Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

The Dreaded H Word

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

The Dreaded H Word

Article excerpt

LIKE millions of families across the country, the post-school routine in our house is the same every night. We discuss the day - OK, so I ask my son how his day was - and he grunts in response, I organise dinner, and then I prepare for battle. Homework battle.

My son's in Year One and has had homework since Kindy (Prep). He has home readers each night, a weekly maths worksheet, a spelling list and a choice of two additional tasks per week. He also regularly prepares speeches on set topics - all of which require research.

In my eyes that's a lot of homework. It also leads to a lot of fighting!

He's never keen on doing it and, to be honest, nor am I. We both mentally add it to our list of chores - for me it's as enjoyable as scrubbing the loo. I imagine it's the same for him.

Given this stress, I wonder, is he really getting anything out of it? I don't personally think so.

The debate around homework for younger children is nothing new. The for and against camps are relatively equal, as is expert opinion. Yet some studies have shown that homework is of little value to primary school children.

A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy found that kindergarteners who received 25 minutes of homework per night were more likely to be exposed to family stress.

This was particularly the case for those with parents with limited education, who lacked confidence in their ability to help.

The researchers reported that family fights about homework were 200% more likely when parents didn't have a university degree.

When children get older

It seems that the negative impacts of homework on children don't lessen when they get older. Research published in The Journal of Experimental Education in 2013 found students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework are more susceptible to stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from society. …

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