No More Homework?

If research is to be believed, your kids may start coming home with less homework.  For younger students, a few schools are reducing the number of repetitive exercises given, and replacing them with assignments designed to engage the mind. 

Years of research supports the idea that there is no link between grades and the amount of homework assigned.  In a study covering 50 countries, students with the highest grades (such as Japan and Denmark) did very little homework, compared to children with the lowest grades (such as Greece and Iran), who did lots of homework.  Due to various research reports, some teachers and parents now see no need to assign a lot of afterschool work in the early and middle grades

Harris Cooper, one of the leading researchers on homework in the United States, firmly believes in extra schoolwork.  “Kids at all grade levels are going to benefit from practice,” he states.  “…If it’s practice that gets you to Carnegie Hall, homework’s going to help.”

However, he acknowledges that too much does not mean better grades.  His rule of thumb: children shouldn’t do more than 10 minutes of homework for each grade.  For example, a Grade 2 student should have only 20 minutes of homework; a Grade 7 student, 1 hour and 10 minutes.

At Vernon Barford Junior High in Edmonton, teacher Judy Hoeksema now assigns half the work she did last year.  “We’ve all been under this illusion that lots of homework creates good study habits for the future,” the math teacher of 26 years says.  “Now, we’ve realized it isn’t making much difference.”

As a bonus for scaling back homework, many families are seeing  increased quality time for children and parents , less household stress, and less physical stress on their kids due to less books being carried.

About Agasel

Agasel is a writer/media editor/voice-over artist, living in Vancouver, BC, Canada (but seeking a new paradise to transplant to). Check out her blog at http://5-ftchica.blogspot.com/.

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