I'm not sure how I felt about doing homework with my kids. I guess it all depended on the circumstances for both me and my four sons. Did I work that day, how many of them had homework, how labor intensive was it going to be... that kind of thing. Also if the homework was math I was instantly less interested on account of my terrible skills. But sometimes, if conditions were perfect, it was kind of nice to reconnect and see what they were up to at school. The issue being that conditions were rarely perfect. And as it turns out, many parents feel their kids get too much homework, according to a recent study, and I totally get it. Especially when you are trying to help out several kids at once.
Office Depot decided to do a survey of more than 1,000 parents at the end of the summer to find out how families felt about doing homework. Whether or not parents were giving their kids a hand with their homework, how frequently it was done, and whether or not parents were able to fully understand the type of work their kids were doing. This research was carried out after a report in April from the National Institute of Mental Health found a dramatic spike in anxiety and depression in kids between the ages of 12 to 17, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Could overwhelming amounts of homework be part of the problem? The answer is, just like most homework, a little complicated.
Around 77 percent of parents surveyed felt their kids were spending an appropriate amount of time doing homework every day, according to the study. For elementary school kids, this works out to be around 39 minutes daily, in junior high it goes up to 50 minutes, and by high school it's just over an hour at 67 minutes per day.
That being said, almost half of parents surveyed would opt their kid out of one homework subject if they had the choice, while 1 in 4 parents would eliminate homework altogether. Perhaps because 4 out of 5 parents who spend an average of 20 minutes helping their kids with their homework every day admitted in the survey that they struggle to understand what they're doing. This is significantly more than the 43 percent of parents who said the same thing when they were surveyed in 2013 by the National Center for Family Literacy, as CBS News affiliate WWMT reported. It seems homework could be getting more difficult.
Natalie Malaszenko, senior vice president of Office Depot eCommerce, explains to Romper via email that while parents' views on how much homework is the correct amount, the research showed they agree that homework, in general, is important.
"Roughly 40 [percent] of parents say their child is assigned more homework than they received as a child and that the difficulty of homework has gotten harder over time," Malaszenko says. "That said, a majority of parents agree that their child receives the right amount of homework and spends an appropriate amount of time completing their homework. Overall, most parents felt that homework is a tool that teaches children life lessons such as time-management skills, work ethic, and interpersonal skills."
There are several countries like Finland, South Korea, and Japan, according to GeekyCamel, that have made the decision to either severely limit the amount of homework students are given every week, or have gotten rid of it completely because they found it wasn't terribly effective. Homework can add to everyone's stress in the household, not just kids, as parents struggle to keep up with helping their kids and also the latest educational technology. Perhaps it's time to reevaluate the way we look at homework, if this new research study is any indication.