PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Homework is a source of anxiety in homes across America – students may not want to spend time on it and parents often struggle to help their children with assignments. A recent national survey from University of Phoenix College of Education reveals how much homework K-12 students are assigned and why teachers deem it beneficial.
According to the survey, kindergarten through fifth grade teachers report assigning an average of 2.9 hours of homework per week, while sixth to eighth grade teachers report assigning an average of 3.2 hours and ninth to twelfth grade teachers 3.5 hours. The hours of homework are reported for individual teachers, so for high school students who typically have class with five teachers in different subject areas each day, this could potentially amount to an average of 17.5 hours or more of homework per week.
Nearly all K-12 teachers (98 percent) identify benefits of homework, with the top benefit being that it helps teachers see how well their students understand the lessons (60 percent). Teachers also say homework helps students develop essential problem-solving skills (46 percent), gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school (45 percent), helps students develop time management skills (39 percent), encourages students to relate classroom learning to outside activities (37 percent) and allows teachers to cover more content in class (30 percent).
The online survey of more than 1,000 full-time K-12 teachers in the U.S. was conducted on behalf of University of Phoenix College of Education by Harris Poll in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“Homework provides a great opportunity for parents to engage with their children, better understand their interests, and determine if they struggle or excel with different topics,” said Ashley Norris, Ph.D., assistant dean for University of Phoenix College of Education. “Homework helps build confidence, responsibility and problem-solving skills that can set students up for success in high school, college and in the workplace.”
Despite the known benefits, many parents find it challenging to help their children with subjects they have not studied in years (or even decades). Families may also struggle to balance homework with other commitments, such as extracurricular activities. According to Norris, it is important to get past these barriers because homework is important and the assignments are becoming even more relevant. Common Core State Standards and other education initiatives encourage educators to tie classroom learning and homework to real-world applications.
“Homework today looks very different than when parents were in school,” said Norris. “Homework has become an opportunity for real-world learning and career preparation. In teacher preparation programs at University of Phoenix, we stress the importance of using homework to help students understand the practical applications of classroom learning. Teacher candidates practice designing lesson plans and homework that immerse students in real-world activities. Teachers are connecting homework to current events, tying science and math concepts to specific jobs, and integrating technology into homework to keep students more engaged.”
Tips for Managing Homework
Norris offers the following tips to help parents transform the homework experience from a burden to an opportunity:
1. Resist the urge to do the work for your children. Homework creates an opportunity for students to learn from their mistakes, so it is important not to overstep. If your child is struggling with a problem, ask questions to help her approach the problem in a different way. Also discuss with your child how the teacher taught the material to help develop her own understanding. Beware of excuses and coping strategies that children use to get out of doing work or to convince others to do the work for them.
2. Do your own homework: Leverage available resources and look ahead. The key to avoid being overwhelmed with a child’s homework is to be prepared. Online resources can help you brush up on concepts you have not studied in a long time. Skim your children’s textbooks at night and look ahead to see where the lessons are going and take refresher quizzes, which are often in the back of the textbooks. Ask for an appointment with the child’s teacher if you are not confident with the material – the teacher may have some great suggestions.
3. Make a plan. Avoid the last minute rush/panic and use homework to grow time management skills. Create a plan for the week and break up large homework assignments into smaller pieces to avoid being overwhelmed. If your child has a project due at the end of the week, work with him to determine how he is going to get there and how the work can be divided into smaller projects. Families should also establish a daily study routine.
4. Create a family calendar. A family calendar can help keep the entire family organized and avoid surprises. Create a physical or electronic family calendar that houses all family, school, extracurricular, and work schedules and deadlines. Include smaller deadlines on the way to a larger project completion or test preparation to help children grow their time management skills. Put your own activities on the calendar to show your kids how you manage your time.
5. Set family study time. Weekly family study time is a great way for parents to connect with children, instill the importance of education and spend quality time together. Each Monday after children get their assignments for the week, sit down and plan to make it a successful week. Discuss all activities, set deadlines, determine what information is needed and build in study time. Adults also benefit from time set aside to plan, organize and learn. While children study, you can pay your bills, read the newspaper or research your own projects.
6. Tie homework to real-life activities. Look for opportunities to help children tie learning to real-life experiences. For instance, look to current events to discuss social studies lessons, or research specific jobs to bring science and math concepts to life. Encourage older students to read the newspaper each day for examples of good writing and urge them to research and write their own articles that can be shared with family and friends.
7. Get creative, particularly with young children. Look for opportunities to expand homework assignments into creative projects. Ask your child to create a digital presentation, build a shadowbox, construct an egg drop or even interview a local leader about a topic. Tying in technology can keep children interested and engaged.
8. Create a calm and supportive environment. Create an environment that is conducive to studying and learning. Have a quiet space in the house where your child always goes to do homework. The space should be comfortable, but should not have access to a television or other distractions. It is also important to keep a routine and determine regular study hours.
For more information about University of Phoenix College of Education degree programs, visit www.phoenix.edu/education.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, 2013. Respondents included 1,005 U.S. residents employed full-time as teachers in grades K-12 who have a college education or more. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tanya Burden at Tanya.Burden@apollo.edu.
About University of Phoenix College of Education
University of Phoenix College of Education has been educating teachers and school administrators for more than 30 years. The College of Education provides associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for individuals who want to become teachers or current educators and administrators seeking advanced degrees to strengthen their professional knowledge. With education programs available throughout most of the U.S., the College of Education has a distinct grasp of the national education picture and priorities for teacher preparation. Faculty members on average bring more than 17 years of professional experience to the classroom. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu/education.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.