86 thoughts on “Open Discussion

  1. Saw an interesting post on facebook on the group “Race to Nowhere, The Dark Side of Achievement”. The person said: It’s a little like the “war” on drugs. As long as customers (Admissions Departments) are willing to pay sky-high prices (admission to elite universities) for illegal drugs (hyper-achieving students), pushers (parents) will go to any lengths to supply them.

    The analogy isn’t perfect (they never are), but you get the general idea. Part of the solution is to get colleges to start rewarding relaxation, or (what amounts to the same thing, since slots are finite) to start penalizing frantic hyper-achievement.

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  2. Yes to rewarding leisure and fun, but the other side of the coin…devalue or ignore the high marks. Imagine if the number of A’s and A+’s on your transcript, all those glowing recommendations and awards were marked against you …and the solid B student, who worked the last two summers, enjoys basketball with friends and who wants to travel Europe before entering university…he/she gets the golden ticket. It would certainly send a message about balance in one’s life.

    Cut throat ambition….the one on top is the best at what exactly?

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  3. Has Advanced Placement taken over our high schools? Apparently. And the ripple effect goes all the way down the academic chain. Award-winning school districts are redesigning their kindergarten curricula to ensure 5-year-olds are on the path to AP in high school.”

    I’m sure Jay Mathews and his infamous Challenge Index wold love it if we started prepping kindergarteners on AP testing. You never can start too early. After all, it’ll sell Newsweek. If it doesn’t go under first.

    If you can stomach (drum roll, please) Newsweek’s top US high schools ranking issue, here it is! Predicated solely on how many AP and IB tests a school churns out. Doesn’t matter if you flunked out. Mathews thinks that’s good enough.

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/13/america-s-best-high-schools-inside-the-ap-testing-debate.html

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  4. “In our richest neighborhoods, students compete for the most AP courses on their transcripts as if they were collecting trophies at a track meet.”

    And this, I take it, is considered a good thing. Can’t help but invoke one of my favorite educational quotes:

    “Americans love education but hate learning.”
    Florence King

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  5. What would happen if there simply was no more homework in school…and I’m including High School?

    I know that there are kids that have graduated from high school, gone on to have totally productive lives…yet curiously, admit to never having done a stitch of homework. I’m related to such a person….she graduated with so-so marks, got into Community college became a nurse, and did fine in her life. So it can be done. You can get through without doing it. The irony of it is that, had she decided to get into more administrative roles in nursing, she would now be earning more than me, who has two degrees and was an avid homework junkie.

    So why do teachers and schools think it’s necessary? Someone could say, “BUT, maybe she would have done better (whatever that means) if she had excelled in school. And she would have excelled if she did her homework? She excels or not based on her choices in life, and the cards that life deals, not based on school and homework.

    Does all of this hubbub about homework come down to values? You are a better person if you do homework? It really has nothing to do with learning at all but just shows how obedient you can be. I’m beginning to think that that is the case.

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  6. I just want to second what you said, PsychMom. I’ve always hated homework and skived out of more of it than I can remember and so graduated with what was considered a pretty lousy GPA. It felt like college wasn’t an option, plus I felt like it would just be more of the same so I joined the Navy. It was the best decision of my life. Now I’m married with a beautiful son and extensive training in the electronics field. I plan on going back to school, but since getting out (and moving around) I’ve had the opportunity to work at some excellent companies. Sometimes I think that way too (that if I had done my homework, I would have excelled) but then I realize that of all the decisions I’ve made, I have excelled, maybe not by the world’s standards, but by mine, and isn’t that all that really matters?

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  7. Thanks Robyn…I think “excel” is a part of education lingo, that really doesn’t mean anything. By any standard you are a successful human being and no better or worse than someone who chose to go to Harvard, or who makes 400 million a year. ( With the level of scandal that seems to seep out of Boardrooms these days, there’s not much to aspire to amongst those types right now, anyway.)

    So if doing homework is no “measure of a man” or woman, then why have it at all? It seems it’s a fairy tale we tell kids, the same as we link behaviour in our young kids to Santa’s good list or bad list around Christmas time. “Santa’s watching and if you don’t eat your veggies, ……”

    Are we going to say “You have to do your homework or you’ll be a failure as a adult”? That’s what school’s try to tell us. Several teachers have told us, on this blog, that we’re failures as parents too, along with our soon-to-be-failure kids, because we don’t force our children to do their bidding when we all get home from school. You and my sister, and the millions of highly functional adults across North America are proof that homework is not necessary.

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  8. @psychmom: As a student who got A’s without trying, and as someone who has had a hard time doing “normal” things like getting a summer job, etc (because of social anxiety disorder), I would be quite cross if high grades were devalued or ignored completely. Aside from that, there are some programs (especially in the sciences) that A students would be best suited for. But it shouldn’t be stressful.

    Ideally, top universities should have some interview component where reasonably well trained staff could see if potential students led balanced lifestyles, not to mention whether or not they were actually suited for the program, although of course that would require a lot of time. It might cut down on the number of students taking university degrees just because they’re told they’re supposed to, bumbling through courses they aren’t good at that won’t benefit them in any way. Of course, some schools require an essay for admission, but there would need to be a way to stop Concerned Parents from doing that.

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  9. Hey guys
    This is kinda random, but this seems like a good place to give you my perspective/complain about my homework.
    I just turned 16, and I will be a junior in high school next year.

    All of my classes that aren’t electives are Advanced Placement classes. Needless to say, I have a lot of summer homework. I find that I was pressured into most of these classes. For example, I would rather have taken Anatomy than Mathematically Rigorous Chemistry… Anatomy is more interesting than Chemistry, and I hate math. I want to be a doctor or a vet, but Chem MR is AP while Anatomy is only a level three class. I am not looking forward to this year.

    As for the homework itself, it’s hard to think about. Towards the end of the previous school year I was pretty depressed. Stress and said depression led to cutting and suicidal thoughts, but that’s another story. I found that the same mindset continued into the summer, because I think of my summer homework every day. It drags me down, and I have to plan my summer around this homework. I can’t go to summer camp for two weeks, because the second week is when I’m starting my third book’s reading journal and questions for Humanities.

    It’s hard to enjoy the summer when you know the last week of it will be spent trying to finish the homework you didn’t have time for because you were too busy stressing over all your homework. =/

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  10. Also, as a side note:
    During the school year I found that my friends and I were going through the same situations, school-wise. There are three options: Good grades, sleep, or a social life. You can pick two, most of the time, but it usually came down to good grades or sleep.
    …I’m not proud to say this, but my little group formed a sort of cheating-system. Nobody ever said it out loud, it all just happened almost naturally, out of desperation. We each had time to do one or two subjects of homework and still get 5 or so hours of sleep. We would then get up early and get to school just after 6 and start doing any homework we didn’t finish the night before… and if necessary, pass around homework to copy. We would shuffle through cycles and take turns doing different subjects. We were all on honor roll.

    Health-wise, school is torture. I averaged 0-4 hours of sleep a night, but I have insomnia. Weekends were often spent sleeping or playing sports as opposed to a social life. Saturdays were always for catching up on sleep I missed during the week. Lunch was spent doing more homework. I don’t think I ate once at lunch after midterms. Caffeine is our friend, here in high school. They sell coffee in the cafeteria now, and anyone with a car is bound to make dunkin donuts trips if they have free time. That person becomes popular, fast… because we’re all in the same boat.

    Let it be noted that I have summer homework in band. Yes, band. Because in order to make a sort of “varsity jazz band” I have to devote time and money over the summer.

    …okay. I think I’m done ranting.
    Thanks for reading, sorry about that!

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  11. Thanks for writing Kirsten…if this is an average life for a good high school student in America, and school administrators and teachers can read this and say, “Yes, that’s OK…that’s what we expect of our students”…then there is something seriously wrong with education. What you describe is not healthy…it doesn’t even sound like education. What do your parents think of this lifestyle?

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  12. My father gets up around 3 am or so for his job. Every morning he’d walk around the house to find me (I tend to move spots every few hours to keep me from falling asleep, or sit somewhere uncomfortable) and check on me. Sometimes he would give me something to eat, knowing I’d skipped dinner. He was torn between telling me to sleep and making sure I got everything done. He’d watched me go from the bright-eyed, happy fifth-grader who liked to play sports and read by my OWN FREE WILL… to what I am now, which is described as a mindless, zombie-like state, only following a daily routine.

    My mother is a bit more tougher. She expects more, better from me. Why is this only a A-? Why isn’t it an A, or an A+? However, I am grateful for her. She has spent many a breakdown in the room with me.

    Mental breakdowns were/are fairly common for me. Stress builds up and I hyperventilate til I pass out, multiple times. It can last 30 seconds or a few hours. It happens to a lot of kids I talk to. As I said, we’re all in the same boat. Hehehe, we’ve all become very good at getting knots out of each others backs, too. :]

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  13. Kirsten, I hope you’ll be okay this summer and getting through the rest of high school. Stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

    I have a question for you and your friends — how much do you think you’re actually learning? I often wonder about that. It seems to me that the chronic sleep deprivation and stress would make actual learning extremely difficult.

    I hope you’ll stop by my new blog and read the post entitled “The Misery Index”. I was thinking about students like you when I wrote it.

    http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/

    Take care —

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  14. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve learned much of anything from school. And when I do, it’s because I crammed five minutes before a test, and I’ll forget everything the next day.

    To me/us, the point of school is to get through looking good, rather than actually being good. I remember when it was about being good, though. I was learning, then.

    …If we look good with good grades and everything, we get approval. From family, from colleges, from the world. And isn’t that what we’re SUPPOSED to want? 😛

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  15. There is a very pertinent posting today on Dan Pink’s blog….about Chinese education…we’re falling behind, folks, we’re falling behind.

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  16. Ever wonder why someone becomes a teacher? the last few yrs have been horrible for my oldest who had decided to go for his GED instead of dealing with the crap he has had to deal with. We have recently moved and when he got his grade transcript the previous school neglected to add ALL his grades. the also had him registered as a student in 08 /09 we had moved from that town in August of 08. Now i have to try to get ALL his grades and they need to explain to us why they had him registered taking classes that he had no need for nor was even there.
    I have had it with the education system there just doesnt seem to be a place where we can complain , There is no such thing as a student advocate. When my son was in elementary school he had a teacher that would hit him and say” no one will believe you IM a teacher and ppl have to respect me!” We only found out cause he had started having really bad dreams when he finally told us he told us infront of a friend who is an RCMP officer , the officer didnt hesitate and went and arrested the teacher for abuse. Amazingly the case wasnt thrown out but the teacher was PROMOTED to a different school. Now how can a child ever think these ppl are trust worthy. He has absolutely no faith in the edcation system and doesnt trust a teacher in or out of school.
    When a parent complains it just seems the child suffers , who do we go ot?? NO ONE if we go the princepal they sweep it under the rug. go to the teacher pffft they punish the kid with bullying. so who do we go to? or do we just let our kids suffer the bullying from the teachers and say that it is a part of the learning process. I have started questioning the teachers methods, i will not allow my other 2 children to suffer like my oldest . I guess i am very hard towards teachers but i myself did not have a good experience when i was in school and it just seems there are more bad then good educators. I cant call them teachers, a teacher is someone who willingly happily shares knowledge and creates a happy safe enviroment for learning.

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  17. I just posted 11 tips for parents on how to begin the school year on my blog East Bay Homework Blog. Last year Sara ran my tips on this blog and the comments were somewhat heated. If anyone reads my tips this year, I’d appreciate any comments.

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  18. I just had the most fun summer ever without my parents spending a lot of money (because most movie theaters have early specials), but then I realized something….I had homework. It just came in the mail today and it’s due at the first day of school. Two weeks away and my social life decimated.

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  19. I just wanted to pass along this link on unschooling. It was an article that was published in the Globe and Mail this weekend. I just read some of the comments and one commentor made the excelent point that if (in this case she was referring to Canadians) Canadian schooling was so great..then how come the commentors writing in seem to be so incapable of broadening their horizons or even able to contemplate a different way of educating children. I think the comment highlights just how closed some minds have become….rule bound, traditional and set. How did they get that way?
    There are over 400 comments…

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/back-to-school/more-families-are-deciding-that-schools-out-forever/article1703185/

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  20. Thanks for the link. Whenever I read about unschoolers, I always see the same criticism–that when students follow their own interests, they end up with gaps in their knowledge. My response–show me a kid who has gone through regular school who doesn’t have gaps.

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  21. Yeah, and what I find startling is the belief that children who don’t go to school can’t possibly be learning anything useful. They simply must be unkempt, illiterate, and totally devoid of any usefulness to society if they haven’t been to school…just like those poor children whose parents don’t force them do homework….(chuckle).

    The whole idea of unschooling excites my imagination probably because it seems so naughty and forbidden. How sad is that? How indoctrinated has my mind been that my thinking has to take a 180 degree turn to even contemplate it?

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  22. My child is a junior and starting to look at colleges. we’re wondering which are extremely stressful and which are more balanced. Has anyone seen the Daily Beast’s list of most stressful colleges? It is controversial, but at least it is bringing up the topic of stress and college life. Any ideas on good schools that don’t push kids to exhaustion?

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  23. I just found this site from a Google search, and would like to bend the ear of like-minded parents for advice.

    My daughter is six years old and in the first grade. She has just received her first homework assignment, which is almost finished.

    Now, I’ll admit that I have a strong aversion to homework. First of all, my child spends enough time in school for her age–I’d like to give her the rest of her time to cavort, relax or partake in family activities. Also, I have issues with homework from my own childhood. I feel that it played a big part in damaging my relationship with my parents, which isn’t great to this day. I resent the idea that this could happen between my daughter and I, because right now we are still very close, despite all the other inevitable parent-child that we face just like everyone else.

    While I don’t support homework, I do accept that it is unreasonable to expect that my children won’t get any. My daughter hasn’t gotten an unreasonable amount–this is one fairly simple and potentially fun project. However, it’s like pulling teeth. I try to stay calm and not let her think that it’s a big deal on my end, but every tiny step is a battle. I can’t imagine what things will be like when she gets more.

    I am of the opinion that if a child must receive homework, it should be homework that they can take charge of on their own, requiring minimal wrangling from their parents. If I need to take charge, than it’s above her head–what’s the point? I really want homework to be her thing, to succeed or fail at without much input from me. Yet I know that I can’t drop the ball, at least not right now, because this particular assignment is definitely made to be done together. I fear that will often be the case. I’d like to let go of my end of this power struggle before it even really starts, but I don’t see a realistic option as to how.

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  24. You can drop it, you just don’t drop it while your daughter is holding it, Red Lantern. You take it out of her hands and deal with the teacher and the school.

    Just as you say, “I do accept that it is unreasonable to expect that my children won’t get any,” I say, Why is it so engrained that homework is an assumption in life?
    I have to go right now, but I’ll be back

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  25. Continued to Red Lantern..I’m beginning to understand that school is my opportunity to really be a better parent to my child. I have to stand up and say no, and at the very least I have to think about what’s going on in my child’s life. I’m forced to wake up and smell the coffee before my child becomes just another “I hate school” statistic.

    Every time I’ve been dragged into doing homework projects, it’s gone badly. I don’t want to do homework, and I don’t want to spend my evening hours supervising my child while she attempts to. To my mind, Red Lantern, you have to make your mind up about the homework issue. Either you support it in your family’s life or you don’t…the schools do not ALLOW a middle ground because for the most part nothing is optional in school.

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  26. Can anyone give me any advice on how to start a parent group to address homework issues, reading log issues, etc., with the school? I tried the PTA and they told me they don’t deal with stuff like this. I don’t want the school to think I am a jerk. However, I know they realize that teachers, parents, and kids are all sick of this stuff…yet it continues. If I don’t speak up, I feel like a loser (and too much like the moms I’ve tried to get to form a parent group with me–they all say, “Oh well, this is just the way it is. It’s always been this way. No use fighting it.”). I have tried to form a group for a year now and can’t find one single person willing to do anything about the issues (despite the fact that they have the same complaints I do). I believe they are trying not to make waves because they think their involvement in something like this will adversely effect their child and how their child is treated by teachers and administrators. I’m sick of fighting the fight alone and am on the verge of just giving up.

    At the moment, my son’s first grade teacher is telling me that if my son doesn’t read 8 or more books a month and log them, the class will not get to have a pizza party–all because of HIM. He already has an hour of homework a night, and he’s SIX. I refuse to stand over him cracking a whip and forcing him to read X number of books on top of the homework he already has. But now he’ll be the reason for no pizza party. It’s just insane! Who in god’s name thinks this kind of thing is a good idea?!

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  27. LAB says:

    ***
    I’m sick of fighting the fight alone and am on the verge of just giving up.
    ***

    Oh no! Please don’t give up.

    ***
    He already has an hour of homework a night, and he’s SIX.
    ***

    What? That’s outrageous. Have you heard of the ten-minute rule? It’s nonsense, but it’s promoted by Harris Cooper, the homework “expert”, and the NEA. A first-grader should have no more than 10 minutes of homework a night, a second-grader 20 minutes, and so on. You might be able to work out a time limit with the teacher and just have your son stop after that time. Have you asked to see the school’s homework policy?

    ***
    I don’t want the school to think I am a jerk.
    ***

    Let them think whatever they want. You have a right to your home life.

    ***
    if my son doesn’t read 8 or more books a month and log them, the class will not get to have a pizza party–all because of HIM.
    ***

    Just fake it. If your son hates to lie, find 8 obscure picture books, have him read them, write ’em up, you’re done. And be assured that you’re not the only one faking.

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  28. If you haven’t read The Case Against Homework, take a look at it. There are lots of ideas on ways to approach the problem. It’s true that many parents like to talk about the problem but don’t want to do anything about it–afraid of repercussions, mostly. But I’m confident you’ll find a few others to join with you. Good luck and keep us posted. But, no matter what, don’t give in. You are right and the school is wrong! Please keep us posted.

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  29. I remember gruelling homework days – bags used to weigh like 10 pounds, and those were days with no student activism, we’d get our butt kicked if we couldn’t manage the volume.

    Maybe that was a reason why I chose to start helping with homework 🙂

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  30. Too much Homework?
    It’s Friday afternoon, and you just can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the weekend, but wait, you can’t you have to study for that Math test, write that LA essay, do that Health worksheet, make a drawing for Art, finish the Science package and do the French project. Students get too much homework, and the amount should be reduced. Too much homework causes depression in students , makes them grow up to detest learning , and denies students free time . Less homework would be beneficial to students.
    An excessive amount of homework can cause depression. An average grade 9 student gets about 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes of homework a day. This means that students work for about 7 hours a day. This much work and no praise for it makes students feel as if they are not appreciated and they are working towards nothing. Too much work makes the student feel overworked and may cause a mental breakdown .If they do not feel like they are working towards something, and then the quality of their work will go down. Also, an inability to complete the homework means that the students feel as if they have no skill in the subject whatsoever, therefore they stop trying, causing their grades to plummet. Furthermore, more homework means more incomplete homework, which can depress a child. For example, if a student dreams of going into a career like acting and they fail to complete a piece of drama homework, their dreams may shattered and they could quite easily become depressed. A smaller amount of homework will prevent this, as they will also have more time, and will do a more thorough job. In addition to that, the overload of homework results in a lack of free time, which can also cause depression. Too much homework also results in less or no time to connect and communicate to other peers, causing the student to feel left out, which can also cause depression as well as depriving them of the communication skills that will be necessary later in life. Depression can lead to suicide in a student’s later years of life, and if not suicide, it will almost definitely have a negative impact on the student’s life. It may make them unable to work to their full potential , impacting the amount of jobs that they could get, and not allowing them to get the jobs that they deserve. Therefore they will most likely be stuck in a “dead end” job, which may lead to them being depressed. Depression in students is often caused by too much homework.
    Some people believe that homework aids the learning process, although homework often has little effect on children, and as children go to school for about 6 hours a day, they should not need to have to complete assignments at home to prove that they understand. Moreover, homework usually causes children to grow up hating learning. This must be prevented, as a hate of learning obtained in early childhood will follow them throughout their lives, making it very difficult for them to get a job, as many jobs require college or university level education. If students hate learning, they will not attempt to learn in order to get a better job. Also, large amounts of homework such as studying make children feel like they are sick and tired of studying and gets them into the habit of not studying. This habit of not studying drastically affects the marks that students get on their tests, giving them a much lower average than they deserve. Homework like writing essays or answering some questions is generally considered “boring”. If “boring” pieces of homework are given regularly, then students create the stereotype that all homework is boring and then they begin to hate all homework. Furthermore, they may associate any kind of learning in the future with homework, and then not want to learn because of their bad experiences with homework and learning in the past. This means that they will not have the ability to learn well, which is a skill that would be needed later on in their lives when they have jobs. (E.g. in a new job or a promotion, they must learn new skills.) To prevent children from getting this feeling, the amount of homework should be decreased. Children can grow up to hate learning because of homework.
    Homework denies children free time. A lot of homework means that children have less time to socialize. It is important that children socialize, as if they do not, then they will have very bad communication skills. These communication skills will be necessary later in life. Also, lots of homework means that children do not have enough time to aid their community by doing things like raising money for charity and volunteering. This is very important during high school where you must do 40 hours of volunteer work in order to receive your diploma. Therefore the large amounts of homework students receive could mean that they are unable to graduate from high school. In addition to that, it gives the students less time to do activities outside of school, like clubs and bands. These activities help you get into university, so with less homework, there will be a higher amount of students getting into the university of their choice. The large amounts of homework also cut down “family time”. Children spend more time doing homework. This means that they have to spend less time with their family. If a student spends less time with their family, this will cause all kinds of problems with them when they grow up. It also may make them depressed, as they will not a good relationship with their parents and will not be able to tell them how they feel. Children do not have much free time because of homework.
    A smaller amount of homework could solve all the problems above. Less homework would mean that students will not get depressed, that they will not grow up to hate learning, and that they will have free time. A larger amount of homework would make the problems stated above worse. In conclusion, less homework would be better for a child academically, physiologically and socially.

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  31. I am a 19 year old girl going to a community college and about to have a mental breakdown. I can’t say that I’m taking all AP’s, but I can say that I have too much homework to do. And if it’s not homework it’s a test and so on and so forth. It’s getting to the point where I just don’t have the will power to do this anymore. I don’t want to go to school because I know that when I come home I’ll have more homework on top of whatever else I still have to do.

    I will admit that I’m a huge procrastinator, but that’s not even the problem. There’s just so much to do and not enough time. And after….14 years of this I’m at my breaking point.

    If any parents have any advice I would greatly appreciate it. I can’t exactly tell my own parents because they just think I go on the computer to much, but it’s only because the computer is the ONLY place I don’t have to think. I can’t even read (it’s one of my favorite past times) anymore because I just don’t have the drive. I’ve completely lost my mojo or something. It’s like…school has sucked out my “thirst for knowledge”. Cheesy, I know.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jess

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  32. kids should not get any home work because some kids dont even understand what there homework is about and once they step into there class the teacher asked for there homework. The child says that I didnt do it because he/she doesnt know how to do it. Some teacher dont even help them on the lesson or anything. Then the teacher says that you could;ve gotten help from there parents. The teachers dont understand that parents have to work and since the economy is losing money, then they have to work 2 or 3 extra jobs. Thats why they should stop giving out homework.

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  33. I won’t go into detail on my kids and school. But here is where I see things going wrong in the public system. We have been in 3 different schools and 2 different districts. We move a lot.

    I have a K and a 1st grader. It all started out so wonderfully. DD is one of those self starters and just loves learning. At the first school her days were very well organized, I would say 50/50 on play and learning time. Homework made since. It was just enough to communicate to her that time will needed to be spent at home doing some school work. It was more gear for her to learn how to be a great student. I would say no more than 5 mins each night. She was encourage to do it neatly. Still she could finish it in about 5 mins.
    Then we moved and now I am starting to see what bad public school is. Teachers are unorganized and scattered. Administration can’t help that. I got the feeling the days were not used well. I got page after page on ideas and flash cards and list of games I could do at home to help my kids learn to read. This school gave one page of homework a week. Gave to my child on Monday and told to turn in on Friday. The next school gives more pages but again they are treated like college students in the fact they are given all on one day and asked to turn in at the end of the week. They are given time outs in school if no homework is turned in. This system isn’t providing immediate feedback.
    I have heard the way some teachers talk to the students and it is horrible. The screaming and yelling. Again administration can’t or doesn’t help this.

    The teachers could combine a lot of the testing into one thing. They could take all of the ideas they are sending home to me and implement them in the classroom. Making time for playing/learning time. It doesn’t take long to have one or two students read a book to ensure they can read. As far as the other objectives why not combine them. Do a little extra research or brainstorming and find some activities and allows a fun and learning experience.
    I have seen to much time in the day being wasted on individual work and very little is given to instruction and communication.
    If the focus was shifted just a little to show and teach the kids how to be great students the learning/testing process would be less stressful.

    When I or my husband as talked to these teachers, the not so great ones can only say how long they have been teaching, or tell me what other parents have complained about. (When I asked about the one page of homework a week – I was told some parents complain that was to much – which tells me my complaint isn’t a good one) Kids do need to learn that sometimes you will have to spend some time after hours preparing for the next day.

    When we spoke to the principle we were told to sit down with the teacher. The school board acts like they don’t even know what the school building looks like. It is just plain frustrating. It is almost like I am talking to a 2 year old. My biggest frustration is being taken seriously about my concerns.

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  34. I have been very frustrated with my daughters start to the second semester of 7th grade. Her math teacher just assigns a lesson wich is usually 60+ problems and expects her to get it done in a night. Her english teacher expects the same. She ends up with 3-5+ hours per night. She loves to read but with all her homework she cannot. I talked to the teachers and they said that she should go to the library instead of outside at recess to work. If she was not doing this it was not their problem. So she went inside for recess. Even nocking of 30 min she still had a ton left. I then went to the principal. She told me that my daughter should quit dance and basketball, the two things she loves most. It is then I got really mad. I called and researched and found out that she should have 10 minuetes of home work per grade-70 min. not 3-5+! I then switched her to a private school and things have been a lot better.

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  35. my son wrote this …

    “Homework is Useless!”
    By “Blade L”, 4th Grade

    “[Heavy sigh] Dad, why do I have to do my homework?” I exclaimed. “Why can’t I go outside and play?” Obesity is rising. Stop making homework and obesity will stop. The reason kids in elementary schools are getting fat is because of homework. Because of homework, kids don’t get outside enough to lose calories and weight.

    “Mum, I did all my homework, but I failed my test!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “Homework does not improve test grades.” said Mum. “Then what good does it do?” I asked. “Nothing until middle school.” said Mum. When I was in 2nd grade, I was upset by the amount of homework I got. My mum looked at studies by Dr. Harris Cooper and Alfie Kohn to find out if homework was necessary or not. Dr. Copper’s research showed no connection between test scores and homework in young children. This means that no matter how much homework your students do, their test grades won’t get better. In fact, way too much homework makes test grades go down.

    Some people think that homework helps kids organize their work. I saw a moving picture online that showed me how my brain develops. The piece of my brain that helps me to organize things grows last. It won’t finish growing until I’m an older teenager. This means that no matter how much homework I get, I won’t be able to organize things until my brain grows some more.

    Let’s talk about obesity. Obesity is dangerous. People can die from being obese. To get fitter and thinner, people need to go outside and play. Kids are not getting outside to play after school because of the amount of homework they get. Therefore, homework can be bad for your health.

    In conclusion, homework doesn’t improve test grades; it doesn’t help you get better organizational skills; and, it is not healthy for you. Therefore, I say homework should be stopped in all elementary schools!

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  36. To Diane and her son:

    Very nicely done. The piece shows a use of organized thinking that is not common in youngsters, as he himself noted.
    I hope his teacher and principal read it…..I mean really read it.

    Like

  37. wow,
    Bit of an eye opener…life and times of a high school kid.
    (especially the ones with actual ambition)
    I remember my gramps (a very smart uneducated guy) remarking one time…that the sheer amount of education going on in the world, and the amount of trouble the world gets into – were kind of both ramping up the ladder at a balanced rate. Something in that.

    Sometimes I feel like education has been turned into something similar to corporate profit-margin. It doesn’t matter anymore why you want it, or what it’s there for.
    It just keeps the shareholders (academics and future bosses) happy.
    How sad – only a few small percentage points’ worth of educated professionals ever really need the sloppy goo that’s been slapped inside their heads – to do brilliant things in our world.
    The rest of us are damned lucky to hit middle age and discover we still have an insatiable curiosity to know and understand something.

    Blade……….you rock.

    jp

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  38. Homework is one of the many reasons why my future children will be home-schooled. My boyfriend was homeschooled in elementary and he only spent about 3-4 hours on schoolwork everyday, usually finshing by NOON. When he switched to public schooling for grade 7, he was on a grade 9 level.

    If kids are allowed to use their days efficiently instead of sitting at school for 8 hours and then doing a ton of homework afterwards, the results speak for themselves.

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  39. Hi
    I am a high school student in Massachusetts, and I am trying to campaign for my school to adopt a no homework day. I am looking for statistics and resources that I can use to present to the admisistration as backup for my cause. Anything that supports this or education reform in ways of homework and testing is apprieciated.
    thank you

    Like

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