Ask the Experts

Q: How Do I Know How Much Homework is Too Much?

Your child spends hours each night slogging through assignments. But is the problem an oversized workload? Or your child’s homework habits? Here’s how parents can find out.

Q: “My child has too much homework. He’s doing hours every night and hours on the weekend and still not finishing it. How should I handle that with the school?”

  1. You must speak with a teacher about how much time your child is expected to work on homework each night. Teachers sometimes are unaware of how long your child is actually working.
  2. Keep a log of how long your child is working on each subject independently, and next to that note how much time you are spending with your child. Does the teacher know how much assistance you provide? That’s important.
  3. Modify the homework. If the raw amount of homework is actually too much, sometimes teachers and parents need to come up with a plan to reduce the load. In the upper grades, this can be more complex. For example, how do you modify an assignment to write a reflective essay? Students can’t complete just one paragraph.

In collaborating with the teacher, it’s most important to ask address of these questions in succession:

  • What is the homework?
  • Why is it taking so long?
  • Is it a reasonable expectation?
  • Could it be an individual issue?

Maybe your child’s meds have worn off and it’s not reasonable to keep doing homework without a second dose. Maybe your child needs a break. Maybe your child needs more support from you or a tutor to understand assignments. There are lots of different variables.

[Free Download: Solve Your Child’s Homework Problems]

Before you go to the teacher and say, “We need to reduce the amount of work,” you to need to give the teacher more information about what’s happening at home.

This advice came from “The ADHD Guide to Productive Parent-Teacher Cooperation,” an ADDitude webinar lead by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC in September 2018 that is now available for free replay.