Here’s a piece I wrote for Natural Awakenings magazine titled “Easing Homework Overload.” The free magazine is in health food stores around the country.
Here’s my suggestion: If you find a copy in your community, pick it up and leave it on a park bench, at the library, on the steps to the school, at the pediatrician or orthodontist’s office…. You never know who will read it and have their eyes opened.
Easing Homework Overload
by Sara Bennett
Natural Awakenings Magazine
These days, beginning as early as kindergarten, homework is a consuming nightly activity. According to a 2006 joint National Education Association/Leap Frog report, on average, children ages 8-13 work at it from 1½ to 1¾ hours a night. Most require almost 3 hours of help a week from their parents. It’s no wonder that parents complain about homework almost as much as, or more than, their children.
Their complaints are well founded. A 2006 Duke University review of more than 180 research studies found that there’s virtually no correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary school. Even in middle and high school, the only correlation is that students who do their homework do better on teacher-created tests and grades. But no proof supports the misperception that homework helps with such long-term educational goals as creating life-long learners who are creative and analytical thinkers.
Many short-term education goals aren’t strengthened by homework either. Consider the time-honored tradition of weekly word study for a spelling test. As early as the late 19th century, research has found no link between the time spent on drills and student performance. That’s why, as so many teachers and parents know first-hand, students who can spell a new word on Friday won’t be able to incorporate it into their writing, or even remember how to spell it, the following Monday.