DS started highschool this fall. Our challenge is that his work speed is significantly slower than that of his peers. He routinely does 4-6 hours of homework a night - seven nights a week. Others in his grade/courses spend slightly less than half that much time on their coursework. Of course, if DS steps up from honors classes to AP in the future, we hear that the workload doubles again -which is not possible in DS's case because there are not enough hours in a day.
DH and I have asked DS to consider stepping back and taking lower level courses. His responses are that a) I will have no peer group in those classes and b) the classes I'm in now are taught way below my cognitive level so I can't imagine how bored I'd be in general education classes. We had a 504 meeting with the guidance counselor and teachers. The teachers for whom he routinely does the most daily homework said "If he can't keep up with the load, he should just selectively skip some of the homework and get Cs. He needs to stop thinking of himself as an A student." DS feels that it is unjust that he should receive Cs in classes that are actually too easy for him and in which he understands the material completely - just because he does not read or write quickly. We asked if he could have routinely modified homework assignments - especially with respect to routine outlining and nightly writing prompts. The guidance counselor's response was that DS should self-advocate on an assignment-by-assignment basis. Honestly, this would mean DS e-mailing four teachers per day, every day, and asking that the day's assignment be reduced, then hoping to get a response in time to have an impact on that evening's plan of work.
Any advice on next steps either by DS or parents? We are at a loss. DS says he is fine continuing 30-40 hours of homework per week for the rest of high school, and taking mostly honors and very few APs in the upper grades. But DS has some health concerns. If/when medical treatments begin again, there is no way he will be able to continue at this pace. Even if all remains good medically, he is bound to hit the wall at some point. The school views DS as not in need of accommodation because he is not failing, so it is pretty clear that there is not much they are going to be willing to do. DS is very frustrated with the amount of work. He says "None of it is difficult or mentally taxing. It's just cumbersome." He feels extremely proud of himself for keeping his head above water. I just can't help feeling that it's an extremely unreasonable expectation on a child that he have this much homework. The teachers say that it's not uncommon for students to have this much homework in high school and that DS needs to get faster or get used to accepting lower grades.