How much homework is too much?

User - posted on 02/04/2010 ( 97 moms have responded )

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Ok- I teach hs language arts. My 1st grade daughter came home with 19 pages of homework, due the next day. . . I don't even give that much hw to my hs kids! She was bawling! Now, she was home sick for one day, but the 19 pages are in addition to the original 17 pages of math plus 5 pages of spelling hw she gets each week. Am I alone in thinking this is absurd?

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Kristy - posted on 08/11/2012

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I don't know if you have ever heard of Rick Wormeli or not, but he has some interesting philosophies on homework and grading practices. I saw him at the SDE conference in Chicago a couple of years ago, and I have changed my practices because of him. It would be worthwhile of you to look him up and take in your findings to your child's teacher and principal. He believes educators should review their reasons for giving homework and only give work with a purpose. Educators should also review what each student is able to do and only give them work they need (each student could have a different assignment). If your child is completing 19 sheets of homework, I would question the purposes of the assignment.

Jeannine - posted on 02/05/2010

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What?! Are you sure? I don't advocate homework at all, besides reading at this age. i give optional homework for my kids who want to practice or parents requesting make up homework, but never due in one day. My son is also in first grade, which does do homework, they have one to two pages that take no more than 15min. and reading. I would talk to this teacher.

Darci - posted on 04/10/2011

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I recently did a Literature Review for an education research class that I am taking for my master's degree. Here are 2 paragraphs regarding homework at the elementary level and recommended amounts of homework. References cited, of course. Good luck as you try to get your child's 1st grade teacher on you team.
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Other students, parents, teachers, and researchers recognize that homework plays an important role in the development of secondary students. Research suggests homework for elementary children has little or no effect on academic achievement. However, secondary students who complete their homework have higher academic achievement than those who do not (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006; Cox, 2004; Schroeder, 2007). Those in favor of homework would also argue that homework is important for developing good study habits and skills which include self-discipline, time management skills, and independent problem solving skills (Protheroe, 2009). Take note that secondary students who correctly complete homework experience higher academic achievement and create good habits when it comes to getting and keeping a job in their future (Casey, 2001). At the secondary level, all may agree that appropriate homework in appropriate amounts valued by teachers is beneficial for learning and development (Casey, 2001; Cox, 2004; Pettus, 2007).
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The amount of homework students bring home is one reason students become overwhelmed by school. Researchers suggest a good rule to follow for total amount of homework each evening is 10-minutes multiplied by the child’s grade level (Casey, 2001; Cox, 2004; Pettus, 2007). According to these recommendations, seniors in high-school should be able to complete approximately two hours of homework per night. To make this a reality for students, teachers must collaborate to make sure students’ homework loads are limited for each class.
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Casey, M. (2001, October 7). Homework: How-to's and how muches. The New York Time (NY), 6.
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. doi: 10.3102/00346543076001001
Cox, C. (2004, October 2). Applying the 10 minute rule - how much homework is too much? The Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada), A01.
Pettus, M. (2007, April 7). Rethinking homework some experts think it's time to leave the work at school. Florida Times-Union, the (Jacksonville, FL), SU-20.
Protheroe, N. (2009). Good homework policy = good teaching. Principal (Reston, Va.), 89(1), 42-45. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Select database
Schroeder, K. (2007). Valuing homework. The Education Digest, 72(9), 52. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Select database

Rikayah - posted on 12/15/2011

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I teach 6th grade and ONLY give homework if it provides an opportunity to practice a skill that I have taught OR if I want to assess what the students know. 19 pages????? that is crazy!!!

[deleted account]

Homework for a first grader should take no more than 10 minutes to complete (20 for 2nd, 30 for 3rd and so on). By giving her this much homework, they are really assigning YOU homework. Homework should just be practice/reinforcement of what the students were taught in class that day. 19 pages is absolutely ridiculous!!

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Bobbi Jean - posted on 01/04/2013

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Homework should not exceed 10 minutes times the year grade of the child. This means that a 6th grader would have 1 hour of homework-max. When I taught third grade, my students had 30 minutes. If it took them substanially longer, then a close look to where they were having trouble was in order. I hope your daughter got a new teacher promptly.

Cheryl - posted on 11/08/2012

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No, her teacher is a moron. Call her or go to see her and tell her that this is undoable. I teach ESOL and even my best students don't and never did get so much work. There is life outside of HW. If he/she gives you any trouble, see the administrator. there is no way a kid should be stuck with so much work, particularly at this age. Best of luck.

Kristy - posted on 08/11/2012

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I'm guessing the issue has been resolved by now since your child is probably entering fourth grade. I just noticed the date of your post. I still think the Rick Wormeli info might help you professionally, from one ILA teacher to another.

Sam - posted on 07/30/2012

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my grade 1 daughter never had homework at all. It was frustrating because i never knew what she was learning and how. I never knew about the teacher's expectations. I had to do so much teaching at home, AFTER SCHOOL. When i talked about it to the teacher , he said: oh no! let her relax at home. I don't send homework. I found that very strange. He doesn't send homework but I had to get the curriculum my self and find out that I have to be a second teacher at home to go through all the expectations and descover that the teacher almost didn't do anything at all for the year!

Sylvia - posted on 04/18/2012

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TYou are sooo not alone. my 10 year old in 4th grade brings home so much home work and he is adhd/odd and he has an iep in school, at my recent school iep meating they said that it is because of the state testing. I feel that they shouldnt be over loaded with home work plus my son stays after school for help ( state testing again). It makes him want to rebel. So this is what I do, I give him alot of brakes during school home work when needed. If they over load him and he is frustrated I tell him to put a ? by the problem and his teacher can help him with it at school, i found that my teaching method was not like his teachers and confused him alot. I feel that parents have alot on there plate at home, then adding alot of home work to it is insane, some is ok but schools are going over bord with it all. But as I am told we can thank the state for that....

West - posted on 03/16/2012

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That is just crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does she go to a private school, or public? How can you expect a child to like school with all that homework. I believe homework is for the parents as much as the kids. It makes parents take the time to sit with the child and forces them to spend time with them when many parents are to involved with there own lives. It seems to be a ME world now days. I can't believe that a first grade teacher would want to sit and correct all those papers from each child. It sounds like the teacher is a single teacher. I think that teachers become better teachers after they have there own children. Experience is a wonderful thing. Hope things improve for you and your childs well being. I think I would inform the principal and see if any other parents complained.

Amina - posted on 03/09/2012

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You are lucky, My kids bring one sheet of homework a day. I have to print homework for them. I am wondering why some school gives a lot of homework while others does not. Do what you can and leave the rest to the next day. You may also try to email the teacher and explain to her that is too much for your daughter to be doing all this. i wish I find a way to tell my son teacher to give him more homework lol!

Julie - posted on 03/04/2012

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I teach Grade 1 english, math and science..... that is just crazy 19 pages of homework? I never give homework to my students... all they have to do at home is review what we did that day.....

Julie - posted on 03/04/2012

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That is just crazy... I teach grade 1 english, math and science and they never have that much homework.. they just review what we did in class that day... that is all........

Terri - posted on 02/26/2012

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Can not believe any teacher would send that much homework home for a six year old. I teach first grade and only send one math worksheet and one reading skill page each night. How can that much work be meaningful.

Nancy Jo - posted on 01/12/2012

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Yes, that is way too much. What exactly does the teacher teach in class? That would be the question to ask.

Michelle - posted on 12/23/2011

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I am a first grade teacher. That is way to much homework! The most I have given is 2 pages front and back. Are you sure it is homework. Some of my parents confuse homework with unfinished school work. Its not necessary to give a lot of homework. You can give 2 pages of purposeful homework.

Klara - posted on 12/22/2011

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that is insane! wow.. I'd be talking to the teacher and make sure your daughter understood. If your dd really does have that much, I'd be complaining! any more than 1 hour total is too much at our house. They sit in school all day. Expecting them to do work all night as well is unrealistic!

Dionne - posted on 08/24/2011

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aww yes 19 pages that is way to much for a first grader. if anything they should get no more than two pages of homework and review sight words or spelling.

Donna - posted on 08/07/2011

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That is totally absurd. I taught first grade for 25 years and never gave more than 30 minutes of homework. Maybe the the teacher is not teaching during the school day, and thinks the parents should do the work at home.

Melinda - posted on 06/09/2011

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Absolutely not! As a teacher who has always pushed her students, I have never given that much work for one day to my 5th OR 6th graade GIFTED students!

Naomi - posted on 06/02/2011

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I teach in Australia and a normal expectation for Grade 1 (7 yr olds) would be reading a reader each night and then over the week practising some sight words or a few spelling words. About twice a year at our school our grade 1's also prepare a small class talk to present to theor class which might be accompanied by a poster etc. But I teach Grade 5/6 (11-12 year olds) and I wouldn't set that much for them! Does your daughters school have a homework policy?

Kristin - posted on 05/30/2011

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I'm a 1st grade teacher... 1st grade homework should be 30 minutes to an hour. That's all! And it should be a review of what they have or are learning... nothing new!

Jen - posted on 05/28/2011

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Have your parents' association read The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn, and set up a viewing of the movie "Race to Nowhere" to begin a dialogue about the teachers' reasoning behind their hw assignments. Also I would ask for a copy of the grade level hw policy...that doesn't sound like a reasonable amount to me

Teri - posted on 04/22/2011

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Krista,
As a second grade teacher and previous first grade teacher, I would say 19 pages are way too many. According to the standard that most teachers follow a student should have approximately 10 minutes times their grade level so an average 1st grader should have about 10 minutes of homework each night and nothing more than that. I hope that helps.

Suzanna - posted on 04/11/2011

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This is completely absurd. Call her teacher. I am a teacher - middle school science. The general rule in middle school is 10 minutes per class per evening, which would be about an hour. I don't assign much homework myself, actually. 19 pages is just crazy.

[deleted account]

I am sorry, I am not a teacher, but from my memory that is way to much homework for a first grader!! My daughter is in tenth grade, and I was just told by a counselor that it should not take her any more than an hour possibly and hour and a half per night for her homework. therefore, I would venture to say that your poor little girl should not be spending anymore than a half hour on homework......Guess i would have to speak with her teacher because that is rediculous. Good luck!!

Katie - posted on 03/01/2011

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That is ridiculous. How are kids supposed to have a life or any family time. We are told to give 10 minutes of homework per grade, so Grade 1=10 minutes, Grade 2=20 minutes, etc. 19 pages?!? That is unfair and unrealistic and it isn't giving her any time to be a kid.

Nicole - posted on 02/28/2011

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i have 30 pages of homework to due tom. im a 5th grader i want to kill my teacher i missed one day of school!!!!how does this add up????????????????????????

Brandy - posted on 04/09/2010

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first grade? that's too much work for even a week! I would be having a serious conference immediately!

Nikki - posted on 04/08/2010

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This is way too much work for one entire school day, present or make-up work! I teach at an elementary school and on our campus we assign no more than 5 minutes of homework per grade level. Ex: kindergarten = 5, 1st grade = 10 minutes, 2nd grade 15 minutes, and so on. This is to include both time reading with parents and paper work. Not only would I speak to the teacher, but I'd be asking the principal about the homework policy!

Holly - posted on 04/03/2010

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I also teach HS English and that is way over the top. I don't see how a first grader can get that done efficiently and retain anything she is doing on top of that. I would definitely question the intent of the amount that her teacher is giving. I would cry, too! =) I hope things were resolved, as I am responding two months after you've posted.

Vaunda - posted on 04/03/2010

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I am a teacher as well. I do not think homework is appropriate at all. Kids are in school ALL day..enough is enough! If we cannot get our idea across to our students in the school setting then we as educators have failed miserably. Learning should be fun! Kids should be excited to learn about life! If I were you, I would report her to the principal. If that does not get any response go to the school district. Still doesn't change? Change teachers. Change schools. Home-school for the remainder of the year. Your role as mom is to show your child how best to handle challenging people like this..even when they are "the ones in charge."

Bobbi - posted on 04/03/2010

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OMG!! I taught 1st grade for 8 years and NEVER gave that much homework in a year! Ours was easy and only 1 concept a night that took no more than 10 min. - write spelling words 3x, put spelling words in ABC order (not til end of year), something to do w/math we were studying (make an AAB pattern, show 20 cents using nickels). You need to speak with the teacher & ask why she's giving that much along w/asking if she can cut down on the amount. If she doesn't, go to the principal and explain what it's doing to your daughter. If you don't get help there, go to the superintendent. Most teachers/districts allow 10 min. of homework for each grade level (i.e. 10 min. 1st grade, 20 min. 2nd grade, etc.) Just look up "how much homework is appropriate" on the web for various studies.

Kim - posted on 04/02/2010

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While I do think that a certain amount of homework is necessary to help teach good study habits, responsibility, organization, etc... I also think that kids need to have time to do extracurricular activities. We are in 4H. My kids have CHORES. We have a lot of animals to tend to each and every day before and after school. I think it is also important for them to have free time every day. I get sick of feeling like I can't ask my kids to do something for me because their teacher will punish them if they do not get all of "his/her" assigned work done before the next day. You are NOT alone in thinking that this is absurd!

[deleted account]

Yikes! I taught HS English and middle school LA, and did not give out homework. The only time my students had homework is if they didn't finish their class assignments or working on a research project, in which I provided more than ample time and opportunities to work on it during class time. I always believed that students spent plenty of time at school and after school should be time for extra curricular activities and family time. Quite honestly, the excessive homework issue is one of the many reasons why I homeschool my children.

Miriam - posted on 04/02/2010

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Personally, I think homework in the lower elementary grades isn't good. I like projects the parents and the child work together on. This will give the parents an idea of how their child is doing and it also creates a community between teacher and parents. I'm 57, been teaching for 27 years (stayed home for a while raising 3 kids) and didn't have homework til 6th grade. They let us be kids back then. Playing instead of reading novels and doing paperwork. Ease those kids into homework to prepare them for middle and high school. How many jobs are there where at the end of the day, MORE work is placed on them at home. Time with family is very important and if the child is off in another room doing homework, well, that's not family time! Too much frustration at an early age. As for the 19 pages of homework. wonder if it was work NOT done at school? Let's return to the 3 r's and healthy bodies. Kids are not developing upper body strength because they're always doing homework or on the computer. I vote, NO HOMEWORK AT ALL FOR GRADES K-4. Ease it in beginning end of 4th and 5th. I know of a teacher who's child had 2 HOURS of homework every night.

Nicole - posted on 04/01/2010

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I would talk to the teacher. I remember when I was younger not finishing my work and having to take it home. Too much talking I guess.

Anne - posted on 04/01/2010

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I taught 3rd grade and student taught in 2nd. Usually I would send home one page of homework, BUT if there was something that did not get finished in class it would go home. I gave my students alots of time to finish with the warning that it would go home as homework. Talk to your teacher. If that doesnt work, call the principal

Lyndal - posted on 03/31/2010

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Maybe your child misunderstood the instructions? If she felt overwhelmed she may have only heard certain parts of the instructions.
It is way too much anyway. I would never send that much home and I've always taught Year 2, 3 or 4. I am in a very academic school now which I dislike intensely but atm have little choice and I still only send one sheet and spelling activities each night. Either Literacy or Numeracy.
I think the 10 minute per year idea is a good indicator and also agree that spelling words plus reading and perhaps one sheet once or twice a week to reinforce class work is more than enough. Life shouldn't be all about work at school and at home. She needs time to play and be herself!
I'd talk to the teacher, find out the schools written policy on homework and if you are still not satisfied have a word with the principal. But first make sure what the exact instructions were.
Let us know how you went on. :)

Angela - posted on 03/11/2010

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Totally absurd - I have ten children, homeschooled for ten years, am now an early childhood teacher working full time in a centre. When my children have been at school all day and I have been at work all day I want to spend time with my family. I step out of my teaching shoes and into my mummy shoes. How do we nurture our children and build strong families if we allow school life to encroach even more into our family life. I refused to allow my children to do homework (unless they were sincerely interested in it) until they were 10 years of age. We have wonderfull memories of reading books like "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family in the evenings. Schools had my children for 8 hours a day. That's enough, the rest of our time is family, hobby, church, friends time!!!!

Vanessa - posted on 03/09/2010

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Homework for kindergarten is 15-20mins max; 1-3rd 25-25min. At least this how we due it at my school. 19 pages is rediculous!!!

Nan - posted on 03/03/2010

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I am an ex-teacher. Did I miss something? Had she not been bring home her
homework? I know that we were required to send homework for each subject.
But the children were suppose to have already had experience with it and know
what to do on their own.
EX

Debbie - posted on 02/28/2010

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Did she bring home to correct assignment? I had a student take home a whole unit's worth of work instead of the one page I handed out. The parent freaked out, finished the assignment and let me have it for the excessive amount of work. It was a simple mistake, on the kids part!

Sarah - posted on 02/28/2010

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homework should only be used as a revision tools to enable childrens understanding of new concepts...it should not take too long in primary school, in my opinion...no more than ahlf an hour...plus it should be fun;)

Katrina - posted on 02/27/2010

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As a middle school teacher, we have been spoken to by authors who believe that there should be homework for students but that we can't expect it to be graded in the same capcity as a test. Here's the problem-the parents end up finishing the homework, most kids don't need it, and the kids who usually do don't have the support at home to complete tasks. I have a middle school student who si still trying to finish her science project because the house does not have a computer,nor a printer. She's staying with me after school for 2 hours to get the work done. while I teach in an upper mid class school, we do have about 13% economically disadvantaged.

Aideen - posted on 02/27/2010

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I have been a middle school teacher and am now a 9th/10th grade teacher and I say---THAT'S TOO MUCH! Awww.....I can see how she and other would call in "sick" for the reasons of just trying to get the homework done. PLEASE contact the teacher(s), is what I say. I am not saying to complain exactly, but to make them aware that this amount of homework is making your daughter feel this way and it's a concern for you that she remains positive about learning. Maybe the teachers aren't even aware that they gave her all that homework on the same day! (not that it justifies it...!)

Hope this helps!

JoDell - posted on 02/26/2010

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I tell my parents that their child's homework should only take about 10-20 minutes per subject. I try not to give more than math and spelling each night. I currently teach 4th grade. I try to give my students plenty of time during class when I can monitor and support them in their work- not make them do everything independently. I was definately be thinking of addressing this issue with the teacher or administrator becuase there is no way a 1st grader should be doing this kind of homeowrk every night- what are the expectations where she gets into older grades and up to high school? Is may be that this is the teachers decision to give this much homework.

Michelle - posted on 02/26/2010

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I teach grade 1. Homework for our classes is reading and spelling with a writing reflection to be done on the weekends (20 minutes max). As a teacher, I would prefer that a parent came to me directly instead of going to the admin first. If you don't get a reasonable response, you may have to go to administration, but talk to the teacher first as another professional.

Angie - posted on 02/23/2010

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No more than 20 minutes is what I have always heard is the standard for homework. I would complain to the prinicipal. I teach 1st grade and sometimes send all the work they missed but we NEVER do 19 pages in 1 day. I do so much that isn't paper work.

Karen - posted on 02/23/2010

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I teach grade 1 in Australia and my kids read their reading book, and write their list of 10 words once each night, mon-thurs- that's it. Nothing Fri-Sun. Kids need time to play and rest. They have already spent 6hrs during the day concentrating and working!!! If I can't teach them what they need to know in that time, then I'm not a very good teacher!!!

Pamela Yvett - posted on 02/22/2010

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That is too much homework. I too am a teacher. Homework should be as follows: 10 minutes per grade level ie, my son is in the 5th grade and should only do 50 minutes per night of homework. For the past 2 months, he has been working on homework for at least 2 hours per night.

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