01 Oct Too Much Homework?
by Jackie Bowles
Recently a 2nd Grade teacher, Brandy Young in Texas, went viral with her new “No Homework Policy” at Godley Elementary. Ms. Young says, “After much research this summer, I’m trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.” She continues, “Time after school is best spent eating dinner as a family, reading together, playing outside and getting children to bed early.”
This is an interesting idea when many of our afternoons are filled with hours of homework leaving little time for other things.
Recently a study was done measuring the impact of homework on a student’s final grade. Surprisingly, there was little difference found between those who did homework and those who didn’t, however they did find that additional homework did boost standardized test scores. Robert Tai, Associate Professor at University of Virginia believes that “this finding is the end result of a chain of unfortunate educational decisions beginning with the content coverage requirements that push too much information into too little time to learn it in the classroom… The overflow typically results in more homework assignments. However, students spending more time on something that is not easy to understand or needs to be explained by a teacher does not help these students learn and, in fact, may confuse them.” Mr. Tai believes that “the results from this study imply that homework should be purposeful, and that the purpose must be understood by both the teacher and the students.”
This left me wondering if there was an existing standard or recommendation for homework time. Apparently there is. The national standard uses a 10-minute rule. You have 10 minutes of homework for each grade level. For example a 1st grader should get 10 minutes, a 2nd grader should have 20 minutes, etc., capping off at 120 minutes for high school students.
Homework should be targeted and used sparingly to emphasize principles taught in school that day, especially math problems. When we start looking at how children retain knowledge, 90% is retained when they teach someone else and use the skills immediately and 75% is retained whey they practice what they have learned. Therefore we see that some purposeful homework is good and helps in the retaining of that knowledge, but it is too much when children have to excessive time doing homework.
So when the kids come home and crack open their books, remember, the best use of afternoon homework time should be directly related to what was taught that day especially in regards to math and reading. Standards should be used as a maximum amount of homework assigned so that we aren’t wearing down our children. There are so many enlightening activities children should be involved in after school other than homework. As Ms. Young stated, “our time is more valuable spent eating together, reading together and playing outside together.” We are putting too much stress on our young little minds and aren’t allowing them time to unwind or time to be a kid. Less homework improves the learning environment.