened to our children, the world would surely be a better place. We disregard what they tell us because we are so sure we know better, that all this will surely pay off in the end, either with acceptance to an elite college, a dynamic career or hopefully both. We are killing our children in order to save them. The very things we hope to instill by all this crammning, innnovation and initiative, will die.


  3. I am in highschool and have a GPA of 4.83. While I do have significant amounts of homework, I find very little of it to be useless, impractical or uninteresting. In fact, I find that it is only by having a sufficient amount of homework and studying that I am able to derive meaning from and to retain the information presented in class, for without this extra time spent working with the material, I would never be able to handle the content of the five AP classes in which I am enrolled.

    In addition to this course load, I am active in Girl Scouts, piano, speech and debate, and Odyssey of the Mind, and I tutor twice a week in biology and math. And believe me, I would never trade my participation in these activities or my involvement in advanced classes for the alternative.

    It can be done, my friends. Homework’s really not that bad; and if it is indeed too stressful, try taking fewer weighted classes.


  4. “Homework Blues”-
    Bullseye on the point that we don’t listen to our children. Our school system is based on the erroneous assumption that children are inherently lazy, willfull, untrustworthy, and need to be forced to learn “what they need to know”. This archaic and profoundly skewed perspective on children HAS to change, or any amount of school reform, no matter how well-intended, will fail. I checked out Dave Eggers on Ted.com, and I was struck in particular by his comment that these kids have no idea how smart they really are. Bravo to his quirky inventiveness and bottom line of helping children discover who they really are through trust and love, the only vehicles that truly work.


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