(CBS News/CBS Local)–Are schools across the country going too far by banning homework? According to child and adolescent family therapist Darby Fox, yes.
“It’s like an ultimate reaction. There is a point to homework and the right amount really is age appropriate,” Fox said Friday on “CBS This Morning.”
Elementary school students have an average of around 4.5 hours of homework a week, while high schoolers get an average of about 7.5 hours, according to the Wall Street Journal and Department of Education. The National Institute of Mental Health says more than 30 percent of teenagers experience some kind of anxiety, and homework is a major contributing factor.
“I think the current thing about getting rid of homework is about anxiety and trying reduce that. It should be about learning. We should be able to hit a medium,” Fox said.
“Very young kids really – sometimes they like the idea that they have something industrious to do at home, and there’s no harm in that. But they need time to just play and explore and become kind of curious,” Fox added. “As we get older, fourth grade, you can have 45 minutes, an hour – up in through high school, 2.5 hours is appropriate, 3 hours. But schools have really taken it way too far.”
She blamed the “race to get amazing resumes, the best test scores.”
“But that has escalated almost directly with mental health problems, anxiety, depression,” Fox said.
While parents might see sports or socializing as an important part of students’ lives, Fox pointed out that’s still a scheduled activity.
“What I’d really love to see is more time for kids to have nothing to do, unstructured time so that they have to figure it out on their own. And that’s the most important thing they should be exploring,” Fox said.
If your child is overwhelmed, Fox advised parents to let schools and teachers know.
“If there’s not an appropriate response, follow it to the next level. Is it the principal or whoever is the next in command. Usually that might issue – that might alarm us that there’s some kind of learning disability or processing problem if it’s really overwhelming or the teachers are just simply giving too much work,” she said.