Right Wing Nation#: Not Enough Homework
First, let me say I am one of those whining parents:
As far as I know, every university defines a college credit as one hour of class and two hours of outside work a week. Most classes are three-credit classes (yes, there are a few one- and two-credit courses in the catalog, but very few). By the university definition, then, a three-credit course is three hours of class and six hours of out of class work a week. In order to be full-time, a student must take at least 12 credits per semester — that would be a minimum of 12 hours of classes and 24 hours of out of class work per week.
Which means that a full time college student should be actively doing school stuff for 36 hours a week.
My 16 year old has 4 90 minute classes a day, 5 days a week. She is in class for about 30 hours. She easily has about 2 hours of homework a night. So 30 + 10 = 40 hours of homework.
My two 3rd graders and my 1st grader have 6 hours of instruction a day plus 1 hour of homework a night. At age 8 they have 35 hours of class work, not counting at home reading.
College kids have it easy.
As you mentioned, a big problem is the quality of homework that is required. To much of it, especially at the elementary school level, requires a parent to actively participate and teach to make up for the lack of instruction in the classroom. This is great if you have only one child, but for those of us with more... then after school is hell.
The amount of homework assigned at the elementary school level should be progressive, and not start until around 3rd grade. Then there should be only enough homework to reinforce what is taught at the school.
At the Middle and HS level, I really have no problems with the amount of homework given. By this time, students should be self-sufficient. I also agree that students should be taught the value of hard work.