403 ERROR The request could not be satisfied. Are Young Kids Doing Too Much Homework? Kindergartners and video how parents doing homework with kids-graders are bringing home 30 minutes of assignments a night.
There are a few problems with that. When I toured a public elementary school last spring, one question in particular seemed to make the principal squirm. Do the kindergartners get homework, I asked? Yes, he replied, explaining that it can help to solidify concepts—but he quickly conceded that some parents weren’t at all happy about it. The debate over elementary school homework is not new, but the tirades against it just keep coming. If the issue really is this black-and-white, why do elementary school teachers still assign homework? What should parents do if they want to put an end to it?
What I discovered, after lots of digging, is a more complex issue than you’d expect. Young students are indeed getting more homework than they used to. But what’s not clear is exactly how this heavier workload is affecting their well-being. First, let’s take a close look at the science on how homework affects school performance. For kids from low-income families, especially, homework can be a source of stress. Cooper doesn’t interpret the elementary school findings to mean that homework at this age is useless.
For one thing, he says, we can’t make causal conclusions based on correlational studies, because things like homework and achievement can easily be influenced by other variables, such as student characteristics. If a kid is really struggling in school, he might spend twice as long on his homework compared with other students yet get worse grades. There are, of course, many other ways that homework could affect a young child—in both good ways and bad. Cooper points out that regular, brief homework assignments might help young kids learn better time management and self-regulation skills, which could help them down the line. Regular homework also lets parents see what their kids are working on and how well they’re doing, which could tip them off to academic problems or disabilities.