Last week, our Kindergartener came home with 7 pages of 'homework'. And after a long day at school, church activities, time memorizing scripture for our Awana program…it took him over an hour to do his 'homework'. We were all worn out.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed our high schoolers already complaining about how busy things were for them, and I was lamenting to some parents, "Maybe I just slacked off in high school, but I don't remember having this much homework so close to the beginning of school…"
It was only 2 weeks into the new school year and our students were already groaning about how they couldn't come to small groups, or band practice, or …whatever….because they were swamped with homework. (And, granted, I did slack in high school. But that's a story for another time.)
But it's not just my perception. According to a 2004 national survey of 2,900 American children conducted by the University of Michigan, the amount of time spent on homework is up 51% since 1981.
51%. Are you kidding me?
And that's not even the worse part. It goes down hill from there. Most of that increase reflects bigger loads for little kids. An academic study found that whereas students ages 6 to 8 did an average of 52 min. of homework a week in 1981, they were toiling 128 min. weekly by 1997. And that's before No Child Left Behind kicked in. An admittedly less scientific poll of parents conducted this year for AOL and the Associated Press found that elementary school students were averaging 78 min. a night.
Geez. Ready for more bad news?
Too much homework brings diminishing returns. Cooper's analysis of dozens of studies found that kids who do some homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but doing more than 60 to 90 min. a night in middle school and more than 2 hr. in high school is associated with, gulp, lower scores.
Where's Ferris when you need him?