Homework is a word most children dread hearing. We look at why homework is important, and how much homework children should be doing daily.
Most South African children spend an average of 30-45 minutes a day on homework, which consists primarily of practising what they were taught in class.
While homework can be frustrating for children and parents alike, it does serve an important purpose. Studies have shown that homework improves student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood of attending college.
Why do teachers assign homework?
Each school has its own homework policy in cooperation with teachers, parents, and guardians, under the guiding principles of state or regional education departments. However, there is little or no guideline on how frequently homework should be assigned.
According to research based on teacher interviews, teachers assign homework for various reasons. These include:
To develop and increase learning-related communication between parents and children
To help children become more accountable, self-assured, and disciplined
To practise or review class material
To evaluate children’s comprehension of the lesson and their skills
To teach children fundamental skills such as time management, organisation, task completion, and responsibility
To help children get ready for the next day’s class
How much homework is too much homework?
“The 10-minute rule” is a rule of thumb popular among teachers. The rule suggests that the proper amount of homework is about 10 minutes per day, per grade level. In other words, 10 minutes a day for first graders, 20 minutes a day for second graders, and so on, up to two hours a night for high schoolers.
Researchers have shown that children who devote excessive time to homework have elevated stress levels and physical health issues.
It has also been demonstrated that excessive schoolwork negatively affects students’ social life. This is no surprise to parents who seldom see their children because they are too busy with homework.
Help: My child hates doing homework
Children can get overwhelmed if they have a lot of homework to do. On homework-heavy days, help your child break down the homework into sections. This will help make the work more manageable.
If you are unhappy with the homework assigned to your child, you should contact the school. Your child’s teacher must be informed if your child is experiencing trouble with homework, or if you feel the amount of homework assigned to your child is excessive.