Dear Teachers--and one teacher's reply:
We're writing because we're concerned about our daughter OD, who is in the 9th grade at Friends Omphalos. OD is burnt out. She is very unhappy about school; she feels it's a treadmill she can't get off. She worries about homework all the time. Her sleep schedule is a wreck; she gets almost no sleep during the week and then has marathon sleeping sessions over the weekend. Sometimes OD feels she doesn't understand what the teachers want, which makes her anxious and causes her to procrastinate. Then she gets into a loop where she isn't getting the work done, but she can't relax either.
If she could at least have weekends and vacations free of homework, she might have a chance to unwind. This weekend, for instance, she had two hours worth of math homework alone. There was homework for other classes as well, but she didn't get to it, partly because we were busy and didn't have a chance to walk her through it.
Frankly, we're considering homeschooling. If we can't find a way for OD to be happy while attending Friends Omphalos, it makes no sense to keep her there. We need to find a way--soon--for OD to be happy and learning productively at Friends Omphalos, at least for the rest of this year.
Please get back to us about this as soon as you can. Thanks very much.
Thank you for your email and for the information about how OD is feeling. I think she's having the experience that many of our 9th graders have in trying to adjust to the differences between middle school and upper school. The workload is heavier and learning how to manage it takes time.
The best thing for OD to do if she is feeling overwhelmed is to make appointment with her teachers to talk about things and get some guidance from them. Sometimes students need help in learning how to approach homework or how to study for a particular subject. I'm always happy to speak with OD about any questions or concerns she has.
I certainly will not be assigning any homework over winter break. I'm a firm believer that break is for break. I can't say the same is true for weekends, although our policy is that students should not have more than 40 minutes of homework per subject each night the class meets (all classes have one skip day in our schedule where no homework in that subject should be assigned).
I enjoy having OD in class and certainly want her to have a positive experience here. I'm happy to do what I can to help that happen.