Hey, Mom and Dad. How Much Homework is Too Much?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking. This week we're wondering: When is enough enough when it comes to grade-school homework?

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. We're starting off with a question we posed last week on the Patch Facebook pages:

Class is well under way for students all over the area. What once seemed like a few minutes of simple spelling and math has turned into a couple of hours of complex equations and formulas. So, we want to know:

How much homework is too much for a grade-schooler?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.

April N. I think 10 mins per grade level is acceptable. For a 2nd grader, I would expect 20 mins to be appropriate, 5th grade 50 mins etc... Sometimes it is going to be more, sometimes it is less, but that is a good ballpark, IMO. If there is WAY MORE on a regular basis, I think that would warrant a convo w/ the teacher. — via Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Kelly H. I like April's guidelines. And while I don't like the way Greg said it, I agree with part of his response; a teacher can't really say "this will take 20 minutes for all students." What an "average" student can complete in 20 minutes might take some students much longer. — via Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Olivia P. I used to babysit a girl in Oak Park and we would be up all night most nights doing homework! Give the kids a break! They are in school all day long doing work...I think 2 hours of homework is enough. Anymore than that is too much. — via Oak Park Patch Facebook

Melissa C. School comes first, before sports, but more than an hour at that age is too much. — via Naperville Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Are kids getting too little or too much homework these days? Tell us in the comments. 

A September 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM
It has been proven time and time again that homework serves absolutely no purpose until the high school years. Furthermore, it takes away from family time and downtime, which is much needed by today's children, as they are losing their ability to imaginative play and/or entertain themselves due to having nearly every minute of their day scheduled. The amount of homework assigned is insane ... my daughter is very organized and maintains a straight-A average (always has) but at what cost? Yes, she is involved in other activities (sports, clubs) but the additional (home)work assigned outside of class really is more of a hinderance than help.
Jo Ann McGarry September 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
With high school students getting 3-4 hours of homework a night, I really question what they are doing in school? Is the curriculum really designed that way? Kids are at school for 7 hours of the day, which should be enough time for our educators to teach. It seems like every teacher thinks their class is the most important and that they can give loads of homework every night. These kids have 5-6 classes they are trying to balance. The question really is, if hours of homework every night is the recipe for smart, successful students, then test scores and college preparedness should be skyrocketing! College will be a piece of cake for these kids since they will be in class 3-4 hours a day and will have the rest of the day to complete their homework. Then when they get to the real world and they get a full time job, again, they will think how easy it is because they can leave work and have their evenings free.
S September 25, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I have no problem that grade school kids have a nominal amount of homework every night (20-45 min) including math practice and reading. What I take issue with is the "student projects" that become parent projects. My son got a barely passing grade on a fairytale castle in 2nd grade because I made him do it himself. The day before the castle was due, he pulled used boxes from the garbage and I helped him make paper mache, but he did all the work and painted it himself. It was boxy, ugly brown, poorly constructed with an aluminum foil drawbridge. The little girl who had a bright pink, multi-turreted castle, with glitter and sparkles and pink ponies with festive knights got an A. Hmmmm. How much of that work was done by the 6 yo girl? How much was done by the parents? Arts and crafts projects are fine for those kids who like to do them, but for my son, he would rather go have a root canal. He could have written and acted out a fairy tale, but no, the project was to build a fairytale castle. Oh and all the other projects... Kindergarten was a lepruchaun catcher. In third grade it was an endangered species diorama. In fourth grade it was a to scale historical building with appropriate recycled materials. Ridiculous! What did my son learn doing these projects? He learned to perfect his avoidance and whining skills; leaving mom to prod and push and encourage.


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