Mia Von Scha &kidsby Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life

Homework is an essential part of learning independent work and self-discipline… and I think that kids are getting far too much of it. Homework should be given out with this specific purpose in mind and not because there is so much schoolwork that it can’t fit in to the school day.

If kids are getting too much, it is your responsibility as a parent to take a stand. Get together with other parents in your child’s class and have something to say about it.  Play, fresh air, fun and down-time are as important to a child’s development as formalised learning and discipline, particularly in the Foundation and Intersen Phases.

This fits in to what I have said before about too many extra murals: Children, like all human beings, need time to be – not busy performing or excelling or proving their worth, just being.

Photo from www.kozzi.com

So how much is too much? If you look logically at the typical day of a school child this should become obvious:

6am-7am Waking and getting ready for school

7am-2pm School time

2pm-3pm Sport / extra murals

5pm-7pm Dinner, bathing etc.

7pm-8pm Story time or quiet time

8pm-6am Sleep (children of 7-10 years need around 10-11 hours per night)

This only leaves between 3pm-5pm for homework AND games, TV time, outdoor time, playdates etc. I would say that anything more than around half an hour per day is unreasonable at Primary School level, and certainly not more than an hour.

Look logically at your child’s day and make sure there is always down-time, unscheduled time, time to just be.

Life needs to be in balance and we need to help our kids with this by not overscheduling their time, by taking a stand on homework and by modeling this for our kids by getting enough rest and down-time ourselves.

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23 Responses to “Are your kids getting too much homework?”

  • Mpho Mogashoa-Sehloho says:

    yes ma'am!

  • my child doesnt learn anything. He comes with only one homework per week. I’ve already lodged a complaint.

  • that nothing but the truth…

  • Raquel Correa says:

    my child cannot cope with the amount of homework, though I agree its for her own good, its the projects that are too much, we have already submitted three, another two due this month.

  • Totally agree, My child is in grade 1 and her homework takes up more than an hour to finish. Its just too much for both of us.

  • Definitely too much. We actually have a day where we need to read a newspapaer article, read a library book and do both Math and English homework for Grade 1. The truth is I end up doing only 2 things with him. The interesting thing is that when I spoke to the teacher, she said this is next to nothing compared to the 2nd term…..which scared me a lot.

  • Oriel Pays says:

    My son is in grade 3. Because he is so exhausted by the time he comes homes after extra activities we take about 3 hours with homework. When I spoke to his teachers she says it should not take that long. Is anyone else spending 3 hours on homework in grade 3 or is it just because we are slow and want to get it all right?

  • Erin Selling says:

    I agree, the homework for a grade 2 seven year old is excessive, I matriculated in 2005 and I cant understand some of the homework, and it is measuring length and height#confused#.

  • Been a working mom is a challenge cause I don't have enough time 2 spend wit my kid n his homewk!bt by da grace of GOD this 2 wil come 2 pass.njoy young parents

  • Nicole Azure Sartini says:

    I'm going to go with yes, my son is getting too much homework! Aside from the fact that he doesn't enjoy most of it and can't see the relevance in a lot of what is required (which I sympathize with) I think the major issue and question this article raises is how do working parents cope with managing homework sessions if they don't have and can't afford au pairs or tutors and government schools aren't required to provide any kind of after school facilities that might provide this if homework itself is considered mandatory? It seems to me the whole system automatically puts people of a certain economic class at greater risk and disadvantage which begs the question what does our constitution mean, what does it matter if the rights of children cannot be realised in real world terms?

  • I have just spoken to someone who printed your article out Mia and has posted it on his fridge, they loved it so much – if only we had a way to reach the schools and teachers about this directly. Any teachers out there who are hearing this?

  • Mia Von Scha says:

    Wow, I am so moved by all of your comments, and so sorry to hear that so many working parents are spending so much of their valuable time with their kids doing homework instead of just relaxing together and connecting. I'd love to hear some comments from some teachers out there. This has got to change – let the little ones enjoy their childhoods – if they're exposed to this much stress at their young age what kind of workaholics are we creating for the future? As I've said before, we need to make this the year where we stop the glorification of busy! We're all human BEINGS and we need time to be. How about homework this week is to stop and smell the roses!

  • I do not like homework, i have requested from my son's teacher for three consecutive weeks to give the week's homework on a friday, so that we can start with the ones that take long over the weekend, like cutting pictures out of magazines. She signs next to my response, but thats it. I think I'll keep asking, I might just annoy her enough that she gives in.

  • my child is fortunate enough to go to a school where they do not believe in putting pressure on children academically until they have reached grade 3 (she is now in grade 3) and even then it is manageable. they believe children need to learn through play for as long as possible. Also having said this, the lessons during school hours are in some instances more advanced than other schools as much is learned practical and life lessons. I am so grateful for this because homework was an absolute dread for both myself and her before I moved her. The world has moved so fast but the system has forgotten that children still need time to be children in order to become healthy adults

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