How much homework is appropriate?
This is a question that certainly depends on who you ask. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators all have different views on this issue. Students may feel that there is too much. Administrators may feel that there is not enough. The most commonly accepted standard for homework amount is called the “10-minute rule.” This states that students should get 10 minutes of homework in 1st grade, 20 minutes of homework in 2nd grade, 30 minutes in 3rd grade and so on. 2 hours of homework in high school would be the maximum amount of homework time. The “10 minute rule” is recognized by the National Parent Teachers Association. Of course, this is meant to be a general guideline. Students work at different paces and some are simply faster than others, but the rule gives a fairly good idea of what is to be expected.
Usually, the main aim of a homework assignment is to allow students to put into practice what they leaned in class; it’s their chance to try it on their own. This is certainly an important piece of your child’s education. Much of class time is spent introducing new concepts, so home is a good place to practice and put those concepts to use.
As a former 4th grade teacher, I understand the importance of homework, but it is also important that homework does not create frustration in students. If a child applies him or herself, the assigned work should be manageable.
Is your child’s homework just too time consuming?
If so, first see if they are working efficiently. Take a few nights and monitor their productivity and work habits. If they are repeatedly off task or distracted, this issue should be tackled. Work together with your child to create good work habits. Put your child in a “safe” place with no distractions. Television (even if it is only within ear-shot) can be a real interference.
If a child is working efficiently and homework time is much longer than appropriate, perhaps the workload is to blame. It’s okay to talk to the teacher about this. Bring it up in a way that in non-confrontational. Perhaps ask how long he or she expects students to be working on their homework. Give an accurate report of how long homework is taking at home and explain your concerns (such as the overbearing nature of the work getting in the way of learning).
It can also help to talk to other parents in your child’s class. It’s not advised to directly compare your child with others, but getting some input on the homework time of others can help inform you. If you find that many other students are spending too much time working at home, it may be an appropriate issue to bring up to the PTA.
Creative Commons-licensed photo provided by spiritinme.
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