Is It Enough Homework?
The most critical question about homework is "How much homework should students do?" Experts agree that the amount of homework should depend on the age and skills of the student. Many national groups of teachers and parents, including the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), suggest that homework for children in kindergarten through second grade is most effective when it does not exceed 10-20 minutes each day. In third through sixth grade, children can benefit from 30-60 minutes of homework per day. Junior high and high school students can benefit from more time on homework, and the amount may vary from night to night.
Reading at home is especially important for young children. High-interest reading assignments might push the time on homework a bit beyond the minutes suggested above.
These recommendations are consistent with the conclusions reached by many studies on the effectiveness of homework. For young children, research shows that shorter and more frequent assignments may be more effective than longer but fewer assignments. This is because young children have short spans of attention and need to feel they have successfully completed a task.
Types of Homework
Homework assignments typically have one or more purposes. The most common purpose is to have students practice material already presented in class. Practice homework is meant to reinforce learning and help the student master specific skills. Preparation homework introduces material that will be presented in future lessons. These assignments aim to help students learn new material better when it is covered in class. Extension homework asks students to apply skills they already have to new situations. Integration homework requires the student to apply many different skills to a single task, such as book reports, science projects or creative writing.
In particular, math homework has been shown to be more important in the middle to high school grades and less important in the elementary grades. It starts to become important in the fourth grade and is increasingly important in the upper grades.