THE hours young Australian students spend studying at home could be doing them more harm than good, according to a new book by two leading education academics.
Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policies - co-authored by Professors Mike Horsley and Richard Walker from CQUniversity and Sydney University - has weighed into a century old debate about whether homework in itself is actually beneficial for kids.
The book suggests primary school students need more challenging homework to give them some autonomy and control.
Noosa-based CQ University's Prof Horsley said he hoped the book educated teachers, students, parents and policy makers about how to get the most out of homework.
"The value and effectiveness of homework depends on its quality," he said.
"Students benefit from homework that is well prepared, interesting and challenging, but not overtaxing.
"On the other hand, homework that is repetitive, boring, too easy or difficult for students does not contribute to new learning."
Prof Horsley said overseas studies had found students who did the most homework on international exams performed the worst, while those who did the least performed the best.
"We're not saying homework should be abolished, just reformed and refined," Prof Horsley said.
For mother of five Amanda Jessop, homework has been a pet peeve since her first child hit Year 2.
"When you have four kids who are at school at the same time and you're trying to help them with their homework each night it can become difficult," Ms Jessop said.
The mother admitted she was not a fan of homework and said she didn't see the point of more study outside of school hours.
"I think when they come home after school they are not switched on and don't really want to study for another hour or two," she said.
Amanda's 12-year-old daughter Chloe is in Year 7 and does not look forward to homework after school.
As for providing a solution to the issue, Amanda believes study halls should be available to students who want to do their homework while they are at school.
"Sometimes parents fall into the trap of doing their children's homework, which defeats the purpose of homework altogether," she said.
But Amanda believes home reading is beneficial.
Education Queensland's homework policy
Prep: No homework assigned.
Year 1-3: One hour a week.
Year 4+: Homework can be set daily.
Year 4-5: Up to, but not more than, 2-3 hours a week.
Year 6-7: Up to, but not more than, 3-4 hours a week.
Year 8-9: Up to, but not more than, five hours a week.
Education Queensland Homework Policy (Sept 2007)
What grade do you think students should start doing homework?
This poll ended on 23 November 2012.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.