Earlier this year, Texas teacher Brandy Young told parents she would not be giving homework throughout the year. Instead, Ms. Young encouraged families to spend homework time doing things together.
The note went viral, suggesting that American parents are not big fans of homework.
Neither, it seems, are parents in Spain. They have designated every weekend in November as a “homework strike” in order to encourage teachers to give less homework.
In light of these homework strikes, The Guardian interviewed a number of parents around the globe about their views on this subject. Their opinions are summarized below:
1. It Creates Busywork
Parents might be fine with some homework if they felt it was advancing learning, but all too often the projects sent home seem like a ridiculous amount of busy work. As one parent notes:
“Our eight-year-old regularly brings home with her nearly two hours’ of work, which she has been given for the following day. It mostly involves copious amounts of copying from a book.”
2. It Takes Away from Family
As Brady Young recognized earlier this year, time spent on homework eliminates time families have to be together. According to a parent from Spain:
“My son … goes through the motions to get it done and misses on playing outside. It affects the whole family because we cannot leave the house until it’s done, and often this means that we miss trips to the park or afternoon walks etc.”
3. It Causes Stress
By giving homework out, many parents believe schools deprive their children of the time they need to decompress. As a result, stress increases and pent-up energy explodes:
“I have two boys, they are eight and six…. They have too much homework and have always thought that, particularly the older one and he gets quite stressed about it. He likes being outside, jumping off walls and pretending to be Spider-Man, so I feel sorry making him come inside to work after school. It’s understandable that he wants to let off steam when he’s been working all day.”
4. It Hinders Sleep
A good night’s sleep is considered to be essential to good academic standing. Unfortunately for some students, the academics they bring home from school are the main hurdle in getting rest:
“Our eldest is in class eight (age 14, last year of middle school) and gets hours upon hours of homework every night. Often he is still awake at midnight finishing it.”
5. It Destroys Interest in Learning
According to one parent from London, the homework her child received in kindergarten was enough to kill his interest for school. As she explains, her child didn’t “view learning as fun or engaging anymore.” Instead, it became “a task that defines how he is perceived.”
Former teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto once said:
“It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home, demanding that you do its ‘homework.’”
Is it time for schools to reevaluate the need for homework?
Image Credit: Anthony Kelly bit.ly/1ryPA8o