I have a pragmatic appreciation of the correlation between effort and achievement. Increasingly complex and demanding homework through the high school years, then through college has always made perfect sense. Advanced learning, whether academic, work-related, or craft, has always begun with a sense of climbing up a mountain, culminating in exhilaration at the summit.
Until my son took AP World History.
This isn't just his class. It's our entire family's commitment. Because poor A is chained to his homework load seven days a week, up to 4 hours a day. We can't travel on weekends. We can't enjoy a spontaneous diversion during the week. There can be no must-see television or movies. We don't dare linger at church, and Youth Group is hit-or-miss, depending on how productive he's been during the afternoon. Scouts? Maybe he can join the Troop for the business portion of the meeting, but forget the fun stuff.
There are charts to complete, vast sums of pages to read and outline, study guides to review, and unit tests to prepare for long in advance. This year-long course, once daily, is now every-other-day, shared with World Literature. So the students have half the time in class and double the homework to make up for it. Of course, there are also four other classes in his block to cover: World Literature, Algebra II, Latin II, and Nutrition. So that homework has to get squeezed in there somehow.
Bedtime is usually midnight and he has to be up again by 6:15 to get ready for the next school day.
For A, knowing that AP World History is modeled after college classes is somewhat off-putting. "Mom, I don't think I can do college. This is just ONE class."
It's hard to know the answers he needs and keep my lips zipped. I'll hear him muttering about Confucious and his motivation or Byzantine migration routes and have to will him to find the right answer. Eventually he does, but it's painfully slow.
Sigh. Just eight months until the AP World History exam.