Opinion Brief

'Homework revolt': Time to give kids a break?

Some educators say younger children could learn more if they studied less

In what The New York Times is terming a "homework revolt," some American school districts are considering slashing homework demands, concerned that the after-school grind is stressing kids out without improving their academic performance. The school board in New Jersey's Galloway Township, for example, may limit homework assignments to a mere 10 minutes per grade of school (second graders get 20 minutes, and so on) and eliminating it entirely on weekends and holidays. Will going easier on elementary students help them learn?

Too much homework is bad for our children: American children get so much schoolwork and so little sleep, says Erin Kurt at Get2Central, that many of them show the "same physical and emotional signs of stress as the children in the war-torn countries." And one of the primary reasons is "too much homework." If we can cut back on the homework so our kids can sleep and play more, they'll be happier, healthier, and more successful.
"Are your kids stressed?"

But pampering kids sends the wrong message: Teachers should be showing students that serious effort pays off, says former Olympian Carl Lewis, a Democratic candidate for a New Jersey state Senate seat, as quoted by the Press of Atlantic City. "We can't raise educated, hardworking children when schools refuse to push students to excel by banning weekend homework."
"Galloway Township proposal has teachers, parents asking how much homework should area students be doing?"

Rigor is fine... at school: "Calling for a limit on homework can be viewed as a bit hippy-dippy," says Rich Zahradnik at Patch. That's just because parents and others who aren't educators "equate rigor with achievement, or more bluntly, pain with gain." Encouraging your children to read for pleasure will benefit them more than forcing mountains of homework on them. Hard work is all well and good, but its place is in the classroom, not the living room.
"In search of a homework policy that makes sense in this century"

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