Expert: Too much homework could negatively impact elementary school students

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — All this week, Eyewitness News is helping parents get back into the swing of things as a new school year approaches.

A new study done by Brown University and Rhode Island College says elementary school students are getting more homework than what is recommended.

According to the study, too much homework can lead to stress, lower quality of life, strain on the family, and even health problems for kids.

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“When primary school children have too much homework, then they’re not doing the things that are their real homework: playing outside, learning how to make friends, learning how to communicate,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.

Donaldson-Pressman is a contributing editor to a study published August 12 in the American Journal of Family Therapy. She said the study found that kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders on average spend about a half an hour on homework everyday – which is more than the recommended amount.

“According to the National Education Association, kindergarteners are not supposed to have any homework at all. And then first and second graders also had homework in excess of what we call the 10 minute rule, that’s 10 minutes of homework per grade, per child, per night,” she explained.

Parents said they had mixed feelings about the study.

“Children spend a lot of time watching television, watching movies, playing toys, I think a half hour is adequate time for study,” said Aaron Timas of Providence.

“That’s a little too much for kindergarten,” argued Ella Njoroge of Rumford. “For kindergarten, it’s play time. Let them have their childhood. Let them play, let them interact.”

Some parents even pressure teachers to give kids more homework – in hopes that it will help them become more competitive in the real world.

But according to Donaldson-Pressman, there’s no justification for homework in kindergarten.

Experts recommend that parents use a timer and set a designated place for children to do homework everyday.

If it seems as though the work load is a little heavy, parents should talk to their child’s teacher.

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