How much is too much? FOX 11 parenting contributor breaks down the homework debate

- The homework debate has been ongoing for decades. But now a letter to parents from a second grade teacher in Texas informing parents of her "no homework" policy has sparked a new discussion.

FOX 11 Parenting Contributor Donna Tetreault spoke to Stanford education expert Denise Pope.

Here's what parents need to know:

-Kindergarten through 4th grade: Homework does not correlate to academic success

-Middle to High School: Homework is useful when used appropriately. There is a correlation to academic performance/success.

-Meaningful Homework (Example: Teacher assigns reading one chapter in "To Kill a Mockingbird" for preparation for the next day's class)

-No more than an hour and a half (middle-high school). Beyond 90 minutes there is no correlation to achievement.

-Individualized homework plans can help bridge the gap.

Recommendations for Parents:

§ Parents should act as cheerleaders and supporters, not homework police. Ideally, the child should be able to do the homework alone, without help from parents. Instead of checking, editing, or doing the work for the student, parents should provide necessary supplies and show an active interest in the content the student is learning, while allowing the teachers to intervene if/when the student fails to do the homework correctly or regularly.

§ When scheduling after school activities, keep in mind your child’s homework load. Students who are over scheduled or exhausted will start homework later at night and will be less efficient. Work with your child to determine a healthy schedule of activities that will allow time to complete homework, work on projects, and study for tests – while still getting adequate sleep and time for play.

§ Recognize that children learn in different ways and have different work styles. Some students can sit and do homework “all at once,” while others need to take frequent breaks. Some kids prefer to sit in quiet spaces, and some may do better with music playing in the background. Discuss with your child the working conditions that will lead to the best homework outcomes.

§ Advocate for healthier homework policies at your school. Encourage educators to work with parents and students together to create effective homework policies. Start by communicating with your own child’s teacher about issues or homework challenges your child is facing.

§ Let children make mistakes and experience “successful failures.” Recognize that a missed or poorly done homework assignment every now and then is not going to hurt your child in the long run. Parents can help students organize their time or prioritize assignments, but when parents regularly deliver forgotten assignments to school or step in to rescue a child at the last minute, they may be denying the child the opportunity to develop resilience and fortitude.

Source: Stanford Graduate School of Education/Challenge Success

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