Are your kids getting too much homework?

Homework is an essential part of learning independent work and self-discipline… and I think that kids are getting far too much of it. Homework should be given out with this specific purpose in mind and not because there is so much schoolwork that it can’t fit in to the school day.

If kids are getting too much, it is your responsibility as a parent to take a stand. Get together with other parents in your child’s class and have something to say about it.  Play, fresh air, fun and down-time are as important to a child’s development as formalised learning and discipline, particularly in the Foundation and Intersen Phases.

This fits in to what I have said before about too many extra murals: Children, like all human beings, need time to be – not busy performing or excelling or proving their worth, just being.

So how much is too much? If you look logically at the typical day of a school child this should become obvious:

6am-7am Waking and getting ready for school

7am-2pm School time

2pm-3pm Sport / extra murals

5pm-7pm Dinner, bathing etc.

7pm-8pm Story time or quiet time

8pm-6am Sleep (children of 7-10 years need around 10-11 hours per night)

This only leaves between 3pm-5pm for homework AND games, TV time, outdoor time, playdates etc. I would say that anything more than around half an hour per day is unreasonable at Primary School level, and certainly not more than an hour.

Look logically at your child’s day and make sure there is always down-time, unscheduled time, time to just be.

Life needs to be in balance and we need to help our kids with this by not overscheduling their time, by taking a stand on homework and by modeling this for our kids by getting enough rest and down-time ourselves.

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Author

Mia Von Scha

Mia Von Scha

Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.

25 Responses

  1. “Homework is an essential part of learning independent work and self-discipline”

    Learning independent work and self-discipline should be happening in the school environment. There should be no real homework at primary school level.

  2. I do not like homework, i have requested from my son's teacher for three consecutive weeks to give the week's homework on a friday, so that we can start with the ones that take long over the weekend, like cutting pictures out of magazines. She signs next to my response, but thats it. I think I'll keep asking, I might just annoy her enough that she gives in.

  3. Wow, I am so moved by all of your comments, and so sorry to hear that so many working parents are spending so much of their valuable time with their kids doing homework instead of just relaxing together and connecting. I'd love to hear some comments from some teachers out there. This has got to change – let the little ones enjoy their childhoods – if they're exposed to this much stress at their young age what kind of workaholics are we creating for the future? As I've said before, we need to make this the year where we stop the glorification of busy! We're all human BEINGS and we need time to be. How about homework this week is to stop and smell the roses!

  4. I have just spoken to someone who printed your article out Mia and has posted it on his fridge, they loved it so much – if only we had a way to reach the schools and teachers about this directly. Any teachers out there who are hearing this?

  5. I'm going to go with yes, my son is getting too much homework! Aside from the fact that he doesn't enjoy most of it and can't see the relevance in a lot of what is required (which I sympathize with) I think the major issue and question this article raises is how do working parents cope with managing homework sessions if they don't have and can't afford au pairs or tutors and government schools aren't required to provide any kind of after school facilities that might provide this if homework itself is considered mandatory? It seems to me the whole system automatically puts people of a certain economic class at greater risk and disadvantage which begs the question what does our constitution mean, what does it matter if the rights of children cannot be realised in real world terms?

  6. Been a working mom is a challenge cause I don't have enough time 2 spend wit my kid n his homewk!bt by da grace of GOD this 2 wil come 2 pass.njoy young parents

  7. I agree, the homework for a grade 2 seven year old is excessive, I matriculated in 2005 and I cant understand some of the homework, and it is measuring length and height#confused#.

  8. My son is in grade 3. Because he is so exhausted by the time he comes homes after extra activities we take about 3 hours with homework. When I spoke to his teachers she says it should not take that long. Is anyone else spending 3 hours on homework in grade 3 or is it just because we are slow and want to get it all right?

  9. Definitely too much. We actually have a day where we need to read a newspapaer article, read a library book and do both Math and English homework for Grade 1. The truth is I end up doing only 2 things with him. The interesting thing is that when I spoke to the teacher, she said this is next to nothing compared to the 2nd term…..which scared me a lot.

    1. Yoh, you read my mind. How a child is made to grasp such an overload of information is beyond me…yes our education needs to be better, but not at the expense of making our kids feel dumb (for lack of a better word).

  10. my child cannot cope with the amount of homework, though I agree its for her own good, its the projects that are too much, we have already submitted three, another two due this month.

    1. I am so with you on that! We haven't even done any orals or projects yet and we are struggling with homework. Matthew often sits for over 3 hours doing homework.

    2. It’s not for her own good. Research shows that primary children should not get homework. School related work should be happening in school. If it isn’t then the schooling system is defective.

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