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Do our Children Get too much Homework?

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Any parent who has watched their child stay up way past their bedtime toiling over their books or wasting a weekend working on projects and assignments knows how tough it can be. Teenagers are especially burdened with work that leaves them tired, stressed and with no time for social engagements, sport or family events.

Overloaded children suffer from anxiety and fatigue that many think is counterproductive and bad for their health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, an increasingly competitive academic culture and jobs market mean children have to push themselves further to succeed.

Guidelines for Homework

The National PTA and the National Education Association have set guidelines for homework which should increase by 10 minutes for each grade. That means that in the first grade your child will be doing 10 minutes of homework a day, 20 minutes in the second grade and so on. What this means is that by the 12th grade, they will be doing two hours of homework a day. Some experts say two hours a day is way too much and doesn’t leave enough time for the sleep, rest, social time and the exercise healthy teens need.

More Homework doesn’t Mean Brighter Stars

Studies show that students who did more than two hours of homework did not fare any better than those who did two or less. While this is counter-intuitive, it seems like assigning less homework that is focused on areas the student needs to improve on is far more effective. Unfortunately, most teachers have no time to give students individual homework that help them work through the issues they have.

Here one-to-one tutors provide the most effective solution as tutors are able to help students to get through their homework and cover areas that they are having problems with.

While studies show that a reasonable amount of homework did improve test scores for students in high school, it seemed to make little difference to those in elementary school.

Better Learning, Better Life

The trick seems to be a finding a balance. Parents often don’t complain to teachers when their children have too much homework but if you see a negative impact on the performance or happiness of your child or if your child is experiencing anxiety, you need to work with teachers to find an amicable solution.

If homework is a daily struggle, speak with teachers and tutors on how you can motivate your child. Some children have real issues with executive skills like task initiation, time management, organization or staying focused. This can mean that your child actually has a reasonable amount of homework, but they take forever to do it.

If this is the case, find an in-home and online tutor who teaches executive skills so that your child learns to organize their time, prioritize tasks and stay organized. Being able to focus for long periods of time to finish tasks is a great life skill to learn, so persevere and you will soon have an independent learner and no homework hassles!

Pic by the US Department of Agriculture

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