|Wednesday, March 5th, 2008||Emily Halevy | CWK Producer|
“Personally, when I have homework in class, I dread going to class that day. One, to turn in the homework, and two, to review the homework.”
– Paige, 16
It’s a familiar refrain from kids: there’s too much homework, too much reading, too many math problems to solve! But is homework really out of control?
Kate, 16, averages 2 ½ hours of homework a night -- sometimes even more.
“I’d say the most -- maybe three or four hours. It’s definitely on overload,” says Kate.
Are kids overloaded? According to a new survey commissioned by MetLife Insurance, the answer depends on whom you ask. The survey shows that 85 percent of parents say their kids are doing the “right amount” or “too little” homework each night. But 90 percent of kids say they’re stressed out about homework.
“It’s a little hard because I do sports and so it’s kind of hard to balance all of that,” says Jasmyn, 15.
“Personally, when I have homework in class, I dread going to class that day. One, to turn in the homework and two, to review the homework. If I listen in class and take good notes, I usually do well on tests and quizzes, so I don’t think [homework] is reinforcement. If anything, it just makes me kind of dread going to that class,” says Paige, 16.
“It makes me hate school,” says Matt, 16.
“If kids see it as something that is pointless, tedious and even anxiety-producing, of course it’s not going to benefit them,” says Alfie Kohn, education speaker and author of 11 books, including What to Look for in a Classroom.
Some experts say the problem isn’t too much homework -- it’s homework that is too difficult.
“Homework can be overload if the child is simply frustrated. It isn’t that they have too much homework, it’s that they have homework they don’t understand that’s taking them too long to do because of that,” says Frank Pajares, Ph. D.
“You can’t have … a child achieving well academically who is highly anxious. If homework is bringing that, then I think homework is defeating the ultimate purpose, which is for the child to be achieving well,” says Jennifer Obidah, Ph.D., psychologist.
Kate has one good thing to say about homework: it teaches her how to manage her time, which will come in handy in college.
“It kind of prepares you for when you’re not going to have parents sitting there saying, ‘Okay, you need to get going with your math or get going with your history homework.’ It pays off,” says Kate.