How long is your child’s banning homework in schools? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules?
With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p. How much after-school time should our schools really own?
I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living. The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. My spirit crumbled along with his. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.
Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning. Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell.
Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children. Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife.