Elementary students today have more homework than you did

Teenager girl do homework
Too much homework has negative effects on a child’s general well being.
Credit: Colourbox

As much as we like to complain to kids how much harder we had it (No cellphones! Long walks to school! Encyclopedias instead of Google!) it turns out they might just have us beat. According to two new studies, kids across all grades have hefty homework loads.

The first study, released by Stanford University, says the average high school student has three hours of homework a night. It went on to say that this hefty load does more harm than good, having negatives effects not only on their overall happiness but their relationships with their family, friends and performance in after-school activities.

Three hours a night may sound like a lot of homework, but the second study, by Bookings Brown Center on Education, found that this has actually remained consistent throughout the decades. Researchers looked at homework levels from 1984 to 2012 and found that figure has been pretty consistent. However, when it comes to elementary students, things have changed dramatically.

Bookings Brown Center found that in the ’80s, elementary school kids only had homework a few times a week; 64 percent of 9-year-olds reported having homework the night before. Now, 78 percent of 9-year-olds reported having homework the night before. It is also taking up more of their time: Only 57 percent of 9-year-olds have less than an hour of homework a night today, compared with 41 percent in 1984.

So next time you hear your son or daughter complain about having too much homework, have some sympathy. They aren’t just venting.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


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