N.J. school district considering ban on weekend homework

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 16:17
homework052511_optBY PAM LOBLEY

A school district in South Jersey might abolish weekend homework. The Board of Education of the Galloway Township Public School District is considering recommendations from district officials to change the homework policy – including ending all weekend homework.

Hmm. Don’t I read every week in some magazine that the schools in the U.S. are a disgrace and that, on a global basis, our children are stupider and way behind many other developed nations in most important subjects? And now you want us to take the weekend off?

Superintendent Annette Giaquinto said the idea was for students to have more time with their families and for extracurricular activities.

I agree that grade schoolers don’t need weekend homework, but middle and high school kids? They need to hit the books. Do you think the kids in China are relaxing with their families at a water park? I doubt it.

I don’t know about other parents, but no homework for my kids just means more time in front of the TV. I am not going to automatically run out and schedule a lovely picnic or an edifying day trip to Hyde Park just because they don’t have homework. I am too busy. On a typical weekend I have 12 loads of laundry to do, food shopping for the week, possible clothing shopping, home repairs, yard work, bill paying and heavy household cleaning. So no homework might mean my kids have the weekend off, but I don’t.

Furthermore, working hard is what it’s all about. As this economy drags on, it is painfully obvious that getting into a good college, and having a successful career, will be a huge challenge. It is our job to prepare them for life.

I realize that many kids have heavy sports schedules over the weekend, and that puts pressure on families. However, let’s be serious. Is your daughter going to play professional basketball? Will your son be a famous lacrosse player? Probably not. They need an education.

Our country has a very schizophrenic attitude toward our children and their education. On the one hand, we feel our children are under too much stress. We cite eating disorders, binge drinking, cheating, and depression as evidence that our children are too over scheduled and pressured to succeed. They take too many AP classes, they obsess about college entrances, they are on a treadmill.

On the other hand, the national scores are dismal. President Obama, like President Bush before him, has made it a priority to improve our schools. Kids aren’t learning math, their writing skills are weak, they can’t identify Missouri or Pakistan on a globe.

Which is the truth. Are our kids over-achieving little robots or slack-jawed morons failed by their nation?

I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that a math sheet, a list of verb conjugations in French, a couple of chapters in The Old Man and the Sea, and preparation for a unit test in Science is not too much to ask of a ninth grader over his weekend.

I guarantee you, he will still find plenty of time to play video games.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.


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Comments (3)
3 Thursday, 26 May 2011 13:04
High school students are complaining they work too hard because they take too many Advanced Placement courses. In our day those courses were called Senior Chemistry, Senior English, Advanced Biology, college prep... The majority of these students who take Advance Placement classes, do not pass the AP test. Many do not take the test at all. Are Advance Placement classes really college level work?
2 Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:00
Joey Mahasti
I agree with the previous comment, but also disagree. No one cares about what is going on in China. While I think Homework on the weekend is cruel.. especially when their parents can sit home and relax after a week of working but their children can't.. I don't believe there should be ANY homework. It is simply a waste of time to tell a child to work all day and night, no real time to relax. I remember I used to spend hours at night working on worksheets. I was transferred to classes without homework, as part of a program my school was testing. Worked successfully. I put my kids in a similar program.

Kids need to pay attention. That is it. They don't need to go home and work all day and night. They need to pay attention to what their instructor is saying. Once they do that, they can go home and be rewarded with relaxation or family time. Studying is crucial, I agree (although I never really studied..).. But there's a difference between studying and doing homework. Homework is just busy work.
1 Wednesday, 25 May 2011 21:35
Joseph Vincent
First I would like to say that I think you're an idiot! Maybe your children are "stupider". Do we really care what the hell is going on in China. I know I don't! The Chinese wouldn't know a water park from a busted sewer line. If your kids are spending more time in front of the TV, they must be lazy. Tell them to go out and get some excercise. You talk about how busy your typical weekend, well welcome to parenthood you moron! Or is this just your way of bitching! What, you don't think anybody else has a busy schedule!
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