At what point does homework become overly oppressive? This question does not have any firm answer. There can be as many answers as there are students.
There are some students which will do whatever they are asked to do, no matter how difficult. They love to study and to please others with a job well-done. For these students there is not a task that they are faced with that they cannot do.
There are also students who balk at the smallest task. Either they cannot fathom how to face the job in front of them, they are extremely busy children, they do not have family support or they may not see the purpose in learning the concept before them.
The range between these two groups in impossible to grasp.
I suppose the difficult task placed before the teacher is to make sure that none of the students become overwhelmed. Yes, I did say any of the students. Even those that I mentioned in the first place, the students who are excited by the work that is given them, can become overwhelmed.
The difficulty with them is that they are looking to please, and they may not be able to monitor themselves to see when they are feeling stressed. Or perhaps they thrive on this stress. However, they can become burned-out. Then they could crash and become uncaring or unable to understand how to handing this feeling. Of course, when they crash, they are no longer pleasing people and this can lead them into depression, since they feed off of this.
The students which become overwhelmed at the simplest assignment needs to be motivated to complete assignments. This could be by a contract between the student and teacher, student and parent or student and a peer. The trick is to find what it they would like as a reward for a job well-done.
There are other forms of motivation as well. It is sometimes tempting for the teacher or the parent to punish this child for what they perceive as laziness, however, punishment may just push this child further down the path or not caring.
What is the answer to the homework dilemma? Teachers and parents are often overworked or overwhelmed themselves. Classmates or siblings have their own assignments to do. Not assigning homework at all, even though some students would love this, also is not the answer.
It takes working together between the home and school, teacher and parent, so they can find the best path for the children involved. Even though this is not always easy, on either party’s part, it is one of the ways to ensure that our most precious commodity is helped to succeed with their future.