Friday, August 26, 2011

A 10-minute rule for homework

How much is enough? "The research is consistent with the '10-minute rule,' or about 10 minutes of homework each night for each grade (20 minutes for second grade, 50 minutes for fifth grade, and so on)," says Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neurobiology at Duke University and author of The Battle Over Homework.
More than two hours a night total for high school students is not associated with higher achievement, he says. Cooper offers other advice as well:


Be a stage manager. Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework, with needed materials (paper, pencils, dictionary) available.

Be a motivator. It's a great opportunity for you to tell your child how important school is. Be positive about homework.

Be a role model. When your child does homework, don't watch TV. If your child is reading, you read, too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook. Help your child see that the skills they are practicing are related to things you do as an adult.

Be a monitor. Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. If your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. If frustration sets in, suggest a short break.

Be a mentor. If the teacher asks you to play a role in homework, do it. If homework is meant to be done alone, stay away. Don't teach your child that when the going gets tough, Mom (or Dad) gets going.

TIPS FOR TEACHERS(and things for parents to look for)

Give the right amount of homework. Overloading students with too much homework can be counterproductive at all ages.

Keep parents informed. Let parents know the purpose of homework and what your class rules are.

Vary the homework. Homework is a great way for kids to practice things learned by rote (spelling, math facts, foreign language). It is also a great way to show kids that what they learn in school applies to things they enjoy at home (calculating batting averages, reading the back of a cereal box). Mix it up.

Never give homework as punishment. That implies that you think schoolwork is aversive. Children will pick this up.

For more information about Howard County Public School's Homework Guidelines, click here:

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