I am personally appalled at how much homework young children are given these days. Since when is it appropriate for a 6 year old to spend an additional hour on work after school is over for the day? Wouldn't that hour be better spent (developmentally speaking) in free play or family interaction? The human brain needs time to just 'be' -- our kids aren't getting that benefit any longer because homework starts at such an early grade level.
During my school years, we didn't have our first homework assignment until the 4th grade, and even that might be stretching it a bit. At least we were old enough at that point to be responsible on our own for the work that had to be done -- our parents didn't have to sit us down to do the homework with us, as most have to now. I don't think my mother checked a single homework assignment that I ever did. School was my responsibility, not hers.
Studies show that homework in the elementary years does not contribute to children's learning. It might help them regurgitate facts better in the short-term, but that is not an indicator of actual learning. What homework does do is significantly raise the stress level of today's parents and, consequently, the entire family, robbing families of time that could be better spent. That's a tragedy for the family and for child development.