The Homework Debate

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

How much homework is enough? What kind of homework? What about weekend homework? The topic of homework is the subject of a worldwide debate. What does homework look like around the world?

Here are some interesting facts. Finland hasn’t had homework for years, but its education system is ranked as one of the best in the world. South Korea has 2.9 hours of homework a week. Yet, they have managed to rank number two in the world for their reading knowledge. Schools in Japan only assign 3.8 hours of homework a week. Thailand has drawn up guidelines on how teachers can reduce their homework assignments. The Philippines forbid weekend homework for all ages.

In Toronto, Canada, there is no homework in Kindergarten and no homework over the holidays for Grades 1-12. The U.S. National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association general guideline have the 10-minute rule: Children should have no more than 10 minutes of homework each day for each grade reached.

Does homework interfere with sleep habits? It is a fact that children need more sleep than adults. Young children need 10-11 hours a night up to age 12. Teenagers need 9 ½ hours of sleep a night. They also need time to play, participate in sports, music, and other outside interests. Homework keeps many students awake too late at night.

A study on homework by the University of Michigan found that the frequency and duration of family meals is the strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems. Please make the effort in your busy schedules to have family meals and conversations together. Put aside your mobile phones and electronic devices. Talk to your children about their day, interests, opinions, and ideas. These are moments they will remember from their childhood. The gift of time is priceless and not retrievable.

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