Is too much homework the problem

By fadamilli • June 01, 2019, 11 AM • 185 views • 26 comments
Is too much homework the problem

I attended elementary school in the 1980s, and I remember having homework. Most of my Gen Xer friends concur—they also had homework in first through sixth grade. I distinctly recall the rule in our house: No playing until your homework was finished. Often the assignment was minimal—a mimeographed worksheet, spelling, vocabulary practice, or nightly reading. But we most definitely had homework in elementary school.

Recently there has been a great deal of debate surrounding homework at the elementary level. Several studies have found that it is not beneficial and that it can even be harmful. A few U.S. schools have decided against giving homework to elementary students. In 2015, principal Jane Hsu, of New York City’s P.S. 116 elementary school, abolished homework, asking families to read instead. Studies suggest homework causes undue stress and is taxing on the family, that it takes time away from our children that is better spent playing or unwinding, and that it is an

unnecessary burden for overworked parents who are already short on time.

Homework has been called the 21 century’s “new family dinner.”

Personally, I find this move away from homework disturbing for several reasons. First, I believe it is beneficial to ask our children, each day, or several times a week, to follow through with something. Obligations like this foster accountability and consistency, which in turn prepares our children for the more rigorous work of the middle school and high school years. If we rid elementary school of homework, we set our kids up to fail when, in their later academic years, we ask them to take on something new—hours and hours of homework. How will they know how to commit to something they’ve never done?

In truth, the problem isn’t homework, but what we’ve done to it. Our children are being asked to perform at higher levels of difficulty at younger ages than ever before. They are asked to do a much higher volume of homework than we were. In the ’80s, we had homework that increased based on age and grade level. It was a slow progression that allowed us to adjust each year. Today’s kids get bogged down with far too much, too soon.


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