It’s the first night of school and my tenth graders already have homework… lots of it. My daughter, once she got home–at 7:30–from a school volleyball game, estimated she had three hours of homework to do. Her twin brother, home at 5:00–he does debate-was just finishing up his homework at eight. Their teachers told them to expect 30 minutes to an hour a night of homework per class. Neither of them is taking any AP classes–this is the workload for the average tenth grader at their school.
I’m not going to write about the many conflicting studies about the efficacy of homework. Nor am I going to discuss the troubling tradeoffs that kids make to do well in our competitive high schools. (I will confess to having seen and being moved by Race to Nowhere, a compelling movie about the rat race that is high school for many American students.) No, today I am asking a question: Why can’t high school teachers assign homework a week at a time? Continue reading
Recently, the Tiger Mom approach to child raising has been the topic of many a discussion in my town. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s an approach outlined in a bestselling book by Asian mom, Amy Chua, in which she articulates the philosophy behind the stereotypical Asian child’s achievements. (A disclaimer: I haven’t read it.)
I live in a town with high ranking schools and lots of high performing kids. Many of our students begin taking AP classes as freshman and sophomores and spend hours a night on homework. 75% of the families have parents with college degrees and many homes have parents with graduate degrees. (My home fits the latter model—my husband is a physician and I have a Masters degree.) So, when Ms. Chua’s book came out—along with the documentary “Race to Nowhere” which presents the polar opposite approach to kids and their education–, it made me think again (OK, worry again) about what is the best thing I can do—and American society can do—for our college bound kids. Continue reading