Too Much Homework

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I recently had a very long conversation with a parent, of a high school aged child, about the amount of homework he has each night. The parent said that she can’t spend a lot of time with her son, because of the amount of homework he has. She stated that he goes to school for over 7 hours a day, and then comes home and has to complete at least 3 hours of homework. She wanted me to tell his teachers that he has too much homework, but of course, I couldn’t do that.

Most parents understand that each grade usually requires more homework, and the amount of time it takes to complete it is often relative to that grade. Kindergarten children may be required to complete a writing page, or a matching sheet that may take them 10 to 20 minutes, while a high school student may have a couple of pages of Math, Science and English homework each night, that may take two or three hours. Although some schools do not require homework, most public schools do.

Since I knew that this parent was very concerned about the amount of time her child spends on homework, and I knew that I wasn’t having the conversation with the teachers, I offered her a bit of advice. First, I asked her to make sure that the subject is not too difficult for him. If he’s having trouble grasping the concepts, she may want to contact the teacher for tutoring, get a private tutor or consider moving him to a different class. I asked her to make sure that he’s using his time wisely. Although some children are capable of studying with music or other noise, many are distracted by it and it causes them to take longer to complete their homework. She should eliminate any distractions that may be slowing him down. Also, some children talk on the phone, eat a snack, go for a walk or do a host of other things during homework time. She should make sure that he is concentrating on homework and taking breaks only when needed. Finally, I suggested that she check to make sure that there aren’t other opportunities, while he is at school, for him to do his homework. Maybe he can take a study hall class, or attend an after-school program that specializes in homework assistance.

If none of these suggestions offer any relief, and she still believes that her son has too much homework, I suggested that she schedule a meeting with all of his teachers and explain her concern. Often, teachers don’t know how much homework other teachers are giving, and are more than willing to work with students if their load is too great.

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