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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.

How Much Homework Is Enough? Depends Who You Ask

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Editor’s note: This is an adapted excerpt from You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education ( Viking)—the latest book by author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson (co-authored with Lou Aronica), published in March. For years, Robinson has been known for his radical work on rekindling creativity and passion in schools, including three bestselling books (also with Aronica) on the topic. His TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” holds the record for the most-viewed TED talk of all time, with more than 50 million views. While Robinson’s latest book is geared toward parents, it also offers educators a window into the kinds of education concerns parents have for their children, including on the quality and quantity of homework.

The amount of homework young people are given varies a lot from school to school and from grade to grade. In some schools and grades, children have no homework at all. In others, they may have 18 hours or more of homework every week. In the United States, the accepted guideline, which is supported by both the National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association, is the 10-minute rule: Children should have no more than 10 minutes of homework each day for each grade reached. In 1st grade, children should have 10 minutes of daily homework; in 2nd grade, 20 minutes; and so on to the 12th grade, when on average they should have 120 minutes of homework each day, which is about 10 hours a week. It doesn’t always work out that way.

In 2013, the University of Phoenix College of Education commissioned a survey of how much homework teachers typically give their students. From kindergarten to 5th grade, it was just under three hours per week; from 6th to 8th grade, it was 3.2 hours; and from 9th to 12th grade, it was 3.5 hours.

There are two points to note. First, these are the amounts given by individual teachers. To estimate the total time children are expected to spend on homework, you need to multiply these hours by the number of teachers they work with. High school students who work with five teachers in different curriculum areas may find themselves with 17.5 hours or more of homework a week, which is the equivalent of a part-time job. The other factor is that these are teachers’ estimates of the time that homework should take. The time that individual children spend on it will be more or less than that, according to their abilities and interests. One child may casually dash off a piece of homework in half the time that another will spend laboring through in a cold sweat.

Do students have more homework these days than previous generations? Given all the variables, it’s difficult to say. Some studies suggest they do. In 2007, a study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that, on average, high school students spent around seven hours a week on homework. A similar study in 1994 put the average at less than five hours a week. Mind you, I [Robinson] was in high school in England in the 1960s and spent a lot more time than that—though maybe that was to do with my own ability. One way of judging this is to look at how much homework your own children are given and compare it to what you had at the same age.

Many parents find it difficult to help their children with subjects they’ve not studied themselves for a long time, if at all.

There’s also much debate about the value of homework. Supporters argue that it benefits children, teachers, and parents in several ways:

  • Children learn to deepen their understanding of specific content, to cover content at their own pace, to become more independent learners, to develop problem-solving and time-management skills, and to relate what they learn in school to outside activities.
  • Teachers can see how well their students understand the lessons; evaluate students’ individual progress, strengths, and weaknesses; and cover more content in class.
  • Parents can engage practically in their children’s education, see firsthand what their children are being taught in school, and understand more clearly how they’re getting on—what they find easy and what they struggle with in school.

Want to know more about Sir Ken Robinson? Check out our Q&A with him.

Q&A With Sir Ken Robinson

Ashley Norris is assistant dean at the University of Phoenix College of Education. Commenting on her university’s survey, she says, “Homework helps build confidence, responsibility, and problem-solving skills that can set students up for success in high school, college, and in the workplace.”

That may be so, but many parents find it difficult to help their children with subjects they’ve not studied themselves for a long time, if at all. Families have busy lives, and it can be hard for parents to find time to help with homework alongside everything else they have to cope with. Norris is convinced it’s worth the effort, especially, she says, because in many schools, the nature of homework is changing. One influence is the growing popularity of the so-called flipped classroom.

In the stereotypical classroom, the teacher spends time in class presenting material to the students. Their homework consists of assignments based on that material. In the flipped classroom, the teacher provides the students with presentational materials—videos, slides, lecture notes—which the students review at home and then bring questions and ideas to school where they work on them collaboratively with the teacher and other students. As Norris notes, in this approach, homework extends the boundaries of the classroom and reframes how time in school can be used more productively, allowing students to “collaborate on learning, learn from each other, maybe critique [each other’s work], and share those experiences.”

Even so, many parents and educators are increasingly concerned that homework, in whatever form it takes, is a bridge too far in the pressured lives of children and their families. It takes away from essential time for their children to relax and unwind after school, to play, to be young, and to be together as a family. On top of that, the benefits of homework are often asserted, but they’re not consistent, and they’re certainly not guaranteed.

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  • May 11 Art Car Club showcases its rolling artwork on wheels at the Orange Show parade
  • May 3 Cultures collide at the Bellaire International Student Association Fest
  • May 2 Uncalculated uncertainties
  • May 1 National Honor Society welcomes new inductees
  • April 27 The road from Rhode Island

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how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

Students spend three times longer on homework than average, survey reveals

Sonya Kulkarni and Pallavi Gorantla | Jan 9, 2022

The+National+Education+Association+and+the+National+Parent+Teacher+Association+have+suggested+that+a+healthy+number+of+hours+that+students+should+be+spending+can+be+determined+by+the+10-minute+rule.+This+means+that+each+grade+level+should+have+a+maximum+homework+time+incrementing+by+10+minutes+depending+on+their+grade+level+%28for+instance%2C+ninth-graders+would+have+90+minutes+of+homework%2C+10th-graders+should+have+100+minutes%2C+and+so+on%29.

Graphic by Sonya Kulkarni

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association have suggested that a healthy number of hours that students should be spending can be determined by the “10-minute rule.” This means that each grade level should have a maximum homework time incrementing by 10 minutes depending on their grade level (for instance, ninth-graders would have 90 minutes of homework, 10th-graders should have 100 minutes, and so on).

As ‘finals week’ rapidly approaches, students not only devote effort to attaining their desired exam scores but make a last attempt to keep or change the grade they have for semester one by making up homework assignments.

High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight, according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals. A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number.

The demographics of this survey included 34 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 54 juniors and 54 seniors on average.

When asked how many hours students spent on homework in a day on average, answers ranged from zero to more than nine with an average of about four hours. In contrast, polled students said that about one hour of homework would constitute a healthy number of hours.

Junior Claire Zhang said she feels academically pressured in her AP schedule, but not necessarily by the classes.

“The class environment in AP classes can feel pressuring because everyone is always working hard and it makes it difficult to keep up sometimes.” Zhang said.

A total of 93 students reported that the minimum grade they would be satisfied with receiving in a class would be an A. This was followed by 81 students, who responded that a B would be the minimum acceptable grade. 19 students responded with a C and four responded with a D.

“I am happy with the classes I take, but sometimes it can be very stressful to try to keep up,” freshman Allyson Nguyen said. “I feel academically pressured to keep an A in my classes.”

Up to 152 students said that grades are extremely important to them, while 32 said they generally are more apathetic about their academic performance.

Last year, nine valedictorians graduated from Bellaire. They each achieved a grade point average of 5.0. HISD has never seen this amount of valedictorians in one school, and as of now there are 14 valedictorians.

“I feel that it does degrade the title of valedictorian because as long as a student knows how to plan their schedule accordingly and make good grades in the classes, then anyone can be valedictorian,” Zhang said.

Bellaire offers classes like physical education and health in the summer. These summer classes allow students to skip the 4.0 class and not put it on their transcript. Some electives also have a 5.0 grade point average like debate.

Close to 200 students were polled about Bellaire having multiple valedictorians. They primarily answered that they were in favor of Bellaire having multiple valedictorians, which has recently attracted significant acclaim .

Senior Katherine Chen is one of the 14 valedictorians graduating this year and said that she views the class of 2022 as having an extraordinary amount of extremely hardworking individuals.

“I think it was expected since freshman year since most of us knew about the others and were just focused on doing our personal best,” Chen said.

Chen said that each valedictorian achieved the honor on their own and deserves it.

“I’m honestly very happy for the other valedictorians and happy that Bellaire is such a good school,” Chen said. “I don’t feel any less special with 13 other valedictorians.”

Nguyen said that having multiple valedictorians shows just how competitive the school is.

“It’s impressive, yet scary to think about competing against my classmates,” Nguyen said.

Offering 30 AP classes and boasting a significant number of merit-based scholars Bellaire can be considered a competitive school.

“I feel academically challenged but not pressured,” Chen said. “Every class I take helps push me beyond my comfort zone but is not too much to handle.”

Students have the opportunity to have off-periods if they’ve met all their credits and are able to maintain a high level of academic performance. But for freshmen like Nguyen, off periods are considered a privilege. Nguyen said she usually has an hour to five hours worth of work everyday.

“Depending on the day, there can be a lot of work, especially with extra curriculars,” Nguyen said. “Although, I am a freshman, so I feel like it’s not as bad in comparison to higher grades.”

According to the survey of Bellaire students, when asked to evaluate their agreement with the statement “students who get better grades tend to be smarter overall than students who get worse grades,” responders largely disagreed.

Zhang said that for students on the cusp of applying to college, it can sometimes be hard to ignore the mental pressure to attain good grades.

“As a junior, it’s really easy to get extremely anxious about your GPA,” Zhang said. “It’s also a very common but toxic practice to determine your self-worth through your grades but I think that we just need to remember that our mental health should also come first. Sometimes, it’s just not the right day for everyone and one test doesn’t determine our smartness.”

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE - Andrew Abdelmlak 

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Andrew Abdelmlak 

Karis and Lydia drove to UT Austin for the ILPC conference with fellow editors Ari Castañeda and Jason Deng on April 21. TPP won a Silver Star award for the online site and a Bronze Star for the print magazine.

‘Two sides of the brain’

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE - Eric Li

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Eric Li

Wei and her mother practice the route she would take to school. Taken on Aug. 28, 2023, the day before Wei attended classes.

From China to Bellaire, senior adjusts to changes

Rimawi describes her years at Bellaire as not a typical high school experience due to having online school her freshman year. She said she didnt get to experience the general high school environment until 10th grade.

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Sarah Rimawi

Club members walk beside their art car through Allen Parkway.

Art Car Club showcases its rolling artwork on wheels at the Orange Show parade

Senior Saachi Gupta was one of the many Bollywood Club dancers. Their performance consisted of a mixture of traditional and contemporary dances such as: Kathak and Bharatanatyam.

Cultures collide at the Bellaire International Student Association Fest

Out of 441 responders, 211 AP Precalculus students feel prepared for the AP exam. On the other hand, 230 believe they are not ready. The exam will take place on May 13 at 12 p.m.

Uncalculated uncertainties

NHS co-advisor Jennifer Kuhleman recognizes NHS scholarship semi-finalists seniors Katelyn Ta,  Aaditya Krishna and Akshay Kapur (left to right). All three of the seniors demonstrated the four pillars of NHS during their time at Bellaire.

National Honor Society welcomes new inductees

Burgjohann was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year, having moved from her home in Rhode Island to the state of Texas just two weeks before the start of the 2023 academic school year.

The road from Rhode Island

Humans of Bellaire

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HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Helena Wang

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE - Jermy Scarpetta

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Jermy Scarpetta

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE - Emily Mao

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Emily Mao

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE - Lydia Elias

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Lydia Elias

Turney pitches the ball during a softball game. Turney said that softball has helped her get closer with friends and coaches and build new relationships.

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Ella Turney

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Anonymous • Nov 21, 2023 at 10:32 am

It’s not really helping me understand how much.

josh • May 9, 2023 at 9:58 am

Kassie • May 6, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Im using this for an English report. This is great because on of my sources needed to be from another student. Homework drives me insane. Im glad this is very updated too!!

Kaylee Swaim • Jan 25, 2023 at 9:21 pm

I am also using this for an English report. I have to do an argumentative essay about banning homework in schools and this helps sooo much!

Izzy McAvaney • Mar 15, 2023 at 6:43 pm

I am ALSO using this for an English report on cutting down school days, homework drives me insane!!

E. Elliott • Apr 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm

I’m from Louisiana and am actually using this for an English Essay thanks for the information it was very informative.

Nabila Wilson • Jan 10, 2022 at 6:56 pm

Interesting with the polls! I didn’t realize about 14 valedictorians, that’s crazy.

Learning Disabilities Association of America

How Much Time Should Be Spent on Homework?

Student doing homework with clock

At the elementary level homework should be brief, at your child’s ability level and involve frequent, voluntary and high interest activities. Young students require high levels of feedback and/or supervision to help them complete assignments correctly. Accurate homework completion is influenced by your child’s ability, the difficulty of the task, and the amount of feedback your child receives. When assigning homework, your child’s teachers may struggle to create a balance at this age between ability, task difficulty and feedback. Unfortunately, there are no simple guiding principles.

We can assure you, however, that your input and feedback on a nightly basis is an essential component in helping your child benefit from the homework experience.

What is the recommended time in elementary school?

In first through third grade, students should receive one to three assignments per week, taking them no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. In fourth through sixth grade, students should receive two to four assignments per week, lasting between fifteen and forty-five minutes. At this age, the primarily goal of homework is to help your child develop the independent work and learning skills that will become critical in the higher grades. In the upper grades, the more time spent on homework the greater the achievement gains.

What is the recommended time in middle and high school?

For students in middle and high school grades there are greater overall benefits from time engaged in practicing and thinking about school work. These benefits do not appear to depend as much upon immediate supervision or feedback as they do for elementary students. In seventh through ninth grade we recommend students receive three to five sets of assignments per week, lasting between forty-five and seventy-five minutes per set. In high school students will receive four to five sets of homework per week, taking them between seventy-five and 150 minutes per set to complete.

As children progress through school, homework and the amount of time engaged in homework increases in importance. Due to the significance of homework at the older age levels, it is not surprising that there is more homework assigned. Furthermore, homework is always assigned in college preparatory classes and assigned at least three quarters of the time in special education and vocational training classes. Thus at any age, homework may indicate our academic expectations of children.

Regardless of the amount of homework assigned, many students unsuccessful or struggling in school spend less rather than more time engaged in homework. It is not surprising that students spending less time completing homework may eventually not achieve as consistently as those who complete their homework.

Does this mean that time devoted to homework is the key component necessary for achievement?

We are not completely certain. Some American educators have concluded that if students in America spent as much time doing homework as students in Asian countries they might perform academically as well. It is tempting to assume such a cause and effect relationship.

However, this relationship appears to be an overly simple conclusion. We know that homework is important as one of several influential factors in school success. However, other variables, including student ability, achievement, motivation and teaching quality influence the time students spend with homework tasks. Many students and their parents have told us they experience less difficulty being motivated and completing homework in classes in which they enjoyed the subject, the instruction, the assignments and the teachers.

The benefits from homework are the greatest for students completing the most homework and doing so correctly. Thus, students who devote time to homework are probably on a path to improved achievement. This path also includes higher quality instruction, greater achievement motivation and better skill levels.

Authors: Dr. Sam Goldstein and Dr. Sydney Zentall

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

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Dr. Sam Goldstein

How Much Time Should Be Spent On Homework?

  • Dr. Sam Goldstein , Sydney S. Zentall

Dr. Sam Goldstein

At the elementary level we suggest that homework is brief, at your child’s ability level and involve frequent, voluntary and high interest activities. Young students require high levels of feedback and/or supervision to help them complete assignments correctly. Accurate homework completion is influenced by your child’s ability, the difficulty of the task and the amount of feedback your child receives. When assigning homework, your child’s teachers may struggle to create a balance at this age between ability, task difficulty and feedback. Unfortunately, there are no simple guiding principles. We can assure you, however, that your input and feedback on a nightly basis is an essential component in helping your child benefit from the homework experience. In first through third grade, students should receive one to three assignments per week, taking them no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. In fourth through sixth grade, students should receive two to four assignments per week, lasting between fifteen and forty-five minutes. At this age, the primarily goal of homework is to help your child develop the independent work and learning skills that will become critical in the higher grades. In the upper grades, the more time spent on homework the greater the achievement gains.

For students in middle and high school grades there are greater overall benefits from time engaged in practicing and thinking about school work. These benefits do not appear to depend as much upon immediate supervision or feedback as they do for elementary students. In seventh through ninth grade we recommend students receive three to five sets of assignments per week, lasting between forty-five and seventy-five minutes per set. In high school students will receive four to five sets of homework per week, taking them between seventy-five and 150 minutes per set to complete.

As children progress through school, homework and the amount of time engaged in homework increases in importance. Due to the significance of homework at the older age levels, it is not surprising that there is more homework assigned. Furthermore, homework is always assigned in college preparatory classes and assigned at least three quarters of the time in special education and vocational training classes. Thus at any age, homework may indicate our academic expectations of children.

Regardless of the amount of homework assigned, many students unsuccessful or struggling in school, spend less rather than more time engaged in homework. It is not surprising that students spending less time completing homework may eventually not achieve as consistently as those who complete their homework. Does this mean that time devoted to homework is the key component necessary for achievement? We are not completely certain. Some American educators have concluded that if students in America spent as much time doing homework as students in Asian countries they might perform academically as well. It is tempting to assume such a cause and effect relationship. However, this relationship appears to be an overly simple conclusion. We know that homework is important as one of several influential factors in school success. However, other variables, including student ability, achievement, motivation and teaching quality influence the time students spend with homework tasks. Many students and their parents have told us they experience less difficulty being motivated and completing homework in classes in which they enjoyed the subject, the instruction, the assignments and the teachers.

The benefits from homework are the greatest for students completing the most homework and doing so correctly. Thus, students who devote time to homework are probably on a path to improved achievement. This path also includes higher quality instruction, greater achievement motivation and better skill levels.

This column is excerpted and condensed from, Seven Steps to Homework Success: A Family Guide for Solving Common Homework Problems by Sydney S. Zentall, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. (1999, Specialty Press, Inc.).

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As Students Return to School, Debate About the Amount of Homework Rages

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

By Christine Hauser

  • Aug. 24, 2016

How much homework is enough?

My daughter, Maya, who is entering second grade, was asked to complete homework six days a week during the summer. For a while, we tried gamely to keep up. But one day she turned to me and said, “I hate reading.”

I put the assignment aside.

That was my abrupt introduction to the debate over homework that is bubbling up as students across the United States head back to school.

This month, Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Godley, Tex., let parents know on “Meet the Teacher” night that she had no plans to load up her students’ backpacks.

“There will be no formally assigned homework this year,” Ms. Young wrote in a note that was widely shared on Facebook. “Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”

Other conversations about homework are humming in town halls and online. Some school districts, including one near Phoenix , have taken steps to shorten the summer break, out of concern that too much is forgotten over the summer. But discussions on blogs like GreatSchools.org or StopHomework.com reveal a belief that the workload assigned to students may be too heavy.

“How many people take home an average of two hours or more of work that must be completed for the next day?” said Tonya Noonan Herring , a New Mexico mother of three, in an article on GreatSchools.

The National PTA and the National Education Association endorse a 10-minute guideline: Time spent on after-school work should not exceed 10 minutes a grade level a night. “That is, a first grader should have no more than 10 minutes of homework, a sixth grader no more than 60 minutes and a 12th grader no more than two hours,” the National PTA says.

The National Education Association said those recommendations followed general guidelines from the research of Harris M. Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and the author of “The Battle Over Homework.”

“The horror stories I hear from parents and students about five or more hours spent on homework a night fly in the face of evidence of what’s best for kids, even what’s best for promoting academic achievement,” he wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times .

Have expectations about homework changed this year at your school? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Exhausted female student falls asleep at desk while studying at night

How much time should you spend studying? Our ‘Goldilocks Day’ tool helps find the best balance of good grades and  well-being

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

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how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

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Dot Dumuid is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship GNT1162166 and by the Centre of Research Excellence in Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health funded by NHMRC GNT1171981.

Tim Olds receives funding from the NHMRC and the ARC.

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For students, as for all of us, life is a matter of balance, trade-offs and compromise. Studying for hours on end is unlikely to lead to best academic results. And it could have negative impacts on young people’s physical, mental and social well-being.

Our recent study found the best way for young people to spend their time was different for mental health than for physical health, and even more different for school-related outcomes. Students needed to spend more time sitting for best cognitive and academic performance, but physical activity trumped sitting time for best physical health. For best mental health, longer sleep time was most important.

It’s like a game of rock, paper, scissors with time use. So, what is the sweet spot, or as Goldilocks put it, the “just right” amount of study?

Read more: Back to school: how to help your teen get enough sleep

Using our study data for Australian children aged 11 and 12, we are developing a time-optimisation tool that allows the user to define their own mental, physical and cognitive health priorities. Once the priorities are set, the tool provides real-time updates on what the user’s estimated “Goldilocks day” looks like.

Stylised dial set between 'too little' and 'too much' to achieve 'perfect balance'.

More study improves grades, but not as much as you think

Over 30 years of research shows that students doing more homework get better grades. However, extra study doesn’t make as much difference as people think. An American study found the average grades of high school boys increased by only about 1.5 percentage points for every extra hour of homework per school night.

What these sorts of studies don’t consider is that the relationship between time spent doing homework and academic achievement is unlikely to be linear. A high school boy doing an extra ten hours of homework per school night is unlikely to improve his grades by 15 percentage points.

There is a simple explanation for this: doing an extra ten hours of homework after school would mean students couldn’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning. Even if they could manage this for one day, it would be unsustainable over a week, let alone a month. In any case, adequate sleep is probably critical for memory consolidation .

Read more: What's the point of homework?

As we all know, there are only 24 hours in a day. Students can’t devote more time to study without taking this time from other parts of their day. Excessive studying may become detrimental to learning ability when too much sleep time is lost.

Another US study found that, regardless of how long a student normally spent studying, sacrificing sleep to fit in more study led to learning problems on the following day. Among year 12s, cramming in an extra three hours of study almost doubled their academic problems. For example, students reported they “did not understand something taught in class” or “did poorly on a test, quiz or homework”.

Excessive study could also become unhelpful if it means students don’t have time to exercise. We know exercise is important for young people’s cognition , particularly their creative thinking, working memory and concentration.

On the one hand, then, more time spent studying is beneficial for grades. On the other hand, too much time spent studying is detrimental to grades.

We have to make trade-offs

Of course, how young people spend their time is not only important to their academic performance, but also to their health. Because what is the point of optimising school grades if it means compromising physical, mental and social well-being? And throwing everything at academic performance means other aspects of health will suffer.

US sleep researchers found the ideal amount of sleep for for 15-year-old boys’ mental health was 8 hours 45 minutes a night, but for the best school results it was one hour less.

Clearly, to find the “Goldilocks Zone” – the optimal balance of study, exercise and sleep – we need to think about more than just school grades and academic achievement.

Read more: 'It was the best five years of my life!' How sports programs are keeping disadvantaged teens at school

Looking for the Goldilocks Day

Based on our study findings , we realised the “Goldilocks Day” that was the best on average for all three domains of health (mental, physical and cognitive) would require compromises. Our optimisation algorithm estimated the Goldilocks Day with the best overall compromise for 11-to-12-year-olds. The breakdown was roughly:

10.5 hours of sleep

9.5 hours of sedentary behaviour (such as sitting to study, chill out, eat and watch TV)

2.5 hours of light physical activity (chores, shopping)

1.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (sport, running).

We also recognised that people – or the same people at different times — have different priorities. Around exam time, academic performance may become someone’s highest priority. They may then wish to manage their time in a way that leads to better study results, but without completely neglecting their mental or physical health.

To better explore these trade-offs, we developed our time-use optimisation tool based on Australian data . Although only an early prototype, the tool shows there is no “one size fits all” solution to how young people should be spending their time. However, we can be confident the best solutions will involve a healthy balance across multiple daily activities.

Just like we talk about the benefits of a balanced diet, we should start talking about the benefits of balanced time use. The better equipped young people and those supporting them are to find their optimal daily balance of sleep, sedentary behaviours and physical activities, the better their learning outcomes will be, without compromising their health and well-being.

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  • Physical activity
  • Children's mental health
  • Children and sleep
  • Children's well-being
  • children's physical health
  • Sleep research

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How Much Homework Is Too Much for Our Teens?

Here's what educators and parents can do to help kids find the right balance between school and home.

Does Your Teen Have Too Much Homework?

Today’s teens are under a lot of pressure.

They're under pressure to succeed, to win, to be the best and to get into the top colleges. With so much pressure, is it any wonder today’s youth report being under as much stress as their parents? In fact, during the school year, teens say they experience stress levels higher than those reported by adults, according to a previous American Psychological Association "Stress in America" survey.

Odds are if you ask a teen what's got them so worked up, the subject of school will come up. School can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to other serious problems, like sleep deprivation . According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night, but only 15 percent are even getting close to that amount. During the school week, most teens only get about six hours of zzz’s a night, and some of that sleep deficit may be attributed to homework.

When it comes to school, many adults would rather not trade places with a teen. Think about it. They get up at the crack of dawn and get on the bus when it’s pitch dark outside. They put in a full day sitting in hours of classes (sometimes four to seven different classes daily), only to get more work dumped on them to do at home. To top it off, many kids have after-school obligations, such as extracurricular activities including clubs and sports , and some have to work. After a long day, they finally get home to do even more work – schoolwork.

[Read: What Parents Should Know About Teen Depression .]

Homework is not only a source of stress for students, but it can also be a hassle for parents. If you are the parent of a kid who strives to be “perfect," then you know all too well how much time your child spends making sure every bit of homework is complete, even if it means pulling an all-nighter. On the flip side, if you’re the parent of a child who decided that school ends when the last bell rings, then you know how exhausting that homework tug-of-war can be. And heaven forbid if you’re that parent who is at their wit's end because your child excels on tests and quizzes but fails to turn in assignments. The woes of academics can go well beyond the confines of the school building and right into the home.

This is the time of year when many students and parents feel the burden of the academic load. Following spring break, many schools across the nation head into the final stretch of the year. As a result, some teachers increase the amount of homework they give. The assignments aren’t punishment, although to students and parents who are having to constantly stay on top of their kids' schoolwork, they can sure seem that way.

From a teacher’s perspective, the assignments are meant to help students better understand the course content and prepare for upcoming exams. Some schools have state-mandated end of grade or final tests. In those states these tests can account for 20 percent of a student’s final grade. So teachers want to make sure that they cover the entire curriculum before that exam. Aside from state-mandated tests, some high school students are enrolled in advanced placement or international baccalaureate college-level courses that have final tests given a month or more before the end of the term. In order to cover all of the content, teachers must maintain an accelerated pace. All of this means more out of class assignments.

Given the challenges kids face, there are a few questions parents and educators should consider:

Is homework necessary?

Many teens may give a quick "no" to this question, but the verdict is still out. Research supports both sides of the argument. Personally, I would say, yes, some homework is necessary, but it must be purposeful. If it’s busy work, then it’s a waste of time. Homework should be a supplemental teaching tool. Too often, some youth go home completely lost as they haven’t grasped concepts covered in class and they may become frustrated and overwhelmed.

For a parent who has been in this situation, you know how frustrating this can be, especially if it’s a subject that you haven’t encountered in a while. Homework can serve a purpose such as improving grades, increasing test scores and instilling a good work ethic. Purposeful homework can come in the form of individualizing assignments based on students’ needs or helping students practice newly acquired skills.

Homework should not be used to extend class time to cover more material. If your child is constantly coming home having to learn the material before doing the assignments, then it’s time to contact the teacher and set up a conference. Listen when kids express their concerns (like if they say they're expected to know concepts not taught in class) as they will provide clues about what’s happening or not happening in the classroom. Plus, getting to the root of the problem can help with keeping the peace at home too, as an irritable and grumpy teen can disrupt harmonious family dynamics .

[Read: What Makes Teens 'Most Likely to Succeed?' ]

How much is too much?

According to the National PTA and the National Education Association, students should only be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. But teens are doing a lot more than that, according to a poll of high school students by the organization Statistic Brain . In that poll teens reported spending, on average, more than three hours on homework each school night, with 11th graders spending more time on homework than any other grade level. By contrast, some polls have shown that U.S. high school students report doing about seven hours of homework per week.

Much of a student's workload boils down to the courses they take (such as advanced or college prep classes), the teaching philosophy of educators and the student’s commitment to doing the work. Regardless, research has shown that doing more than two hours of homework per night does not benefit high school students. Having lots of homework to do every day makes it difficult for teens to have any downtime , let alone family time .

How do we respond to students' needs?

As an educator and parent, I can honestly say that oftentimes there is a mismatch in what teachers perceive as only taking 15 minutes and what really takes 45 minutes to complete. If you too find this to be the case, then reach out to your child's teacher and find out why the assignments are taking longer than anticipated for your child to complete.

Also, ask the teacher about whether faculty communicate regularly with one another about large upcoming assignments. Whether it’s setting up a shared school-wide assignment calendar or collaborating across curriculums during faculty meetings, educators need to discuss upcoming tests and projects, so students don’t end up with lots of assignments all competing for their attention and time at once. Inevitably, a student is going to get slammed occasionally, but if they have good rapport with their teachers, they will feel comfortable enough to reach out and see if alternative options are available. And as a parent, you can encourage your kid to have that dialogue with the teacher.

Often teens would rather blend into the class than stand out. That’s unfortunate because research has shown time and time again that positive teacher-student relationships are strong predictors of student engagement and achievement. By and large, most teachers appreciate students advocating for themselves and will go the extra mile to help them out.

Can there be a balance between home and school?

Students can strike a balance between school and home, but parents will have to help them find it. They need your guidance to learn how to better manage their time, get organized and prioritize tasks, which are all important life skills. Equally important is developing good study habits. Some students may need tutoring or coaching to help them learn new material or how to take notes and study. Also, don’t forget the importance of parent-teacher communication. Most educators want nothing more than for their students to succeed in their courses.

Learning should be fun, not mundane and cumbersome. Homework should only be given if its purposeful and in moderation. Equally important to homework is engaging in activities, socializing with friends and spending time with the family.

[See: 10 Concerns Parents Have About Their Kids' Health .]

Most adults don’t work a full-time job and then go home and do three more hours of work, and neither should your child. It's not easy learning to balance everything, especially if you're a teen. If your child is spending several hours on homework each night, don't hesitate to reach out to teachers and, if need be, school officials. Collectively, we can all work together to help our children de-stress and find the right balance between school and home.

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How To: Choose the Right Amount of Daily Homework

Despite the differences in the recommendations from these sources, the table shows broad agreement about how much homework to assign at each grade. At grades 1-3, homework should be limited to an hour or less per day, while in grades 4-6, homework should not exceed 90 minutes. The upper limit in grades 7-8 is 2 hours and the limit in high school should be 2.5 hours.

Teachers can use the homework time recommendations included here as a point of comparison: in particular, schools should note that assigning homework that exceeds the upper limit of these time estimates is not likely to result in additional learning gains--and may even be counter-productive (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006).

It should also be remembered that the amount of homework assigned each day is not in itself a sign of high academic standards. Homework becomes a powerful tool to promote learning only when students grasp the purpose of each homework assignment, clearly understand homework directions, perceive that homework tasks are instructionally relevant, and receive timely performance feedback (e.g., teacher comments; grades) on submitted homework (Jenson, Sheridan, Olympia, & Andrews, 1994).

Attachments

  • Download This Blog Entry in PDF Format: How To: Choose the Right Amount of Daily Homework
  • Barkley, R. A. (2008). 80+ classroom accommodations for children or teens with ADHD. The ADHD Report, 16 (4), 7-10.
  • Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1-62. 
  • Jenson, W. R., Sheridan, S. M., Olympia, D., & Andrews, D. (1994). Homework and students with learning disabilities and behavior disorders: A practical, parent-based approach. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27 , 538-548.

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How Do Kids Spend the School Day? Recommended Times and Structure

Verywell / Sahara Borja

Attending Class

Doing homework.

  • Socializing
  • Being With Parents

Eating Meals

Being physically active.

  • Enjoying Nature

Using Electronics

How to fit it all in.

Today's kids are busier than ever, dividing their time between school, activities, tutoring , and family time. When they're not busy with scheduled activities, kids have to make time for homework, sleep, and personal care.

Is there a way to balance it all and still provide some structure? Sure; making room for the priorities just takes a little planning. Of course, when it comes to time management , flexibility is also important. There will be times when you need to make adjustments to meet your child's needs. See how your child's schedule compares to others when it comes to key daily activities.

It may seem like your children spend all of their time at school . According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students may spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day in school depending on their age and the state in which they live.

This figure does not include transportation time as well as before or after school activities. Consequently, the number of hours individual children spend at school can vary dramatically.

As for the number of school days in a school year, there is much less variation. According to the NCES, the number of school days in different states ranges from 160 days in Colorado to 180 days in Hawaii.

This means kids are not in school about 185 days or more a year, which includes weekends and breaks. On those days, kids have the opportunity to enjoy nature, spend time with family and friends, and exercise.

How much time each day should kids spend on homework ? A general rule among teachers is 10 minutes per grade level: 30 minutes per day for a third-grader, 50 minutes for a fifth-grader, and so on.

This rule has been around for decades, but gained legitimacy when a review by Harris Cooper of Duke University suggested that 10 minutes per grade level really is the best practice. This amount can vary dramatically between children, however.

Time needed for homework really depends on the school's homework policy, the teacher's philosophy, and the type of coursework your child is taking. High school students taking AP courses might spend more time on homework than a student in general education courses. Some educators don't assign homework unless they see a strong need for at-home practice.

Expect less homework in schools that have a strong hands-on emphasis. You can expect more homework in schools that focus on regular practice or have "flipped" classrooms, where kids cover new material at home and practice skills at school where they are supervised. Another time you can expect more homework is in advanced level classes, like those that offer dual credit to high school students.

To keep your student on task during the school year, try establishing a schedule or block of time when homework will be completed.

Allow your child to help decide when this will take place. Doing so gives them some sense of control over their day and will more likely lead to positive results when it comes to completing assignments.

Socializing With Others

Experts agree that school-age children need to have friends. Friends help children build social skills such as listening, sharing, and problem-solving . Children also learn how to handle their emotions through relationships with other children.

Research doesn't dictate any specific amount of time that is necessary for children to socialize with friends. The quality of the friendships and whether or not the child is generally happy with their social time are most important. Children or teens may have just a few friends or several friends.

If you feel that your child would benefit from having more or better quality friendships , start by suggesting that your child to get involved in clubs or activities where they can meet new friends. If your child seems a little shy or like they need practice meeting new peers, try coaching them on how to make friends.

Being With Parents or Caregivers

Don't stress about spending quality time with your kids. Research from a large-scale longitudinal study on the effects of time with parents compared to child and teen outcomes had some surprising results.

The biggest takeaway is that time spent with a parent who is stressed out and moody can decrease positive outcomes, while more time does not show a strong benefit. For this reason, it's important to be mindful of your family's moods.

It's also important not to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to spending time as a family. The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family , found no relationship between the time a parent spent with their 3- to 11-year-olds and the child's academic achievement, behavior, and well-being. Teens do get into less trouble when they have six hours a week or more of positive, engaged time with parents.

That means that parents can and should take a big sigh of relief. These results suggest taking care of yourself first and not sacrificing or martyring yourself for the sake of your children is best. If you find yourself stressed out about money, you can return to work or work more hours without feeling guilty .

You also will be in a better position to spend time with your kids in the teen years when the benefits are much more tangible. Just try to enjoy your time together no matter what that looks like. It still stands to reason that your child will benefit from having some positive attention from you every day.

The amount of time a child needs to sleep varies according to their age. But every child, no matter their age, needs adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to falling asleep during school or missing school altogether.

What's more, kids who don't get enough sleep struggle to wake up in the mornings, and have trouble learning or doing school work. If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough sleep, learn what symptoms to watch for as well as what steps you can take to improve their sleep habits .

Sleep Recommendations

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the recommended sleep times for school-age children are:

  • 10–13 hours each night for 5-year-olds
  • 9–12 hours each night for 6- to 12-year-olds
  • At least 8 hours each night for kids 13 years old and older

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee

Most experts recommend 20 to 30 minutes to eat a meal, and 10 to 15 minutes to eat a small snack. Keep in mind that even children's bodies need 20 minutes after eating before they begin to register feeling full.

To make sure your children have plenty of time to finish their food without feeling rushed and get adequate nutrition, emphasize the importance of family meals . This time not only provides your kids with the nutrition they need, but it also gives you valuable time together as a family.

What's more, regular family meals promote healthy eating and protect against childhood obesity . Make sure you are selecting healthy options for your family and that electronics are turned off and away from the table. Meal time also is a great time to catch up on what's going on in everyone's lives and to laugh together as a family.

Children should engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only does regular physical activity promote health and fitness, it also leads to lower body fat and stronger bones .

Physical activity—which should consist of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities—also has a positive impact on a child's brain health. Studies have shown that exercise improves cognition and memory as well as enhances academic performance and reduces symptoms of depression.

When kids exercise daily, this also sets them up for good health in adulthood. It reduces the likelihood that they will experience heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Plus, being physically active is a great stress reducer. It allows kids to take their minds off of stressful things and do something fun.

Enjoying Nature and the Outdoors

Many children spend much more time indoors than they did in previous generations. Various studies have linked this increase in indoor time to obesity and other health issues.

While it is important to note that some of these effects do not have enough research to say with certainty that indoor time is to blame, it makes sense that time spent outdoors and away from screens would be good for children and adults alike.

How much time outdoors should you aim for? The U.S. National Wildlife Federation suggests at least one hour a day. This nature advocacy group even includes this concept in its "Be Out There" campaign, calling it a "Green Hour." Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends 60 minutes of unstructured, free play (indoors or out) every day.

You can help your children get in their physical activity time and their time in nature by getting them outdoors. If you're short on ideas, try hiking on a local nature trail or tending a small container garden.

For years, the AAP had fairly strict recommendations limiting the use of any electronic devices to a few hours a day. However, in late 2016, new guidelines were announced that are much less stringent. The guidelines were created in response to how we are using media today.

This change came about because electronics and screen time have become a facet of almost every part of our lives. Children use tablets and computers at school. Cell phones with video messaging are used for daily communication. And internet use for homework is more likely to be required than optional. Then, after a child's required use of electronic media, there is still entertainment and free time to consider.

Overall, the recommendations indicate that electronic media use for entertainment should be limited to one or two hours a day. Parents should ensure that this entertainment is high quality, and create screen-free zones (like the family dinner table), so children and teens learn to function without their devices. Doing so not only allows them to relax and de-stress but it also gives them the space needed to be creative.

Of course, during the 2020-2021 school year, kids may have been online multiple hours a day just to get an education. Now that schools are being encouraged by the CDC to return to in-person learning, finding a balance between using electronics for school and for socializing and entertainment is important. You may even want to consider taking a few days to detox from technology as a family.

It can be a challenge to meet all of these recommendations. One way to manage is to combine one or more activities so you can get more done in less time.

For instance, time outdoors in nature, away from electronic devices, can be combined with exercise and even time with same-age friends. Meanwhile, the time a child or teen needs to be engaged with a parent can be met by eating dinner together. Thirty minutes each night totals more than six engaged hours. The only activity you can't mix with others is sleep.

The key to fitting in everything a child needs is to establish a daily plan or school year routine. Pre-planning or scheduling also can reduce parent stress, keeping the time you spend with your child positive.

A Word From Verywell

As you think about how to structure your child's typical school day, try not to be too rigid with your planning. With the exception of sleep, you can be flexible with how your kids are spending their time and tailor your routines to meet their specific needs.

The key is that they are getting appropriate rest, attending school, and doing their homework. Socializing, time with family, physical activity, electronic use, and family meal times can be adapted as the days unfold.

National Center for Education Statistics. Number of instructional days and hours in the school year, by state: 2018 .

American Psychological Association. Is homework a necessary evil ?

Cooper, H.  The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents . New York, Carrel Books, 2015.

Sakyi KS, Surkan PJ, Fombonne E, Chollet A, Melchior M. Childhood friendships and psychological difficulties in young adulthood: an 18-year follow-up study . Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry . 2015;24(7):815-26. doi:10.1007/s00787-014-0626-8

Siennick SE, Osgood DW. Hanging out with which friends? Friendship-level predictors of unstructured and unsupervised socializing in adolescence . J Res Adolesc . 2012;22(4):646-661. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2012.00812.x

Milkie MA, Nomaguchi KM, Denny KE. Does the amount of time mothers spend with children or adolescents matter? . J Marriage Fam. 2015;77:355–372. doi:10.1111/jomf.12170

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How much sleep do I need? .

Cohen JF, Jahn JL, Richardson S, Cluggish SA, Parker E, Rimm EB. Amount of time to eat lunch is associated with children's selection and consumption of school meal entrée, fruits, vegetables, and milk . J Acad Nutr Diet . 2016;116(1):123-8. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.07.019

Dwyer L, Oh A, Patrick H, Hennessy E. Promoting family meals: a review of existing interventions and opportunities for future research . Adolesc Health Med Ther . 2015;6:115-31. doi:10.2147/AHMT.S37316

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity guidelines for school-aged children and adolescents .

Kemple KM, Oh J, Kenney E, Smith-Bonahue T. The power of outdoor play and play in natural environments .  Childhood Education . 2016;92(6):446-454. doi:10.1080/00094056.2016.1251793

Childhood Pediatrics. Nature play: Prescription for healthier children .

Barnett TA, Kelly AS, Young DR, et al. Sedentary behaviors in today’s youth: approaches to the prevention and management of childhood obesity: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association .  Circulation . 2018;138(11). doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000591

The National Wildlife Federation. Connecting kids and nature .

American Academy of Pediatrics. Energy out: daily physical activity recommendations .

Media and young minds . Pediatrics . 2016;138(5). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2591

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools .

By Lisa Linnell-Olsen Lisa Linnell-Olsen has worked as a support staff educator, and is well-versed in issues of education policy and parenting issues.

Sixth-Grade Homework

Even if your daughter is using most of her time efficiently, she may need some help from you in managing the bigger homework load that sixth grade brings. Having a set time and place for doing homework will give her the self-discipline to start each day. Beyond this, you need to make sure your daughter knows how to plan her work. Before your child tackles her first assignment, she needs to prioritize her work from studying for a test first to doing a math worksheet last. Have her tell you her plans for several days so she gets in the habit of doing this.

Help your daughter further along the path to homework success by making sure that she reads directions carefully and can use textbook and worksheet examples to make sure she is on the right track with an assignment. Then stay nearby to provide assistance if she asks for it. While it is acceptable to work with her to get an assignment started, avoid doing any of her work.

If these hints don't help your daughter reduce her homework time substantially, you need to talk to her teachers about how burdensome homework is for your child. Take a list of the daily assignments that your child has to your discussion, and find out how long the teachers think each assignment should take. Quite often, when several teachers are making assignments, they don't realize how overwhelming the homework load is.

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How Much Homework Do American Kids Do?

Various factors, from the race of the student to the number of years a teacher has been in the classroom, affect a child's homework load.

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In his Atlantic essay , Karl Taro Greenfeld laments his 13-year-old daughter's heavy homework load. As an eighth grader at a New York middle school, Greenfeld’s daughter averaged about three hours of homework per night and adopted mantras like “memorization, not rationalization” to help her get it all done. Tales of the homework-burdened American student have become common, but are these stories the exception or the rule?

A 2007 Metlife study found that 45 percent of students in grades three to 12 spend more than an hour a night doing homework, including the six percent of students who report spending more than three hours a night on their homework. In the 2002-2003 school year, a study out of the University of Michigan found that American students ages six through 17 spent three hours and 38 minutes per week doing homework.

A range of factors plays into how much homework each individual student gets:

Older students do more homework than their younger counterparts.

This one is fairly obvious: The National Education Association recommends that homework time increase by ten minutes per year in school. (e.g., A third grader would have 30 minutes of homework, while a seventh grader would have 70 minutes).

Studies have found that schools tend to roughly follow these guidelines: The University of Michigan found that students ages six to eight spend 29 minutes doing homework per night while 15- to 17-year-old students spend 50 minutes doing homework. The Metlife study also found that 50 percent of students in grades seven to 12 spent more than an hour a night on homework, while 37 percent of students in grades three to six spent an hour or more on their homework per night. The National Center for Educational Statistics found that high school students who do homework outside of school average 6.8 hours of homework per week.

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Race plays a role in how much homework students do.

Asian students spend 3.5 more hours on average doing homework per week than their white peers. However, only 59 percent of Asian students’ parents check that homework is done, while 75.6 percent of Hispanic students’ parents and 83.1 percent of black students’ parents check.

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Teachers with less experience assign more homework.

The Metlife study found that 14 percent of teachers with zero to five years of teaching experience assigned more than an hour of homework per night, while only six percent of teachers with 21 or more years of teaching experience assigned over an hour of homework.

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Math classes have homework the most frequently.

The Metlife study found that 70 percent of students in grades three to 12 had at least one homework assignment in math. Sixty-two percent had at least one homework assignment in a language arts class (English, reading, spelling, or creative writing courses) and 42 percent had at least one in a science class.

Regardless of how much homework kids are actually doing every night, most parents and teachers are happy with the way things are: 60 percent of parents think that their children have the “right amount of homework,” and 73 percent of teachers think their school assigns the right amount of homework.

Students, however, are not necessarily on board: 38 percent of students in grades seven through 12 and 28 percent of students in grades three through six report being “very often/often” stressed out by their homework.

These Are the Hours Your Kid Should Be Homeschooling Per Day Based on Their Grade

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

The pressure to homeschool is at a fever pitch, particularly as more and more states are announcing sweeping school closures until the fall. And with such polarizing guidance, it's easy for parents to look at a typical seven-hour school day and assume that they simply aren't doing enough.

In late March, the Illinois State Board of Education released "remote learning recommendations" in order to provide clarification to districts, schools, teachers, students, and parents as to what virtual education should look like during the "COVID-19 emergency."

And within this 60-page document, perhaps the most helpful section was a small chart outlining the "suggested minimum and maximum times of engagement by each student in remote learning activities." Broken down by grade level, it gives parents achievable benchmarks for how much time should be spent doing remote learning each day:

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

In addition to the time parameters, it also outlined how additional engagement opportunities – versus strict remote learning assignments – are especially vital for preschool and elementary grade levels, where it is not "developmentally appropriate to expect a student to attend to academic tasks for a long period of time." For those kids, the organization offered up a separate table of activities and noted that families are "encouraged" to support learning via these methods instead.

Illinois's Board of Education said it created these recommendations because it "acknowledges that all students, families, and schools are diverse and supports remote learning that meets local needs, and to the greatest extent possible, minimizes the negative impact this unprecedented moment has on our students' educational trajectories."

And although these guidelines might vary state to state, it serves as a helpful baseline for those parents who have been trying to fill full school days when they should actually be homeschooling a lot less.

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how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

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how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

Additional Homework Resources

Chart Shows The Hours A Child Should Be Homeschooling By Grade

Chart Shows The Hours A Child Should Be Homeschooling By Grade

The chart outlines the minimum and maximum number of hours (or minutes) a child should spend homeschooling

While the nation is practicing social distancing to slow the coronavirus pandemic, millions of parents have spent the last several weeks learning how to homeschool as they go . Most of us didn’t exactly sign up for this, and suffice to say, it’s a steep learning curve . As some of us watch our kids toil for hours while trying to complete their homeschooling each day, it’s comforting to know that experts say there is a maximum (and minimum) amount of time kids should be homeschooling each day.

Thanks to a chart created by the Illinois State Board of Education and released as part of their “remote learning recommendations,” we can try to gauge how much time our kids should be logging into Google Classroom and hitting the books from home. It might be a lot less time than you think:

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

Illinois Board of Education

My kids are in middle school and this chart about adds up for us, but I know friends with younger kids who are definitely spending a lot more time on homeschooling each day than the Board is recommending. This is useful information for us parents to have, considering most of us probably aren’t actual teachers. Pushing a younger kid for too long will only result in frustration for everyone, so it’s good to see that elementary school children shouldn’t be spending six hours every day on their homeschooling work.

Of course, every state has their own board of education and can issue guidelines independently, but this chart can serve as a baseline to help understand whether your kids are doing too much, not enough, or just the right amount of homeschooling work.

In addition to the chart, the Illinois board offered ideas for activities kids could do to enrich not just their academics, but their physical health and family relationships.

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

Ideas include puzzles , writing stories , dancing , coloring , gardening, and telling jokes to family members . It’s important to remember as we navigate this homeschooling landscape that “in-person” school includes many moments that aren’t just staring at the board, doing worksheets, and taking notes. If your kids want to start up a garden , that can make a pretty amazing little science lesson. If your tweens want to learn some TikTok dances for 30 minutes? Hello, physical education addendum. We can get creative and fill the days with fun and memories along with meeting all the requirements set forth by their wonderful teachers.

This is all new and uncharted, so it’s great when resources like this are available for parents to help guide us through.

This article was originally published on April 15, 2020

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

No TikTok? No problem. Here's why you shouldn't rush to buy your child a phone.

With so many kids online so much of the time, our children are more exposed than ever to dangers they're not ready to guard themselves against..

how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

The longer I am a mother , the more I find myself reflecting on my childhood and how it compares and contrasts with my daughters' lives.

So much is the same: picky eaters, feet that grow out of new shoes too fast, tears spilled over math homework and talks about who said what to whom on the playground.

But there is one thing that makes everything about being a kid so different today: cellphones .

Phones have changed how kids interact

When I was in third grade, about 1992, my small, private school in Denver had one big hulk of a computer that we wheeled around the whole building for each classroom to use.

Today, kids as young as 8 (or less) have social media accounts on their own smartphones, where they spend hours every day living entire lives in a 4x7 inch screen. Incessantly scrolling, chatting and comparing.

I get why parents want their kids to have phones: mainly to stay in touch. I also get that screen time for kids and teens means free time for us. When we are constantly being emailed and texted, when the demands to do so many things professionally and for our kids are at an all-time high, when we want a minute to scroll mindlessly as we descend down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest (or pick your poison), cellphones and tablets provide momentary respite from our overbooked days.

And there's nothing new about warning of the dangers of cellphones for kids (or for us). But phones are so ubiquitous that we read the bad news about the latest study, feel guilty and quickly move on.

I want to remind you why we should be thinking, and talking, about our kids' cellphone use.

Phones are everywhere: 95% of teens say they have access to a cellphone, and 58% of teens report using TikTok daily, according to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey .

With that many kids online, that much of the time, our children are more exposed than ever to dangers they're not ready to guard themselves against: stolen identities, pornography, pedophilia, the list goes on.

More from Carli Pierson on parenting: My 8-year-old daughter got her first sleepover invite. There's no way she's going.

There's also the issue of how phones and social media make kids feel about themselves. In " The Conquest of Happiness ," Bertrand Russell wrote: "The habit of thinking in terms of comparison is a fatal one."

But that's what social media is – one big social comparison. Who has a better body? Who has more money? Who has a more interesting life? More friends? More likes?

For teens and preteens with all the additional difficulties that accompany those years, that sounds like a heavy burden. And it is: Teen suicide rates are rising , and while social media isn't the only factor, in some cases we know it's a contributor .

Should kids be allowed to have phones?

I have other questions that the research doesn't answer.

What is smartphone use doing to kids' ability to be creative? How will that affect their capacity to deal with the parade of letdowns and monotony that is such a integral part of human existence? When our children grow up, will they be able to handle not being entertained? Will they be able to carry a conversation?

Harvey Weinstein case and #MeToo: Why was his conviction for sexual crimes overturned? Sometimes the courts get things wrong.

Phones and kids should be an ongoing conversation in our homes. We should be talking about the dangers of addiction. We need to teach them that obsessing over other people's lives, or comparing themselves with another person they may or may not know, isn't healthy or helpful. We want to show them that being able to strike up, hold and gracefully walk away from a conversation is an art that needs practice. And they need to understand that being bored is OK.

Now, I am not a masochist – my kids have tablets that they watch movies and play games on. I am not saying kids should never have a phone or a tablet.

But kids and parents need to do more handholding and hugging, more talking and discussing, more daydreaming. We need to get back to resting in the grass and experiencing that peaceful feeling of watching the clouds float by. And we need fewer handheld objects to distract and entertain us.

Life is short, childhood is even shorter. Let's work harder to save our kids from a childhood spent inside a phone.

Carli Pierson is a digital editor at USA TODAY  and a New York-licensed attorney.

IMAGES

  1. How much time do you spend doing your homework

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

  2. How Much Time Should Be Spent on Homework Based on Grade?

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

  3. Homeschool Hours by Grade Chart

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

  4. How Much Homework Do American Kids Do?

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

  5. Where Do Students Spend The Most Time In The Classroom? [Infographic]

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

  6. How Many Hours a Day Should I Homeschool? Here's the Truth

    how much time should a 6th grader spend on homework

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COMMENTS

  1. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    The National PTA and the National Education Association support the " 10-minute homework guideline "—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students' needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

  2. How Much Homework Is Enough? Depends Who You Ask

    From kindergarten to 5th grade, it was just under three hours per week; from 6th to 8th grade, it was 3.2 hours; and from 9th to 12th grade, it was 3.5 hours. There are two points to note.

  3. Students spend three times longer on homework than average, survey

    This means that each grade level should have a maximum homework time incrementing by 10 minutes depending on their grade level (for instance, ninth-graders would have 90 minutes of homework, 10th-graders should have 100 minutes, and so on). ... When asked how many hours students spent on homework in a day on average, answers ranged from zero to ...

  4. How Much Time Should Be Spent on Homework?

    Time spent on homework should be appropriate to the child's grade level. At the elementary level homework should be brief, at your child's ability level and involve frequent, voluntary and high interest activities. ... In fourth through sixth grade, students should receive two to four assignments per week, lasting between fifteen and forty ...

  5. What's the right amount of homework for my students?

    This framework is also endorsed by the National Parent Teacher Association National Parent Teachers Association. According to this rule, time spent on homework each night should not exceed: 30 minutes in 3 rd grade. 40 minutes in 4 th grade. 50 minutes in 5 th grade.

  6. How Much Time Should Be Spent On Homework?

    In seventh through ninth grade we recommend students receive three to five sets of assignments per week, lasting between forty-five and seventy-five minutes per set. In high school students will receive four to five sets of homework per week, taking them between seventy-five and 150 minutes per set to complete.

  7. FAQs about homework for kids

    There are guidelines for how much time kids should spend on homework. The NEA recommends something called the "10-minute rule." Based on this rule, students should spend about 10 minutes per grade level on homework every night. That means a second grader will usually be able to finish in about 20 minutes. A sixth grader should be able to ...

  8. As Students Return to School, Debate About the Amount of Homework Rages

    How much homework is enough? ... Time spent on after-school work should not exceed 10 minutes a grade level a night. "That is, a first grader should have no more than 10 minutes of homework, a ...

  9. How much time should you spend studying? Our 'Goldilocks Day' tool

    Over 30 years of research shows that students doing more homework get better grades. However, extra study doesn't make as much difference as people think. ... more time spent studying is ...

  10. How to Make a Better Homework Schedule for Your Family

    Generally, you can expect about 10 minutes of homework per grade level of school. This means that a third-grade student will need about 30 minutes to complete homework. However, the amount of time needed can vary dramatically between students, teachers, and schools.

  11. An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Homework

    Third to fifth grades. Many children will be able to do homework independently in grades 3-5. Even then, their ability to focus and follow through may vary from day to day. "Most children are ...

  12. How Much Homework Is Too Much for Our Teens?

    In that poll teens reported spending, on average, more than three hours on homework each school night, with 11th graders spending more time on homework than any other grade level. By contrast ...

  13. How To: Choose the Right Amount of Daily Homework

    At grades 1-3, homework should be limited to an hour or less per day, while in grades 4-6, homework should not exceed 90 minutes. The upper limit in grades 7-8 is 2 hours and the limit in high school should be 2.5 hours.

  14. How much time should your child spend on homework each night?

    Well, actually it IS based on research, but it's too loosely construed. In his comprehensive reviews of over 180 research studies on homework, Harris Cooper (1989, 2006) found that an optimal amount of homework for high school seniors was 120 minutes per night. Seniors who did two hours of homework had higher levels of academic achievement ...

  15. How Much Should I Help My Child With Their Homework?

    Homework becomes more of a "thing" as your child gets a little older, though it tends to be light in early elementary school, increasing in amount as the years pass. Typically by third grade, kids receive up to three assignments per week, and homework can take up to 20 minutes.

  16. A Child's School Day: Recommended Times and Structure

    How much time each day should kids spend on homework? A general rule among teachers is 10 minutes per grade level: 30 minutes per day for a third-grader, 50 minutes for a fifth-grader, and so on. A general rule among teachers is 10 minutes per grade level: 30 minutes per day for a third-grader, 50 minutes for a fifth-grader, and so on.

  17. Sixth-Grade Homework

    A. Sixth grade is one of those times when homework can increase dramatically. While two hours of homework is twice the amount that experts recommend for this grade level, look carefully at how your daughter is spending her study time before talking to her teachers. Investigate if she is wasting part of this time by complaining or ...

  18. How Much Homework Do American Kids Do?

    In the 2002-2003 school year, a study out of the University of Michigan found that American students ages six through 17 spent three hours and 38 minutes per week doing homework. A range of ...

  19. 8 tips to help grade-schoolers slow down on homework

    Having a set time for homework can help your child get used to the idea of homework. It also takes away the incentive to speed through work so they can go play. The rule of thumb for grade school is 10 minutes of homework per grade every night. So if your child is in third grade, your child should spend about 30 minutes a day on homework.

  20. Homeschool Hours by Grade Chart

    An education board released remote learning recommendations that denote minimum and maximum hours per day kids should spend on school work by grade level.

  21. Homework

    1st & 2nd class- 20 minutes. 3rd & 4th class- 30 minutes. 5th & 6th class- maximum of 1 hour. Tom recommends that if you are satisfied that your child has worked diligently for the recommended times above and still has not completed the homework, you should stop the child and write a note to the teacher explaining this.

  22. Homeschool hours by grade: New expert-backed chart could take some

    It breaks down educational needs by grade level and shows the minimum and maximum amounts of time kids in every age group should spend on school work each day. Surprisingly, the chart suggests most kids work on school activities for less than two hours per day. ... "We asked our parents of second graders to do 20 minutes of out loud or silent ...

  23. Chart Shows The Hours A Child Should Be Homeschooling By Grade

    This is all new and uncharted, so it's great when resources like this are available for parents to help guide us through. This article was originally published on April 15, 2020. A chart from the Illinois State Board of Education lays out by grade level the minimum and maximum number of hours a child should be homeschooling.

  24. Should kids be allowed to have phones? Here are things to consider

    I am not saying kids should never have a phone or a tablet. But kids and parents need to do more handholding and hugging, more talking and discussing, more daydreaming. We need to get back to ...