Baltimore School Implements Innovative Homework Policy

I came across an article about the Jemicy School in Baltimore, where homework is minimal and tailored to the needs of each student. According to PRNewswire.com,

Parents often assume hours of homework lends better test scores and greater comprehension for their students, but Jemicy School of Owings Mills and Towson takes a much different stance and data shows they may be on to something.

The educational structure and lifestyles of students in the 21st century is different than past generations. With the rise of technology, schedules packed with sports and extra-curricular activities, and significant amounts of homework each night, there is little time for free play or even comprehension of daily activities. The latest research on the brain shows that the brain requires time to relax, absorb, and process information in order for it to register within long term memory.

The Jemicy School has implemented this research into their curriculum and tailors homework to the individual needs of each child, with assignments consisting of skills which have already been mastered versus new concepts. This method prevents children from developing their own,
often detrimental methods of comprehending new concepts.

Students often become frustrated when they are unable to understand or complete homework on a new concept, which leads to a disdain for school in general and a sense of dread toward schoolwork. These negative sentiments can lead to a future poor work ethic, a trait which can disadvantage the
professional and personal success of students later in life.

An overabundance of homework also goes hand in hand with a packed schedule for students. Children need the opportunity for free play to create, develop, explore, and make sense of the world in their own terms. Free play builds the social skills necessary for life, yet parents often keep their children contained with arranged activities. Ben Shifrin, Head of Jemicy School, stresses that “adding time into a child’s schedule for free play is vital, be it a play date or simply a few hours for non-structured play. Parents must make free play a priority and build it into their routine, just as they do with school, homework, and extra-curriculars.”

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