Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Abby and Brian,
My son, who is in ninth grade, is a really good student, but I’m worried he’s working far too much. He does an average of five or six hours of homework every weeknight, and that’s on top of spending most of the weekend writing essays or studying for tests. His school says that each of his five main classes (English, history, math, language, and science) can assign no more than 30 minutes a night and that electives can assign no more than one hour a week. That should look like something around three hours a night, which is a lot but at least more manageable.
On some nights, a math problem set can take him more than two hours, and then, after 8 p.m. and sometimes after 9, he turns to his English reading, science textbook, Spanish paragraph, or history outline. He’s working until after midnight and then up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school, beyond exhausted. Is this normal?
How much homework should students be assigned?
Homework—when assigned in appropriate amounts and with the right goals in mind—is an indispensable tool for educators. But students should never be put in the position of having to choose between their academic success and their overall well-being.