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Opinion

Readers React: Parents, it’s time to push back against insane homework loads and class schedules

Fatigue a way of life for many high schoolers
A student struggles to stay awake during a high school physics class in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
(Brian Cassella / MCT)

To the editor: We agree with Vicki Abeles that delayed school start times are only one piece of the solution if we want to see students thrive.

As parents and teachers, we can’t help noticing how many families are struggling with packed schedules, yet seem to believe that no other option exists. Are we all really supposed to put in hours of homework and sports practice before sleep, family dinners, reading for pleasure and time to think? Do we believe that the best way to prepare children for the world is by stressing them out?

When our daughter approached middle school, we decided it was time to show her and everyone else that we were serious when we said learning should be a healthy pursuit. We gave our daughter a two-year break from the traditional classroom and focused instead on learning versus stressing.

Our daughter is now a Pomona College senior and says those two years ignited her love of learning and taught her how to take care of herself.

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Pamela Beere Briggs and William McDonald, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Please tell me again how mandating later school start times and regulating the amount of homework will improve students’ wellness and learning?

All the while parents continue to pack their children’s schedules with extracurricular activities from the moment school lets out to 9 p.m. Furthermore, nowhere in Abeles’ piece does she mention the exorbitant amount of screen time children experience.

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A later start time coupled with parents’ lack of common sense in providing restrictions on their children’s screen time only will make things worse. I would gladly give no homework in exchange for no screen time and a sensible bedtime for my students.

Jason Y. Calizar, Torrance

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To the editor: Abeles’ article on homework overload struck a deep chord. School is far behind me now, but my loathing of the purgatory of homework remains as heartfelt as ever.

I note that in Finland, supposedly the best-educated country in the world, schools assign students no homework at all. Maybe they know something.

Spencer Grant, Laguna Niguel

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To the editor: The root of the problem lies in the college admissions anxiety that grips many parents and school administrators.

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Until parents and high schools say no to students taking six Advanced Placement classes at a time, and until our highly selective colleges stop rewarding this damaging behavior (which they do despite their claims to the contrary), our children will continue to sleep less and do more homework — and more sports, more community service, more clubs, more everything.

Parents, it’s OK to just say no. Where your child goes to college matters less than what they make of it when they get there.

Helene Kunkel, Los Angeles

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