Adam, a seventh-grader from New Hampshire, wrote me an eloquent diatribe against homework:
I must be completely honest with you. I thought I had it bad, but reading some of your archives for summer assignments is terrible. My learning environment is second rate, my books date back to the mid 80s, my teachers are old enough to retire and crab at you all day, my school’s maximum capacity of students is supposedly gonna exceed by 46 next year. My fellow peers are real rebels and have lost their learning attitudes thanks to homework and studying. Because our test grades are so low, we must do an 8-10 sentence paragraph for every subject (even gym). Worse, whether yours is bad or good, you have to read yours to the class. It’s discouraging.
My math grades at the beginning of the year were superb. I was on the honor role! My average score was 97, but as school continued and the year progressed, homework did too. I’m now given two hard assignments for math per day. And guess what? As homework became harder and more plentiful, my grades decreased. Now, I hate school and want to drop out and be homeschoooled! In 1-6th grade, school was fun. Now it’s a pain and even in chemistry, my fav subject, I have to rush and ignore the teacher to secretly get tonight’s homework done to have enough time to play on the volley ball team. And guess what again! My 97 in math is now a 68. My highest score this past semester was a 78.
Down with homework!
2 thoughts on “From the Mouth of a Seventh-Grader”
Adam, your letter is heartbreaking. My daughter is drowning in homework and stress, but at least she’s at what is considered a top school and some of the time, she is in fact, inspired. I feel the school could do a much better job. It’s a very high achieving school and my daughter wants to stay, not for the competitive cut throat aspect, but because she’s dying to learn and afraid that if she’s at a school where the students are largely unmotivated, the teachers as you describe them and homework consisting of pointless busy work, it would be worse for her.
What a draconian choice. As for you. Adam, I am so sad your grade in math plummeted from a 97 to a 68. Not because you got a bad grade, it’s not about the grade, but because you once had a love and aptitude for this subject, and now well meaning (if that) but hopelessly misguided adults managed to completely crush your abiding interest in a subject you once enjoyed.
Talk to your parents about homeschooling. Start googling local homeschool groups. I am lucky that my area is rife with exciting homeschool groups and was able to instantly plug into that world when we took the homeschool plunge three years ago.
I”m sorry to say this, Adam, because you are a child and can only hope adults in your midst make the right changes on your behalf. But you cannot stay at that school. If you are losing your love of learning, are assigned meaningless drivel that passes for true inquiry, where no doubt higher test scores are the raisen d’etre of the day, this school can only do you harm.
Please brainstorm with your parents. I hope you and your family can find a solution. 12 years old is too young to feel so hopeless about your education. I’m sure Sara Bennett has further suggestions for you.
i totally agree. as a 5th grader im sick and tired of all this crappy homework. once, i had to write 5 paragraphs on how an animal eats… FIVE!!!