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Can We Just Stop With The Homework Already?

“There’s never a break. Never.”

It “takes me away from everything I used to do,” says one.

(High School student comments on a Stanford study about homework)

I look forward to the day when the homework debate is no longer a debate. Ask any high school student or parent about homework and I’m sure you’ll hear comments about:

  • Increased stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Fear of falling behind
  • Not meaningful
  • Too hard/easy
  • Less time for fun
  • “Busy” work
  • Piled on by all the teachers
  • No breaks, even on weekends, holidays, vacations

My high school daughter was recently sick with that gnarly virus going around. For a week, it hurt for her to lift her head. She didn’t want to eat or drink anything. She was feverish. Finally, after a trip to Urgent Care and some intravenous fluids, she started to rebound. But then reality set in – a week of assignments to make up. Plus all the homework that would come from the normal week of being back to school. And the anxiety meltdown began.

A big one!

This is not okay.

On a 2015 study by the Princeton Review, over 50% of high school students reported feeling stressed. 25% said homework was their biggest source of stress, and on average students spend one-third of their study time feeling stressed or anxious. What a horrible way to spend their time!

What if we asked ourselves how much time we want to be mandated to do someone else’s work every night? (Not work we choose to do, like grade papers or write a blog post…work someone else decides we MUST do.) And then that is the amount of work we assign to students.

Seriously, we all need and deserve balance. Time to unwind. Time to explore our passions. Time to enjoy our families.  Time to just be.

But if you must assign homework, consider this Spring Break homework approach from my teacher friend Toni Stout:

Homework Message

For more posts on this subject:

Holidays Are For Families, Not Homework

Finals = Lots of Homework = Stress = Sickness = Death, therefore Finals are Death

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4 Comments

  • LMGirolamo

    Yes Laura! I have been on the ‘No Homework’ bandwagon for some time now and every time I hear a story like your daughter’s I’m confirmed that homework is such an outdated tradition that desperately needs rethinking. In the classroom we are more comfortable differentiating and personalizing instruction yet have we adjusted our thinking about homework? Thanks for keeping the debate fresh…it’s sad that as parents it’s always in our lives to deal with.

  • Toni Stout

    Saturday…not just any Saturday…the first Saturday of Spring Break. My daughter’s friend arrived at 9:00 this morning in her pajamas and unloaded her backpack. The two of them have been working on homework all morning and afternoon, trying to get as much done now as possible in order to actually enjoy their Spring Break. Pathetic. They should have been sleeping in, enjoying their first day of vacation. I respect and admire their plan. It just sucks that this is the kind of plan they are forced to make!

    • laurakspencer

      I hear ya, Toni! Glad they’re getting it done early, but definitely not a fun way to spend any vacation time!

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