Homework Can Turn Your Kid Into a Stressed-Out Wreck, Researchers Say

ClassroomLabpluto123Sending your kid to school can be frustrating as hell. Top-down mandates and the reality that your child is just one among a roomful can restrict your options, even when you're lucky enough to have options from which to pick. Despite the variety of public, private, and charter schools near me, all of the parents I know complain that their kids have too much damned homework. Now, when we complain to teachers and administrators, we'll be armed with research suggesting that professional educators are trying to turn our kids into socially stunted weirdos.

Yeah. Really. A study, published last year in the Journal of Experimental Education, takes a dim view of the heavy workloads under which high school kids in "10 high-performing high schools in upper middle class communities" stagger.

Results indicated that students in these schools average more than 3 hr of homework per night. Students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.

Which is to say, even if you think that homework can be a good thing, there's a limit. More is not better, say researchers from Stanford University, Lewis and Clark College, and Villanova University.

The communities the researchers focused on are more prosperous than the country as a whole, with median household income over $90,000, and 93 percent of students going on to college. They're also the sort of communities that would be most likely to emphasize and support academic success. Where their schools have gone is where many educators pushing heavier homework loads and higher standards around the country say they want to follow.

The Stanford News summarizes the researchers' findings:

  • Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.
  • Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.
  • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

Two hours of homework is at the high end of what high school students should be doing every day, the researchers report.

My eight-year-old son is younger than the researchers' subjects, and he's not yet—and never, so far as I'm concerned—carrying a daily, three-hour homework load. But he's already freaking out over what strikes me as excessive take-home assignments. Talking down a third-grader because he's overworked is a bizarre experience, but all too common among the families we know in a community that's not exactly an academic pressure cooker.

It looks like it's time for another chat with teacher and company. The goals, to explain once again, are healthy, educated, well-adjusted human beings. Stressed-out basket cases? Not so much.

You know who seems pretty happy and well-balanced? My nephew. He's being homeschooled.

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  • Invisible Finger||

    professional educators are trying to turn our kids into socially stunted weirdos.

    So they want to turn them into teachers.

  • Outlaw||

    The government is going to have to buy some burn cream for the teachers after that wicked burn.

  • ||

    Or there's always law enforcement.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    This article needs a somber violin solo as a soundtrack

  • Restoras||

    As long as they don't grow up to be cowboys.

  • Brett L||

    But I like little warm puppies and children and ladies of the night.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Now, when we complain to teachers and administrators...

    The pansification of America continues unabated.

  • AlmightyJB||

    This is what happens when you let them out of mines.

  • Rusty 5hackleford||

    Oh, those poor high school kids! They have to take tests, study late, and are not able to go surfing? The horror! It not like LIFE has these challanges.

    Perhaps a Welfare line would be more suiting for these youths.

  • Peter Bagge||

    Few adults bring home 3 hours of extra work every night. Plus these are kids, who aren't earning a living.

    Most of the homework these days is little more than busy work, too. The goal is to fill up lots of pieces of paper with lots of words and numbers. It simply LOOKS productive, like digging a hole and filling it back up again. There's no context. It's all meaningless, but both the teachers and the students can all claim that they're "working hard" regardless.

    And please don't tell me you had to study 3 hours a night when you were a kid. A lot of the parents at my daughter's school made that claim. I'm their age, I was there, and I know that's a lie.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Most of the homework these days is little more than busy work, too.

    That is the worst part. It wasn't so bad in my schools but I would rather have a few difficult multi-component problems to test a wide range that an avalanche of twaddle.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Busy-work homework is a lot easier to grade. What, you think teachers want to do 3 hours of work after school every day?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And please don't tell me you had to study 3 hours a night when you were a kid ... and I know that's a lie.

    How do you know if he's Asian or not?

  • tarran||

    *I* had three hours a night of homework easy in first and second grades. Of course that was in Turkey.

    Third grade, in the U.S., I would finish my homework about 25 minutes after I got off the school bus, and my brother and I would be off to go sledding or tormenting each other.

  • Overt||

    Few adults work only 6.5 hours a day, too.

    FWIW, the adults in our family work on average about 60 hours a week each. So ~9 - 10 hrs a day of work is not unprecedented. It's not that I condone the amount of homework kids get, or the shitty return on their work, given the level of education. I'm just saying that they aren't working much harder than most of the successful adults I know.

  • Les||

    Mr. Bagge provided a much more fact-based and mature response than your post deserved. To balance it out:

    Suggesting that the welfare line is suitable for kids who complain about being forced to study for hours many subjects which have no meaning to them and never, ever will, while ignoring completely the studies cited, indicates a profound lack of critical thinking on your part, along with a creepy affection for authoritarianism.

    Unless, of course, you just posted the first stupid thing that came into your head. In which case, never mind. Stupid things pop into my head all the time, but I've learned not to immediately post them on the internet.

  • tarran||

    My son's one sentence summary of the administrative staff at his school:

    "A lot of them are really stupid, or they're suffering from really weird emotional problems."

    He respects most of his teachers, though, which is good.

  • Paul.||

    or they're suffering from really weird emotional problems."

    I like this son of yours.

  • prolefeed||

    He needs to learn about Venn diagrams, though. A lot of overlap between stupid and weird for school admin staff.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm with the shirt. Homework rots.

  • H. Protagonist||

    My 4-year-old daughter is going to a private transitional-kindergarten (pre-K) in a heavily Asian suburb of Los Angeles. There were parents who were freaking out that there was no homework for the first three months of "school." For (at that time) 3- and 4-year old kids.

    I mean, I have to talk Mrs. Protagonist off the "Tiger Mom" ledge from time-to-time, but some of the other parents are just nuts.

  • BigT||

    I'm turning Japanese
    I think I'm turning Japanese
    I really think so
    Turning Japanese
    I think I'm turning Japanese
    I really think so
    I'm turning Japanese
    I think I'm turning Japanese
    I really think so
    Turning Japanese
    I think I'm turning Japanese
    I really think so

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gEmJ-VWPDM4

  • Paul.||

    Despite the variety of public, private, and charter schools near me, all of the parents I know complain that their kids have too much damned homework.

    *raises hand*

    I'm not really sure what loads of homework does for kids, except prepare them for a world where they're going to have to work 70 hours a week?

    Now, I will say something about my fellow parents-- a lot of them are probably increasingly making this complaint because they involve their kids in a shit ton of extracurricular activities that simply weren't available when I was a kid.

    My niece and nephew are locked into both soccer, basketball almost every weekend. Often times both on the same day. Then there are piano lessons, and for my niece, 4h and theater in addition to the aforementioned. Honestly, I don't see how either of them get any damned homework done. So to cope with the homework load, my daughter is limited on her organized activities after school.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I do not understand why kids younger than 12 should have any extra-curricular activities at all. If they must do something, just make sure it isn't team sports.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    WTF? Yeah, because team sports are so horrible.

    Does every nerd have to turn their nerdom up to 11 instead of being a well-adjusted individual?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Was I supposed to have fun or get anything out of soccer or, worse, hockey? "Oh great I have to wake up at 7 am for this bullshit again. Lets get this over with."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's good to be pushed a little bit. Team sports are fun and character-building.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They're boring and 'character-building' is a meaningless buzzword. There is no such thing as character.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I can see that *you* don't know what character is, that's true.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I will perhaps give team sports the positive of bequeathing me some degree of misanthropy, which is an essential trait of libertarians and there is generally not enough of it.

  • Mercutio||

    It's good to be pushed a little bit. Team sports are fun and character-building.

    Are you Calvin's dad by chance?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Addendum: lacrosse was even worse, if that's possible. I tried to blot lacrosse out of my mind. Another addendum: gym/PE has no place in a school whatsoever..

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If you make the question-begging assumption that school is solely about mental pursuits. But it's not.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It SHOULD be about mental pursuits, in entirety. There should be no time devoted to anything else.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Why?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Because that's what school is for. Other stuff can be done outside of school, perhaps on the Xbox.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Like I said, question-begging. "School should be all about mental pursuits, because that's the definition of school". All you're doing is arguing in circles.

  • Cytotoxic||

    PE is a distraction and a waste of time and resources. Budget problems? I know where to cut! What possible benefit are kids going to get out of this? If they want to be anemic and fat then they're going to be anyway.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    PE is a distraction and a waste of time and resources.

    more question begging. I could say the same of higher-level math, because very few people in this world use Calculus day to day. They do use their bodies, however. Or how about Senior English? Similarly useless.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It is like using a shovel to comb your hair when you could be digging with it.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Er...what?

  • BigT||

    It is like using a shovel to comb your hair when you could be digging with it.

    Great idea! Make the little buggers do some useful work to calm them down. They'd damned will appreciate being in the classroom then!

    I think they could fill sandbags to be used in the next local flood. Or maybe the older ones could disassemble old cars for parts. What a learning experience!!

  • ||

    Or, you know, as a parent, you could figure out what you do and don't want your kid to be doing at school, then pay the school to provide the services you want, same as you might for say, your building contractor.

    Some kids aren't going to get anything out of PE or extracurriculars or team sports, and some will. The kids and the parents can figure that out. Stamping out little clones in the mold of whatever some assholes says is what children should look like shouldn't be the job of the school. Doesn't matter if the asshole handing down the directives is Neoliberal Kochtopus or Cytotoxic. Neither one of you is right about parenting or education, because there isn't a singular method in either area that's "correct" while others are "wrong".

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    How about exercise & coordination so the kid doesn't turn into a fat slob.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not the job of school.

  • Robert||

    I think swimming & some of the martial arts (boxing, judo) could be more useful than some school subjects.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Er I see you responded to a different post.

    I'm an incoordinate weakling with no tolerance of physical labor, so it was a waste of time.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    Well, we all have a sport or activity we excel at. I was better then average at hockey, but really sucked at basketball, tennis, baseball, etc...

    As a parent I think it is important to get your kid to exercise, but also not to force them to do things they hate.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    This one burns hot!

  • Cytotoxic||

    I AM ON FIRE

  • Brandon||

    Cyto is still mad that he was always picked last.

  • R C Dean||

    Does every nerd have to turn their nerdom up to 11 instead of being a well-adjusted individual?

    Not sure that spending your recreational time being closely supervised in an organized setting is going to turn you into a well-adjusted person, myself.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That's equally applicable to school.

  • ||

    That whooshing sound is the point flying over your head.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Soccer, basketball, piano lessons, 4h, and theater simply weren't available in the 70's? Shit, my parents so "no" to most of those because they couldn't AFFORD all of them. But they were all available.

    Your point is taken, of course. Seems like parents are scared shitless their kid might be bored for a couple of hours a week and have to come up with their own ideas to occupy time - which is probably a more important skill than all the other activities.

  • Cytotoxic||

    THIS. If you are frustrated by the monetary and time expense of having your kids do everything all the time then DO FUCKING LESS.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    This I agree with.

  • BigT||

    If you are frustrated by the monetary and time expense of having your kids do everything all the time then DO FUCKING LESS.

    But how will they fill up their resume so they can get into Harvard...or at least Rice ... or maybe the retards could go to Duke. And they might miss the opportunity to go $150k in debt for the privilege. What a hard heart you have!

  • Paul.||

    Soccer, basketball, piano lessons, 4h, and theater simply weren't available in the 70's? Shit, my parents so "no" to most of those because they couldn't AFFORD all of them. But they were all available.

    You know it's funny, yeah, all of those things were available. I just don't remember any of my friends involved in all of them. Yeah, I had a friend here and there involved in 4h, a couple played basketball etc., but it seemed like you picked AN afterschool activity and then that was your thing. I play basketball. I'm involved in 4h. I have piano lessons.

    I'd be curious to get anyone else's thoughts on growing up in the 70s as well. Maybe my experience is unusual?

  • Brandon||

    80's, we had soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring, but most of our after school time was spent playing with whoever happened to live nearby and was within 2 or 3 years of our age.

  • R C Dean||

    In the '70s and '80s, that was pretty much my experience, too, only with less soccer and more football.

    As a grade schooler through middle school? No such thing as "organized sports" outside of Little League and Pee Wee Football.

  • Brett L||

    "Go outside, stay outside, don't go farther than the sound of my voice."
    -- Papa L to me, pretty much every weekend from 5-12 or so. My parents worked. A lot. So I was pretty much never home before dinner on the weekdays.

  • Paul.||

    "Go outside, stay outside, don't go farther than the sound of my voice."

    Huh, for me it was "Go outside, stay outside, and I don't want to hear your voice..."

    So I'd ride my bike to the outer county.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Pretty much what we did in the '90s as well. Except replace soccer with football (after the 6th grade, anyway).

  • SIV||

    Competitive swimming,boy scouts,non-credit "enrichment classes" at a local college(everybody else was an adult), summer rec programs...

    What I didn't have was a rigid schedule of multiple activities or something with mandatory attendance. If I got sick of it I could quit.

  • Paul.||

    Two hours of homework is at the high end of what high school students should be doing every day, the researchers report.

    Two hours. Let's see, Paul. picks his daughter up no earlier than 5:30, often 6:00. Paul is a single father, so Paul has to make dinner and do all the domestic things a parent has to do. If Paul.'s daughter starts her homework the dead instant she gets home, it's going to be 8pm before she's done. I usually give her a break and a snack when she gets home to help her decompress. That pushes the homework start time to 6-630. At some point we have to stop to eat dinner. Consumption of food takes around 30 minutes. With 2 hours that pushes her end time up to as late as 830-900-- assuming we don't have to make any stops on the way home, or there are no extracurriculars in the mix like evening soccer practice, swim lessons or even a damn stop at the grocery store.

    Fuck two hours of homework a night. Two hours sometimes I have no problem with. Two hours a night starts to stress me out.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The more I think about it the more I like your point. I mean, *sometimes* I take work home say, once or twice a week, and sometimes I work on the weekends, but two hours every single night? I'd quit that job in a second.

  • Paul.||

    Exactly. Sometimes i work more than 40 hours a week. Sometimes I work a lot more than 40 a week. But if I regularly worked well over 40 a week... yeah.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You pick her up at 5:30? Has school been out for a couple hours? Can she do the homework then?

  • Paul.||

    Kind of, sometimes, see my response to CampingInYourPark below.

  • Brandon||

    It takes a long time to draw a hundred squares and decide if a math problem is "reasonable."

  • R C Dean||

    Let's see, Paul. picks his daughter up no earlier than 5:30, often 6:00.

    Since classes are done by 3 - 3:30, she should have her homework wrapped up by then, no?

    Oh, she's busy doing extra-curriculars, you say?

    Well, then I would blame the extra-curriculars for eating up her home time.

  • Paul.||

    See my post to CampinginYourPark below. No, she's very limited on extracurriculars. So she can get her homework done.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Let's see, Paul. picks his daughter up no earlier than 5:30, often 6:00

    But school is out at 3:00. Good time to do...I don't know, a little homework?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Of course, that assumes this level of homework is a good idea. It's not.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    As opposed to assuming the level of homework is a bad idea. A school day is filled with all kinds of bullshit that doesn't involve learning anything and it isn't like your "work". 2 hours of homework isn't soul crushing.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    And? It also happens that children are...children. I don't let them drive a car, you know.

  • Paul.||

    It's not soul crushing, it's just mildly annoying.

  • Les||

    Speak for your own soul. Lots and lots of kids learn to hate reading, writing, science, and/or history because of homework.

    You're right, the school day is filled with all kinds of bullshit. That bullshit time could be used for whatever useless, soon forgotten exercises they have for homework.

    There is no rational basis for the way school work is structured. Especially as it's supposed to be a "one size fits all" structure.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    There's always opportunity costs. Some kids should be doing something besides intensive science, math, or English homework. It is a bit soul crushing when there other more interesting, creative, or productive things a kid could be doing, but instead they're completing bullshit assignments. Now, if their other thing is playing GTA and smoking weed, well, no.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You're right, the school day is filled with all kinds of bullshit. That bullshit time could be used for whatever useless, soon forgotten exercises they have for homework.

    Bingo. I can see math and science courses requiring some more extensive work beyond the classroom to get the concepts down through repetition.

    But English and history? Foreign languages? No fucking way. Unless it's an AP course, I'd say no more than 15-20 minutes, max--and that's just because for an AP course you need to be able to write a well-supported five-paragraph essay in 50 minutes or less.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Foreign languages? No fucking way.

    45 minutes a day of a foreign language is not enough at any level. Sorry, but thems the breaks. In fact, acquisition of a second language is one of the academic disciplines where research has shown regular, repetitive practice is necessary.

  • Les||

    Which is why language classes (and most others) should be voluntary.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    In fact, acquisition of a second language is one of the academic disciplines where research has shown regular, repetitive practice is necessary.

    If they love it that much, they can always take it in college and pay for it--or better yet, get a job. My best friend absorbed more Spanish during a year of working in a kitchen than he ever did in high school.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Depends on a LOT of things, like the goals, the age the second language begins, etc. The goals of most 101-level courses is simply "understanding". If you are getting into 202 and 301-level courses, then you are essentially asking for fluency-level which is a tougher level of study.

    (Which is also why GPA is a stupid measure as not all classes require the same level of intensity.)

  • ||

    A school day is filled with all kinds of bullshit that doesn't involve learning anything

    Maybe that's the problem

  • Invisible Finger||

    In high school I learned that there was SO MUCH bullshit throughout the day that I did the prior classes' homework assignment in the next class period; the teacher in nearly every class was merely wasting time so all I paid attention to was what the homework assignment was (the last minutes of class basically) and proceeded to do it in the next class. This had the added benefit of making me appear to be paying attention and writing notes. If the teacher ever got up and walked around the desks during the lecture I'd be found out but most of them were so egotistical they thought what they spewed was so golden they had to write gobs of it on the chalkboard for emphasis. Add in the fact that I wasn't disruptive and getting A's so they didn't care what I did.

  • Paul.||

    Yes, she does have a study period between that and her after school program. She gets some homework done which mercifully keeps it down to two hours.

    However, I'm not super-impressed with the study group, because there are noises and distractions there which I think interfere with solid homework attention.

    Luckily, she's getting about old enough where I'm negotiating with her mother to get her out of the after-school programs, and just let her go home to a quiet place until I get home.

    Tough decision though.

  • Winston||

    Serious question: Has the amount of homework gone up in the past few decades? and How does it correlate to the quality of education?

  • Paul.||

    I wonder that myself, and unfortunately I can't use my own experience as a gauge. I was a pretty terrible student that often shunned homework but tested extremely well which kept my grades 'passable'.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Has the amount of homework gone up in the past few decades?

    Yes it has. The standards-based education reform movement has pushed for more academic rigor, including more homework, for quite some time now.

    How does it correlate to the quality of education?

    Russell up some grant money, and I'd be happy to find out the answer for you.

  • Brandon||

    academic rigor has also changed meaning.

  • BigT||

    academic rigor mortis

    You forgot his last name.

  • jdtuccille||

    "a 2004 University of Michigan survey of 2,900 six- to seventeen-year-old children found that time spent each week on homework had increased from 2 hours 38 minutes to 3 hours 58 minutes since 1981"
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/.....07/?no-ist

    There's growing evidence that benefits of homework plateau beyond a certain point.
    http://www.ernweb.com/educatio.....hievement/

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    From the second link:

    To develop students’ sense of mastery and self-efficacy, teachers should assign homework on material that has been adequately covered in class and should differentiate homework based on students’ ability levels. Teachers should be careful to progress at a reasonable pace from easier to more difficult tasks, verifying that students can solve problems before giving them assignments.

    Which I want to point out is exactly how Khan Academy works. One reason I am a fan.

  • Paul.||

    Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnn!

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Who knew Kirk was in a teacher's union?

  • R C Dean||

    So, the study calls out 4 hours a week, not ten hours or more a week.

  • Paul.||

    Good catch, mr. college-prep preschool. My daughter could do 4hours a week standing on her head.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    There's growing evidence that benefits of homework plateau beyond a certain point.

    Of course it does. Most people probably suffer a decrease in marginal productivity from overwork. You've got to do whatever your thing is to de-stress.

    Unless your thing is work, in which case keep plugging along.

  • Les||

    That's a hard question because "quality of education" is a mostly subjective concept.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    "quality of education" is a mostly subjective concept.

    Heh. Tell that to the "accountability" fetishists.

  • Les||

    Oh, yeah, it's an impossible sell.

    It seems to me that student/parent satisfaction is the most important (though not the only) metric for judging the quality of an education.

    But I've had lots of folks tell me that student satisfaction is irrelevant.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But I've had lots of folks tell me that student satisfaction is irrelevant.

    There is also a cultural element to it. I mean, you've had so many thousands of years of Chinese culture enforcing the view that a student should "eat bitter, taste sweet" and so on.

  • Brian||

    Homework: because we can't teach your kids in school.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    If I had had 2 hours of homework everynight growing up. I never would have had time to get a part time job. I think I learned a lot more working part time during high school than I did attending high school.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Exactly so. Kids need to go to *work* as soon as possible.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    This is why I would argue homework is bullshit.

    Kids spend all day learning things they don't give a shit about. If we want them to have any sense of interest and finding a passion, maybe they should have some time to explore and do things they like and find interesting*.

    *And no, this does not include doing sports. Unless of course, they want to.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I must be some kind of horrible having my daughter do an hour of Singapore Math after a full school day, in addition to whatever homework she brings back.

    Funny thing is that she enjoys it, though.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I homeschooled my sons through middle school. We used Singapore and loved it. Great program and incredibly simple to use.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    And, yes, you are a horrible human being, but that has nothing to do with forcing Singapore math on your offspring.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fair enough. Was it my advocacy for the bronze bull or slow-slicing that clued you into that?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Slow-slicing is the cherry on top of the sundae. You are evil.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Well, assuming she really does enjoy it then there is no force and HM is helping his daughter with what interests her.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    She does enjoy it. I think that's because she's a visual thinker and the way Singapore presents the concepts plays well into that. She's always had an interest in math and science, so I decided to strike while the anvil was hot.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Singapore math?

    "Jim spray-painted three cars and spat on the sidewalk four times. If the penalty for first-offense vandalism is to be caned five times, with a three-caning enhancer for each subsequent offense, and if spitting on the sidewalk earns five canings for a first offense with a two-caning enhancer for each subsequent offense, and if offenders with four convictions get ten extra canings for each subsequent conviction, how many canings does Jim get in all?"

  • ||

    Okay, well done. 10/10

  • BakedPenguin||

    Then it's not work.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I've never worked a day in my life then. :)

  • ||

    Well thankfully your kid's experience can easily scale to every kid, ever, anywhere.

    Why is that everybody thinks their kid is a special little fucking snowflake, but at the same time thinks that whatever methods work for them must therefore work for everybody?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    We do five hours of (8th/9th grade) school a day max, including homework, research papers, current events, or whatever random assignment is on the agenda. Usually, it's more like four.

    Those schools must get absolutely fuck-all done during the day if it takes three hours of homework to have some kind of progression, such as it is.

  • Rich||

    56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data.

    Serious question: What percentages of the students considered primary sources of stress to be things like not having the latest videogame or not being allowed to go to a Miley Cyrus concert?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    can they get off your lawn too, grampa? Maybe you can change your handle to "kids these days"?

  • Rich||

    I can see what one of *your* primary stressors is! ;-)

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I'd say 2-3 hours of homework for the kids on the honors or AP track is the norm around here, and many of them have sports after school. I'm currently sitting at my kitchen island waiting for my youngest to come inside from a bike ride. He's got to finish a thesis paper tonight and prepare for exam week which begins next week. One of the benefits of being or having a housewife is the flexibility to support your kid when they're stressed out. Stating the obvious, it makes life easier. I recommend getting a housewife if you don't already have one.

  • Paul.||

    Stating the obvious, it makes life easier. I recommend getting a housewife if you don't already have one.

    Link to the order form?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    It's in Russian. That okay?

  • Paul.||

    At least it's not in British English. That's fine.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Great, now I have Russian homework too. Thanks mom.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even that's ridiculous. In 1995, I started college with 34 credits from AP classes and I only had had an hour or so of homework per night in highschool. Occasionally there would be more if a big project was due, but not on average.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Greater stress

    This isn't unreasonable, up to a point. School is supposed to have a certain degree of stress. If tests aren't going to challenge you, then they might as well hand you the diploma first day of freshman year.

    With that said, there's no reason to saddle kids with more than 3 hrs of homework a night, total, and I'd argue for no more than 2 hours. I remember staying up until 1 or 2 am doing homework after coming home from a work shift, and it didn't make me any better of a student. Too many teachers assign homework assuming that's the only thing you'll be working on that night.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    To be fair to the teachers, though, it's a vicious cycle we're in. The best way to ensure you don't wind up with a massive debt load is to do all of that curricular and extracurricular BS. Have good grades, test well, be "involved", etc. College costs are so out-of-control that no PT high-school job can hope to offset the cost.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    My alma mater is actually doing a program where students can take concurrent classes at the nearby community college starting their freshman year. Some of these kids are graduating high school with 2 years of the BS general studies courses already out of the way, which is a HUGE savings.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Yep. In Jersey it's called dual enrollment and most districts offer it. FYI, our community colleges allow homeschoolers to enroll at 15 if they take either the SAT with a 520 math and 520 English score or pass the placement exam without placing into any remedial courses. The courses are for credit.

  • BigT||

    A 520 is only a bit above average.

    I'm not sure if that is a slap at the HS or the comm college. Maybe both.

  • Invisible Finger||

    To be fair to the teachers

    Sorry, but the teachers don't deserve any fairness. Pedagoguery is mostly just following fads and if they couldn't figure that out in college they deserve the vicious cycle for which they signed up.

    The best way to ensure you don't wind up with a massive debt load is to do all of that curricular and extracurricular BS.

    No, the best way to avoid massive debt is to not borrow. Perhaps taking a job at McDonald's 3 nights a week is a better use of one's time than piano lessons and dance class - you learn job skills AND get paid for it. Whereas piano lessons and dance class COST money.

    The greatest skill children are seemingly kept AWAY from these days is making choices. My old man told me if I wanted to play little league baseball I had to do chores around the house. (Only fair - every minute my mom and dad spent carting me around to practice and games were minutes they couldn't do chores around the house.) By learning how to make choices, I learned not to go into debt.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I don't see why kids should have homework at all beyond hammering RR'R. Even with AP classes, a year of classroom teaching should be enough for a one semester college class.

  • Paul.||

    I admit that my views on the subject are biased, in that I have an affection for that uniquely American childhood of old (American Exceptionalism!!1!!), long, lazy summer days and evenings filled with freedom to dream, hanging out with friends, swimming at the lake without supervision, riding your bike in the rain, barefoot-- and then somehow going to work in some industry where they built fantastic machines when they hit adulthood.

    I mean, you talk to the old-timer rocket scientists that put a MAN ON THE MOON, and they'll often describe an idyllic childhood of dreaming with lots of free time, playing with model rockets or taking apart Grandpas alarm clock-- for fun. The picture of a kid going to college-prep preschool grinding away at hours of homework a night isn't the image that comes to mind.

    I could be living in fantasy land.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The picture of a kid going to college-prep preschool grinding away at hours of homework a night isn't the image that comes to mind.

    buh...but we need to surpass Shanghai!

    The author of the linked book is one of the major architects of Common Core, btw, which I recommend reading as to understand the mentality behind those who advocate it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I can understand the mentality just from this:

    Marc S. Tucker is president of the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, DC.

    In other words, a fucking bureaucrat.

  • Homple||

    In the days you describe I had a Gilbert chemistry set with which I had much fun and learned a lot.

    Today, they'd send a hazmat team to remove it and SWAT team to arrest my parents as terrorists and haul me off to child protection services.

    Effing nanny state has spoiled a lot of good stuff.

  • Paul.||

    Today, they'd send a hazmat team to remove it and SWAT team to arrest my parents as terrorists and haul me off to child protection services.

    I learned a LOT about explosives as an adolescent.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I have a bunch of examples like this: Half of my high school chemistry class went to an advanced elementary school where they had memorized the entire periodic table and learned some basic chemistry. I remember them bragging about how far ahead they were at the beginning of the year. Some of them remembered some of the periodic table, so there was a slight advantage for ... about a week, maybe two in some cases. This is what years spending 3 hours a night pounding facts and concepts beyond their mental age got them.

  • Malkavian||

    Meh. I became anti-Communist because of the homework. Growing up in the USSR, i never joined any Communist Youth type organizations (or Communist organizations/parties of any sort) because as part of their activities, they'd do those educational study groups that would pressure you to do a lot of shit i thought was worthless.

    How did i get out of huge amount homework? In classrooms, we had those desks for two people, so you could work together on assignments. My partner happened to be a quite pretty girl, so i used to trade my seat next to her to my classmates who would do my homework for me. Good times. Free exchange and division of labor - first ideas i'll teach my kids. My scheme was not popular with the teachers though.

  • Acosmist||

    Heavy homework loads are designed to reward grinds rather than gifted people. I don't mean that it happens to work out that way; I mean that is the entire point, and it works out great. Teachers hate smart kids, but dull grinds? They're awesome.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    As Yes, Minister noted, when you can't measure actual outputs, activity becomes a substitute for accomplishment.

    Schools give a lot of homework so that parents see how hard their kids are being made to work and assume they must be learning an awful lot.

  • ace_m82||

    My "teacher" (mother) banned homework in our school/house. Of course, I had every incentive to get my work done as quickly as possible, because when I was done, I was done. So I rarely had school after 1 in the afternoon and usually got done in early May. Funny how incentives work, right?

    After 4 years in the military (a mistake), I got out during Summer 2008... and went to College so I could eat because finding a job wasn't going to happen. If the other people knew how little I actually worked in order to get a Summa Cum Laude degree in Economics, they'd be really mad. Again, funny how incentives work, right?

  • SIV||

    I'm adamantly opposed to schooling so that includes homework.

  • Winston||

    I'm wondering what you mean by that. Homeschooling? Unschooling? Working in the monocle polishing factory? ;)

  • SIV||

    Un-schooling, de-schooling, any voluntary alternative to education.

    I'm all for learning and the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

  • Robert||

    Are we talking 3 hrs. of written homework here, or just 3 hrs. total of that and reading or other study? The latter might be reasonable, but the former would be ridiculous. How could a teacher even grade that much written homework meaningfully?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Grading multiple choice shit from the end of the chapter in the textbook takes seconds per student.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I had an English teacher that simply looked for buzzwords in the essays. The sentences didn't even have to be coherent.

  • Richard Rider||

    It's not our education Establishment "we" need to convince that homework is bad. It the OTHER countries that we need to convince.

    Otherwise they'll have our lunch. Or have us FOR lunch. Whatever.

  • Richard Rider||

    Wait until the teacher unions figure out that they can get homework banned "for the children." The teachers could save HOURS every week of grading (or pretending to grade) the homework. More leisure time for educators to work on sycophant candidates' campaigns!

    One thing you can count on -- if we dramatically cut the workload of our teachers, that won't result in their pay being reduced a dime. Such was the case when teachers handling 30 student classes were (by law) limited to 20 students. Even though their workload dropped by a third (okay a bit unfair because of economy of scale), teacher pay stayed the same (well, kept going up).

  • Paul E.||

    Do homeschooled kids have homework?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Mine do.

    It's work they are expected to do without supervision or instruction, though they can ask for help or clarification.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Homework is essentially a teacher's tacit admission that they have failed to educate their students in the allotted time.

  • catmatmc||

    I may or may not have some awesome tales to tell, but I need to look up some statutes of limitations first.

  • Reverend Draco||

    Ahh. . . homework - a sure sign that your child has a lazyass, incompetent teacher.
    As an adult, I've never had "homework." When I clock out and go home, I leave my work. . . at work!

    I had a lot of trouble with homework, especially in Jr. High. . . I would take a test, and the teachers would say, "That's the highest score anyone has ever gotten (or the highest in 15 years), why aren't your grades better?"
    "I don't know, you tell me."
    "Well, homework is 70% of your grade, and you don't do your homework."
    "That's fucking stupid - I've proven I know what's what, you just explained my test scores - why should I be penalized for not slogging through stuff I learned on my own 4 years ago?"
    "Everyone has to go at the same speed."
    "I'm sorry, I can't do that - I'm already 4-to-6 years ahead, I can't go backward."
    And so, repeating 7th grade was my reward for being ahead of the curve.

    Teachers really don't like it when their Jr. High students are smarter and better educated than they are. . .

  • judeoconnor@mac.com||

    My average was about 70 through High school; I found out in the Navy after failing in their radar school, that I was studying wrong. A Naval Officer squared me away in 20 minutes. After that honor marks for the rest of my life and into MENSA. If your child is having a tough time investigate the teaching methods.

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