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Image of a sad child doing homework

Parents and private tutors are well versed in the challenges of keeping elementary aged children sitting still and quietly working on homework after a full school day. After the six hours already spent in class, children don’t want to be doing more work, they want to be playing and interacting.

Harris Cooper, a homework research expert at Duke University, agrees in his statement: “There is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students.” This declaration was made after Cooper compiled comprehensive studies in both 1989 and 2006 regarding the relationship between homework and students’ academic achievement.  His in-depth analysis found that homework does have academic benefits, but the benefits are negligible in elementary school.

The National PTA and National Education Association recommend enforcing the ten minute homework rule, which designates ten minutes of homework per grade level, per night. For example, ten minutes of homework for first graders, 20 for second, and so on — up to a maximum of two hours a night for high school seniors.

Despite the recommendations of the PTA and NEA, in the case of elementary school students, Cooper’s study also found a negative impact on children’s attitudes towards school when completing homework.

For students that are receiving homework when they are too young, it’s very difficult to handle the assignments alone. Most students at the elementary level, especially from Kindergarten through second grade, require adult help to remember the assignments and figure out how to do the work. Kids then begin to depend on parents or a private tutoring service to help them complete their homework.  An over reliance on these resources can mean that students have difficulty learning how to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. However, without any homework help, students can begin to feel overly pressured, frustrated, and defeated if the work is too challenging or takes too long to complete. These feelings can in turn contribute to a lack of confidence both in school and in personal time, and begin to instill negative associations in how students perceive homework and their school life in general.

Too much homework can also cut into important family time vital to a young child’s personal development. Families are waging nightly wars over students completing their homework, and this vicious cycle of nagging causes undue stress between the parents and student. Families with such young children might be better served by spending time playing and communicating with each other, instead of fighting over homework.

One of the most popular reasons why teachers and parents support assigned homework for young students is to teach responsibility. However, for children in elementary school, responsibility can be better taught in a variety of ways, such as completing chores or taking care of pets.

Reading at home is also an excellent way to continue to develop your child’s academic prowess without homework assignments.  It is suggested that parents practice good habits of reading and being read to by their elementary aged children on a daily basis, and reinforce the fun and joy of learning while they are still young.

When considering which private tutoring service to hire, remember that at Reach Pro Tutoring, we have credentialed teachers to help students increase comprehension of their homework and improve organizational and study skills in the comfort of your home. REACH serves all of Orange County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and Los Angeles, so give us a call at 1-877-947-3224 today!

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