Ever get the feeling that your kids have too much homework? Well, research suggests that you might be right. Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, psychologist and father of 3, began investigating the homework load issue when one of his children appeared "trapped" by the work load. He tapped into his experiences counseling adults with difficulties at work learning new skills and realized how the homework issue may pose more serious issues for the child later on in life. He estimates that 10-25% of children are actually harmed by homework. Here are a few of his findings.
1 The main problem with homework is that it has no time limitations. While school and work are scheduled with start and end times, homework has no such restrictions and this discourages children. Most kids have no problem doing homework if they know that they can stop after a certain amount of time.
2 Different kids work at different speeds, and yet the amount of work to do remains the same. So, for children with learning issues or poor/slow handwriting, the amount of time required magnifies thus compounding the problem.
3 Parents have no say over the work load. While most parents will speak to schools regarding their own kids, rarely do they team up with other parents to speak to the school regarding the homework system as a whole. Homework assignments essentially take the authority away from parents to monitor and control how much work and stress their kids go through at home. All they can do is middle-manage their children and this causes stress for the whole family.
4 Homework also makes it harder on the teachers. Over-reliance on homework places a lot of the education in a place where the teachers have little control over. Findings show that a lot of the problems that "problem" students face are homework related. By fixing homework, you reduce the probems that teachers have to do deal with in the classroom.
According to Dr. Goldberg, parents need to take back control. They need to speak with their schools and work out a system by which they have some input over how much their kids have to work.
They need to go to their schools and say "I will support you, I'm on your side, we're all on the same page but when push comes to shove I have to have the authority to tell my child 'listen you've done enough, you can stop.'" -- Dr. Goldberg.
There's more in the interview including his thoughts on teacher evaluations, problem behavior, and much, much more. Listen to the full interview below and check out his website for more information on his book and what you can do to save your kids from The Homework Trap.