The Great Homework Debate: How Much Is Too Much?

As a former educator and parent of high school and college students, our family has seen its share of homework, class projects, and studying for tests.

Naturally, our kids have complained over the years, especially when studying for final exams and working on school projects.

Still, they have gained knowledge and immense personal satisfaction from completing stellar school projects and doing well on semester exams. My husband and I have always felt the homework our kids have had over the years has been purposeful, reasonable, and manageable, except for one year.

When our son started sixth grade, other parents warned us about the increase in homework for junior high students. I didn’t think our son would have difficulty with an increased workload as he had always been a top student.

However, my optimism was dashed when we were up until 11:30 one night with additional homework still left undone.

This was not laziness on my son’s part but a lack of communication among his teachers and school policy dictating that junior high students receive grades on 11 subjects.

I emailed his teachers and the principal to voice my concerns over the amount of homework my 11-year-old had. At the time, I described the situation as “mind-numbing and spirit-crushing homework.” Apparently, other parents had sent similar emails, and the excessive homework situation was addressed and remedied.

Interestingly enough, for all the emphasis on homework in junior high, now that our son is in high school, his homework load is less. Understandably, the role of homework in elementary school serves to prepare students for high school just as high school homework prepares students for college.

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