Is There Too Much Homework?

My kids do a lot of homework.

Jonah, who is 8th grade now, has about three hours of homework per night. He had six hours of homework in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy, when the teachers had two weeks of makeup work to cram in before the end of the semester. Even my 10 year old, special ed kid has a pile of work. It takes him about three hours to get through his work every night, too. Between homework, soccer practice, and swim lessons, the boys have no free time during the week. 

That's a little crazy. 

In the New Yorker, Louis Menand talks about the research around homework. He thinks that the biggest critics of homework are affluent parents who prefer soccer practice to math worksheets. 

What do you think? Do your kids have too much homework? Is homework making them smarter? 

42 thoughts on “Is There Too Much Homework?

  1. I don’t our guys spend anywhere near that much, but it’s also possible that we don’t have keep good track of what time is being spent. One thing I do know is that the timing is much more variable than 3/a night. It’s possible that the middle-schooler spends 15 hours a week, but not in the form of 3 hours every weeknight. The 3rd grader doesn’t spend more than 3 hours a week.

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  2. There is something valuable in learning to complete work independently, but that can still be done in the classroom. Frankly, I think that as a society we put too much emphasis on “work” in general, and it starts in schools. Breadth of knowledge is important, and the wide variety of craftsmanship is being neglected in favor a very narrow set of knowledge.

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  3. One of my children has always taken his homework seriously. The homework has never been busywork. He has taken longer than others in order to do it well. When he attended a local private school, we did send him to bed sometimes. Now that he boards, we know he’s not getting enough sleep at the end of the term. We believe growing children need sleep. He is happy and energetic. I see the (positive) cumulative effect of years of exertion.
    Some of the affluent parents who complain about homework are engaging tutors. Now, this is something which is suspected, and gossiped about, but very hard to pin down. The New York Times has had articles about “tutoring for As” in New York private schools. Homework could be cutting into time which could be spent gaining a competitive advantage through tutoring. After all, if everyone’s assigned French homework, you must do it too, which decreases the time available for Japanese lessons/AP self-study/SAT prep on the side.
    Then again, I know many parents who invest more time, energy and money in their children’s extracurricular athletic commitments than their academic commitments. Placing a higher priority on the club soccer team practices and games than on homework is not equivalent to yearning for your children to have the time to “go outside and play.”

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  4. Good heavens, that’s a lot of homework. My daughter (11) just started late French immersion in middle school (BC, Canada). We were warned there was a lot of homework but she’s *maybe* doing 30 min per night — definitely not three hours per night. I would have one very unhappy child on my hands if she was doing three hours of homework each night plus her extra-curricular activities (never mind unhappy, she’d be exhausted).

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  5. I have known a few home educated children whose entire education took place in less than 2 hours per day, and yet they are just as successful as other middle class kids I know. If you are doing that much teaching, then basically your school is a baby sitting service.
    What about all the research about the incredible value of unstructured play? When does a kid with 3 hours of homework get time for this?

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  6. There’s a lot of difference, in terms of mastery, between filling out a multiplication table three times and doing it twenty times. Same with multiplying fractions. It’s kind of grueling, but it works.
    My guys are having a lot of trouble focusing on projects due three weeks out and timing themselves to get them done – I value this as practice for the World Of Work, in the glorious future we can barely discern.

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  7. Although it seems like a lot, I can see how an 8th grader on an honors track might be doing 3 hours/night. I “hear” many high-schoolers do that, and they’re busy with extracurriculars also. So they’re getting to bed at midnight or later.
    But I am curious what this 8th grade homework consists of. Half-hour math, half-hour foreign language, plus an hour each history and English? That sounds like way too much as an average, and I think it’s unnecessary. There’s also the distraction issue, where a kid is distracted for 20-30 minutes for every ten minutes of actual work. I know that’s a common issue – Facebook, texting, music, YouTube, etc.

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  8. Actually, to add to my previous comment, both a struggling 8th grader and an honors track 8th grader could be averaging 3 hours homework a night. Same with high school students. I still think it’s wrong in most cases.

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  9. What kind of homework is being assigned? Is Jonah assigned three hours per night, or does he have long term projects that he has waited to complete, thus necessitating he spend 3 hours to do the assignment? Are the math teachers assigning 100 problems when 20 would suffice? Is he using the computer for “homework”, or does he have iChat and his cell phone buzzing, which makes every assignment take 3 times as long?
    We teachers often think we’re assigning a reasonable amount of homework, and it’s not until the brave student or parent speaks up that we realize it took more time for the young ones to complete than we thought. My school has a 30 minute rule: each class may assign 30 minutes of homework a night. This would translate to 2.5 hours of homework maximum a night. In reality, most teachers do not assign this much work each evening, and the students have a daily study hall where they can complete at least one assignment. If the kids are spending an inordinate amount of time on an assignment, they know they should tell the teacher.
    Most of the homework I assign is reading. Part of it is I don’t want to spend my life grading homework, so I don’t assign it. It’s quality, not quantity. I’d rather have them read a book than spend 2 hours doing grammar worksheets.

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  10. When my daughter was in a private middle school (5th through 8th grades) she had about two hours a night. It was 30 minutes or so for 5 different classes every night- and on weekends she had about 6 hours. We actually pulled her out of the school for 8th grade as we thought it was detrimental to her health and happiness. Unfortunately her brand new, high tech high school was worse. The teachers were creating a new group project based curriculum and honestly had no idea how much work it entailed, and how much work devolved onto competent students. To make their job easier/to have heterogenous groups, there was usually only one or two good students in each group. Over time my daugther learned to hide that she was doing much/all the work because her grades depended on it. She had 3-5 hours every single night, and 6 hours each day on the weekend. It was wrong, and detrimental to her. In fact, I think it burned her out and so in college she has little patience for puttin in the hours. She considers her college degree a piece of paper and has learned how she can minimize taking classes she doesn’t want to take/or doing work she does not want to do. I truly blame this in significant part on her being overworked in high school and middle school. If I had it to do over again I think we would enroll her in community college after 9th grade.

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  11. my first graders have 2-3 hours a week and I think it is too much. One of the big reasons I think it is too much, they haven’t even been taught the homework yet. This week was fractions, both girls looked at it like it was the first time they’ve seen it. It was, because this isn’t the first time this has happened. Basically, I’m having to teach them their homework. My girls have gymnastics 1x a week and need a lot of sleep/free play/socialization (they are 6 for goodness sake). And 2-3 hours of homework a week, plus 1/2 hour of reading a night, for first graders, seems like too much.

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  12. I’m increasingly interested in ‘flipped’ models of education where the homework is listening to a podcast or watching a video of the teacher talking about a subject of study in preparation for tomorrow’s class and the classwork is doing the problem sets, writing with guidance, and so on. There’s good evidence that this approach yields much better results in several respects and it’s a better use of time.
    Menand’s piece is curious since he’d like to have the authority of social science research behind his interpretation, but several things don’t add up for me. First, as he notes, the effect size observed in Cooper’s synthesis of research is small. I’m a bit tired of strong public policy being made around small effects and thin margins of statistical significance–the conclusion you should reach at that point is not “We must have homework” but instead, “Many approaches are permissible–use some common sense and stay flexible.” Second, the idea that you get the homework regime that your national culture requires strikes me as having some weird implications–it is at the least a tautological argument and one that pretty much cancels out the social science research that says “Homework is good”. Third, he’s pretty much pulling the “affluent parents want less homework, poor parents want more” out of his sociological intuition. I suspect it’s way more complicated than that.
    For my own sociological intuition, I’d suggest that homework is a bit of a proxy or synechdoche for the larger national argument we’re having about work-life balance, about the diminishing place of leisure in professional-class life and so on. It’s always safer to talk about the things you feel you can’t change or affect in your adult life by projecting it into the lives of your children and other people’s children.

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  13. Third, he’s pretty much pulling the “affluent parents want less homework, poor parents want more” out of his sociological intuition. I suspect it’s way more complicated than that.
    Yep. It depends on whether they are worried about the worst students pulling down the test averages for the school or about the kids who can actually sit still for a few hours taking all of the academic honors slots.

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  14. We homeschool for many reasons, but homework and the time it was taking away from our family was one important factor. I think there is something wrong with the idea that children need to be in schools for 6-8 hours a day and then effectively tracked via several hours of homework each night. It seems to me that homework has become a way for school to control more and more of a family’s time and resources outside the school.

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  15. Jonah averages 3 hours of homework. That means some nights, it’s 1 hour and other nights it is 5 or 6 hours. 1 hour is for math. He gets math homework every night. There are always lots of projects — a letter to a French penpal, a comic strip that illustrates the notion of irony or Budist principles, a science scavenger hunt. Those projects have to be done very carefully, because he’ll lose points if the cartoon isn’t colored in. He’s given a complicated rubric to follow, which basically sucks the fun out the “creative” project.
    He doesn’t have a computer or a TV in his bedroom and he doesn’t text with friends, so there aren’t any distractions.
    He could manage his time better. He tends to put too much work into the first assignment and then has to rush through the second and third assignments.
    Ian has a lot of dumb busy work, like writing his spelling words three times when he just need a half hour review the night before the test. But because he’s in special ed, I can just to tell him to stop working when I think that he’s had enough and it doesn’t count against him.
    If Jonah doesn’t do this work, he faces a huge grade penalty.
    His teachers aren’t reading his work or grading it, except for the big projects. His teacher just walks around the room and marks her book to see that it has been done. He grades his own homework or a peer does it.
    Yeah, I had problems with Menand’s article, too. My friends who teach in poor schools have told me that they can’t assign homework at all, because their kids won’t do it. Poor parents do not seem to be insisting on more homework, according to them.

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  16. So many good points raised. My oldest (Jonah’s age/grade) handles homework very well. This week was tough because she had to write a “novel” (really, it ended up at 6000 words) due today, and she hadn’t really thought about the plot and left it to the last minute, uncharacteristically for her. She missed dance on Tuesday so she could get all her work done, and she was up till 10:30 last night. But as I said, this is uncharacteristic. She tends to have her laptop open and phone near her while doing homework, but really, I don’t complain because she gets stuff done and she knows if I notice anything going on with grades, I will get on her case. She’s very self-sufficient, a dream child in this aspect.
    My 5th grader is having some issues right now. 5th grade is a time when kids with AS tend to hit a bit of a wall as the type of learning changes from memorization (easy peasy) to something more. And E’s approach to homework he doesn’t quite know how to do is to ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist until I get an e-mail from the teacher–and since he has his regular teacher, his band teacher, and now an “enrichment” teacher, I’ve been getting lots of e-mails. After dropping weekly visits with the psychologist, we’re back, and I’m getting more support in how to deal with all this. My goal for this year is to get him ready for the homework demands of middle school. He needs to be taught in a way his sister never had to be taught–it was like she was born knowing how to deal with homework and deadlines. Would have been nice if I could have had two of those kinds of kids, but considering neither my husband nor I have those abilities, I consider her a bit of a mutant.

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  17. Jenny said:
    “One of the big reasons I think it is too much, they haven’t even been taught the homework yet. This week was fractions, both girls looked at it like it was the first time they’ve seen it. It was, because this isn’t the first time this has happened.”
    We had a similar (but milder) problem in 1st grade last year after a change over of textbook. The teachers didn’t initially realize that they were assigning homework that the kids (and the parents) didn’t understand. I complained, the teacher agreed, and I am hoping it won’t happen again.
    Laura said:
    “He’s given a complicated rubric to follow, which basically sucks the fun out the “creative” project.”
    Are teachers clear on this or how many hours of work the kids are doing?
    I had three hours a night of work in high school but 1) I wasn’t using all available school time to maximum effect 2) some of it was self-assigned study.
    The kids have a lot less homework this year for some reason. The 2nd grader is supposed to do 20 minutes of reading a day (he generally does it in the morning), some oral math and sometimes some spelling. He’s very fast and probably does everything in 30 minutes. My 5th grader seems to have a lot of Latin on Monday nights which can take a long, long time, but aside from that, it’s mostly study. She’s gotten better at doing more work at school. She had a paragraph she was working on a few nights ago (we got permission for her to type!), but we eventually learned that she was supposed to turn in three drafts and that had not happened. Oops.
    It’s hard to pinpoint how many hours of homework my 5th grader has, because there is often a lot of drama and she needs a lot of breaks to function effectively. So she’ll write out some Latin vocabulary and then watch 5 minutes of cartoons and then continue like that until her homework is done.

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  18. The problem with saying “30 minutes” of homework is that you could put ten kids in a room with the same assignment, and they would not all finish it in 30 minutes. One kid would take twice as long because she’s a slow reader, one kid would need to take a ten minute break in the middle, another would get distracted and need to be redirected, and another kid would finish it in 15 minutes.

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  19. “One kid would take twice as long because she’s a slow reader, one kid would need to take a ten minute break in the middle, another would get distracted and need to be redirected, and another kid would finish it in 15 minutes.”
    Yep. My 5th grader produces Shakespearean drama out of assignments that her little brother would knock out in 10 minutes.

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  20. One thing I always wonder about…if 10% of the grade is related to completing homework, and students who complete their homework average 5-10% higher in their final grades, isn’t that kind of self-referential research?
    Anyways I fit in line with the article’s view on middle-class parents. I am not a fan of a lot of homework because my child is super into a few other activities (clay class/play and martial arts) and I personally believe that he learns more from that, free play and reading than most homework, plus his bedtime is 7:15. And yes, as a two-WOHP family, the fact that my kids are in daycare until 5:30 really impacts on that a lot. Our daycare will help with homework but it’s still not the same. A half hour of homework is about 1/3 of our evening family time.
    I’ve no objection to some homework in lower grades, particularly spelling works, multiplication tables, some repetition, reading etc. But I really think it should be limited.
    By high school I do think homework has more value.

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  21. I am trying to get my head around how we’d execute three hours of homework a night! The girl is in grade 2 and her homework right now is 15 minutes of english reading aloud per night. Plus a few times a week of her Hebrew reader (10 minutes at a time) and prep for a weekly spelling quiz.
    She is in school from 8:20 – 3:20 and we’re home before 4pm each day. During the week she has soccer practice and a couple of karate classes. Throw in being a big morning person, she’s ready for bed shortly after 7.
    I am a big proponent of free time that is non-screen plus lots of playdates. The social learning and collaborative creativity during the latter is huge. And something I’d not want to give up for more worksheets or other homework.

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  22. “The problem with saying “30 minutes” of homework is that you could put ten kids in a room with the same assignment, and they would not all finish it in 30 minutes.”
    Our teachers say that that’s OK, and that they should say they couldn’t finish it in 30 minutes. But, we don’t have grades (so the issues about HW and grades are irrelevant). Parents still run into issues because the 30 minutes is supposed to be “effortful” 30 minutes, and the issue with some kids is that they don’t spend the effortful 30 minutes (and are less likely to do so when the work is hard). And then, there’s the parental demands that work gets done, even if it takes your kid an hour.
    We occasionally get math homework that hasn’t been explained, but have been told that’s to get the kids to challenge themselves and think about a problem before it is explained to them. I like that teaching strategy — and there’s research validating the approach.

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  23. My goal for educating for my kids is for them to be able to think about difficult problems (and, make stabs at solving them) and to be able to transfer their learning to new problems and situations. So, I tend to be wary of work that allows kids to get away with strong memory and instruction following alone. I think homework, good homework, that asks kids to think outside of school is a good thing. I also think that some amount of rote knowledge acquisition is important and necessary and that different kids need different amounts of practice to get that rote knowledge (i.e multiplication tables or spelling). Those things are fairly easy to test mastery of as well, so I don’t think those activities should require HW blindly without consideration of the individual kid’s practice needs.

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  24. “We occasionally get math homework that hasn’t been explained, but have been told that’s to get the kids to challenge themselves and think about a problem before it is explained to them. I like that teaching strategy — and there’s research validating the approach.”
    Our son was a 1st grader last year and a very, very dutiful child. He was literally crying over his math homework last fall. He didn’t understand it, I didn’t understand what they wanted, and our 1st grader was so conscientious that he wasn’t willing to stop working on it. It was terrible. I’m not even sure that my husband (the math PhD) understood it. And the material wasn’t even necessarily hard–it was just idiosyncratically expressed.

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  25. Hi there,
    I just saw this conversation and I think it is a great topic to discuss.
    When I was a Kid I remember to be doing homework for like an hour or 90 mins no more, my mom wanted me to learn a second languaje so she made a schedule for me to help me do everything on time; once I learned that she changed the startegy, she knew I was diligent with things so she started to give me more “freedom”.
    The fact is that when you go to college with that education it is easier to attend classes, be responsible and a the same time have balance in your life.
    I think my mom gave me the basis, after all, it was just myself the one that was interested in doing this and that, and I could always find time to do it because I got that programming since I was a child.
    The take away for me is, just educate, make sure that your kid gets the idea, and from there she/he will organize her/his time; always provide guidance and support and that should make the trick.
    Best of all!!!

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  26. “Our son was a 1st grader last year and a very, very dutiful child. He was literally crying over his math homework last fall.”
    This is part of what they’re trying to teach them to get over, dutiful perfectionism that makes them balk at a difficult problem, to acquire the “grit” to get over it and try to figure out what you can do with the problem. But, I haven’t seen them try to attempt that teaching with a idiosyncratically worded problem (and certainly not in 1st grade). Eventually though, dealing with questions that are worded poorly is part of the learning experience, too.
    My sixth grader has what they call “tinkering” problems on occasion (we’ve remained it thinkering). These problems can be solved by fussing with what you already know, for example, just sequentially testing possibilities. They confuse the PhD’s in the house, ’cause they can often be difficult problems if one tried to solve them analytically or tried to prove a general case. But, they’re solvable in the form they are presented, and, for some kids, are a stepping stone to developing the more general solutions. The main point of the problems, though, is to try rather than to believe you can’t solve the problem.
    These methods work really well for my children, who have really learned to be unafraid of problems. I will admit to a bit of frustration over their unwillingness to follow instructions (for example, folding an origami crane or reading the instructions for a toy). But, I’ll take the fearless problem solving and hope that they learn that following the directions can also be useful sometime in the future.

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  27. Our first grader would argue, very forcefully, that he was right regardless of what you would tell him. He would literally insist that when counting by tens 20 was followed by 40. That was a very shitty week.

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  28. “We occasionally get math homework that hasn’t been explained, but have been told that’s to get the kids to challenge themselves and think about a problem before it is explained to them. I like that teaching strategy — and there’s research validating the approach.”
    Yeah I had a grade 10 math teacher who believed in that method – and that was the end of my interest in STEM areas of study. Not everyone learns the same way and while it’s fine to argue I should have learned to experiment more (and actually do now, in my language-based job) the fact was that sitting at home staring at it just made me turn off math completely.
    I think that kind of work is actually where the most teaching/coaching/mentoring needs to happen. Having to look at it overnight and deal with the anxiety of it being undone did me in. Wow, I am having visceral memories of it right now.
    I came back also ’cause I dug up this post which, a long time ago, really changed my view of homework: http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=133

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  29. “Our first grader would argue, very forcefully, that he was right regardless of what you would tell him.”
    Yeah, we have plenty of those around here, too. It’s good that they’re confident, right?
    I think the policy of having the kids do problems they haven’t been taught to do isn’t quite the same as just throw random stuff at them (i.e. throw them in the ocean to see if they can swim). I think the problems are supposed to be approachable within the context of what they’ve already learned (though they may be hard and might look different than anything they’ve already seen). The point is to teach them both that they might be able to do a problem they haven’t seen before and that they might not, and that’s not a tragedy either. It’s not the same as a 10th grade math teacher expecting kids to learn math on their own.
    Of course, some kids won’t like the approach (and there should be other methods to reach them). And, we are biased in our family by having the “coaching” at home, with at least two adults in the house (neither of them is me, BTW) who like the challenge of trying to convince an obstinate 1st grader that 40 does not follow 20 when skip counting by tens.

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  30. well, and to follow up that concept with a discussion of whether there’s a base system or other scheme by which 10,20,40 could be a right answer!

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  31. “This is part of what they’re trying to teach them to get over, dutiful perfectionism that makes them balk at a difficult problem, to acquire the “grit” to get over it and try to figure out what you can do with the problem.”
    His grit was actually the problem. He wouldn’t stop working, even though we really wanted him to.

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  32. Those projects have to be done very carefully, because he’ll lose points if the cartoon isn’t colored in.
    Ahem. I’ve never done the cut n’ paste part of “creative projects” for my kids, as I lack any aesthetic sense and fine motor control somehow passed me by. Oh, and my older child liked creative stuff, and her next oldest sibling attended a boys’ school (no losing points for lack of glitter. Using colors other than black is artistically advanced.)
    However, I did once drink tea and chat with a friend while she cut out and pasted together a busywork project for her middle schooler. Now, this is of course ruinous for the moral fiber of everyone involved. However, I have the impression that it does happen. So, if there’s a grade at stake, the work gets done, and the kids with the parents who hover the most are the least likely to do their own work.
    I don’t know when or if such practices stop, once the habit’s established. High school? College? Grad School?

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  33. “However, I did once drink tea and chat with a friend while she cut out and pasted together a busywork project for her middle schooler. Now, this is of course ruinous for the moral fiber of everyone involved. ”
    It really is, isn’t it. I once found myself pasting a thousand pictures on a board for my kindergartner’s “me-poster”. That was clearly my fault (the teacher hadn’t asked anyone to do it, no grade or other outcome depended on it). I just had thousands of pictures depicting the first five years of her life, and couldn’t see how her “me” could be described without them. It was a lesson learned. And, of course, unless I did it in the middle of the night, the kiddo balked at ever letting me do anything like that again.
    “I don’t know when or if such practices stop, once the habit’s established. High school? College? Grad School?”
    You kind of get the impression that sometimes it’s never, parents picking up the slack on the “unnecessary work” required for living, for the “pampered handicapped princes.” Those would be the boys whose wives typed their theses.

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  34. On the other hand, a friend, a Ph.D. in STEM and faculty member, recently told me how she absolutely loved scrapbooking projects assigned in school, one’s that required her to use her persistence & patience to create elaborate decorated notebooks. That was my idea of hell as a student (though I’m quite crafty as an adult), and I spent most of elementary school refusing to do any work I considered busy (and have the empty workbooks to show for it). Clearly, different kids need different learning projects.

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  35. I like homework to be something the child can do without me. That’s partly selfish, partly good pedagogy. My 5th grade daughter is on her second year of Latin now. Neither of her parents have studied Latin and if her knowledge of the subject and grades depended on us, we’d all be up a creek. Fortunately, the homework for Latin just requires some cheerleading and vigilance from the parent.

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  36. I agree that HW should be done without parents — in our case, the participation is purely voluntary. And, as I said, HW is only for learning, not judging, so there’s no incentive for parents to help/do th HW.

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  37. We should probably figure length of school day in when comparing homework loads. Ours runs 8:10-3:25, which sounds like it’s a relatively long school day, although we get a lot of vacation days. The school pickup process being what it is, it’s probably after 4 by the time the kids finish their afterschool snacks. There’s a window available for doing homework before dinner and then a good stretch after dinner. Throw in an extracurricular, special event or CCD (Catholic religious education) and the evening becomes pretty busy. There’s also room cleaning and baths to fit in.
    I personally don’t care for weekday extracurriculars. It seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to focus on doing that sort of thing during the summer time when the kids are underemployed.

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  38. I think we need to distinguish between kids’ homework and ‘homework for mommy’ (as it is known in our house). We had a certain kindergarten teacher who sent home a monthly list of projects, all of which required intensive parental participation. While it’s possible to find sufficient time for kids to do homework, it can be very difficult to find sufficient time for parents to join them in that endeavor.

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  39. “I personally don’t care for weekday extracurriculars. It seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to focus on doing that sort of thing during the summer time when the kids are underemployed.”
    See this conversation is so interesting. Because for our family I feel kind of the opposite in a way; it is really important to us to have some kind of sports or outdoor or physical activity going year-round, and while that doesn’t have to be organized, it works best for our family if it is. (My son and husband do martial arts; I run during my son’s classes.)

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  40. This thread confirms my own experience of some problems I’ve seen discussed many times.
    Arts and crafts projects that require lots of parental participation, which by many accounts add very little benefit to actual learning, are common.
    “Challenge” homework, which consists of material that has not been previously taught, is frequently thrown in. Once when I complained to a teacher about the frustration this sometimes caused at home, she blithely instructed me not to worry and that it wasn’t important for the child to do it. The garbled message to students becomes that some homework is important and some is not. And if research confirms this is a good thing, I’m apt to discount it as typical lousy educational research.
    It’s clear to me that the overriding GOAL of some homework is to get the parents to engage more, not to increase learning. One teacher explained that some homework was of the “non-academic” kind, and that it would be good for parents to work with their children on it. After all, research shows that parental involvement is good.
    Schools waste a lot of our children’s time. Lots and lots.
    The system is set up to widen the achievement gap between rich and poor. When they make homework that requires parents to teach the material, help with the steps, search the internet, shop for art materials, bake a cake, and do all the other nonsense common these days, it automatically hurts kids with parents who lack the time, ability, or inclination to get so closely involved.
    The system that coined the term “helicopter parent” has actually played a huge role in creating that monster. If you’re forced to start out researching butterfly metamorphosis for your third grader’s project, move on to making the 1-inch geometric origamis for your middle school son’s math class, and then helping cut and paste a high school history class collage, it’s only natural that at some point you’ll end up editing your college kid’s papers.

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