A study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy has shown that students in the earlier years of elementary school are getting more homework than education leaders suggest they receive – and sometimes as many as three times the recommended amount.
According to the National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association, teachers should follow the “10-minute rule,” meaning children should receive 10 minutes of homework per grade each night, starting with 10 minutes of homework a night in the first grade, and continuing up to 120 minutes each night at the end of high school. Homework for kindergarten students is not recommended by the two associations.
The study, “The Learning Habit: A Groundbreaking Approach to Homework and Parenting that Helps Our Children Succeed in School and Life,” included a questionnaire filled out by over 1,100 parents of children enrolled in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The results found that first graders had up to three times the amount of homework the associations recommend, with many participating parents reporting their first graders routinely came home with 28 minutes of homework a night, while second graders spent 29 minutes a night on their homework.
In addition, parents reported kindergarten students coming home with 25 minutes of homework each night.
“It is absolutely shocking to me to find out that particularly kindergarten students (who) are not supposed to have any homework at all … are getting as much homework as a third-grader is supposed to get,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the contributing editor of the study and clinical director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.
“Anybody who’s tried to keep a 5-year-old at a table doing homework for 25 minutes after school knows what that’s like. I mean children don’t want to be doing, they want to be out playing, they want to be interacting and that’s what they should be doing. That’s what’s really important.”
Donaldson-Pressman went on to say that the recommendations made by the two associations were done as a result of studies performed on the effects of too much homework and the effects on families when students have too much homework, reports Kelly Wallace for CNN.
“The cost is enormous,” she said. “The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA, but there’s really a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life.”
According to findings from the current study, household stress went up in direct correlation to their confidence in their ability to help their children complete their homework. Arguments concerning homework were found to be 200% more likely to occur in families where both parents did not hold a college degree.
Jessica Lahey, author of “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” suggests that parents leave the details concerning how, when and where homework is completed up to the child, although clear expectations should be made to the child that suggest the homework does need to be completed and in their teacher’s hand on time.