Why Schools are Ditching Homework and Encouraging Reading

Why Some Elementary Schools are Ditching Homework and Encouraging Reading

Back to school is right around the corner, and for many students, the outdoor playtime they enjoy right now is at risk of being taken over by hours of homework. Especially for those starting elementary school, continuing to do school work after a long day is a tough concept to grasp. Times are changing, and possibly elementary school students won’t have to sacrifice their playtime after school. In 2016, second-grade teacher Brandy Young announced to parents on Facebook that she would not be assigning any homework. The post went viral, as did the concept. Now more schools are not assigning homework and instead encouraging students to play, eat with their family, and most of all, read.

What research has to say about kids and homework

In a study by Duke University, they researched the impact homework has on students at different age levels. Researchers found that for those in high school and college, homework in moderation had a positive impact. The study says that doing about two hours of homework is adequate enough. They didn’t see much of a difference when students had a heavier load of homework. The study continued to discuss why researchers believe that homework isn’t necessary for elementary schools. Harris Cooper, the professor who led the study, says, “The bottom line really is all kids should be doing homework, but the amount and type should vary according to their developmental level and home circumstances. Homework for young students should be short, lead to success without much struggle, occasionally involve parents and, when possible, use out-of-school activities that kids enjoy, such as their sports teams or high-interest reading.” Their research is encouraging more elementary schools to test out the concept of no homework.

What parents have to say

Ask any student about no longer having homework, and they’ll tell you how excited they are about it. If you ask parents what they think about elementary schools not giving out homework, you’ll hear a mix of opinions. Nebraska mom, Ashley Austrew told TODAY Parents, “I am a fan of no homework policies because I think its mostly busy work at this age level and they work hard enough all day.” 

In the same article from TODAY Parents, mother Julie Burton from Kansas says she gets annoyed with her daughter’s math homework assignments. “If she ever has a question, sometimes we are stumped too. I feel bad emailing a teacher in the evenings. I’m slightly annoyed at homework in general because I don’t know what the teacher taught.”

Those opposed are concerned that it will put kids at a disadvantage. Some say that not understanding the concept of homework at an early age will make it harder when they do get to middle school and have to start working on assignments at home. With all the technology and distractions kids have at home, one has to wonder whether they will be able to tune out and focus on an assignment. As this concept is still in the experimental stages, only time will tell.

Why read instead of doing homework

Superintendent Heidi Maier at Marion County Public Schools in central Florida was one of the first in the movement of decreasing the amount of homework in her school district. USA Today reported that she encouraged families to read with their kids every night for at least 20 minutes in lieu of assignments. Maier explained that reading every night will help kids to learn to love reading, which will carry out throughout the rest of their schooling. 

Elementary schools may be getting a break from homework, but that doesn’t mean the same for those in college. Our speed reading courses are designed for both students and professionals alike. Check out all of our courses today to find out how speed reading can help you succeed in school.

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