It may seem like summer’s just begun, but parents are already focused on the upcoming school year — and some are even encouraging their kids to study now and get a head-start on all the work ahead.

But does all that extra time with the books pay off?

Research by Sydney University educational psychologist and author Richard Walker indicates it doesn’t. In fact, he says younger kids who do too much homework actually perform worse on standardized tests.

This backs up previous research showing homework is of very limited value during elementary school, but Walker says that even high schoolers shouldn’t be doing more than a couple hours of nightly studying.

The National PTA now recommends a policy espoused by Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, who says that starting in the first grade, kids should get about 10 minutes of homework each night per grade level. So, for example, a third grader would be assigned about 30 minutes of daily homework.

Andy Shaw, dean of the Bay School in San Francisco, says that in our society, too many people assume more homework equals better and brighter students, adding, “Time spent with family … volunteering, or being involved in musical theater can end up changing a student’s life just as much as what goes in classroom.”

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