Homework and the Ten-Minute Rule

The Next Family

By: Shannon Ralph

The ten minute rule

We are all aware of the five-second rule, right? That tried and true law of parental physics. You drop a potato chip on the floor, but pick it up within five seconds. It’s all good. You can still feed that delectable morsel to your little one, right? There is no way anything dirty, germ-infested, or downright nasty can adhere itself to a potato chip in less than five seconds, right? Hence, the five-second rule.

There is a new rule in town now. The ten-minute rule. This one has less to do with your child ingesting dust and dog hair from the floor and more to do with your child ingesting and retaining valuable nuggets of knowledge. The ten-minute rule relates to that most dreaded of parenthood responsibilities: homework. In the wake of parent complaints regarding the volume of homework being sent home with their children—and the overwhelming length of time it takes to complete that homework—school districts across the country are contemplating instituting a ten-minute rule. The idea is that kids should have ten minutes’ of homework a night per grade. For example, a first grader has ten minutes a night, a second grader has twenty, and so on. And homework is banned on weekends, holidays and vacations.

So what do I think? I miss the days of children being children. I certainly understand the importance of homework. However, as a mom of three young children, I see first-hand the benefits of independent play. The benefits of down time. Time for children to explore their own interests. Time to be together as a family. It turns out such esteemed educational organizations as the National Education Association and the National PTA agree. “If you find that the 10-minute rule is greatly exceeded, that assignments are going unfinished, or that exhaustion and frustration levels are running high – it’s time to talk to the teacher,” says the NEA site. “Stand up for your right to a balanced family life,” insists the PTA website.

So what do you think? How is homework affecting or not affecting the well-being of your child? Do you think the ten-minute rule is reasonable? Feasible? Is a time limit on homework unnecessary? Share your thoughts.

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