How much homework is appropriate for my child?

I have had a couple of conversations with friends and acquaintances about the amount and quality of homework their children receive. 

Those parents who care very much about their children’s education seem overwhelmed about the amount of homework their children receive.

In another article related to the topic, a well-known writer and educator, Michael Levin asks the same question, “Am I The Only Parent Who Thinks Today's Homework Load Is Insane?”

This question has been asked many times before.  And I am very proud that parents ask that question because it demonstrates that they are aware and concerned about what their children are learning at school.  In my opinion, the most important influential aspect of a well-rounded education, is the involvement of parents in the daily activities of their children at school.

Now let us answer that question: How much homework is appropriate? 

Before we answer that question, I want to address the need to know what type of homework should be included in the activities to be done at home.  The activities sent home as homework should be concepts presented during the school day.  If the students for example, were introduced to solving and figuring out the area of a rectangle at school, they should be practicing that concept with homework exercises to reinforce what they learned during the day.  Also, those concepts should be clearly identified as academic standards appropriate for the grade level of the students.  A good school and great teachers will post and disseminate effectively what children will be learning during at specific period of the school year.  Homework assignments should never be busy work for the sake of demonstrating that students have homework at home.

Finally, let us answer the original question; how much homework is appropriate for your child?

In an article published by the National Education Association of the United States, according to the National Parents and Teachers Association, the organization recommends the following guidelines:

No homework for kindergarten children

First Grade       10-20 minutes

Second Grade   20-30 minutes

Third Grade      30-40 minutes

Fourth Grade    40-50 minutes

Fifth Grade       50- 60 minutes

Sixth Grade      60-70 minutes

For grades 7-12 it varies very much because it depends on each subject area and the demands placed by the different schools and districts where you live.

Of course all of these are only suggestions and recommendations.  Schools and teachers should have the versatility for the amount of homework they assign to their students as long as it is well-planned, designed, and it has academic reasons to be.  However, as a parent, I would focus and question more the quality of homework rather than the amount my child is receiving each night.

Written by Arturo Aldana

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