Who's dreading homework the most in your household: you or your kids?

Dennis Tokarzewski, ThinkStock

Recent research suggests today's students are leaving school most days with much more homework than the recommended amount, but chances are that hasn't changed teachers' behaviors when doling out take-home assignments.

At its convention this year in Florida, the National Parent Teacher Association adopted a resolution urging teachers, schools and districts to focus more on quality than quantity when assigning homework to students. The homework load can become increasingly harder to handle for older kids who deal with several teachers in one day.

"Children have gotten busier and busier, and homework is making an impact in their lives and sometimes causing undue stress," said Rose Acerra, president of the New Jersey PTA.

The group is in no way against homework. After all, it gives kids a chance to practice what they've learned in class, or prepares them for exams. But the key is making sure the homework is valuable and not just assigned for the sake of giving students extra work, Acerra said.

According to Acerra, most complaints from parents surrounding homework insist that some assignments are "unnecessary." They're handed in to the teacher and never graded or reviewed.

PTA groups and the National Education Association have shown support for the "10-minute rule," or 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night. A second-grader, for example, would have 20 minutes of homework on a daily basis. Homework could take about two hours for a high school senior.

In a sample policy from the New Jersey School Boards Association, which any district can adopt, teachers are told to use discretion in deciding the number and length of assignments. It also suggests homework not be used for punitive reasons.

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