Homework: How much is too much?

How much homework is too much?? Ryan Dean is asking that question to parents and to a woman considered one of the foremost experts on the homework debate.

KSDK - How much time does your child spend each night on homework? That’s the question Five on Your Side asked on Facebook. The response by parents varied greatly, but many said their child spends hours every night completing their work.

“My 2nd grader does 1 1/2 - 2 hrs a night,” Lori Siverson wrote.

“My freshman brings home between 5 to 7 hours each night,” Lara Walker responded.

Paula Ann wrote “TOO MUCH!!!!!!”

Does the nightly homework session at your house end in frustration, arguments, or tears? Sound familiar? It certainly does for Cathy Vatterott.

"I was the frustrated parent of a 5th grader with learning disabilities. The homework was coming home and I was like ‘why are we doing this.’ The word search put me over the edge.” Vatterott, an education professor at UMSL, wrote a book on the topic titled “Rethinking Homework.”

"Parents are tired of the homework battle. There's a rethinking about what we give and the amount we give."
Maybe it doesn't feel like it at your house because you haven't seen your child's face this school year peeking out from the mountain of homework, but Vatterott says there is a trend by teachers to give less homework.

"I don't know of anyone around the country who is trending toward giving more homework," she said.

Sam Pitlyk, a fifth grade teacher at Hudson Elementary in the Webster Groves District, is a believer in limiting homework.

WATCH: Is this 5th grade classroom the classroom of the future?

"I think it is a huge topic right now in education,” Pitlyk said.

Pitlyk only requires his students to do two things when they leave school.

  1. He’d like them to read for 20 minutes whether it’s a book, magazine or something online.
  2. The student also must tell someone at home what they learned that day at school.

"Kids come in and work hard for seven hours. They need to go home and have fun, they need to go home play and explore, their brains are still growing. They need to have time with their family, not time spent arguing over how to do a math problem."

If that sounds like a far-fetched dream in your child's class, don't lose hope parents. Vatterott believes Mr. Pitlyk’s take on homework will be adapted by more teachers, especially in the elementary grades.

“The thing that I’m most encouraged about is parents are becoming activists. Parents are saying ‘I’m just saying no.’ I’m just saying ‘this is too much (the amount of homework).” Parents use to take it, but now they are being more proactive about their kids’ stress level, mental health and amount of sleep they’re getting.”

VIDEO Q & A:

The new trend: What is individualized homework?

Do schools have guidelines when it comes to homework?

How much is too much homework for high school students?

What is the ‘flipped classroom’ concept?

Is this the classroom of the future? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page!


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