Homework for TK – 12th grade schooling should be limited to a maximum average daily number of minutes for every school day of the week. Understand, that these maximum limits are for conventional classes. Advanced Placement classes, electives or extracurricular activities may add more required homework time.
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten should require zero minutes of homework per day. These students could take home or be offered optional homework of any kind, but no homework should be mandatory. Again, Kindergartners (or students at any grade level that have been enrolled in some kind of advanced class) could be required to complete additional homework beyond the maximum limits stated here.
First graders should be allowed a maximum of 10 minutes of homework per day, on average, 2nd graders should be allowed an average of 20 minutes per day, 3rd graders 30, 4th should be allowed 40 and so on, all the way up to 12th grade where the maximum would be an average of 120 minutes per day.
These maximums roughly align with the National PTA recommendations (the largest difference is that the PTA requires homework for only 4 days a week). The purpose of a general education is to ensure that enough information is imparted to the student to become a thoroughly literate, functional, well-informed and civilized member of the population. Though it would be great to have all students exceed these minimum standards, it would not be proper to set a mandatory higher bar for all students to achieve because it is not proper or beneficial to expect or even to encourage 100% of the student population to meet such higher requirements. Not all students want to go to college or want to be anything more than nominally productive members of society, not should they be mandated to do such things. Even in hindsight, people often want to live ‘simple’ lives. However, the minimum expected of everyone (with the exception of several disabled students) should be the successful complete of a general education curriculum.
Too much useless homework is being assigned to students and this has the effect of stifling their enthusiasm for schooling. It is imperative that schools and school districts develop system to check whether assigned homework is genuinely useful or just busywork. High quality homework for each grade level should be found. Since students learn in different ways, perhaps two or three different methods of teaching the same topic should be provided by the school as an option for either the student and/or the parents to choose. Just like we have professional teachers, perhaps professional homework creators should be created as a profession to create homework designed to be both efficient and effective.