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But there is a growing revolt, exemplified perhaps by parents in Ardsley who are circulating a petition to take to the school board about the difference between the district's stated homework policies and the amount of homework students actually have to do, asking simply that the current homework policy be enforced.'' Seventh- and eighth-graders are supposed to have an hour and a half a night,'' said Jason Sapan, a father of two children in the district, one of whom is a seventh grader at the Ardsley Middle School.

The last straw was when his daughter was still not done with homework at 11 one evening.

Both said: '' The issue comes up every year.

A lot of our middle school kids come from self-contained classrooms in fifth grade.

Extracurricular activities are particularly at risk. Some Conservative Jewish congregations have scaled back their twice-a-week afternoon Hebrew school programs to once a week, because parents were reluctant to make that kind of time commitment for their children. There are lots of dual parents who are working, and family time is valued.

When students have to spend a lot of time on homework, family time is reduced.'' Beyond that, many conversations about homework include the assertion that ''my parents never did my homework for me,'' even Mom, who in a boomer's family might not have worked outside the home.Based on data from the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, the study reported that homework in that group increased to 2 hours and 8 minutes a week, from 52 minutes a week, between 19.Try telling Westchester parents, especially those in high-powered schools, that homework hasn't increased significantly if at all.'' Students are so much more active outside of school now -- with soccer, sports, dance -- that even if homework might be the same amount, it's more difficult to manage,'' said Anne Wallace, the director for guidance at the middle and high schools in Rye Neck.We're also dropping subject matter down a grade. In order to prepare for more interactive classes, kids have to do more at home.'' STUDENTS see several stages of homework, said Paul Folkemer, assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum in Scarsdale.'' Because of the English language arts exam, and also because of math and science, fourth grade is seeing a significant change in the amount of work,'' he said in a telephone interview, but the big changes come in middle school.We work hard at it here, but teachers can't always address, ' How much are you giving? '' I didn't want her to go to bed at 10 or 11.'' The ways that teachers, schools, students and families choose to deal with homework are as varied as the players themselves.' Kids are trying to please a number of adults. Many parents who extol the virtues of their challenging public schools also complain that homework assignments, especially long-term projects, intrude on weekends, vacations, family meal times and children's sleep time, play time and down time. Karen Benedict, assistant superintendent for curriculum in Katonah-Lewisboro, said: '' People's lives are very busy.'' They're given research projects in fifth and sixth grade, using the Internet, so the assignments are qualitatively different than they used to be.Part of my job is to free the parent from being responsible for what goes on after school.'' Douglas Both, the principal of the John Jay Middle School in the Katonah-Lewisboro school district, said state and federal standards are a factor.'' The higher standards require more information, and we can't cover everything,'' he said.'' What we're having to do is ask kids to do more at home, to have active instructional time at school.

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