Some childhood milestones are guaranteed—potty training, losing teeth, homework—but they’re not always approached in quite the same ways. Yet some things are not absolute and guaranteed. Some children rarely bring home any homework, effortlessly flying through school without the need for parental assistance on spelling words or geography tests. Other children slog home every evening, backpack bulging with everything from math and science worksheets to art and music essays.
Some teachers simply believe in the concept of homework. They believe in parental involvement in students’ learning and reinforcement of important concepts at home. Beyond that, homework is seen as a way to teach organization and responsibility.
Other teachers take a more laissez-faire approach to homework: sometimes it’s necessary, and sometimes it’s not. If their students can get the work done in class—great! If not, it’s homework. If something is sent home as homework, it’s obviously important and warrants help and attention from the parent or caregiver.
There are even those rare teachers who never assign homework. These teachers feel that children should only be held accountable for what is completed at school.
Of course, school cultures vary widely in their beliefs about homework as well. Some schools have definitive homework policies, assigning or limiting certain amounts of homework. In these cases, the school’s policies rather than teacher beliefs drive the amount of homework given.
There are guidelines regarding homework, though. Most experts agree that a child can be reasonably expected to do 10 minutes of homework per grade level. In that line of thinking, a first grader should be expected to have 10 minutes of homework per night, a second grader 20 minutes, a third grader 30 minutes, and so on.
If you find your child has more homework than what’s recommended above, talk to your child’s teacher. It’s possible that your child isn’t making good use of class time or is struggling with new material and concepts. Working with your child’s teacher to find a solution will ensure your child is successful regardless of the teacher’s stance on homework.