Are they spending much too much time on projects that seem pointless and unrelated to the subject?
Do parents drop their own evening activities to supervise and monitor homework?
A former Legal Aid attorney, Sara had been successfully negotiating with teachers for years to reduce her own kids' homework loads, and she decided to push the school to finally change its overall policy.
By getting other parents into the act, Sara knew that the school could no longer dismiss each parent's problem as "personal." She was right.
We know firsthand that this kind of advocacy can change even ingrained school policy.
We met as parents in a Brooklyn, New York, school and discovered we shared the same frustration over homework that was taking over our kids' lives.We'll show you how to change things for your family tonight-and every night.If you're interested, we'll also show you how to organize other parents to improve the homework situation at your school or even in the entire district, no matter what grade your child is in.But we suspect that these parentsand lots morewill be up in arms when they learn the truth: that the overwhelming majority of teachers have never taken a course in homework, and that, contrary to popular belief, there is little solid research demonstrating benefits from the current homework systemif we can even call it a system.For example, most parents (as well as many teachers) would be surprised to hear that there's absolutely no proof that homework helps elementary school pupils learn more or have greater academic success.Almost always, it comes back to the parents and the prevailing belief that there's so much homework because competitive moms and dads want their kids to get ahead. More than one-third of the parents we surveyed feel the same way.Ironically, other parents who took our survey insist that the amount is "just right," only to go on to describe all sorts of negative effects their kids suffer-from nightly crying fits to stomachaches to facial tics. One reason is that many parents have faith in the school system and assume that educators have good reasons for subjecting our kids to so much work.Are kids giving up extracurricular activities to hole up alone in their rooms, memorizing fact after fact?Do kids have any time left to play and follow their passions? How much is too muchand haven't we reached the point of diminishing returns?As child psychologist Dan Kindlon, a Harvard professor and author of several books, including Tough Times, Strong Children, told us, "The issue of too much homework comes up whenever I talk to parent groups, and the truth is, there's no good research justification for it.The analyses out there just don't make a connection between homework and success." Throughout homework's up-and-down history, everyone has had an agenda. We have the same goals as most other parents: We want our children to be happy, healthy, and competitive in a highly competitive world, and get an excellent education. But the current pile-it-on approach to homework is not the answer. Many parents know intuitively that something is very wrong with the system, yet might feel unqualified to challenge it.