School is were we as people come to learn and grow as human beings. We start of so young. Some of us as young as three, and those who have graduated and those who still attend we all remember one thing. All the homework. They always said that it was to help us learn and reinforce the lessons of the day before, But what you might not know is that homework is not beneficial at all to any students form the 4th grade and below. In fact it may even have a negative impact on you or your children.
Last summer the principal of Orchard school in Vermont Mark Trifilio and 40 fellow educators came and met about the upcoming school year and what school always brings: homework. He has seen and researched himself that homework at the elementary level has no impact at all over the performance of his students on any tests, so he “proposed an experiment”. He suggested that instead of homework that students should read on their own or with parents. All the teachers were pleasantly surprised and even the special education teachers thought it to be a fantastic idea, “’All 40 voted yes,’ Mark said, ‘and not just yes, but a passionate yes. When do you get 40 people to agree on something?’” So they went through with this new policy. The guidelines were simple: Read every night, go outside and play, enjoy meal time with family and get plenty of rest. Six months into the new policy and things have been going just swell. The students are not having any negative effects due to the change at all. In fact, they’re even improving in all academic areas and are more passionate about school. Parents were in support of it. It allowed their children to pursue other interest other than math homework.
In spain the education system is in the midst of change. According to Miren Artetxe and other members of the Spanish Alliance of Parents’ Associations or known as the CEAPA homework is having an inverse effect on their students, so they held a meeting last november and called a weekend homework strike that endured for a month. They did this due to the connection between homework and stress. Parents in Spain are concerned with the amount of homework that is sent home for their children. If you asked one of these parents do describe it in one word it would be “horror”. Artetxe states‘“It’s still a taboo to talk about homework in schools,” “Many people give homework, because that’s what they’ve always done,” and “Giving homework, especially repetitive work – multiplications today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow – it doesn’t excite students to learn.”’ Studies from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have shown that the children in Spain are subject to 12.5% more homework than the other 38 countries in the study, along with that information they also concluded that it did not improve results of the students on standardized tests. With this knowledge and the increased homework it is having a negative impact of the home life of these families.
Marion County Public schools has 20,263 elementary school students enrolled, and when the school year started every single one of them knew homework was on the way. Despite that thought lingering in their minds, superintendent Heidi Maier has said urges that this year instead of having homework urges them to read for at least 20 minutes each night instead. Maier says “Teachers can make exceptions for special projects such as book reports or science fairs, but that otherwise she’s discouraging the practice of sending home worksheets and other materials intended to give kids more practice.” and also says that homework is a vessel for nightly arguments and outrage with the family out of confusion and trying to get kids to do their work. With no homework teachers now have more time instead of grading and creating homework for their students to do they can use that time to make better lesson plans to make sure they learn the information they are supposed to learn well. Many schools across the nation have looked to Marion County and are following in their footsteps and “homework free nights” are becoming more and more common.
Most research on homework has been aimed at upper level education such as high schoolers and it shows us mixed results according to Toppo “A 2013 study, led by Indiana University researcher Adam Maltese, found a positive relationship between homework for high school sophomores and performance on standardized tests. But it found little correlation between more homework and better math and science grades.” The research for the benefits of homework on younger students is vague and some would even say non-existent not even for just the use of practicing the material they learned in school. Even Harris Cooper, a Duke University researcher, says that the connection between homework and achievement is very small, and a researcher from University of Tennessee states that even if homework did help benefit children at the elementary level it is rare in the United States.
Some parents are concerned with the lack of homework that is being given to their students such as Joseph Devlin. He believes that the homework given to his third grade daughter was a way so he could help her learn and be a part of her education. He feels that his daughter is a lab rat who is testing out the new system to see if it will work or if it will fail and that no homework is a fab that will pass like the rest of the fads. He says homework helped him as a child and to stay connected with his parents.
Other parents whose schools have banned traditional homework have basically started a war between traditional parents and modern parents. Those who opposed said that spending time with family and reading was favoring people who are more fortunate than they, like Ashley Sierra, an executive assistant and a single mother with three children at Public School 11, a prekindergarten through fifth-grade school in Manhattan. It gave her another burden on top of being a single mom with three kids. How on earth is she going to squeeze in time to read or afford books is she is already stretching her resources thin?
What kids are doing for homework is somewhat confusing. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) asked 9 year old students how much homework they had last night and 22% had none 57% had about about an hour and 17% had more than an hour. At nine years old. That isn’t 100% because 4% just didn’t do it. Those numbers are the highest they’ve ever been. In 1984 35% of 9 year old had no homework, It shrunk by 13%, and only 41% had less than an hour of homework and that rose by 16%. With those changes to the amount of homework given has had little to no progress at improving the education of elementary school students at all.
When you talk about school there is one thing that is certain to be right there with it, homework. It’s something that most if not all people have had to do. Most people dreaded it and question why? What is the point? Well, it turns out there might be no point. Research has been conducted and it has shown that homework is not beneficial to K-5th grade students and it has been proposed to do away with their homework in favor of a more productive alternative. Teachers and researchers have come to the conclusion that instead of homework kids should spend more time reading with their families.
Toppo, G. (2017, 09 Aug). Schools ditching homework for younger students in favor of reading.. USA Today (Online)Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com
Strauss, V. (2017, 26 Feb). What happened when one school banned homework.. Washington Post – Blogs Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com
Llana, S. M. (2017, 21 Feb). Does more homework make for a smarter kid? in spain, many have doubts. Christian Science Monitor Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com
Spencer, K. (2017, 26 Apr). Homework bans don’t work for all homes, parents say. New York Times Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com
Schwartz, S. (2015, 05 Sep). Would the kids be alright without homework? Montreal Gazette Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com
Mathews, J. (2017, 20 Mar). A parental benefit comes with homework for elementary school students. Washington Post Retrieved from https://sks.sirs.com