Does Your Middle Schooler Have Too Much Homework?

If your child's homework load is extreme, here's what you should do

Mother helping daughter with homework
Your tween might need to improve time management skills to get the homework done. undefined

The middle school years are full of changes for you and your tween. One of those changes will likely be an increase in your child's homework load. While middle schoolers are expected to do more homework than their younger peers, that doesn't mean your child should have so much that he can't get it all done, or can't even function. If you think your tween's homework load is too much, here's what you can do.


What to Do About Too Much Homework

Be Patient: Sometimes the school year begins with a lot of homework, but over time the amount becomes more manageable. If the school year has just begun, give the teacher a few weeks to figure out the right amount of homework for your child's class. Experts recommend no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade, so 7th graders should expect about 70 minutes of homework a day. 

Help Your Child Develop Time Management Skills: You might think that your child has too much homework, but it could be that he just isn't very good at managing his time. Try to keep track of your child's homework habits -- does he spend a lot of time just fidgeting around? Does he watch television or text his friends while trying to complete his assignments? If you think the issue is really a matter of developing better habits, help your tween learn how to make the most of his time, so that he has more time to play and do the things he really wants to do.


Talk to the Teacher: If you really think your child is overloaded with homework assignments, it might be time to speak with his teacher. Document for two weeks your child's homework demands and routine. Explain your concerns to the teacher and show her/him your documentation. If the teacher doesn't respond to your concerns, it might be time to seek the advice of the school counselor.


Break it Up: It can be difficult for a child to sit down for 70 straight minutes and work without interruption. You might find that your tween does better if you break up his homework into digestible bites. Try tackling half of his homework responsibilities before dinner, and then the other half after dinner. See if you can rearrange his homework routine to make it work better for him. 

Get a Head Start on Projects: Many teachers will allow students to work ahead or get a head start on projects. If your child's teacher will allow him to work ahead, that could help him later when he has a lot of other responsibilities to tend to. When your tween has a major project due, such as a science experiment or a research paper, make sure he creates a calendar that will keep him on track and prevent the panic that can creep up the night before a large assignment is due. 

Make it Fun: If you can find a way to make homework fun, it may not seem as time consuming to your tween. Try to find ways to help your child see the positive in his assignments, and consider doing something that you need to do while your child is studying -- such as fixing dinner, or reading the paper.

Having you nearby might be enough encouragement for your child, and that might be enough to help him through his assignments. 



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