Homework woes - Is homework good or bad?

  • By Team TDO

As per studies of Harris Cooper, a leading homework researcher, the advantages of homework are best seen in high school kids while elementary and middle school children have no significant benefits from homework.

Homework is considered as a very essential part of school life. Homework teaches your child several things:

  1. It teaches how to take responsibility for a work.
  2. It teaches your kid to work independently, gaining confidence on the way.
  3. It makes your child learn the concept of 'organising' and 'planning' and 'time-management'.
  4. It teaches him to make choices and make decisions.

These are all skills that are extremely basic in nature and go a long way in shaping your child’s future personality.

Usually the thumb-rule followed when it comes to homework is 10 minutes per grade.

So if your child is in KG, not more than 10 minutes should be spent on homework. If he is in Standard I, 20 minutes should suffice. So as per the general rule, if you find that your child is spending more time on the homework, look into the reason for it. Is your child a slow learner? Is the work load too much? Is he having trouble with the concepts? You may want to speak to his class teacher accordingly.

As a parent, you need to adopt the right attitude. Give homework its due importance, your child will learn from you and give it the required importance too.

  1. Fix a time for the homework: It is advisable that you prepare a routine for doing the homework. Ensure that your child follows the routine sincerely. Fixing the right time is entirely up to you and your child. Some parents may want their children to finish off the homework as soon as they are back from school, so as to make use of the momentum and the fact that the child is still in the ‘school mode’. Some others may want their children to have a break; a little play-time or a nap after coming from school before they begin the homework. Either way is fine, but make sure that the homework time is not after dinner time, as your child will be too tired at the end of the day to do his work properly.
  2. Find the right location: Finding the right place for the child to do his homework is important too. Some kids like to do their homework on a desk in their bedrooms, while some may like to do it in the living room or the dining table. Some kids like their privacy to do their homework while some may require their parents to be around for helping them when needed. As per the requirements of your child, choose the ideal place for the homework. Set up a ‘work-station’ where your child can find all his requirements like pencils, crayons, color pencils, glue, scissors, etc.
  3. Plan a strategy for ensuring the homework time passes smoothly: Fix a time and plan a schedule. Plan all other works as per your child’s homework time. Make use of rewards and incentives. They could be something as simple as watching a fun movie together or playing a video game after the homework is done. Such incentives make the homework less tedious and less time consuming.

Working with your child's teacher

Observe how long your child is taking to complete his homework.

  1. If you think your child is spending too much time on homework, talk to his teacher and get the burden reduced.
  2. If your child is having trouble concentrating on his work, look in to the problem. See if he is having similar problems at school too. You may need to visit a counselor or a pediatrician.
  3. Is your child struggling with a particular subject? You may need to talk to the teacher and make arrangements for extra coaching for your child.
  4. Is your child struggling with the concepts? Maybe he isn’t following what is being taught at school. Speak to his teacher and ask her to see to it that your child is following what is being taught.