An inevitable part of motherhood is spending many late nights doing homework with the kids. Although these sessions may be punctuated by intervals of unintended nagging, the additional schoolwork helps children to better understand and absorb their lessons.

Or does it?

According to several studies dealing with the effects of homework on children’s academic performances, it’s not necessarily the case. Research conducted by Stanford University professor Denise Pope discloses that students who are swamped with take-home assignments “can suffer poor mental and physical health.” This is backed by another study conducted by educational psychologist Richard Walker from Sydney University. His research reveals that kids who have more homework actually perform worse on standardized tests as compared to those who have few.

What’s the reason for this? According to Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, students only have 90 minutes of complete concentration and motivation before the quality of their work diminishes due to distractions and fatigue. Spending too much time on too much homework may not only cause unwarranted stress, but may also cause lack of sleep, which doesn’t at all help with their performance at school.

If your child seems to be swamped with homework, you can help him by creating a daily study schedule he can follow. For large projects, urge him to start early to avoid cramming everything a day before the deadline. And in case you’re starting to think that his teachers are asking way too much of your child, don’t hesitate to speak with them in order to come to a compromise.

Homework isn’t at all a bad thing. To help your child cope with academic responsibility, make sure to be there to guide him. Just remember that it’s all a matter of time management, as well as maintaining open communication lines between you, your child, and his teachers.

(Photo by Steven Yeh via Flickr Creative Commons)

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