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Too Much Homework?

too much homework, homework

What Does Too Much Homework
Look Like?

What, exactly, is Too Much Homework? Some people think any homework is excessive, while others feel that a few hours a night is no big deal. Good luck trying to get every parent, teacher, student and politician to agree on what amount of homework (if any) is reasonable and what constitutes the right amount of homework.

Everyone is entitled to his or her personal opinion, but some things are just wrong.

I think (I hope!) that we can all agree that when some things start happening...

Too Much Homework is the culprit:

  1. Your child doesn't have time to relax, have fun, play or hang out with friends.

  2. Your child doesn't have time for extra curricular activities, sports, church, scouts.

  3. Your child spends hours doing busy work.

  4. Your child misses dinner (or wolfs it down).

  5. Your child misses family events entirely (or spends most of the day holed up in a room with their books).

  6. Your child stays up late or loses sleep worrying.

  7. Your child is stressed out.

  8. Your child no longer enjoys reading or exploring new ideas and topics.

  9. Your family schedule revolves around your child's homework.

  10. Your weekends, holidays and vacations seem just like regular school nights.

A Parent Asks, "Is this too much homework?"

There are many ways to answer the "too much homework" question, but the absolute best answer ever is from an educator of over 30 years. Hold on, it's not me- I haven't been teaching that long! Unfortunately, I have no idea who this person is because s/he responded to the question anonymously on the Berkeley (CA) Parents' Network. If you are (or know!) the educator that answered the following question-please, please, please contact me so I can give you credit!

I think my child, who is in the 3rd grade, is assigned way too much homework on a daily basis. But, how much is too much?

My child is very diligent and works at a reasonable pace. Still, it can take more than 1 hour, sometimes 2 or even 3, to get the work done. I think this is outrageous. It seems to me that in the third grade a 1/2 hour to 45 min. is about right and occasionally 1-1/2 to 2 hours might be needed for a special project.

Am I way off base here? Is this just the way it is as they progress through school?

Anon

A Teacher Responds:

"As an educator for over 30 years and as a parent of a high school student, I have to say that the subject of homework makes me crazy. Homework during the elementary years (K-5) in particular, is of no academic benefit to the child, especially if the homework takes too long and cannot be done independently without stress.

Getting in the habit of reading (independently or with an adult or older sibling) for 20-30 minutes a day can be beneficial, as can spending 5-10 minutes practicing spelling, or playing a math game to reinforce number concepts. Any work that involves parental intervention is probably not appropriate. Workbook pages, answering questions from a text, huge adult-dependent projects are very stressful for most families, especially those with children who are struggling in school.

I urge you first of all to let the teacher know how long it's taking your child. No 3rd grader should be doing 1, 2, 3 hours of homework! The teachers are often under pressure from their school or district (or from parents who feel their children should be working harder and achieving more) to provide a certain amount of homework for each grade level, but if enough parents and teachers speak up, maybe these policies can be changed.

Some children LOVE doing workbook pages and massive homework. Let it be available for them. Some children are academically gifted and love to pursue various subjects. That will be apparent, and those kids will ask for what they need. I want kids enjoy school, and see learning as interesting and rewarding, not as a drudge.

Our children don't have enough time to PLAY or to pursue their own interests. Not to mention how lovely it would be if kids came home (even after music lessons, scouts, sports, etc.) and could JUST RELAX with their families!

There will be plenty of time for them to work hard in middle school, then high school, then college, then in life. Do we need to stress them out as young children?"

Why This Is Such A Great Answer...

There are few things that really make this a great response to "too much homework?:"

Reading Together:
How to Find & Share Books with Your Child
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