According to a study that was done at the University of Michigan over the past twenty-five years, the number of homework assignments has increased by 51%. This translates into an extra twelve hours a week of homework, no wonder why parents and students alike are complaining about homework overload. One of the biggest problems that families face with homework overload is that it cuts into family time, which limits the amount of family bonding that can be done. If you are finding that homework overload is cutting into your family time you need to take immediate action.
Here is a look at some things that you can do if homework overload is causing problems for your family.
Number one: Teacher conference
This is the first thing that you should do in your approach to solve the homework overload problem. Before you begin talking to the teacher you are going to want to track how long your child is spending on homework each night, not just on a particular assignment but the total amount involved. You should also track what assignments take longer than others do, so that you can bring that to the teachers’ attention as well. If your child is spending a longer time studying in one area than on others, chances are they might need some extra help in understanding what is going on. You will also want to keep track of how long your child can stay focused on their assignments for the evening.
Just because you talk to the teacher, there is no guarantee that they will make any changes to their homework plan, but you will never know what they are willing to do if you do not try. More often than not, your child’s teacher does not want them to spend all night doing homework. However, they will not be aware of how long students are spending on homework unless the parents take the time to talk to them about what is going on. On average, your child should spend about ten minutes per grade level each evening doing homework. If teachers are made aware of the problem and majority of, the students are having the same problem the teacher will most likely cut back on the amount of homework that they are giving. You can also ask the teacher to spread out the papers and tests that your student is receiving so that not everything is coming at once.
Number two: Busywork
Some teachers will hand out what we term busywork for homework. This kind of an assignment is not something that is going to have a large effect on their grade nor will it take them very long to complete. More often than not teachers hand out busywork as homework just to hand out homework, such as practicing math problems that were learned in class during the day. What you need to do is to help your child figure out how to prioritize their homework so that they are doing the important assignments first. You want your child to do the parts that require critical thinking, such as a book report or a research paper, rather than just a review of today’s math problems. If the child has time and energy to focus on the rest of the homework then let them. Explain to the teacher that by the time your child gets to the busywork they are no longer able to focus on the parts that require attention.
Number three: Parental involvement
One thing that many parents tend to do when their children are assigned projects is to take over the project and do the work for them. If your child has homework that involves your help all you need to do is help them. The projects are designed to teach your children about concepts they are learning in school, but they are also designed to help them develop good work habits. All that you need to do is help along the way; do not do the work for them. Have them set aside a certain amount of time each night to work on the project, that way it is not left until the last minute and helps them manage the rest of their homework schedule.