Finding balance with homework

While homework has its benefits, too much of it can have a negative effect on your child. Educational Psychologist Marinda Botha reveals the optimal time your child should be spending on homework.

Benefits of homework
Homework can be beneficial for children and usually focuses on practicing skills, preparing for the next class or extending the knowledge introduced in class. In primary school it can be a helpful tool for parents to keep in touch with what the child is learning in class and how well they mastered the content. It can also teach them good study habits, such as planning, effective time management, self-discipline and taking responsibility for their achievements.
In high school teachers often feel that the curriculum is so full and busy, that they need to give homework in order to help students perform better academically.

Here are some tips oh how to help your child do their homework.

Homework and balance
Research, however, suggests that although homework does have benefits, an increase in the amount of homework does not have a positive effect on a learner’s academic performance. Conservatively speaking, children easily spend about 3 hours on homework a day, on top of a 7 hour school day, and after school extra mural activities and extra lessons.

We would also like our children to take time to relax, eat healthily, spend time with the family, do their chores and sleep at least 8 hours a night. When all of this is added together, their day is much longer than 24 hours. Helping them find a balance seems at times near impossible.

This is why it is important to ask a school about their homework policy and to manage your child’s extra-mural program carefully.

This table, based on research done by Harris Cooper, gives you an indication of how much time your child should be spending on homework and studying per day.