Does Friends Administer Too Much Homework

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Does Friends assign too much homework? For many, the immediate answer to this question is yes. Especially with the amount of extra-curriculars the average Friends School student participates in, it’s difficult to complete every assignment we’re given. Students who hold themselves to higher standards can also find themselves struggling, as they try to thoroughly complete each assignment with only a small amount of time.

Even though it depends on each person and their individual commitments, overall I think Friends School students are better off than most when it comes to homework. Personally, coming from another area school, I have significantly less homework at Friends than I did before. This is not to say that I’m learning less, just learning more efficiently because discussion-based classes fit my individual learning needs better. It also helps that a lot of activities that would traditionally be after-school activities are apart of the school day at Friends. For theater kids, musical rehearsals during M block can make life a lot easier.

Another reason Friends students have relatively less homework is because of the block schedule. A lot of times our classes meet every other day so we have more time to do our work. At most we have four classes a day, and although they are seventy minutes long, it makes our workload a lot lighter. Some teachers even take into consideration whether or not our class meets two days in a row when assigning homework (shoutout to Ms. Smith), which helps even more.

The block schedule has many benefits when it comes to workload, but in some ways it is not the most beneficial to our learning. The language department assigns significantly more homework than other core departments, perhaps in an attempt to make up for the fact that we don’t have class everyday. It is very hard to learn a language meeting only every other day, so language teachers tend to assign more homework than other subjects. The math department, specifically the advanced track, is also hindered a little bit by the block schedule. There’s specific material that needs to be learned by the end of the year, and the faster paced classes have to squeeze a lot more into their seventy-minute periods. Teachers then have to rush through longer classes and often go over multiple concepts in a day, which can be overwhelming for students and make it harder for us to fully understand the material. Extra help is vital for me when it comes to math because of how rushed the class feels.

I think we at Friends definitely have it better than most, but there’s still room for improvement when it comes to homework. Maybe we could have language classes meet every day for a shorter amount of time and without homework, and maybe we could figure out a way for the advanced math classes to learn the required material without being rushed.  In an ideal world, teachers would only give readings or long-term assignments as homework, so that the seven hours we spend at school don’t have to be matched at home. Homework often prohibits students from doing the things they enjoy, and I hope that one day we can find a way around this. Friends School tries to respect the fact that many students participate in many extracurricular activities that make it harder to complete homework, and I hope we continue to explore ways to improve our system. Maybe one day we can reach the point at which public schools stand, and still receive high level education. Until then, we can appreciate that we are better off than most.

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