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Homework: How Much is Too Much?

Updated on December 1, 2014

A common-sense look inside our kids' backpacks

In grade school, I didn't carry a backpack. Nor did any of my friends. If the 3:00 bell rang and we weren't done with our math problems, we'd just shove the sheet of notebook paper into the textbook and carry it home. Maybe we'd have a social studies book to take, too, once in a while. But never anything that couldn't be toted in two skinny arms.

Fast forward to the 21st century. My kids--now teens--came home from school, starting around 3rd grade (and in one son's case, more like 2nd), with backpacks half as heavy as they were. They worked weekends, sometimes even over breaks. They pushed through & got it done--but at what cost?

On this page I'll explore homework volume: what experts say, how parents feel, and how homework fits into a healthy, balanced life for today's kids.

(photo: lovelihood cc ~ cropped for shape)

Parent poll!

How much homework do your kids do during the school year?

See results

Moderation: the research-based approach

Duke University's Harris Cooper PhD is the nation's leading homework expert, having analyzed four decades of studies on the relationship between homework and achievement. Based on his meta-analysis (or study of studies), he recommends the "10-minute rule": about 10 minutes per day of homework per grade level. So a first grader would do 10 minutes, a second grader 20 minutes, and so on--up to a maximum of 2 hours for high school students.

In moderation, homework can boost achievement, but too much of it is actually correlated with lower grades and test scores, Cooper reports.

Luckily, the research-supported 10-minute rule and 2-hour maximum provide a simple structure for schools and teachers as they manage homework and communicate with parents.

For school districts that have homework policies, says Cooper, the majority rely on the 10-minute rule. Unfortunately, many schools lack policies, and even the ones that have them may not adhere consistently. In these cases, kids lose out.

How homework got its groove back

Part of the reason I had so much less homework than my kids may be that attitudes about homework tend to swing back and forth on a pendulum, and most of my schooling took place during the relatively laid-back 1970s. I was a junior in high school when the government, under President Ronald Reagan, issued what would be become a famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) cold-war-era report, 1983's "A Nation at Risk". It warned of a "rising tide of mediocrity" in US education and kickstarted reform at the local, state, and federal levels. How successful the reform measures ultimately were depends, again, on your point of view. But experts like Cooper cite "A Nation at Risk" as a force in validating homework as an essential pursuit for schoolkids.

Backpack too big?

Calculate safe backpack weight here, or read backpack safety recommendations from Children's Hospital Boston.

Less is more?

While not all research supports this, some critics argue that kids today are doing much more homework than previous generations did. (It certainly rings true for our family.)

In The Case Against Homework, Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish lay out the risks of too much homework, from escalating childhood obesity to family stress, and offer advocacy strategies for parents to use with teachers and administrators.

In The Homework Myth, Alfie Kohn argues that too much homework steals family time, kills creativity and burns kids out on school.

Talking to your child's teacher about homework

I come from a family full of teachers and have the utmost respect for people who devote their careers to teaching. It's not always easy to talk to teachers about a problem. None of us wants to be seen as the dreaded helicopter parent, trying to smooth over every bump in our kid's path. But having this discussion is a legitimate investment in long-term health and development.

Most teachers are concerned, legitimately, with preparing kids for the next grade. As parents, we have to be concerned with preparing them for life.

Here are a few things I've learned over the years...usually the hard way!

Find out about homework expectations early on.

Many teachers will cover this at parent night or open house in the beginning of the year. If your child's doesn't, call or email to ask him or her: About how much homework per night will students be expected to do? Will there be weekend homework, and if so, how much? What about over school breaks? And what is his or her vision of parent support--should parents be helping significantly with homework? Moderately? Not at all? Listen well and take notes if necessary, in case you need to call on this information later.

If the teacher's expectation departs significantly from the research-supported 10-minute-per-grade-level guideline, respectfully ask why.

Maybe he or she hasn't seen the research and doesn't know that too much homework can impede learning and achievement. Be confident and have the conversation. Stay respectful and stay positive. You don't want to undermine the teacher's authority, but you do want to be an involved partner and collaborator in your child's education. Good teachers will welcome this.

Build a relationship with the teacher.

You don't want the first piece of feedback he or she gets from you to be a complaint. Give sincere compliments and say thanks when things are going well, when your child is thriving, or if you just really liked an assignment or activity the teacher came up with.

If homework becomes stressful, bring it up sooner rather than later. The reason some teachers think we parents are all nuts is that we say nothing until a situation has hit crisis level, then (out of the blue, it seems to the unsuspecting teacher) we blow up. Don't wait until your child is up half the night or having nuclear meltdowns over homework. Talk to the teacher at the first signs of stress.

Keep a time log.

If it seems like your child is doing too much homework, grab a notebook and document it carefully for a week or so. Make sure the time you log is time your kid was truly working--not staring out the window, texting her friends, snacking, etc. Some kids disappear for 3 hours with their homework, but 2.5 of those hours are spent goofing off. Hey, if it works, no problem--but you can only log those 30 minutes of nose to the grindstone.

Share your log data with the teacher and ask for help.

Respectfully point out the discrepancy between the teacher's stated expectations and the amount of work your child is doing. Ask how to modify the assignments so that (s)he is doing the teacher's expected amount. Sometimes this is as simple as eliminating the odd-numbered math problems or writing a two-page instead of a three-page essay. Other times it may be more complicated, but stay focused. If you don't advocate for your kid, who will? And the more parents who speak up, the more likely the teacher will be to listen--and potentially adjust his or demands, for the benefit of all students.

If the teacher pushes responsibility back to you or your child, stay firm.

He or she may ask if you're providing a quiet space for homework, a healthy snack, an opportunity to get help from you or another adult (or older sibling) as needed. If you're doing all these things, say so emphatically, and don't let go until the teacher has agreed to modify workload.

Talk to other parents.

Chances are, yours is not the only family struggling with this issue. But it can feel that way if nobody's saying anything, for fear their kids will seem somehow inadequate. Parent communication = parent power = a shot at making a difference!

Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs
Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs
Here's a book for parents but also (mainly?) educators -- examining both sides of the homework debate and emphasizing quality of assignments for today's students.

Is a homework opt-out policy the answer? Join the conversation.

What could kids do with more free time?


Experts say kids need 60 minutes per day of mild to moderate exercise. Exercise fights obesity and the many serious health problems that accompany it, boosts focus and concentration, and can even ward off depression.


Adequate sleep promotes immune function and maintains mood. Plus, chronic sleep deficits can look exactly like ADHD. Swapping out sleep for schoolwork can, ironically, make it harder for kids to learn and perform the next day in class.

Help Others

Homework is hard work, but it's self-directed--in other words, it's generally aimed at a better grade, a higher test score, or some other tangible accomplishment that benefits (ostensibly) the student. This is fine, but it should be balanced with efforts that are other-directed, from household chores that benefit the family to formal and informal service opportunities. A healthy kid helps himself and others.

Read for Pleasure

It's hard to imagine a more enriching experience. This is what kids did for fun, before TV and videogames! Reading sparks imagination, builds empathy, and allows kids to explore worlds other than their own. And when it comes to building spelling and vocab skills, it blows tests and worksheets out of the water.


Who first said "a child's work is play?" One smart cookie. Children are naturally wired for play and derive so much from it, from motor skills to conflict resolution. Kids should work hard but play hard, too.

Sample homework policy

An excerpted school district policy

As a district we have embraced a continuous improvement model as our strategy for meeting our goal of academic excellence. Homework plays in integral role in this process. The Board encourages students, parents, guardians, and staff to view homework as an important part of a student's daily life.

The Board expects staff to be knowledgeable about effective uses of homework. As needed, teachers may receive training in designing relevant, challenging, and meaningful homework assignments that reinforce classroom and district learning objectives.

The board believes that because different children work at different paces, the amount of time spent on homework is not necessarily a good measure of the appropriateness of the homework. As a general guideline, parents should expect an average of 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night (see table), keeping in mind that different students may take slightly more or less time to complete assignments.

Homework Guideline

[Average Nightly Homework by Grade]

K-- Occasional short homework

1--10 minutes

2-- 20 minutes

3-- 30 minutes

4--40 minutes

5-- 50 minutes

6-- 60 minutes

7-- 70 minutes

8--80 minutes

For the most part, children should be able to complete homework independently. Homework for younger children (Kindergarten and 1st grade) may be a partnership activity between children and parents as needed. As students progress through the grades, homework should become a more independent endeavor. When a student sees multiple teachers during the school day, the Board expects teacher coordination with regard to student work load.

In addition to regular nightly homework, parents should expect regular reading assignments each week. Teachers should take into account the time needed for nightly reading when assigning homework. Courses such as band, choir, and honor classes may also require time beyond that indicated above.

If a parent or guardian feels that homework is not serving their student's learning, the Board encourages the parent to confer with the teacher. Issues falling in this realm may include, but are not limited to, time spent on homework and amount and/or type of homework. During the conference, the teacher and parent may determine whether adjustments are appropriate. If issues are not resolved with the teacher, the parent is encouraged to meet with the principal.

Source: Mountain View, Calif., school district website

For teachers only:

Your take on homework?

Keep 'em keepin' on....

There's always a holiday break or day off coming up, right? These are the labels we stick on our older son's wall calendar, so that when he's exhausted, he can look for that little gold emblem: no school! It's reassuring to see at least one or two of these every month.

Fun for teachers' personal calendars, too -- as presumably they also look forward to breaks :)

Most books, articles, blogs on homework focus on parents' perspectives and/or recommendations from researchers. Teachers voices aren't heard as much. Here's a chance to share your thoughts and experiences on the subject of homework volume. Does more homework mean more learning? How much do you typically assign? Does moderation, based on Harris Cooper's meta-analysis, make sense to you? Why or why not? Does your school's homework policy--if there is one--match your own feelings about what's best for kids?


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    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 

      6 years ago

      i personally found that having good communication with teacher pertaining kid's homework is quite important

    • NibsyNell profile image


      6 years ago

      My opinion is that children get set waaaayy too much homework. I've known kids as young as 12 have full-blown nervous breakdowns over it. The one size fits all curriculum at school during the day is bad enough but then being forced to spend the entire evening doing one size fits all homework assignments just pushes it too far for many children. I know I'm certainly less stressed now as an adult than I was when I was a child.

    • MarthaBuckly profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for this share, I am going to buy few books you suggest. I wish all parents could read your article

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Chicago area

      @Cynthia Haltom: But in the early grades, why couldn't lots of reading aloud together--for pleasure, not a log or worksheet--serve this same purpose? This plus some moderate math practice each day should be enough for young kids. But it's great to have diverse perspectives here, so thanks for commenting!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      7 years ago from Diamondhead

      I believe that children need to do homework and need to have parental involvement while doing it. Many children benefit from the personal interaction of their parents and creates an atmosphere that learning in important.

    • JacobEssayUK LM profile image

      JacobEssayUK LM 

      7 years ago

      Great post - Kids are the future and they should be treated as such :)

    • beaworkathomemom profile image


      7 years ago

      A lot of great insights. Surely going to be a great help. Blessed!

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: that's where an opt-out policy comes in:

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I believe that the primary problem with homework is that it supplants parental authority. If teachers gave homework with the understanding that parents had the final say about what happens in their home, they would be more thoughtful about what homework they gave.

    • kuadal profile image


      7 years ago

      awesome lens and deep sharing . thx for this information nice topic

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have 2 children, 18 (college freshman) and 13 (8th grade). I was frustrated with the amount of homework and summer work that my 18 year old had on her way through grades 7 - 12, as an honors and AP student. I felt she worked very hard and had a tremendous amount of homework throughout the year, only to find that the summer work increased each summer. The work certainly cut into the time for enjoyable/elective reading, not to mention family time and it also added stress with deadlines always looming. My husband and I actually had her drop one of her AP courses for her senior year when the advisor and teacher refused to budge on the weekly due dates for summer work. As it turned out, we were not the only ones and by the time September came, the class with 9 students was now down to 3 (but hey, the school could still say that they offered that AP course and this school's policy is that if you take the AP course you are REQUIRED to take the AP test so that they can say __% of students enrolled in the class received a ____ or higher.)

      The summer after her senior year (with no summer work) was the best summer since 6th grade. Interestingly, she watched her sister do her summer work in preparation for 8th grade and couldn't believe how much she had. It had increased substantially from when she was in 8th grade! I understand that we want to keep their minds busy, but what I do not understand is why all of these "A" students who work all school year long to prove themselves with challenging courses and maintain their status on the honor roll and strive for top 10% or higher in the class....why do we risk burning them out. My daughter had never been so ready and rested to start school as she was for college. She had had time to read the books she wanted, go to some museums of her choice, some art exhibits, vacation without bringing books or a computer and to just hang with friends without feeling guilty. I really think that we have gone overboard with summer work, at least in our district. I think we would find that the students would be much more eager to start if they had had more time for themselves and fewer scholastic deadlines during the summer. Regarding my 8th grader, we took the advice of some people who say....just say no to the work when it gets to be too much. Well, we told her to write one of the Englsh papers, but not get stressed about it and just do what was asked. The grades for the students ranged from B+ to F and it counts as a TEST grade on the first marking period. They may not call it year round school, but that is what it has come down to. By the way, the weekly assignments do not get graded during the get them back weeks later after school has already started! Oh, and the "hit the ground running" philosophy for all of the work......not really....nothing is graded when school starts and the kids are still starting from scratch...figuring out what the teachers want.

      I am glad I am not a teenager in today's world and as a parent it saddens me to watch the rigorous schedules that these kids keep in order to "keep up." I think educators AND parents need to take a hard look at what is going on. Don't blame it all on TV and video games. Oh....and that "10 minute per grade rule"...all the teachers preach that at back-to-school night, but has anyone told them that that is supposed to be cummulative....not per class. My girls have spent HOURS doing homework with bedtimes past midnight. I wish I could say it was because they were inefficient or slow workers, but that is far from the truth. When I talk to my friends about it, their kids are going through the same thing....private or public seems to be a problem and each school district is trying to score better than the next so their schools get a good "ranking." Have we lost sight of what is best for the students in efforts to boost rankings? The kids that are being given the most work are the ones who are the self-starters and the achievers.....I wonder what they would discover on their own during the summer if given more time AND I wonder how much more genuinely eager they would be in September, if they had had a break from deadlines? Seems you can spin statistics many ways, but what is happening in real life and what aren't they learning during the time spent on "summer work" that they could be learning outside of a book......

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My children were home schooled, so they could go on their own pace. It was the best of both worlds. They had every weekend off. They got the education they needed.

    • earthybirthymum profile image


      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I think kids get way too much homework, I actually believe they shouldn't have any. A child spends 6+ hours in school a day, IMO homework fosters the desire to have kids ready and willing to work their jobs outside of JOB hours (leading to workaholics who bring work home at the end of the day, weekends and holidays). We homeschool, I don't assign the kids more work when our day is done.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Chicago area

      @chft55 lm: I agree some math practice is important for automatizing skills. Math unit exams are also much, much easier when you've practiced skills thru regular homework. (My 15 y.o. almost never has to "study" for math tests because he keeps up with the HW, and that's enough to master the material.) Nightly math work that goes beyond 60 minutes seems excessive, though. Really, 30 mins. of math should be enough for most teens, considering how many other HW-heavy classes you have to contend with. Thanks for your input!

    • chft55 lm profile image

      chft55 lm 

      7 years ago

      As a highschooler, I can say that homework in math classes is not a terrible thing because it reinforces the new material from class and ensures that the student understands that type of question. But teachers often assign homework for no reason other than that they think they should, which is a lose-lose because the kids have to do it, and then the teachers have to waser their time reading it. I don't know how it should be regulated, but I shouldn't be spending 3 hours or so on homework a night.

    • ccsonian profile image


      7 years ago

      My son just finished first. We spent an average of half an hour every day after school working on homework. Going over things he should have picked up in class. It is ridiculous. He won a homework award at the end of the year. It is half mine! :)

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens...very good...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There are so many things and habits that you learn doing homework that simply can not be learned in class. Neither of my two kids were held responsible for their homework and they both suffered for it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      In 10th grade It took me 7 hours to do homework because teachers wouldn't lecture and ACTUALLY TEACH! I also had to teach myself, because Budget Cuts in California, and some teachers were horrible. It makes stress, and not to mention no fun. They make it sound like we are supposed to have "fun" studying and doing homework. WOW!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is one reason I love homeschooling. Any work she does outside of what I call our school day is of her own choosing. There are times when she procrastinates though and does do what should have been done during the day in the evening, but that is totally different than homework sent home from school.

      They are at school for 8 hours or so...why should they have to bring anything home??

    • dahlia369 profile image


      8 years ago

      I always believed that education should allow a lot more personal choices on what to research/learn about - to the students - than it does right now.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Finland is the reigning education superpower and has one of the most effective education system and they don't give any homework so I guess they've proven that homework is not really a necessity.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Chicago area

      @AnimalHouse: I need to learn more about Finland; have heard good things about their ed. system for a long time.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      8 years ago

      Excellent discussion here. I appreciate it, as a fifth grade public school teacher. "Squid Angel blessed."

    • Rangoon House profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Oooh - I wish there was a ten minute rule at our school. It is more like about three hours!

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Chicago area

      @tvyps: thank you so much for the blessing!! happy leap day back atcha!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I hated homework, as do most kids. I did have some teachers that would not give homework. They said that if you can't do it in the class, you don't need to do it at home. I remember the math equations, ARGGHHH!! Squid Angel blessed and Happy Leap Day!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      when i was in elementary school, i had hours upon hours of homework a night. I think they need to get rid of all homework!

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 

      8 years ago

      Thought provoking to say the least. I truly enjoyed reading through this lens.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: that's what ticks me off -- you (student) shouldn't have to be presenting sleep studies. ADULTS (parents & teachers) should be looking at those, and acting accordingly. I feel adults have been "asleep at the wheel" about this important health issue for ages now. time to wake up! thanks for sharing your story.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      As a student myself, even the ten minute rule seems too much for me. Seems like my teachers follow it to the T, but instead of total amount of homework adding up to two hours, it's each class. I'm in honors classes, and involved heavily in an out of school sport (I have to miss half of a day of school every other month, on average, to preform at an elementary school promoting physical fitness and a healthy heart). Most of my teachers know about my sport and understand my situation, so they regard me more as a Varsity athlete than anything else.

      The problem is, since my sport is out of school, I cannot get PE credit and my homework time is severely constricted to an hour and a half after school (And what kid wants to come home from eight hours of school to more school?) and at most two hours from 9-11. That's not enough - I'm deprived of sleep and have nearly fallen asleep several times this year. But what can I say? "Sorry, I didn't complete the assignment because my sleep schedule interfered. Here are the studies to back me up"? They'd laugh in my face.

      Forget the ten-minute rule. Throw it out the window. Success in school isn't about homework or class size - it's about parental expectations and how much they care and involve themselves. Students - especially those in honors classes - deserve their own say in this issue.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well I am a teacher and I give my students just enough homework that I know they will finish on time. If you want to do well on a test or exam please be sure to check out my lens. Thanks.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Chicago area

      @evelynsaenz1: well said! sending them to school ready to learn should be a top priority for parents, but that becomes hard on the heavier homework nights when they don't get to recharge. sleep is also the time when we process info from the day & store it into long-term memory ... so you can bet that chronically sleep-deprived kids aren't doing much real learning. we've definitely sacrificed some As for sleep, but not all families are willing to do that. so the "treadmill" keeps on rolling....

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      8 years ago from Royalton

      Excellent lens. I have been a mom, teacher and after school homework teacher. Kids are doing way too much homework. They need time to play, interact with friends, help out at home, exercise, enjoy life, read a book of their own choosing, draw, etc. Children need time to relax so that they can go back to school refreshed and ready to learn again.

      Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • studyaids profile image

      Steve Jones 

      8 years ago from Birmingham UK

      A truly useful and informative lens indeed. Thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My son attended private Montessori school for 5 years, 8 hours per day. I asked about homework early on because he had none. The response: If the child knows how to do the lesson, there is no need for the homework; if the child doesn't know the lesson, he can't do the homework correctly without being taught -- which is what we do in the school day. I totally agreed with that answer.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I loved this lens! I too have teens and tweens so I understand the struggles of heavy backpacks and loads of homework. Not only do you offer great chances for readers to voice their opinions, you are making sure they do so informed. I also like that any money made from this lens is going to a children's organization. :) Another great lens and on a topic that hits home for many people!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Would love to drop my comments on your lens after reading your lens.Nice

    • bbsoulful2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens -- lensrolling to my school leadership pages (see Reflection & Action Planning for School Teams).

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      9 years ago

      Excellent lens on school age kids and how much homework they should be doing. many thanks!

    • Philippians468 profile image


      9 years ago

      indeed there will always be the tension between persevering a little longer and resting for a longer journey ahead! i believe the answer lies in good time management! great lens! cheers

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chicago area

      @Heard_Zazzle: That approach (in your first paragraph) is great & helps everyone. I don't know why more teachers don't use it! Makes so much sense.

      We have EXACTLY the problems you did with backpacks, lockers & 3-minute passing periods. I hope textbook companies get on board with the Kindle or other e-reader soon, to at least hack away at the problem of giant, heavy textbooks for every class.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great topic!

      We've had a few math teachers say, "work on your math homework for no longer than x time. If you are not done, have your parent sign off that you worked that long, and then stop". This helped the student and teacher manage how much time was spent on homework for a given subject, and also gave an indication of how well the student understood the subject matter.

      My gripe - My kids carried backpacks that were far too heavy. The school purchased really skinny lockers that couldn't fit full backpacks and coats. Also, the kids weren't give enough time to travel from classroom to locker to the next class. Often, they had to go up or down 3 floors, and to the other side of a large school. All within three minutes. Each class required a textbook each day. Our kids were carrying bulging backpacks all over school, and lugging books home for every subject every day. Ridiculous!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA+++++++++++++++. Nice Squid Lens. Chris

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am afraid, there is so much of homework that the kids are losing on other important aspects of life. My daughter gets load of home work in Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Computer Science. There is no co-ordination between the subject teachers, each of them makes sure that the kid is overflowing with the burden of home assignments. I wonder why they can't cover the portions in school. Then, there is traveling time ~ 1 to 2 hours for kid staying far away from the school. The child hardly has any time for herself. This is ridiculous. Thanks for bringing this subject into focus.

      Congrats on the Purple star.

    • choosehappy profile image


      9 years ago from US

      "Lucky Leprechaun Blessings" from a SquidAngel. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      9 years ago

      My daughter does at least an hour of homework every day (she's 8). For the summer vacation we had to buy a book (through the school) with homework they had to hand in when school started again.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chicago area

      @best-intentions: UGH! How many ADULTS even work a 12+ hour day all week? Very few. And these are kids. I'm glad you're going to save your youngest from this lunacy, but at the same time, I can't help but feel you shouldn't be forced into that decision by irrational & unhealthy school policy with no basis in research on what actually boosts achievement. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • best-intentions profile image


      9 years ago

      My kids backpacks weigh in at between 30 and 40 pounds. The amount of homework they have is utterly ridiculous. We can't even go anywhere on a school night, at all. Our routine is kids come home, have snack, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, take showers, do more homework, go to bed and read (homework... an hour every night, minimum), sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. It makes me wonder what they are doing during the seven hours they're actually at school! The school policy is no more than sixty minutes of homework per evening, per class. With six classes a day, that puts the kids at around 12-14 hours of classes and homework, every weekday! We are planning on homeschooling our youngest. I have had it with the nonsense!

    • Kenken99 LM profile image

      Kenken99 LM 

      9 years ago

      Awesome! Homework is eating away my free-time. When there are major assessments, it's always a lot longer than the 10 minute rule.

    • pcgamehardware profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens and topic.

      Me and my wife talk almost everyday about the amount of homework our kids have to bring home and this lens is very useful to us...

      Thanks for sharing this very informative lens.

      A Like, A Share and A Lensroll with the Cat's Eyes and the Reptile's Eyes Classroom Kids Games

    • MamaRuth profile image


      9 years ago

      As a National Board certified teacher(with 34 years of experience working with 7th and 8th graders) I especially like the comments you made about the need to talk to your child's teacher about homework difficulties. I teach over 100 students a day. Often it is information from parents about a child's homework or test preparation problems that lets me know that I need to do something to help that child. This may be adjusting assignment length or scaffolding the assignments differently (providing more support). Most teachers welcome this kind of input from parents if it is approached in the way you suggest. Thanks.

    • hotbrain profile image


      9 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      This is a really important topic. I'm glad that you took the time to write about it here on Squidoo! Angel blessed :)

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 

      9 years ago from USA

      When my daughter was in 3rd grade and homework was running 90 minutes long, I wrote the teacher a note on any assignments not completed within 40 minutes (that district's policy limit for 3rd graders). She quickly found a way for us to combine assignments. As for the backpack, my daughter's chiropractor (yes, she needed one by the 5th grade) said the pack should be no more than 10% of her body weight. She weighed 70 at the time and the pack was 30. The solution was to keep one set of books at home and another in the classroom. Backpack still weighed 15 with all the notebooks she had to carry - go figure!

    • KokoTravel profile image


      9 years ago

      I recall that my homework as a 6th grader gave me at least a couple of hours a night and it was not infrequent that I would be up until midnight in the eighth grade. I remember my mom knocking on the wall of my bedroom saying, "GO TO BED!"

      I am 55 years old... so that was quite some time ago.

      I'm not sure what is right, but what I can say is that I developed good study habits and work ethics as well. Yes, I did sacrifice a lot of 'kid time' but I didn't get in trouble and I learned a great deal.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My this is an exhaustive lens of information. Very cool!

    • audrey07 profile image


      9 years ago

      I remember back in school, I used to have a teacher who always gave us lots of homework to do. But when once the exam results were out, most of the students in her class got through quite well. I guess it depends on the nature of the subject. Some subjects, like Maths, do require more practice from the students in order to understand the concepts better and provide a solution quicker.

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 

      9 years ago from Corona, CA

      Homework should be for enrichment and enjoyment. Not as a drudgery, punishment, just some repetition, or other meaningless task. We need to motivate kids to want to learn. I have always opted for long-term assignments.

    • kerbev profile image

      Kerri Bee 

      10 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I think there are other factors that need to go into this. Different schools offer various opportunities to get assignments during the school day. Study halls, reading periods, etc. Kids need to use that time wisely. Plus, for many, including myself, the late nights were a direct result of my procrastination. Other things kids can do with their free time: video games, tv, alcohol, sex, violence, vandalism.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: Hey Carter--Did you know kids your age need 9 hours of sleep? (check out on this) I doubt you're getting that, with homework keeping you up past 11:30. Sleep is super important for physical and mental health, and I hope you'll talk to your mom or dad about this. If enough parents lobbied the teachers for reasonable homework loads,things would change.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      the ten minute rule doesn't work for me, I'm a 7th grader and am googling homework help at 11:30 at night. I've been working on homework for around 4 hours now and still am not done,

      it also doesn't help that my math teacher is really strict in the afternoon and gives detention to people who haven't turned in assignments

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      10 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congratulations on your Purple Star. :)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Congratulations on your Purple Star. Well deserved.

    • LisaDH profile image


      10 years ago

      My son is in third grade and has about an hour of homework every night. I think it's too much. He's learning concepts in third grade that I didn't get until fourth or fifth grade, and I think it's crazy.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image


      10 years ago

      The huge amount of homework that children are receiving is one of the reasons I chose to homeschool. I really covet my family time and I would have a hard time sharing it with homework. lol!! Great lens. Blessed by an Angel.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      What a fascinating read. That 10 minute rule of thumb is very interesting. It seems that many students are doing massive amounts of homework. I'd be interested to know whether that 10 minute rule applies in the later grades too. But as our family homeschools, all our work is "homework".

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      @teacher2 lm: Thank you! Glad this made sense, and if you get a moment, I'd love your input on the concept of an opt-out policy for homework (embraced by some schools). There's a section for teachers on this discussion lens:

    • teacher2 lm profile image

      teacher2 lm 

      10 years ago

      I am both a parent and a teacher and I must agree with your suggestions! I love the way you see teachers and parents as a team. You do not attack teachers, you simply share your concerns with them and I certainly agree with such practice. Also, I like your suggestions on activities that could be done instead of extensive, overwhelming homework. I believe in that 10 minutes rule although some students may require more time. Depending on the age, not more than 30 minutes for grades 1 and 2 students. Of course you would have to adjust for older grade but if it becomes a battle...take a break! Finally, I was happy to see that you encourage parents to communicate their concerns with teachers as soon as they witness the first signs of stress, instead of blowing up, out of the blue, in a teacher's face! Great lens!

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 

      10 years ago

      My oldest is in second grade and probably spends about 20-30min on his homework (after I deduct the time spent putzing around of course), sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the subjects. I'm glad to have the opportunity to check his work because I know his teachers aren't always able to give him as much attention as he needs. That being said, there is definitely such a thing as too much homework and I agree that it is important to find that balance. Kids need time to be kids too.

      Excellent lens on an important topic - 5* and lensrolled to my full-day preschool programs lens.

    • rubyandmahoney profile image


      10 years ago

      The concept of homework is a hot button with son goes to Montessori and they don't believe in the concept as much as other schools. He has a set amount of work to complete on a daily basis and only has to bring it home if needs to reinforce a concept or was dilly-dallying in class. I have an acquaintance whose son was doing 2 hours of homework a night in THIRD grade. I thought that was terrible.

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 

      10 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      The kids' school bags are getting heavier and soon the new generation will have hunched shoulders from carrying so much every day. Even kids going to kindergarten have homework which is ridiculous! When my kids were still in school they didn't have to spend all their waking hours to finish their homework.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      Homework was a hot spot in my house when my boys were younger. Some children are just not inclined to doing homework. I think teachers assign too much. Especially when kids are in middle and high school and receive homework in every class. It can take hours!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      10 years ago from United States

      I really am glad that my children are grown now. We have already fought the homework wars and I am glad to be on this side of high school. Personally, regardless of the age, I do not think that a child should have to spend more than one hour on homework and frankly, I think that is too much if it is an every night occurrence. I also take into consideration that what takes some students 10 min. to kick out, can take another student 30 min. School days are already extremely long days. By the time they get home and eat dinner, there is really only about 4 hours left before bedtime. That should be the students time to relax unwind, talk to friends and have a life separate from school. Just my opinion:)

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      I remember homework amounts growing like you've demonstrated - up to about an hour or more in high school (that was in the 90's). My nieces have a huge amount of homework in elementary school, probably more than an hour already. I don't think it's right to have that much. I can't remember spending more than ten minutes on homework at that young of an age. (by the way, thanks for the lensroll!)

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      @CrossCreations: I see your point and agree about too much text and screen time. Like homework, those are sedentary activities that are unhealthy in excess. It's all about balance and moderation, and most kids need adult involvement to achieve that. Thanks for the comment!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Agree in general on too much homework. In long run ends up counter-intuitive as primary result is hating school and a general negative view about learning, which is sad. A tough topic though, since so many kids spend hours text-messaging and playing video games, yet balk at homework.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hmm.. we homeschool so the issue doesn't arise. However, kids in the UK definitely seem to get too much homework, particularly after the age of 11. Add on all their scheduled activities and 'play' doesn't seem to figure in their lives at all.

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      [in reply to Francine L.] Have not yet read Kohn's book, just excerpts, but have seen Cooper speak and didn't get the sense that he's a fabricator :) On a personal level, moderation (rather than an extreme approach) makes intuitive sense to me. I wouldn't want my kids to land suddenly in 9th grade with zero homework experience. A gradual ramp-up with schoolwork, as with many of life's demands, seems to work best with our family. But the kids definitely do too much HW now--in grades 5 and 7--and will almost assuredly be asked to do an unhealthy amount in high school. So this battle unfortunately is a marathon, not a sprint.

      We may disagree on the specifics, but it seems we agree that something needs to change.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Glad to see this site, but if you've read Kohn's book then you know the '10 minutes per grade level' rule that Cooper uses was not based on his research or anyone else's research. It was, as Kohn said, picked out of the air. The appropriate amount of homework in elementary school based on research is none.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent source for homework insights, research and more. Thank you! And, thanks for linking to my blog above - East Bay Homework Blog.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      10 years ago

      Excellent! Many times I've had to call the school, when my son went to public school that is, about him having 4 hrs worth of homework. I had to ask, what does he do when he's there? I eventually had to homeschool him so he could have time just to eat and sleep. It's ridiculous. Great focus and a call to action.

    • hlkljgk profile image


      10 years ago from Western Mass

      great topic - thanks for the info

    • verymary profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      [in reply to NoTAMoMYetButWiLLUsE4ReFERENce] Thanks!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This blog is meticulously comprised of reasonable techniques for solutions, excluding bias! It is very evident that this was written by a 'true parent' (in essence) who is concerned, involved, and uses a logical approach while being so. The world needs more of that caliber. Great job!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Very well done with excellent suggestions

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Really great information!

    • EpicFarms profile image


      10 years ago

      I had lots more homework than the kids I see now (weekends meant reports in my day :o) Although it is tougher to get it all done nowadays, As an educational interpreter, I can personally vouch that there are never enough hours in a school day to cover it all (hence the homework). I always pointed out to my daughter that her teachers have way more homework than she does; most of them spend their off time grading papers. Very well done lens!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      a subject after my own heart! But truly, I had way more than the 10 minute rule too. I can remember my father being upset about my staying up so late doing homework. I think teachers don't realize the true cost sometimes.5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Super lens!


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