There has been a recent backlash against homework by the parents of elementary schoolchildren. Some believe that children should not be spending so much time on schoolwork outside of school while others believe that it takes time away from extracurricular activities. Still others dislike the nightly hassle and struggle regular homework assignments bring into the home. However, homework is an essential part of your child’s education and is a proven way to improve achievement and build important life skills.

First and foremost, homework allows children to review and retain information learned during the school day. Developing basic skills, such as reading, writing, and analytical thinking take practice and homework offers children an opportunity to hone their skills outside of school.

Secondly, homework allows students to work on long-term projects that cannot be completed during a regular school day. Children can take their time and work at their own pace while writing a story or essay, assembling a science project, or preparing for an in-class report.

Homework also gives parents a chance to participate in their child’s education. While parents should not be completing their children’s homework assignments, they should be taking part in the homework process. Parents can give their children different perspectives on what they are learning in school, help them understand concepts that they did not grasp in class, and offer their general support and guidance. Participating in homework activities with your children also makes certain that you know what your child is learning, whether your child is engaged, and if your child has special gifts or needs additional support.

Finally, regularly completing homework assignments also builds responsibility, confidence, independence, and other positive characteristics. While children are usually led through activities in school, homework gives children the opportunity to take their time, explore a subject, solve problems on their own, and work through distractions and obstacles. Learning independent study skills allow children to achieve in college and beyond.

There is such a thing as assigning too much homework, especially during the elementary school years. You might talk with your child’s teacher if your child has been staying up late completing assignments, feeling stress about homework, or spending all of his or her time at home working to complete assignments. However, most studies show that today’s children are doing the same amount of homework as in past decades. While homework has increased for children in K-2, from no homework to about 10 -20 minutes per day – that increase is based on research showing the benefits of homework at that age range.