Well this isn't going to make it any easier for parents already tired of having to nag their children to do their homework.
In fact, mom and dad, you might want to go out of your way to make sure the kids never see this new study, which indicates an excess of homework isn't doing younger students any good. And even for older students, all those evening hours spent sprawled out in front of textbooks have only modest benefits, the study finds.
That's the conclusion of some new Australian research which was surprisingly not conducted by a room full of 12-year-olds.
"The amount of homework is a really critical issue for kids," Sydney University associate professor Dr. Richard Walker told The Daily Telegraph. "If they are overloaded, they are not going to be happy and not going to enjoy it. There are other things kids want to do that are very valuable things for them to be doing."
As a side note here, we're not sure the intent of homework was ever for students "to enjoy it." But we get the basic suggestion: Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
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"I don't think anyone except senior high school students should be doing a couple of hours of homework," Walker adds.
The study of 10,000 Australian school kids found that 27% of 10 and 11-year-olds do at least three or four hours of homework per week.
And as any parent who's ever put in a late night re-familiarizing himself with eighth-grade algebra or assembling a blue ribbon-worthy science fair project knows, it's not just the kids who are impacted by homework. A full 41% of parents spend at least three nights a week helping out the kids, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
While the results are unique to Australia, they certainly paint a picture pretty familiar to parents in the U.S. and other nations. But is less learning really a good thing?
"A little bit of homework is probably OK at all ages, if part of the reason is to help kids become self-directed learners," Walker told the Telegraph. However, "If we (ask) if homework benefits outcomes, then it is pretty clear it does not at primary school and has pretty limited benefits in junior high school and some benefits in high school from Years 11-12."
What do you make of this study? Do you think schools should scale back on homework to elementary and middle school students? Or do you feel these findings merely contribute to a sense of anti-intellectualism and that less-challenging workloads will have negative consequences?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.