Too Much Homework, Not Enough Time to be a Kid


My wife and I transferred our 13-year-old daughter to a new school this fall because her homework load was insane. She would come home from school, go to her room and do homework every night until 11 pm. She also did homework on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It was stressful for the entire family.

Ironically, the thing that triggered our decision to change schools was watching a screening of Race to Nowhere, a documentary about the national epidemic of homework overload, which her old school presented in the auditorium.

Now that she’s in a new “project-based” school that has much less homework, she has time to be a kid again and explore her interests in the same way I did as a kid her age. She spends much more time drawing, reading for pleasure, playing with her younger sister, and enjoying dinner with the family.

Here’s a statement from the filmmaker, Vicki Abeles:

When I first set out to create Race to Nowhere, I wanted to spark a meaningful conversation about how our pressure-cooker culture is resulting in an array of unintended consequences that are negatively affecting our children and our future.

Our children’s current and future health and preparation shouldn’t be sacrificed because of the narrow way we have come to define success. We need to pay more attention to helping our youth grow creatively, physically, socially and emotionally and we need education practices and policies that are innovative and reflect the latest positive research on teaching, learning and child development.

Here’s a video about the documentary and about the grassroots “Stop Homework” movement.

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Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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