Too Much Homework for Young Children Causing Stress in Households

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Marji_170815_3A new study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy suggests that students in early elementary school are receiving considerably more homework than what is recommended by education leaders.

The team of researchers at Brown University issued questionnaires to 1,100 English- and Spanish-speaking parents of children who were in kindergarten through grade 12. Researchers discovered that children in grade one were given up to three times the homework load than what is recommended by the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

In fact, first-grade students spent an average of 28 minutes on homework each night versus the recommended 10 minutes; second-grade students spent approximately 29 minutes on homework each night, as opposed to the recommended 20 minutes; while kindergartners spent an average of 25 minutes a night on homework.

According to Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the study’s contributing editor, “It is absolutely shocking to me to find out that particularly kindergarten students (who) are not supposed to have any homework at all…are getting as much homework as a third-grader is supposed to get.”

The study also examined the stress levels homework places on families. Researchers discovered that a parent’s confidence in helping their children with homework decreased and household stress levels increased. The study suggests that conflicts over homework assignments were 200% more likely to occur in families with parents who didn’t have, at the very least, a college degree.

Parents with college degrees were more confident in communicating with the school to make sure that the level of homework was appropriate.

“All of our results indicate that homework as it is now being assigned discriminates against children whose parents don’t have a college degree, against parents who have English as a second language, against, essentially, parents who are poor,” Donaldson-Pressman concludes.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Pressman, R.M., et al., “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background,” The American Journal of Family Therapy 2015; 43(4): 297–313.
Wallace, K. “Kids have three times too much homework, study finds; what’s the cost?” CNN web site, August 12, 2015;