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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.

All of a sudden, they move to the middle school with 10 to 11 teachers and subjects, English social studies, math, science, and reading, art, technology, home and career, music, and physical education.'' It's more subject matter specific, and students feel responsible to four to five different people every night.

It's harder to track how much homework a child has in a given night. We have to wean them off it, just as we try to wean children from that kind of support.'' Some say that it's not so much the homework as the extracurricular activities that are to blame.'' We purposely don't do much after school because of homework,'' said Jamie Pearlman, a Mount Kisco resident whose two children attend Chappaqua schools.

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.Jasmine, 14, took a break from an essay about Shakespeare's '' Midsummer Night's Dream,'' to say that her daily average of three hours of homework leaves her anxious and burdened.'' I try to get good grades;'' she said.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.'' They get out at 3 o'clock, and by 5 they're worn out. The landscape is crowded with third-grade projects that show Dad's professional touch as a video artist, with fifth-grade papers typed by Mom, or with fourth graders still cracking the books at 10 p.m.-- never mind the family arguments over whether homework has been done, or done well, and the farther-reaching arguments over the role of parents, children and educators in the homework equation.'' I come home by 9, and my parents are asleep.When I come home, it's all on my back.'' Parents, too, feel the pressure.'' When I think back on my childhood, there's no way I had this much,'' said Susan Gould, who has a fifth grader and a first grader in Rye's schools. I want it done, and they don't want to do it.'' Homework is a constant irritant, a badge of honor and a force in the family in academically ambitious Westchester.'' 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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