Archive for Tuesday, September 12, 2006


September 12, 2006


To the editor:

Back in grade school, I had so much homework that my parents and I had to divide it up to get it all done before I went to bed. Every evening was spent doing my homework. This daily burden made me bitter about the concept of homework, a feeling I still have today.

Many years later, homework continues to torture kids and their families. A lot of homework can sour kids on learning. Recent studies have shown that lots of homework does not measurably improve academic achievement. Lots of homework can be damaging to our kids' interest in learning and may suppress their natural curiosity.

I realize that some parents demand that their kids have homework, thus putting pressure on teachers to pile it on. Think about this, parents: How would you like to spend the entire day at work, and then spend the whole evening doing work as well? Home should be the place where family members relax and spend time with each other.

The value of lots of homework is a myth. I hated it when I had to do it, and I hate the idea of it all these years later. Sure, study for tests and write term papers, maybe have some homework now and then, but kids and their families don't need the daily torture of hours of homework. It is time kids enjoyed being in school and learning. Maybe that will help stem the tide of kids dropping out.

Kathy Schott Gates,



classclown 11 years, 7 months ago

I was going to write something along the lines of what plumberscrack wrote. But since he already wrote that, I'll just agree with him or her.

conservative 11 years, 7 months ago

I've gotta disagree here. The point of homework is for the students to get repetitions on the process so that it becomes natural for them and not something they have to stop and think about. If you don't send home math homework so that they learn their addition facts (insert grade appropriate fact) then they won't be able to do the math. If the teachers took the time to do that much repetition in the classroom then they really wouldn't have time to get to all subjects.

I'm not saying it should be an overburdening amount of homework, but I feel it is necessary and even a good thing.

Jamesaust 11 years, 7 months ago

Based solely upon observation in public places of young people, it seems self-evident that there is not "too much" homework. Outside of school hours, I do not find it difficult to find kids wasting considerable hours engaged in unsupervised and often disruptive activities.

I would suggest that what the author means is that, after extracurricular activities, television, videogames, telephone chat & IMing, internet "play" and such, it is difficult to fit homework into a young person's lifestyle.

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

"I would suggest that what the author means is that, after extracurricular activities, television, videogames, telephone chat & IMing, internet "play" and such, it is difficult to fit homework into a young person's lifestyle." ++++++++ Now, that's the ticket! Kids (at least most of them most of the time) don't need hours and hours of homework. On the other hand, they don't need 6-7 hours of social cyber isolation either. Learning, growing and community are all related. We have forgotten this with our millennial kids and their endless toys that prevent them from thinking or interacting with others in a meaningful way.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 7 months ago

well I agree homework is a drag, but I think some homwork is not so bad. I do know that alot of kids are overloaded with homework and some of that has to do with the very famous words"no child left behind". For me I just do not see why a kid in first grade should have hours of homework lets face the fact it is hard enough to get a 6 year old to sit still for 10 min. so to much home work at that grade level is not a good idea, but I have known some highschool kids that end up stay up past midnight just so they can get all the home work done thus not getting much sleep for school the next day. I guess what I am saying is yes some home work is ok but it seems like kids today have been overloaded with homework.

tweetybird2 11 years, 7 months ago

I know some kids that go to school in a nearby district that start homework as soon as they get home and do not finish until they go to bed. Kids need some time to play. I agree that some homework is needed but this much is not good.

Todd 11 years, 7 months ago

Parents, just say no. If/when my child's homework load becomes excessive I'm going to go through some of it and "just say no". Yep, if that means a lower grade then too bad. I send my kids to school to learn and as long as they are learning everything I'm satisfied.

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

Children in America are getting less and less intelligent. They can't compete with the children in many other nations. The level of education here (especially in public schools), doesn't even come close to competing with other industrialized nations. Even some "third world" countries require a lot more out of their students. Our children are taught that mediocre is okay, playing sports is the key, and that being smart is overrated. These children are not competitive internationally, which makes us the residents of one stupid country. I don't think that 5 hours of homework is necessarily a good thing, but I'm tired of parents whining because something/anything is expected of their kids. Maybe some of these kids spending that many hours doing homework are the kids that just aren't cutting it.

Kodiac 11 years, 7 months ago

I find myself disagreeing with this letter as well. Call me weird but I have always enjoyed doing homework with my children. I see it not only as an important family bonding activity and but a chance to foster a love for learning. You can turn it into a negative experience if you want to but IMHO you are really missing out on some golden opportunities there....

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

Posted by prioress "Children in America are getting less and less intelligent. They can't compete with the children in many other nations." ++++ Not true, but often repeated. Comparing our system to any other country's school system is dicey since the national goals, clientele and selectivity are different. We should be more rigorous, but as was pointed out earlier, many parents would object if their little ones actually had to work more diligently. Parents do want good grades, regardless of the learning level. That's why the average grade is generally a "B" and they have invented "supergrades" (AKA weighted classes) to adjust for this.

Todd 11 years, 7 months ago

In other countries the school systems filter out the poorly performing students.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Do kids do their homework in high school these days? I didn't start doing my homework until my 3rd year of College.

. . . of course, my grades were pretty bad back then. . .

ksmoderate 11 years, 7 months ago

More fuel for this fire:

Because (mainly) of block scheduling, many high schools now let students do their homework in class. I think this is terrible, and the teachers that do it a lot are shirking their responsibilities. I acknowledge that sometimes giving some in-class work time in a 90-minute period is acceptable, but I've heard horror stories about teaching for 20 minutes, then having 70 minutes of homework every day. Ugh.

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

"block scheduling" +++++++ This is another interesting concept, for which there is little evidence to support its efficacy. While it can be useful for some lab classes and music, in many cases it can actually hurt the students. And, a teacher who may not know what to do for 50 minutes, will certainly not know what to do for 90.

Ragingbear 11 years, 7 months ago

Think about this. When the normal joe works in any job, he works for about 8 hours a day. During that time, he recieves 2-15 minute breaks, and a half hour for lunch. Sometimes his lunch is an hour.

Children go to school for 7 hours out of the day. During that time, they get a half hour for lunch, and in the cases of some schools, will get about 10-15 minutes of recess. They then have to go home, and spend another 3-4 hours on homework, almost nightly. So, when you are done, these kids are pulling down 10-11 hour days, 5 days a week. Thus working these kids for more hours than most adults.

Homework also has some other issues as well. Teachers commonly use homework as punishment, boredom, filler, and sometimes don't even bother to actually grade it. Add to this that lots of school textbooks and teaching programs are not designed to teach, but just grind information into their heads that will allow them to pass a standardized test. When you get done, you get a kid that is burnt out on homework, and has very little usable knowledge in his head.

I am not saying to get rid of it, I am saying that education needs sweeping reforms.

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

"Homework also has some other issues as well. Teachers commonly use homework as punishment, boredom, filler, and sometimes don't even bother to actually grade it." ++++++++ Could be. If this is so, it is a violation of board policy, and certainly educational malpractice.

From 497 book: Homework shall be assigned by teachers when needed to reinforce curriculum taught in the classroom. Homework shall not be used as a means to discipline students.

Approved: July 1, 2001 Reviewed by Board Policy Committee: February 2, 2004

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

do you work for the school district? ++++++++ Nope: Just know how to look things up.

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the real problem is that some parents haven't even learned to use punctuation in their posts. I can't imagine these parents trying to help their kids with homework.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 7 months ago

The important thing is that no child be left behind.

justsomewench 11 years, 7 months ago

And a white picket pitbull in every yard. Usually.

lizzieborden 11 years, 7 months ago

You must admit there are some RUDE people on this forum.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 7 months ago

What's ruder than crushing one's stepmother's head using a sharp instrument over 18 blows, and 11 blows crushing her father's head?

lizzieborden 11 years, 7 months ago

It was 40 and 41. I quite enjoyed the rendition with Elizabeth Montgomery. furthermore I was very polite throughout the entire matter.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks, When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41."

Actually, it was her step-mother. And she was aquitted of the crimes.

Wow, that was fun. I liked the version with Elizabeth Montgomery, too.

You know, I hated homework when I was in school, too, but I don't think we were ever given too much. Kids just hate doing things they don't consider fun. Homework should be age appropriate, of course, as far as how much is given.

Whatever happened to study hall? That's when a lot of kids in junior high and high school used to do their homework.

Kids in high school in the olden days used to have six classes a day, and if we had homework from each class, it still didn't seem like too much. In math it was usually only a page or two of problems. Or maybe reading for social studies or English, and doing the chapter questions at the end. I don't think it was excessive.

Considering the workload they're going to suddenly be plunged into if they go to college, I think high school students especially should be given more homework to better prepare them for what's coming. A lot of high school students now are totally lost when they go to college and the professors not only expect them to do all the work assigned, but to do it on time.

mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

Actually, sometimes reading can be the worst thing a kid can do.
My eldest will read to avoid doing her homework. She will read ANY book to avoid her homework. We actually had to remove books from her room as punishment.

My kids have homework every day. Some days, there is more homework than others. The block schedule actually helps my junior high students because they know they have two days to do it, plus ELT time.
My kids are allowed to de-stress, relax, whatever until 5:00 or 5:30, then start on homework. Then finish homework after dinner. There have been a few nights that a kid has been up past 11:00 because of their lack of planning.
I always did well in school, but I dread helping my kids with their homework. Math processes have changed so much in 20 years. I can figure out the answer, but can't always explain how to do it.

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