Homework Making Your Child Sick

When kids get home from school the last thing they want to do is start working on homework. They want to get outside, play with friends or have a snack and relax.

It’s normal for kids to complain about having to do homework, but could your child be overloaded with afterschool work?

A new study says yes.

The study from the Stanford School of Education, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, claims that children in high-performing schools in upper to middle class families suffer from high levels of stress. And these groups are at greater risk for health problems, including a lack of balance in their lives and can even feel alienated from society.

Children in these high-achieving schools often spend an average of more than three hours each night doing homework. Denise Pope, senior lecturer at Stanford and co-author of the study, and her team of researchers studied 4,317 students in 10 of these schools in California.

Researchers did find that students spending a lot of their time on homework had a better level of engagement in school. However, these students were adversely affected by high stress and physical health problems.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” Pope said in a statement.

Too much homework was found to be counterproductive. In a poll, 56 percent of students attributed any stress in their lives to too much homework. Less than 1 percent of students said that homework was not a stressor.

When asked how homework affects them, students reported lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and stomach problems. Students reported that due to the necessity of keeping their grades up, homework often came first before spending time with friends, attending after school activities or cultivating hobbies or talents outside of academic work.

Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill., says  that with schoolwork kids have to do what they are told.

“Teachers typically do not work together to make certain days more ‘fair’  or an even workload,” he says. 

Dr. Traeger says if your kids are being overwhelmed with homework, the following are some things to consider:  

  1. Are outside school activities or sports taking up too much time? With too much going on outside of school it can put more stress on the things that ‘have to’ be done. 
  2. Is the student procrastinating too much? Usually larger projects have plenty of warning before being due.
  3. Talk with the teacher and see why there is so much homework. Is it because the work is not being completed during the class time?
  4. How are the study and working habits of the student? Working on study skills or working efficiency can make a big difference when the work load gets larger. 
  5. Medical reasons – Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, anxiety are all possibilities when a child starts to struggle. Especially if there is a very sudden deterioration of school performance. Speak with your school psychologist and pediatrician. 

Can too much homework make your child sick? Study finds 'clear connection' between students' stress and physical illness

By Daily Mail Reporter

Published: 16:04 GMT, 21 March 2014 | Updated: 16:04 GMT, 21 March 2014

Doing more than three hours of homework per night may be making your child sick.

A study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Educationsurveyed more than 4,300 students from ten high-performing public and private high schools in affluent California communities, and found that excessive homework causes high stress levels and physical health problems.

'We found a clear connection between the students' stress and physical impacts -- migraines, ulcers and other stomach problems, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, and weight loss,' co-author of the study, Denise Pope, told CNN.

A study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Education found that excessive homework causes high stress levels and physical health problems for children

Published in the Journal of Experimental Education, the study found that while three hours of homework per night was 'average' for these students, there were children doing 'way more' - as many as five hours per night.

Fifty-six per cent of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,
despite the fact that most U.S. students' homework load has remained relatively stable since 1984, according to the Brookings Institute's 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education.

But in privileged schools, where competition among students is fierce and pressure of high academic performance overwhelming, many students describe schoolwork as a dominating force in their lives.

with many parents worried that they had not seen their children for an entire weekend because they were attempting to complete homework assignments.

'We need intervention around homework,' said Ms Pope, adding that it's not just with high school students: 'We have the same data from the younger years.'

'We found a clear connection between the students' stress and physical impacts'

The fact that children growing up in poverty are at-risk for serious disturbances including drug and alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety, is well-supported by research and widely accepted.

But a growing body of research, including Ms Pope's study, reveals that privileged children may also be at risk thanks to the unrelenting pressure placed on them in school.

'When you say that poverty is a risk factor, that doesn't mean that all poor kids are troubled,' explained Suniya S. Luthar, professor of psychology at Arizona State University. 'It's exactly the same for upper-middle-class children of upwardly mobile families.

'All we are saying is that a larger proportion of these children are at risk, as compared to the average American community.'

Ms Pope said the magic number when it comes to homework is 'nothing over two hours' for highs school and 'no more than 90 minutes' in middle school.

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