After seven hours in the classroom, who wants to sit down and do homework? Certainly not most 6- to 8-year-olds. They would rather play with their friends, participate in an after-school activity, or simply unwind in front of the TV. Because let's face it: Homework may help your child learn, but it's still a major chore.
"Kids this age are getting used to the idea of having to do assignments on their own," says Cathryn Tobin, MD, author of The Parent's Problem Solver: Smart Solutions for Everyday Discipline and Behavior Problems. "And many of them are more concerned with socializing than with schoolwork."
So don't be too surprised if your child complains about her workload: According to a survey by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization, almost half of parents said they have
serious arguments with their children about homework. But it doesn't need to be a source of stress. These strategies will make studying a lot easier on you both.
The National Education Association and the PTA recommend a maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night. But according to a University of Michigan study, many kids this age are doing up to three times that amount. If your child seems stressed out by her workload, your first step is to attach a note to the assignment, indicating how much time your child spent on the work and why you think she had trouble ("It was too complex"). If you don't hear back, schedule a face-to-face conference with the teacher. This will help you understand her approach to assignments and is often the best way to work out a compromise. Your last resort is to lobby the PTA. Rallying other parents to the cause may force the principal to take action.
Copyright © 2006 Meredith Corporation. Originally published in the October 2006 issue of Parents magazine.