Southern Utah schools back in session, students brace for homework

Posted at 10:26 PM, Aug 13, 2015

ST. GEORGE, Utah - For kids in Southern Utah, summer vacation is over.

The Washington County School District started classes Thursday. Teachers said it’s the day they’ve been preparing for all summer, and they plan to get down to business.

“Anxious kids, but once they get here they’re good,” said second-grade teacher Lori Sinomson. “We start off, we do reading, we do math, and we’re just ready to go.”

That includes homework on the first day. Even Mrs. Simonson class will have some. It includes 20 minutes of reading per night and typically a little math or writing.

That’s just about on par with what’s recommended by the National Education Association. They suggest a rule of 10s, meaning ten minutes of homework per grade level.

But a study published Wednesday in the American Journal of Family Therapy found early elementary school students are on average getting three times that recommended amount.

Washington County School District administrators said they typically leave homework up to the teacher, but recognize too much is a bad thing.

“There have been longitudinal studies that show that excessive homework is not beneficiary to the students,” said assistant superintendent of secondary education Richard Holmes. “Nor do we see a lot of academic gains on end of level scores.”

Overall, teachers say they do try and keep homework to a minimum, but they said it is important to continue learning at home--which is why they do often send work home with students.