The Homework Debate

The great homework debate is something that all parents with school aged children have experienced. How much is too much? How much is not enough? What is the purpose of homework? Is it to reinforce what was learned in school? Is it to learn new material that wasn't covered in school due to time constraints? You can get a variety of answers to these questions, depending upon who you ask.

Some districts in New Jersey and California have passed regulations limiting week night homework to 10 minutes per grade for all subjects. A third grader would have 30 minutes, a fourth grader would have 40 minutes and so on. This seems fair but I think that middle school and high school students should have more homework.  Maybe the middle school and high school students could have 15 minutes per grade.

I think that homework should be used to reinforce what was learned earlier in the day.  It should give the teacher a clear indication of whether or not the student understands the material.  Almost like a take home quiz.  Homework should be reviewed in class and all questions should be answered.  If a lot of students don't do well on the homework, the teacher should not move on to new material.

It is important to use homework wisely and not just for busy work.  Some teachers are pressured about homework.  I know parents who complain when they think there is too much homework and I know parents who say that there is not enough homework.  I was the recipient of dozens of emails one evening with parents complaining about the kids having too much homework.  I thought the incident was ridiculous!  I little work is not going to kill your kid!

Some parents think that their kid has a lot of homework because it takes them a long time to complete it.  After talking to many parents, I have concluded that part of the issue is time management.  A research assignment should not be attempted the day before its due.  It should be worked on over several days or weeks, depending on the length of the assignment.  Our children have more intense homework assignments than we did when we were their age.  My children were doing research papers in 3rd grade.  Therefore, we need to teach our children time management skills at an early age. 

So parents before you start complaining about too much homework, do your homework to make sure its not a time management issue.


  1. I agree that some homework is good. What I don't agree with is a lot of "busy" homework. Having my 8 year old son write 10 sentences using his spelling words is fine - but having him draw a picture for each sentence is ridiculous and very time consuming. That's TEN pictures. He has math, vocabulary and multiplication facts to memorize as well as a half hour of required reading . He gets home at 4:00. If he has a piano lesson or something else that night he doesn't get to bed until late because he is drawing pictures! This is just one of the assignments he gets regularly that I hate. Have him write the word several times. That will teach him how to spell the word not writing it ONE time and drawing a picture or writing the word in different colors. I think a child needs some time with his/her family and time to be a kid. I have cut out afterschool activities because there is just not enough time for everything. Its sad.

  2. Homework is necessary. Only f being controlled though. By this I mean that parents should keep an eye on their kids concerning this and help them if necessary. However, sometimes it is hard to do, since personally I hardly understand math. In such cases, I use special