Over the summer, the PTO for my daughter’s school was pushing really hard to eliminate homework from elementary school. There were a lot of views brought up, and it was a really good debate. A new principal was coming in, and we all thought it was apt timing to bring this issue up (again). We first pushed for it about three years ago.
An educator of 15 years that is part of our community was the one who initiated the conversation. Her perspective, from that of a teacher (of at-risk and accelerated students) and from that of a parent, homework does not improve learning at the grade school level.
Most of the comments included tales of their children crying most nights and the nightmare that homework can be for many households (mine included!). Some teachers commented that they had made their own decision not to require homework and focused instead on classroom learning. One parent was all for the “no homework movement,” but thought it would be good for her sixth-grader to have it just as preparation for middle school.
Another common thread was that having a reading log and spelling words to work on from home were beneficial.
My husband does much better with our fourth-grader at homework time (he has much more patience than I do), but somehow I always end up having my daughter in tears after the first few minutes of helping her with homework. Besides, this “new math” gives me “new” anxieties! I do understand how different methods are beneficial to how different kids’ brains work uniquely, but this is another whole topic for another time…
Here are some recaps from both sides in our grade school community:
Pros to “No Homework”
- Less tears in the evening
- More fun, family time
- Less grading for teachers
- Less frustration for parents
- Kids get to be kids more
- Decreased pressure on young kids
Cons to “No Homework”
- Possibly unprepared for middle/high school
- Less parent engagement in school work
- Less cultivation of study habits
- Chance of less-rounded education overall
- Indeterminate research on the issue
How many of you have seen research on this great homework debate, and what are your thoughts? Does your child’s school have a no homework policy? If so, how has this affected your child’s learning and testing scores?