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February 12, 2018

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Families give up their spare time, putting health at risk

DOING homework is not just the student’s job anymore. A recent online survey by education website showed that 78 percent of Chinese parents of primary and junior high school students would do homework with their children.

The website said the survey targeted millions of its users from all over the country. It showed that Chinese students spend nearly three hours a day on homework, which means the whole family would use nearly all their time between dinner and sleep on homework.

Tough homework caused some serious issues. About 75 percent of interviewees said they had fought with their children over math problems or text recitations.

But that intense parent-child relationship is not the most urgent issue.

Recently an article “How I Spent Time with My Child Doing Homework and Ended Up in the Hospital” was widely spread online and stroke a chord with parents.

The article, claiming to be a real-life story, said a mother suffered from cerebral hemorrhage after she lost her temper with her child on homework. While a father complained that he had a heart attack, and two stents had to be placed in a blood vessel, something he felt was the result of doing homework with his child every evening for five years.

The veracity of the article is another story, but the emotions it provoked among parents were very real.

“I do feel that doing homework with my son is bad for both of our health, and I would lose my temper after I explain a math problem time and time again and he still doesn’t get it,” says Jennifer Zhang, mother of a 9-year-old son. “But if I don’t keep an eye on him, he would never finish his homework on time.”

Parents complain that teachers assign homework that is too much and too difficult.

“The school says students need all-round development, so my son often comes home with very complicated homework, such as making a newspaper from scratch or doing handiworks with vegetables,” says Zhang. “It feels like that I have a second job after work helping him with all those weird tasks.”


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