Homework was always meant to be supplemental to what's learned in school. But it seems like the workload has grown exponentially, and to the possible detriment of our children. Hell, even elementary school students receive take-home assignments and hefty work packets on an almost daily basis. It varies from classroom to classroom, to be sure, but homework seems to be more common than not. Which begs the question, how much homework is too much? And, perhaps, more importantly, what do elementary school students think about their own homework load? Is it as cumbersome as some of us parents believe it to be, or is it actually manageable and, perhaps, even fun?
My son is in preschool, and currently doesn't receive any homework. He did have one take-home project assigned — an all-about-you kind of assignment — that was, admittedly, extremely fun to work on together. The project didn't have a hard deadline, so there was plenty of time to work on it, and it was essentially open to interpretation, so every child in his class turned in something unique and different. In other words, it was great, but I know this assignment wasn't indicitive of homework assignments to come.
According to a 2007 Metlife study, 45 percent of students in grades three to 12 spend more than an hour a night doing homework. The same study found that six percent of students spend at least three hours a night doing homework. I’ve had friends share that their kindergarteners come home with 10-page packets for homework each night. Shouldn’t kids get to play more, discover more, and learn more in organic, hands-on ways? I thought I’d act some actual students what they thought about their homework load, and their answers, honestly, weren't too surprising:
Elliott, 5th Grade
“It's terrible and a waste of time. It doesn't feel necessary. We spend almost half our our waking ours at school. So it doesn't seem necessary that you spend more than half your day again just learning. My homework is long. There's a lot of it. It requires time that you might not have. I'd say it'd be more convenient if it were on computer versus worksheets, but I understand not everyone has access to a computer or internet.”
Sophie, 3rd Grade
“Math should be harder, but I get it done fast so it should maybe stay the same. Literacy packet is too long and I don’t like the reading log.”
“It’s a little too much.”
Auva, 6th Grade
Cece, 3rd grade
“I guess it’s OK, but I don’t like to do it.”
“I like it, but I don’t like it at the same time. We have too much.”
“I like homework because I get to do math and writing, but it takes too long.”
Gina, 3rd Grade
Kaitlin, 3rd Grade
"Homework is boring and it's just what we do in math in school."
Anjelyna, 4th Grade
“I honestly don’t like my reading homework. I love my math, that’s why I ask for more math work. But it’s OK, I don’t think it’s a lot."
Michael, 3rd Grade
“I really don’t care. It’s just for fun, so I don’t get bored, but I always do it."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.