“What is the meaning of this?” I stared in shock at the pile of homework that came home with my 4 year old son. Why on earth would his teachers do this to us? Why would a teacher think it was okay to send a child home with 10 different books and a project to boot? (Okay, I exaggerate…but they seemed that many).
In my days, little children had lots of time to play and I was sure that all that extra schoolwork was not doing them any good. Thankfully, a new study by research guru Harris Cooper, of Duke University, proves me right.
The extra schoolwork is turning me into momzilla – with 3 children who need assistance, I am constantly on edge. Beyond that however, it turns out that it is wrecking children, particularly those in elementary school.
Important facts to note about homework:
Fact #1: For elementary-aged children, research suggests that studying in class gets superior learning results, while extra schoolwork at home is just . . . extra work. According to an education professor at the University of Arizona, “There’s no benefit at the elementary school level.”
Fact #2: A child just beginning school deserves the chance to develop a love of learning. Instead, homework at a young age causes many kids to turn against school, future homework and academic learning.
Fact #3: When homework comes prematurely, it’s hard for children to cope with assignments independently—they need adult help to remember assignments and figure out how to do the work. Kids slide into the habit of relying on adults to help with homework or, in many cases, do their homework.
This is definitely music to my ears. I asked my friend who also had a 4 year old and she told me she usually sent the extra work back with her son to school and minuted on it. “What do you write?” I asked fascinated. She flashed me a mischievous smile and replied, “Please assist.” We had a good laugh over that.
Elementary-aged children need to play and rest
These facts are the result of 180 studies done in 1989 and in 2006. The researcher, Cooper has spent several years researching the impact of extra work on elementary school children and the result is as I’ve always suspected: POINTLESS.
The conclusion is that “Elementary school kids deserve a ban on homework. This can be achieved at the family, classroom or school level. Families can opt out, teachers can set a culture of no homework (or rare, optional homework), and schools can take time to read the research and rekindle joy in learning.”
And also that “Homework has no place in a young child’s life. With no academic benefit, there are simply better uses for after-school hours.”
As a loving parent (who loves her kids and her sanity), I agree with that.