The Problem of Homework?

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to view a film titled Race To Nowhere.

A fascinating film, really, that discusses how our children are overworked within the school system with too high of expectations with too low of results.  To put it simply, the problem with children being in school for 7 or more hours a day followed by 2, 3, sometimes 4 hours of extracurricular activities, and then sitting down to homework in the evening.  Sometimes multiple hours worth of studying.

IF you are a high school ACTIVE high school student taking Advance Placement classes, you can easily see where this is a problem.  Thankfully, mine are still young, and my oldest has not found his extracurricular "bug" yet.  But there is the learning disadvantage that we have to struggle with on a daily basis, so yeah, there are extended periods of homework nearly every night in our house.  Or add to that when special projects are due.  Or (as we're experiencing this month), the dreaded Mid-Terms and later in the year, Finals.

Prime example:  My 6th grader who is in school for the typical 7 hour school day, had his Social Studies Mid-Term today.  So of course we've been studying off and on for the past week or so.  But he has also had his other subjects - Math, English, Science - with interval levels of homework.  Last night, being his last opportunity for studying, I found him at the table working on Math homework.

I'd like to know why these teachers can't get together, figure out their Mid-Term schedules and work together to HELP the students make the most of their study time.  As in...don't assign the kids multiple pages of practice math problems the night before their Social Studies Mid-Term!  Thankfully, his core classes are scheduled for every other day, meaning his Math homework was not actually due until the beginning of next week.  So we put that away and concentrated on studying for the test.  Unfortunately, this means he came home from school today with Science, English, AND still the Math homework to work on OVER THE WEEKEND!

If you were able to follow was a perfect example of the problem that was the focus of the movie.  When are our kids supposed to have the time to just kids?

Does all of the homework actually help?  I don't know about that, but... isn't it a problem if most of the class fails the Math mid-term?

I think the director of this movie may possibly be onto something.  I'm not entirely sure that I'm ready to get 100% behind it, but...I definitely see the point.  And I can't help but worry when my more...outgoing... children will be involved in the after-school sports and trying to complete their daily homework.  Or when my insanely brilliant over-achieving daughter is preparing for college with those AP classes AND extracurricular activities....

Yours truly will be keeping a close eye on this issue until I'm convinced that it's not going to be an issue for my monkey children.
Until next time,



Lorri said…
I work a full-time job and take night classes and even I have more time for "fun" stuff than the kids do.