Mason's (former) speech teacher called the other day to see how he was making out in full-day Kindergarten. During the course of the conversation she told me about a new comprehensive study she had read on homework. The study said that leaving children the time for extracurricular activities and relaxing was more beneficial to learning during the school day.
Justice's second grade teacher has a policy that The Man and I like --there is no pre-planned homework and work only comes home if it wasn't finished during the day (though there is 15 minutes of reading each night, but I think kids should be doing that anyway...)
I couldn't find the study his SLP was referencing, but I did find this article:
"..."Most educators agree that for children in grades K-2, homework is more effective when it does not exceed 10 to 20 minutes each day; older children, in grades three to six, can handle 30 to 60 minutes a day; in junior and senior high, the amount of homework will vary by subject." Many school district policies state that high school students should expect about 30 minutes of homework for each academic course they take, a bit more for honors or advanced placement courses.
These recommendations are consistent with the conclusions reached by our analysis.
Practice assignments do improve scores on class tests at all grade levels.
A little amount of homework may help elementary school students build study habits. Homework for junior high students appears to reach the point of diminishing returns after about 90 minutes a night..." (source)
I don't really have an opinion as to the effectiveness of homework -so I guess I'll have to defer to the (dreaded) NEA on that one --I do know that excessive homework causes excessive headaches for parents... it's hard for five year olds to be in school for 7 hours and adding homework seems like overkill.