It sometimes seems a touch cruel, but homework is a fact of life for today's children, and becomes more and more important the older a child gets. How much should they do, how can you help them, especially with GCSE, AS and A-level coursework and revision?
The Government has guidelines for how much work children of different ages should do:
Years 1 and 2: one hour per week
Years 3 and 4: 90 minutes per week
Years 5 and 6: 30 minutes a day
Years 7 and 8: 45-90 minutes a day
Year 9: 60-120 minutes a day
Year 10 and 11: 90-150 minutes a day
Year 12 and 13: depends on individual programmes
If you think that your child isn't being set enough work or, more worryingly, is being asked to do too much, contact the school. But before you do, double check your facts. Homework doesn't always entail your child having to put pen to paper. They might have been asked to look over and revise a topic covered in class that day, or read a chapter in a book. This type of homework can be every bit as important as completing written assignments.
Remember, too, that children have a tendency to forget that they have been set homework, and can occasionally be a little economical with the truth when asked if they've been given homework.
If you think there's too much homework, it could be that your child has organised their time badly, and allowed several days (or weeks) of homework to accumulate. Try to help them avoid this happening again. Any secondary school will almost certainly have a homework timetable. Get a copy!