Hey, Mom and Dad: How Much Homework is Too Much?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking. This week we're wondering: When is enough enough when it comes to grade-school homework?

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. We're starting off with a question we posed last week on the Patch Facebook pages:

Class is well under way for students all over the area. What once seemed like a few minutes of simple spelling and math has turned into a couple of hours of complex equations and formulas. So, we want to know:

How much homework is too much for a grade-schooler?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.

Tracy Weems-Lavizzo: Anything over 2 hourrs worth. My daughter is in sixth grade and she goes to Extra Innings and they do not spend much time on homework. When I pick her up at 6 pm, we are usually working on homework until 8 or 9pm. That's with a break for dinner! —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Laurie Schneider: I don't mind the weeknight homework but don't like when there is a lot of weekend work and/or projects. I feel the weekend is family time. —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Gretchen Miller Sutherland: 10 minutes per grade is a good general guideline. Homework should reinforce what was taught at school and not be too difficult for a child to complete with minimal assistance. Studying is also a very important homework skill that kids need to develop from an early age. —on Chicago Heights Patch Facebook

Sharon Duncan-Cook: no more than 1 hr homwork...30 mins reading...but unfortuntly parents like to blame teachers not realizing that in the society we live in nowadays...if they dont keep teaching back to back for our kids...they will fail...everyday is somthing new....im old school...NO HOMEWRK ON WEEKENDS...thats the time to sleep in....play...read...you can never read to much...church..and family time :) —on Chicago Heights Patch Facebook

Tim Moore: That's a great question. My wife and I were sorta shocked when our oldest was in grade school and started bringing home much more homework than we ever remembered having in school. Of course, the world is a different place now than it was 35 and 40 years ago. I have no problem with an average of 30-60 minutes per night. If it is regularly more than that, it becomes difficult to juggle other commitments and kids have a hard time being kids. School is important, but so is the learning that comes from doing kid stuff. —on Palos Patch Facebook

Inga Balzaras-Rzeszutko: Not enough! And whatever "homework" he does, does not need to be handed in! It is done at home and stays at home- ridiculous!!! And our school doesn't seem to give spelling tests anymore. I'm just scratching my head wondering what exactly they are actively doing in terms of teaching my child. —on Palos Patch Facebook

Mary O'LearyNone would be best. I understand working on occasional projects, but so much of the homework I see is simply busy work. So many hours of school, followed by hours of homework... it's just too much. On behalf of kids and homework-exhausted parents everywhere, please stop already. I like you teachers, but what is the real value in it? —on Beverly-Mt. Greenwood Patch Facebook

Anne Moran LewisMy kids attend a Montessori school...they receive one weekly homework project and one monthly homework project. This idea that kids should have 15-20 minutes of homework per subject is crazy. My older kids routinely had 2-3 hours of homework per night. After a full school day, it was too much. —on Beverly-Mt. Greenwood Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Are kids getting too little or too much homework these days? Tell us in the comments. 

Ann Cerna September 25, 2012 at 01:24 PM
To me teacher are not being teachers anymore. The teachers are letting computers and smartboard give out the work instead of themselves. Its true there are no spelling test, how do they expect the kids to know how a word is spelled or the meaning is . If the child doesnt know they go on like a Special Ed Program Iike Speech. I know the is the age of Technology but come on. If thats the case then built robots to teach the children and there will be no use for human teachers. They can go on strike all they want.
Chronicles of Bob September 25, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Where do you get your info from? My daughter (Palos east) comes home with hand written spelling, definition and math tests everyday. Teachers today are highly educated, under paid (especially at the grade school level) and for the most part excellent at their profession... Students in many private and under funded schools, most of which we see in lower income areas, are getting screwed that there isn't enough special ed programs. I am very surprised that this is an issue? Schools today are expected to reach certain testing levels or face consequences... To many positive and neg issues with that to go over...
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS September 25, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Ann you are really out of touch! Smartboards are just a tool to assist in teaching, but they don't teach by themselves. You make it sound like a smartboard is the equivalent to just popping a educational movie in a VCR....it's not even close!!! Also where did you hear kids don't have spelling tests? Maybe you're thinking of high school/college students. Not sure what exactly bothers you about things like speech. If kids need extra help with anything public schools have the resources to meet those kids at their level at get them the help they need. That's something the private schools can't do because they don't have the resources!
QWERTY September 25, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Actually, there is a program for spelling within the Homewood district called Sitton Spelling. It's different than our old school days of drill the words and write them 500 times and then take the test on Friday. They do get tested on them, just not in the way you are used to. http://www.slideshare.net/mssstevens/sitton-spelling In regards to the article, I'd say it all depends on the student. What takes one of my kids 5 minutes to do may take the other 15-20 minutes.
Mom Oftwo September 25, 2012 at 09:59 PM
10 minutes per grade is good, plus extra reading. Nothing on weekends. When my son was in fourth grade, he had at least 4 hours a night. The teacher didn't believe me, so I would make him do his homework in the kitchen so I could be sure he "wasn't goofing around" and I would write down the start and stop time. Most other years were fine until high school. Those teachers each think that is the only class the student has, and they feel free to pile it on. And there is spelling, just not with the old workbook. It is a list of words tied to whatever stories they are reading.
Denice September 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I don't have any children, but I have noticed that the majority of the high school students that catch the bus on the corner near my home seldom have books or a book bag. Strange.
Annie September 26, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Hey Denice, it's called computers. You might want to check them out! They're pretty neat!
Billable Hours September 26, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Is it a Pace bus on a weekend?
Mary Carumba September 26, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Teachers highly educated and under paid? I don't think so sweetheart. Over paid and unable to get intto med or law school or enginerring school, but definitely not highly educated. A bachelors in education is as low as yuo can get on the academic meter.
Mary Carumba September 26, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Annie, I wish I were a genius like you.
Mary Carumba September 26, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Sounds like your kids don't do all of thier home work. You need to make sure they spend more than 5 minutes on it.
Chronicles of Bob September 26, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Ha... now thats funny
Dr. Nguyen Van Falk September 26, 2012 at 02:15 AM
So, you blame the teachers for you not understanding punctuation, verb tense and how to properly research a subject?
Bono Hates Country September 26, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Don't forget, improper capitalization.
Dr. Nguyen Van Falk September 26, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Thank you, Bono. By "Country," I assume you are referring to country music, which I also hate.
Chronicles of Bob September 26, 2012 at 03:15 AM
That's impossible to hate country... sort a republican thing to say... i think the doctor is drunk.
Bono Hates Country September 26, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Country music sucks!
Dr. Nguyen Van Falk September 26, 2012 at 03:23 AM
If Bono says it sucks, then the discussion is over.
Chronicles of Bob September 26, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Cant really argue with that logic...
QWERTY September 26, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Wow Mary, that is a very ignorant comment to make. FYI...one of my kids is special needs so everything with him takes extra time. My other kid does her homework and doesn't need much assistance. I make sure their homework is complete, accurate, and we go over any mistakes. Guess again, I'm sure you'll be wrong.
R Gibbons September 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Thank you "Chronicles of Bob"!! You are enlightened and enlightening to those who choose not to learn or reflect on these realities. It is amazing how many children are diagnosed with learning and behavioral disabilities requiring the need for Special Ed teachers (which requires much more than a Bachelors Degree, Mary).
R Gibbons September 28, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Sounds like Mary needs to check out the Homewood district program.
scouter October 12, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I find that children should NOT have more than an hour a night. For math, I would like to see a sampling of everything they learned - not 30 of the same type of problem. If they can't get it right in the first 5, they won't get it right and will need to have help. Up to 10 words of spelling, with a sentence or a definition is ok - not both - too much on top of the rest. And there is no NEED to re-write the history books. Answer the questions but do not re-write the whole book. High School teachers should not pile on 'busy' work either. A project a week or some homework a night is reasonable, but no need to re-write the whole book or chapter EVERY night. And middle school and high school teachers need to communicate with each other on the work load. Lack of respect for the kids time is no reason to add more work. College students - a reasonable amount is expected, but, again - no need to re-write the book or do 30 of the same type of problems. IF they don't get it in 5 problems, they are not going to get it....


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