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I was ecstatic when I saw this
article come across my Facebook feed. I thought to myself, "Finally, a
school responds appropriately to what all the research supports—and any child
development specialist would tell you."
No homework for elementary school
Homework at the elementary
school level has been shown time and time again to have little to no benefit.
Yet most schools continue to heap more on students. Hours of it.
My child has homework in
Kindergarten, a fact I still can't wrap my head around even though we are well
past the halfway mark of the school year.
Granted, it's not much. And
it is very easy
for her to complete. But that is not the case for every child. And
regardless, it takes time away from things I believe are more important for her
to be doing.
Like playing. Reading for
fun. Enjoying family time. Participating in after-school activities she enjoys.
Being a kid.
Her best friend lives two
doors down from us. They attend different schools but often arrive home around
the same time. They call out each other's name, run to one another and enjoy a
huge bear hug.
Then they beg to play together.
Her mother and I often sigh, look at the time and explain they need to complete
their homework, and then it will be dinner time (or time to go to an after-school activity).
It breaks my heart every
single time. On the rare occasions when we are able to say, "Yes," I am
thrilled. Because they should get to
play together after being in school for seven straight hours, during which they
They are 6 years old.
If my daughter's school sent
out a letter like this, I'd be doing a happy dance. Yet, as I read the article,
I realized some of the parents of this school are unhappy. Angry even. They're
freaking out about their kids falling behind and not having an academic
When did we as a society get
like this? When did it become acceptable to steal childhood away from our kids?
We just keep asking more and more of them. Where does it stop?
I think it would be OK for
homework to be optional. Parents who want to help their children at home could
request it. Teachers who see students who might benefit from some extra
practice could suggest it.
But I think we all need to
take some time to pay attention to what the research tells us. As the principal
of the school in question wrote in her letter to parents, "The negative effects
of homework have been well established."
The school leadership spent a year analyzing data, looking at a wide variety of
studies on the issue. "Not one of them could provide any evidence that directly
links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic
A voice of reason. That I
for one am thrilled to hear.
So is Katie Hurley, LCSW,
child and adolescent psychotherapist, and writer who has published many articles on the topic of
education. "This is a step in the right
direction. Parents, don't fear change. Play is learning."
Homework should not be
mandatory for elementary school students. That is my feeling as a parent, and
it is the opinion of many experts in this field. It is high past time schools
listen and affect change.
I applaud this elementary
school for doing just that. I'm encouraged. Every day I read about education,
and I feel a revolution coming. I want to be part of it. I want my daughter's
generation to benefit from it. Bring it on!