In Praise of the No-homework Idea

This week’s lively banter around the fire pit was about the recent no-homework policy from Brandy Young, a second grade teacher at Godley Elementary School in Godley, Texas.

No-homework? Many parents are praising the idea.

No-homework? Many parents are praising the idea.

You don’t really know your friends until you debate the amount –and rationale, of homework at various ages. And so began a no-homework conversation among six adults and three children.

While “the moms” along with my youngest, an easily-distracted 12 year old who was helping her two BFFs scroll through YouTube, was on board with the idea, surprisingly, the dads on deck were not.

Young, who’s stance went viral, explained her no-homework policy stemmed from the fact that “Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” and, in a letter penned to parents, said “rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success.”

Related Read: Is Your Child Ready for School?

I applaud Young’s reasoning but for purely selfish reasons (as ALL the adults agreed). One of the concerns with homework, from the parent perspective, is once the child begins junior high school, it is increasingly frustrating to “help.” We’ve all heard about the “new math” and that children, with fewer textbooks and more online work, do not have the same ability to “flip to page 37” as we did when we were in school. Many kids are sent home with school-issued iPads loaded with links, resources, and texts but not conducive to engagement from parents. It becomes frustrating for parents, challenging for kids and problematic for everyone. Many families end the day on a sour note, usually stemming from an argument about homework.

According to the National Education Association, the National PTA recommendations fall in line with general guidelines suggested by researcher Harris Cooper: 10-20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 120 minutes for twelfth). High school students may sometimes do more, depending on what classes they take (see Review of Educational Research, 2006).

Additionally, at the elementary school level, homework can help students develop study skills and habits and can keep families informed about their child’s learning. At the secondary school level, student homework is associated with greater academic achievement. (Review of Educational Research, 2006).

The dads agreed that homework was necessary, primarily from the “toughen you up” standpoint. “The point however, is if there were no homework, parents would have to commit to hands-on quality time and activities in its place, as Young suggests,” said one dad.

That may be the biggest challenge of all for some families. Trying to force families to ensure the no-homework free time is filled with family time may not be the norm for some. But, as for the Daphne-driven household, we’re ready!

Share your success – how do you manage homework for your kids? We would love to hear from you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming blog. Visit PersonalBabyProducts.com andPersonalizedKidsPlates.com to stay up-to-date on topics, tips and articles written especially for parents. We welcome you to share, repost and re-tweet our news, ideas and stories with your social network.

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