Play time is precious at the Walker house, especially during the week.
“The only free time I have is on like Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” said 9-year-old Preston Walker.
The fourth grader wishes homework didn't take so long.
“Everyday I come home from school I feel like it's too much for me to handle,” he said.
“It takes a couple of hours two or three,” said Preston’s mom Geneva.
As a mother of three boys, Geneva Walker knows the value of preparing kids for later in life, but like a growing number of parents, she longs for more family time.
“It's overwhelming a lot. I think I'm more overwhelmed just because you are trying to juggle getting dinner done, you’re trying to juggle their after school activities and then they have the homework that they really don't want to do. They're kind of burned out,” said Geneva.
Those growing concerns are not unfounded.
In 2016, a North Texas teacher from Godfrey made headlines for writing a letter to parents and students promising no homework. She instead wanted students to spend time with their families, eating dinner together playing games.
San Marcos ISD is considering the same thing. Meetings about the school district being a homework-free zone are ongoing this year.
“I think that may work in some cases and in some cases it may not,” said Regina McGough. She has been a teacher for more than 20 years at both the grade school level and now at ACC teaching teachers.
“A blanket answer is really hard to find because there is no one right answer. There are so many different variables and factors,” said McGough.
Does it seem like your kids have more?
The Rand Corporation spent 50 years studying this.
Researchers found kids are doing the same amount of homework as students in the 70’s and 80’s. High school students on average doing four hours per week. However, the research shows kids kindergarten through second grade are getting more.
“I do think there's a benefit. I just wish there was more of a balance, like maybe one week there's homework, the next week there's not. Some sort of balance between it,” said Geneva.
McGough says there should be a purpose.
“The homework should be meaningful, helpful and push the learning forward,” said McGough.
The National PTA recommends 10 minutes per grade level. So second graders would have 20 minutes a night. The amount would be capped at three hours for high schoolers. An idea Geneva likes.
“That's kind of neat that might help out. For us it's a few hours. It takes us some time,” she said.
Finding a balance between work and play so we can all find ways to win.
National look at places that have banned homework
So California actually abolished homework for K-8 back in the early 1900s. It lasted about 15 years before it was repealed.
A Vermont school district did the same in 2016 and found kids were actually doing better in school.
A Florida school district banned homework for 31 elementary schools earlier this year too.
You can find free homework resources at Khan Academy, here.