HUFFINGTON POST

This Week's Family Dinner Download: The Crush Of Schoolwork

03/04/2011 03:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

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This time of year, students of all levels are feeling the heat. Many are in the midst of a barrage of midterms; others are cramming for upcoming tests. And older students are frantically putting the finishing touches on their college applications, prepping for high-pressure interviews, or anxiously waiting to hear their fate --- and where they'll be spending the next four years of their lives. On HuffPost Education, Harvard's Carleton Kendrick describes how over the years he has seen growing numbers of "frightened, pressured high achievers" who have "trouble finding their own voices." They "had been advised, persuaded, and professionally coached," he explained, "into believing that school's only purpose is to get the grades that will gain them admission into an elite college."

In short, kids of all ages are getting mightily stressed out. And the data backs this up: last month the Times reported that the emotional health of college freshmen is at its lowest level on record. Campus counselors across the country are seeing more and more students arriving at college stressed, depressed, on psychiatric medications, or all of the above.

Are you stressed about schoolwork? What stresses you out the most? What do you think homework accomplishes and do you think you get too much of it? Is there a case to be made for no homework at all? Do you feel that there's a distinct path toward college that you're unable to deviate from if you want to succeed? Do you pursue volunteer work, athletics and other extra-curricular activities because you're genuinely interested in them or because you feel you need to? Is learning still fun?

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To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).

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