No Homework For Kids
In preparation for a book on the topic, I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through the research. For starters, there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school.
For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a between whether children do homework (or how much they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement.
What parents teachers need is support from administrators who are willing to challenge the conventional wisdom.
They need principals who question the slogans that pass for arguments: that homework creates a link between school and family (as if there weren’t more constructive ways to make that connection!
At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied.
Meanwhile, no study has ever substantiated the belief that homework builds character or teaches good study habits. More homework is being piled on children despite the absence of its value.
Teachers should be invited to reflect on whether any given example of homework will help students think deeply about questions that matter.
What philosophy of teaching, what theory of learning, lies behind each assignment?
Rather, the point of departure seems to be: “We’ve decided ahead of time that children will have to do every night (or several times a week).Let’s face it: Most children dread homework, or at best see it as something to be gotten through. Educate yourself and share what you’ve learned with teachers, parents, and central office administrators.Thus, even if it did provide other benefits, they would have to be weighed against its likely effect on kids’ love of learning. Make sure you know what the research says – that there is no reason to believe that children would be at any disadvantage in terms of their academic learning or life skills if they had much less homework, or even none at all.Does it seem to assume that children are meaning makers — or empty vessels?Is learning regarded as a process that’s mostly active or passive? Ultimately, it’s not enough just to have less homework or even better homework.Over the last quarter-century the burden has increased most for the youngest children, for whom the evidence of positive effects isn’t just dubious; it’s nonexistent.It’s not as though most teachers decide now and then that a certain lesson really ought to continue after school is over because meaningful learning is so likely to result from such an assignment that it warrants the intrusion on family time.And teachers who have long harbored doubts about the value of homework feel pressured by those parents who mistakenly believe that a lack of afterschool assignments reflects an insufficient commitment to academic achievement.Such parents seem to reason that as long as their kids have lots of stuff to do every night, never mind what it is, then learning must be taking place.It becomes even more curious, for that matter, in light of three other facts: 1. They include children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities, and possible loss of interest in learning.Many parents lament the impact of homework on their relationship with their children; they may also resent having to play the role of enforcer and worry that they will be criticized either for not being involved enough with the homework or for becoming too involved. The positive effects of homework are largely mythical.