We are a month into school and homework is on my mind today. Oscar and Betty are in 3rd and 4th grade and their workload so far hasn’t been too challenging. But poor Maude. Her homework is cutting into her sleep time.

She’s a sophomore now and the work load is definitely heavier than it was for her last year. Part of the issue is that she’s a diehard member of the Cross Country team. Practices are long and she puts in a ton of mileage. In theory, she could quit Cross Country and have plenty of time for homework, but that doesn’t really seem like a feasible option. Cross Country is the happiest part of her life at the moment! And all that running seems to keep her teen emotions balanced — there’s nothing like post-run endorphins to put anyone in a great mood. Taking her out of cross country doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. In fact, I’m reminded of that saying: “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”

Ralph experienced similar late nights last year, but with Maude perhaps I notice it more because she loves her sleep. Late nights typically hold no interest for her. If she’s tired, she has no issues going to bed early — she’s not one to fight sleep in order to watch a show or something like that.

I get that this homework situation is normal high school behavior — and I did the same thing as a teen and survived. But seeing her stay up late, fighting sleepiness so that she can finish her homework, is frustrating. It just seems like a seriously flawed system. No doubt these thoughts are amplified because I feel like I’ve read over and over how important sleep is for everybody — but especially for teenagers.

[ UPDATE: In 2016, our elementary school instituted a No Homework Policy. Spoiler: I LOVE it. ]

How do you deal with homework at your house? Is it messing with your family schedule? Or have you figured out a good homework rhythm? Do your kids attend a school with no homework at all? Have you read anything lately on sleep — or on homework — that has you thinking about this? Also, I’ve heard some high schools out there are experimenting with late starts so that teens can get more sleep. Has your school tried this? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Do you kids cover their textbooks with paper? Here’s a cute tutorial on book covers if you want to learn how.


Video: How to Set up a Study Space. Image by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.