Too Much Homework Nytimes

When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Will it keep you up late at night? Will it cause stress in your family? Or do you have homework under control?

Do your teachers assign too much homework?

In “As Students Return to School, Debate About the Amount of Homework Rages,” Christine Hauser writes:

How much homework is enough?

My daughter, Maya, who is entering second grade, was asked to complete homework six days a week during the summer. For a while, we tried gamely to keep up. But one day she turned to me and said, “I hate reading.”

I put the assignment aside.

That was my abrupt introduction to the debate over homework that is bubbling up as students across the United States head back to school.

This month, Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Godley, Tex., let parents know on “Meet the Teacher” night that she had no plans to load up her students’ backpacks.

“There will be no formally assigned homework this year,” Ms. Young wrote in a note that was widely shared on Facebook. “Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”

Other conversations about homework are humming in town halls and online. Some school districts, including one near Phoenix, have taken steps to shorten the summer break, out of concern that too much is forgotten over the summer. But discussions on blogs like GreatSchools.org or StopHomework.com reveal a belief that the workload assigned to students may be too heavy.

When we asked students this same question in 2014, most commenters — but not all — voiced their opinion that homework was stressing them out. Dinah wrote:

In theory, homework seems like a good idea, just a little bit of looking over what was learned in class and answering a few questions to feel more comfortable with the material. In practice, it’s entirely different. Now I’m up till 11:30 p.m. some nights desperately trying to finish three colossal essays.

Eve agreed:

I’m an eighth grade student at an American school and my teachers pile on homework, so much where I am staying up until nearly three in the morning. I LOVE school and I truly do have a passion for learning, it’s just these extra worksheets are not teaching me anything.

And Doug B. wrote:

I’m becoming deranged from the excess of homework given to me. I have no time for any interests I have, companions and sleep.

Students: Read the entire article, then tell us:

— Do your teachers assign too much homework? Or do you have just the right amount?

— Does homework cause stress and tension in your family? Or does it create opportunities to work together with your parents or siblings?

— Does it get in the way of sleep or extracurricular activities? Or are you able to manage the right balance?

— How do you usually get your homework done? At home or at school? In a quiet room, or with family or friends around? Do you tend to work alone, or do your parents or friends help?

— Is homework, including projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or is it not a good use of time, in your opinion? Explain.

Continue reading the main story

Some schools and school districts are taking a hard look at how much homework is assigned and how valuable it is for student learning. How much homework do you have, on average, each night? Is it a burden for you? Does it mostly help you learn the material and skills you are being taught? Does some of it seem like “busy work”?

Winnie Hu reports on a “homework revolution,” in which some schools and districts are rethinking their policies on and approaches to homework:

Galloway is part of a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high-stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, particularly in elementary grades.

“There is simply no proof that most homework as we know it improves school performance,” said Vicki Abeles, a mother of three from California, whose documentary “Race to Nowhere,” about burned-out students caught in a pressure-cooker educational system, has helped reignite the antihomework movement. “And by expecting kids to work a ‘second shift’ in what should be their downtime, the presence of schoolwork at home is negatively affecting the health of our young people and the quality of family time.”

So teachers at Mango Elementary School in Fontana, Calif., are replacing homework with “goal work” that is specific to individual student’s needs and that can be completed in class or at home at his or her own pace. The Pleasanton School District, north of San Jose, Calif., is proposing this month to cut homework times by nearly half and prohibit weekend assignments in elementary grades because, as one administrator said, “parents want their kids back.”

Ridgewood High School in New Jersey introduced a homework-free winter break in December. Schools in Tampa, Fla., and Bleckley County, Ga., have instituted “no homework nights” throughout the year. And the two-year-old Brooklyn School of Inquiry, a program for gifted and talented elementary students, has made homework optional: it is neither graded nor counted toward progress reports.

“I think people confuse homework with rigor,” said Donna Taylor, the Brooklyn School’s principal, who views homework for children under 11 as primarily benefiting parents by helping them feel connected to the classroom.

Students: Tell us about your homework. How much time do you spend per night on assignments? Do your homework assignments tend to reinforce your learning in class, or does it generally feel like a useless requirement? Have any of your teachers changed their homework policies or limit the homework they assign? Do you ever have optional or individualized homework? If it were up to you, what would your school’s homework policy be, and why?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

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