Thursday, September 5, 2019

Until Smarty switched to her current college prep school, she had an insignificant amount of homework. She would usually complete most of it in school between classes and would rarely spend more than 30 minutes a day doing something at home. Last year was the first time when she really had to "buckle up" and deal with a lot more homework since she had 6 classes (plus an online math class), all requiring her to do homework.
This year is shaping up to be equally or even more intense in terms of homework. For once, she has an AP class, and AP classes are famous for requiring extra homework time. Ironically though, calculus is not the biggest time suck at the moment as Smarty manages to complete most of her calculus homework in school, either during class or during her free periods on Tuesday and Thursday. English is by far the worst offender, with her English teacher assigning "mini-essays" (a few pages long) from Tuesday to Thursday morning. I read an interesting suggestion once for good study habits that posited that good essays can be written in three days: one day for research, one day for writing, and one day for editing. Smarty shared her latest essay with me and I could see right away that she was missing that editing day. Her work could have had "Rushed Delivery" stamped all over it - grammar mistakes, subtly misspelled words (nights instead of knights), repeating phrases. She is not a bad writer, and I could follow her reasoning and evidence. The topic, by the way, was of chivalry, love, and women as represented by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Vox Clamantis by John Gower. But it was not an "A-grade essay" by any stretch of the imagination and, frankly, could not be under such time constraints. At least it's the last of Chaucer for now as the class is moving on to a much more exciting (from Smarty's point of view) topic of Shakespeare.
Other subjects (chemistry, US history, Spanish) contribute about 20-30 minutes of homework each, so, on average, Smarty is still able to complete her homework in 2 hours unless she has a written assignment, a lab report, etc. Smarty and I discussed that she should manage her time in such a way that her homework is completed before dinner on most nights. We'll see how this all works out in reality and whether she will be able and willing to work ahead. She finds 2 hours of homework to be a lot but I asked my co-workers and they all just started laughing. Apparently, their high school children who attend both public and private schools spend 5-6 hours a night on homework and don't go to bed until after 11 pm. Honestly, I think that the system is broken if kids have to spend so much time in addition to school hours just to keep up, and I don't think it would be healthy for Smarty to be in such a school. So maybe I should tell her to stop complaining about her 2 hours a night and manage her time in such a way that these 2 hours don't balloon into 5-6 because of procrastination.

Your Turn

How much time per night do your kids spend on homework?


Joyful Learner said...

I think two hours should be max. I know many families that have extracurriculars after school every day which can last anywhere from 2-5 hours. That does not leave much time for studying.

Many of K's friends spend more time doing homework than K and that's because they procrastinate. K's school doesn't give a lot of homework which I prefer so she can follow her interests outside of school. But I know high school will be different. We are in no hurry!

MaryAnne said...

I don't think kids should have more then two hours of homework. They already spend 6 hours in school. Add two hours of homework and they have an 8 hour day, which is a lot for a child in my opinion. I really value my kids having free time to pursue their own interests, AND their being able to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Ticia said...

It's all in what classes you pick and what level of grade you want. My brother famously graduated from high school in a regular class without reading a single book.
I, on the other hand, had 2 AP classes a year (and I knew people who signed up for 3-4) and had homework in spurts. I read fast, so that wasn't the problem, it was the occasional essays that were the problems. Or big projects. I hated the big projects.