For ages, homework has been a somewhat universally despised notion by kids across the globe. As if having to be in class all day wasn’t enough, extra work is being handed out to take home!
Well, Harris Cooper, author of The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, and professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, has been conducting research on homework for over 25 years. And he’s found some pretty interesting stuff.
Homework, at the high school level, is actually seen to provide great benefit to students. However, this benefit becomes less and less as you move down the academic hierarchy. Middle school students do not benefit nearly as much, and elementary school students don’t benefit from homework at all.
And others agree, like University of Arizona Education professor, Etta Kralovec.
Why homework should not be assigned to elementary school students
The research has pointed out a few reasons that homework should be done away with at the elementary school level:
1. Children at this level are just beginning their academic careers. Homework has been seen to have a negative impact on young students’ attitudes toward school, so making them dislike it from the start is counter-intuitive. Learning at this level should be fun and engaging. Having them read is noted as the better solution by researchers.
2. Homework is largely designed to build the relationship between parents and children, by having the parents get involved, but it has been seen to have the opposite effect on elementary school students. Because they need to be reminded about their homework at this age, kids and parents will often battle because doing more work before bedtime is not something they’re often interested in. This relationship can carry into later years of schooling where homework actually provides the most benefit.
3. Children gain a false sense of responsibility from homework. Many supporters of homework claim that regular homework gives children a sense of responsibility, but this has only been found to be true when they are older. Having to remind a child of homework every night destroys this sense of responsibility.
4. Homework takes up time that should be spent doing kid-stuff. Research has found that kids don’t exercise as much as they should. Physical activities in the evenings and over the holidays, like team sports or just playing outside, benefit children much more than homework.
5. Rest is key to a child’s productivity in school. At this age, elementary school students should be getting about 10 hours of sleep per day, and homework often cuts into this time. If you want your child to be 100 percent ready to take on their day, they need that rest time.