As school swings back into session, children and parents alike are often dreading the inevitable burden of homework. How do you know if your child has too much homework? And more importantly, how can you help?
According to the National Education Association (NEA), “Homework usually falls into one of three categories: practice, preparation, or extension.” Work that’s given to students to complete at home is usually designed to help them master rote facts, get them ready for what they will be working on next or reinforce concepts they’re learning in the classroom. There are many conflicting opinions on the value of homework, especially in younger students, but no matter where you fall on the “Is homework worthwhile?” debate, your child will most likely have some.
Based on academic research, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) recommends 10-20 minutes per night and an additional 10 minutes for every grade level. Students start with 10-20 minutes in first grade and can work their way up to around two hours by the time they reach 12th grade. However, according to The American Journal of Family Therapy, many students reported receiving three times homework as much as the recommended guidelines. While workloads will vary depending on the school and student, homework can be a source of stress for parents and kids.
How Can You Help Your Child?
Are they using their time wisely? First, it’s important to pay attention to exactly how your child is spending homework time. If your child is procrastinating a 10-minute assignment for 20 minutes, then the problem isn’t with the assignment, but time management.
Are they managing multiple or long-term assignments? Older students often have work in several subjects or projects designed to be completed over time. Often, students can have trouble managing multiple deliverables, so helping them prioritize their work and setting aside a dedicated time to work on long-term assignments each day can help them from feeling overloaded.
Do they understand? The assignments should be relative to what they’re learning in the classroom, so if your child truly doesn’t understand the task, it may be an indication they need additional help. If your child is frustrated because they truly don’t understand the work assigned, it may be time to speak to the teacher to determine if there’s a larger problem.
While the amount and intensity may vary, homework is a reality for most students. Helping your child establish good routines and continually checking in can help minimize the stress associated with assignments. If you feel like your child’s workload is truly excessive, scheduling an appointment to speak with their teacher or school guidance counselor would be the first step.