Do your kids have too much homework?

Are your children staying up late to finish projects and assignments? I did a snap poll around the office: “Do your children get too much homework?”

The results were a unanimous Yes!

When I did a bit more digging, it turned out that there are 3 separate issues:

  1. Little ones in Grade 1-5 seem to be carrying the heaviest homework load
  2. There’s a lot of preparation that parents have to do – print this or cut that out – before homework even gets going
  3. With most parents working a full day, homework has to happen in the evening, which cuts down on family time at home.

This is what got me thinking about the subject: a New York City elementary school has decided to stop giving homework! Their idea is to encourage kids to play, spend time with their families and do some learning on their own.

Is it all too much for your child?

Here are some signs that your child might be finding the homework load overwhelming:

  • She can’t do homework independently and needs you to explain everything learned in class that day.
  • He is reliant on you to check and correct his work – a lot.
  • Your child often has meltdowns, crying and emotional outbreaks over homework.
  • It usually takes her twice as long as the teachers say it should.
  • Procrastination. He is always finding excuses and ways to stall doing homework.
  • She develops headaches and colds. Also known as somatic symptoms, these can be a sign that your child is overly stressed.

While that’s good to know, what can I do about it?

Here are some tips on how to help your child manage the homework drill:

  1. Track how long it takes your child to do homework each night for at least a week. If it’s longer than the teacher thinks is necessary, discuss with the teacher.
  2. Approach the teacher as a friend, not an enemy – he or she wants your child to succeed. Find out if there isn’t a way to structure the homework differently, or whether some of it can be done at aftercare.
  3. If your child is battling with a specific subject which slows homework down, extra lessons may be the answer. Instead of turning a battle with maths into a really bad time every night at home, find a tutor.
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Most of all, who even needs a reason to kick a ball around outside with the kids before dinner? How about spending 20 minutes just spend some time just making each other laugh? Balance the homework with life, and it’ll go down easier.