My comment to "The Destructive ‘Too Much Homework’ Myth" in the New York Times today.
Ms. Lahey’s comments overlook an important issue. As she says, referring to first and second graders, “Now they average about 17 minutes a day.” The reality is that children (all people in fact) don’t work at the same pace. Some children have poor handwriting. Some children read slowly. Some can’t remember what they’re supposed to do. The slower working child goes to school from 9 to 3, like everyone else, where he is able to function because the school day starts and stops by the clock. At home, assignments are endless. They have no bounds. So let’s stop talking about the average time spent, and begin talking about time as if it were time. Seventeen (or twenty) minutes of homework for a second grader is fine. But that child needs to get full credit for what he did, whether or not the assignments are done. Teachers are fond of telling parents at Back to School Night that they expect the children to do X minutes of homework a night. I’ve never heard them offer the next important instruction which is “When those X minutes are up, tell your child to stop.” Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. author of The Homework Trap. www.thehomeworktrap.com.