Homework Hassles

I really wanted to have a root canal last night. I opted instead to watch the Board of Education meeting on Channel 78.

The first topic was homework. Several parents have raised concerns about the amount given in town.

I don’t know about the elementary and middle schools. I do know that at Staples — the number one public school in the state, a distinction hardly achievable by magic — homework does not consist of filling out worksheets and copying Spark Notes.

In 2009 homework includes online discussion threads, group collaboration and innovative research. The walls — literal and figurative — between classrooms and the real world have crumbled.  Students’ work habits mirror the real world, including the work world they will soon join.

I will not bore you with the board’s back-and-forth about homework, much of which could serve as anesthesia for my next root canal.  I did perk up when a few parents described their middle school children’s lives, in which they do homework 78 hours a day, 952 days a year.

At Staples, teachers and administrators seem to work hard making sure students are placed at appropriate levels — meaning they receive appropriate amounts of homework. 

That’s not my opinion alone, or other adults’.  Yesterday afternoon a group of Staples students discussed this very topic.

“We knew there’s a lot of homework in AP and honors courses,” one girl said without complaint.  “We knew what we were getting into.   We’re not stupid.”

I am sure some parents have valid concerns about homework.  I am also sure that — as is often the case — our kids are a lot smarter than we think.

One response to “Homework Hassles

  1. BOE Chair Don O’Day said it best, along the lines of “It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about an academic issue instead of the budget.” Great material was presented on the what and why of homework at all of the grades, including tips for parents! I agree with you, the kids get it! But parents can also make good use of department links on the SHS website to access examples of work at different levels. Seems these are good clues for what a student might be getting into homework-wise.