“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” - Alexandra K. Trenfor
Doing homework is often seen as a chore for many children and parents alike. Some pupils feel that they’ve got enough work as it is without having to work at home.
So how can you deal with having too much homework?
Here’s our advice for managing your time and your workload.
What Is Too Much Homework?
If your child says they have too much homework, you might not believe them. If you’re a teenager, you can work out just how much time it takes you to do your homework.
Of course, the average amount of homework you get will depend on your age and level.
- Primary school:
- In Years 1 and 2, it’s unlikely to be more than 20 minutes a day.
- In Years 3 and 4, no more than 30 minutes.
- In Years 4 and 5, a maximum of 45 minutes each day.
- Secondary school:
- No more than an hour each day in Years 7, 8, and 9 (and certainly not every day).
- In years 10 and 11, they may have up to 90 minutes of homework some evenings.
- By sixth form, college, or Years 12 and 13, they could have 90 minutes to 2 hours of homework during the evening, but this won’t be every night.
Anything beyond that and you could probably say that’s too much homework. However, you also need to think about whether it’s that much work or whether there’s a more effective way to do it. There are a few ways to manage the workload better.
Plan for the Worst
Don’t wait for the teacher to tell you that there’ll be a test or an exam. Go back over the lessons to better remember what you’ve been taught.
Studying each lesson afterwards will ensure you better understand the concepts. It’s also a good idea to plan out your revision when the lesson if fresh in your head. You can also put together notes to read back over whenever you want.
Plan Everything for the Coming Week During the Weekend
Teachers rarely give out homework for the following day. In most cases, they’ll have a few days or a full week.
Instead of waiting until the last minute, get on top of your workload during the weekend. If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed during the week, it can be good to get a lot of work done when you have a lot of time.
You won’t have to spend the whole weekend doing it. It could be a good idea to get all your work done on Friday and then you’ll free up the weekend, too. Of course, you might have plans for Friday night or even important exams that you have to study for.
Too Much Homework? Consider Catching Up
If a child feels like they have too much homework, it might be because they take too long to do it. If their homework is taking a while to do, it could be because they don’t fully understand the topic.
Each child is different and there may be times during their education when they struggle. If they don’t have a good understanding of maths, by the time they get to GCSE, it could be too late for them to catch up and as the workload increases, they’ll only fall further behind.
It might be worth getting help from a private tutor during the school holidays when they don’t have as much work to do. That way, they can catch up with their work before the new school year or term.
Speak to the Teacher
If you’re spending too much time with your child doing homework, you might want to discuss it with the teacher. Homework is important but if it’s affecting their self-confidence, becoming a source of frustration, or causing them to fall behind in other subjects, you might have to mention it.
For example, if you’re spending half an hour studying vocabulary but none of it seems to be going in, the workload might be too much. Studies have shown that while homework benefits students, at a certain point, the benefits will be negligible.
You could give your child a letter to pass on to their teacher telling them how it didn’t work. Thus, the teacher will know that the child actually tried to do their homework and isn’t just making it up.
Don’t hesitate to get homework help from a private tutor. Sometimes just changing things up can work wonders, especially by getting someone who’s an expert in helping kids to do homework.
If your child has a learning disorder that’s affecting their ability to learn, you should let the teacher know. A full day of school is even more tiring when you’ve got a learning disorder to deal with. In that case, giving them less homework could help them to learn more. Talking to the teacher about it is a good way to work out a useful solution.
Is the Approach the Problem?
Sometimes, school pupils feel like they have too much homework because of the way they’re trying to approach it.
For example, if you’re getting your child to write down words to learn how to spell and after the tenth time, they still don’t get it, it might be the approach.
Here are some ways to mix it up:
- Read aloud.
- Write in cursive if they don’t usually or write in print if they do.
- Highlight the difficulties and work on them.
- Use a different colour for the parts they’re struggling with. Use different colours to create links.
- Practise writing out the words from memory.
- Study the words regularly throughout the week.
Just like with sports, regular practice will help. Working a little bit every day is more effective than working for a long time once a week. Homework isn’t just about doing exercises. You need to regularly study after your lessons and study without distraction. If you try to go back over a lesson with your phone in one hand, you won’t remember anything.
You’re not obliged to do your homework the second you get home. It might be easier to motivate yourself after a short break. You might work better if you have something to eat and then get to work. You might be more focused after a long break. Children can benefit from having a break after a day sitting at their desks.
With these tips, you should be able to get more out of your child’s homework.
If you or your child need help with homework or schoolwork, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors for academic support, homework help, and specific subjects all over the country and around the world.
Private tutorials are either taught face-to-face, online, or in groups and each type of tutoring comes with advantages and disadvantages so think carefully about which one is right for you and your budget before hiring a private tutor.
One-on-one tutorials are just between the student and the tutor and can be tailored to suit the student's preferred learning style. This makes these types of tutorials incredibly effective as every minute is spent working to help the student. However, they also tend to be the most expensive type of tutoring available as you'll be paying for all the extra time and effort the tutor puts into planning and adapting their lessons to the student.
As they don't have to travel to each tutorial, online tutors can afford to charge less than face-to-face tutors and they often do. While these types of tutorials mightn't be as effective for certain hands-on subjects, they're excellent for academic subjects, study skills, revision, and help with homework.
Group tutorials are an excellent choice for families on a tight budget. With several students attending each session, there won't be as many opportunities for the tutor to adapt the lessons to the individual, but the cost will be shared amongst everyone participating, which makes these tutorials cheaper per student per hour.
Remember that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson or hour for free and you can use these sessions to try out several different tutors before deciding on the right one for you. Once you've chosen the perfect tutor, you can start working with them directly.