What Teenagers Should Do When They Have Too Much Homework
After a Race to Nowhere screening in Brooklyn, NY, the other night, the first panelist, a 16-year-old 11th grader, was asked whether the movie resonated with him. He said it did and then he began to describe the hours of homework that awaited him when he got home from the screening. He said he was going to go through the motions, that he wouldn’t learn anything from it, that most of his peers would cheat on it, that he wouldn’t get any feedback on it, but that, because homework compliance was a percentage of his grade, he’d do it. So, of course, the moderator then asked me, “what should he do about it”–probably my most favorite question of all. Here’s my short answer (the long answer can be found in the book I co-authored, The Case Against Homework): Because he is a high schooler, he should do what people of my generation did – protest! He should get together with other students and start a school-wide dialogue on homework. Get the teachers and administrators to really look at how much work they’re assigning and how long it takes. Show them the quality of it. Tell them exactly how much time he and his fellow students are spending on their schoolwork. Tell them what is sacrificed when they spend that much time on homework (sleep/involvement in afterschool activities they love/sitting down to dinner with their families, etc). Next: What to do if your child is in elementary school.