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December 2012 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Manhattan Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

A letter from a reader

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Dear editor:

I am so glad that your magazine has raised the issue of the amount of homework children receive. The article in your November 2012 issue (“Homework: A conversation with parents and experts”), was very well balanced.

THERE IS MUCH TOO MUCH HOMEWORK! This issue is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Children work hard all day at school. Then, they are expected to get exercise, eat a healthy dinner, and go to bed early after every school day. Those most basic (and most important tasks) cannot be completed given the staggering amount of homework children are given. No wonder there is an obesity crisis! Most of the afternoon and evening must be spent in the sedentary task of homework and study.

Certainly, academic reinforcement is needed. The individual teacher’s homework assignment may be reasonable. But place that homework in the context of the six to eight subjects students take, and add in the physical education or after school sports requirement, and the situation becomes untenable and unhealthy. It is spirit-breaking. Children who once loved school became disheartened, frustrated, and exhausted by the workload. I advocate a longer school day, or more specialized assistance after school.

The requirement to do more work at home leads to sad situations, like those discussed in your article. Parents complete the work. Tutors are hired. Dinner is rushed. Bedtime is surpassed. The excessive homework requirement leads to fights and discord between overworked and fatigued parent and child.

I am a tutor, a teacher, and a mother. I know children need reinforcement of subjects. However, administrators should craft a cross-disciplinary approach to homework. Can’t the science teacher talk to the language arts teacher who talks to the sports coach? Couldn’t they devise a reasonable schedule based on the curriculum and the school schedule? I advocate for more reading, which was the paramount emphasis in lower school. Reading is still important (and yes, they must read textbooks).

How about more creative, manageable, even relaxing homework? For instance, a good weekend homework assignment would be to read a biography of Jonas Salk or articles about homelessness. Children and families need to rest after a long week and a long day.

Every child and every family I know states there is too much homework.

Academics are very important, but a well-rounded student needs time to de-stress, exercise, eat right, get rest, and not battle with family over homework!

Thank you again for your consideration of this topic.


Carla Warne-Marino, Manhattan

Updated 5:15 pm, December 3, 2012
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