In one of the largest surveys of  Dyslexic school children across the United States to date (Dyslexia at School Survey, Dyslexic Advantage), an overwhelming majority (76%) reported that their public school too-much-work-elementarystudents were routinely assigned work they couldn’t possibly complete.  1/2 of these students are in elementary school.

Nearly 500 survey respondents provided additional details:

“It took at least 3 times as long to complete her work. ”
“He was not  able to read the rubrics or understand them but was expected to use them and write.”
“Voluminous worksheets.”
“The teachers have no understanding of processing speed.”
“The homework expectations in first grade were beyond ridiculous for him.”
“Even the busy work homework sheets (that were supposed to take no longer than 15 minutes) led to hours of tears and frustration.”
“Homework takes a lot of time…After 6 hours of homework at night, I make the boys go to bed.”
“Handwriting reports without Assistive Technology has always been painful.  It could take up to 5 hours to copy a final draft from a final, corrected, rough draft.  The entire process would take all weekend for several weekends to complete. ”
“Many assignments required me or his father to read to him and then go through questions together.”
“This has been the worst part of school.   Staying up past midnight and staying home all weekend to only live for homework. Her entire life is trying to do homework.”
“She would break out in a rash when given assignments she could not do.”
“To give a dyslexic a 500 page book and tell them to read it in a certain period of time is cruel.”
“His anxiety and frustration is high after school.”

In a recent study just released from The American Journal of Family Therapy, elementary school students were found to getting significantly more homework assigned than educational experts recommended. Sometimes the extra work was nearly 3x higher.

The National Parent Teacher Association and National Education Association has proposed a “10-minute” rule or 10 minutes per grade level per night. That means no homework for kindergarteners, 10 minutes for 1st graders, 20 minutes for 2nd graders, and so on until the 12th grade.

The homework issue is even more critical for students with dyslexia. First, dyslexic children have a classic late blooming pattern of development. What is absolutely impossible in the 4th grade,  may be manageable in the 8th. Second, educational research studies have shown that successful dyslexic student learners tend to have a “deep learning” style that requires a deep understanding of a topic rather than rote memorization. Rather than emphasizing quantity which can increase the likelihood of fatigue and concentration-related mistakes, fewer problems should understood at a deeper level. Third, there are significant physical and emotional consequences of excessive homework. Whether or not the work gets completed, students are inevitably subjected to greater stress, physical exhaustion, and sleep deprivation, and then they are more likely to disengage from school.

If your student is struggling with too much homework assigned in school, download and print the article below and bring them to your child’s school. Students with significant dyslexia, dysgraphia, and / or dyscalculia may need dramatic reductions in the quantity of work assigned (1/3 to 1/10 of problems assigned) as well as be allowed to use a reader or assistive technology.

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