“I Have Banned My Child from Doing Homework,” says English Mum

Rosie Scribble, a freelance writer in the U.K. who specializes in mental health issues and blogs about life with her 6 year old, wrote a wonderful piece about why she doesn’t make her daughter do homework. Many of the commenters also wrote that they didn’t make their children do homework, either. Now, if they could all inspire their friends and their friends’ friends, etc., homework for young children would no longer exist (after all, most elementary school children require some kind of parental involvement to get their homework done).

I Have Banned My Child from Doing Homework
by Rosie Scribble

Sometimes I get a bit hot under the collar, stamp my foot and decide that whatever I have been told to do – I’m not doing it.

Then I wonder why my six-year-old daughter does the same.

However today, once again, I have decided there are a few things that our little family will not be doing, for one day at least.

Here’s the list:

    I.J. [my daughter] will not be doing any homework
    I.J. will not be watching Newsround
    I.J. will not be looking at her school reading book
    I will not be discussing keywords and spellings with I.J.
    I will not be testing her on her addition and multiplication
    I will not be helping her to practise her alphabet
    We will not be doing anything related in any way to education
    We shall only be doing fun things
    Why?

Because a mother knows when her child is under stress, when she has had enough and is over-tired and over-sensitive, when being asked to watch the news will only add to her current anxieties, when number work at school is getting her down to the point where she can’t sleep at night, when the pressure to practise her reading every night is getting her down, when it is all becoming too much.

A mother knows when her child needs a night off, a break from it all, and when a dose of fun takes priority over homework.

So here’s what we will do instead:

    We’ll close the curtains, turn off the lights and turn the front room into a cinema
    We’ll watch a brand new DVD, possibly Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs as recommended by A Modern Mother
    We’ll eat party food followed by chocolate cake
    We’ll cuddle up on the sofa
    We’ll shut out the rest of the world
    We’ll forget about school
    We’ll forget about everything else
    We’ll have some fun
    And I’ll hope for a calmer more relaxed child tomorrow.

(Read the post and the accompanying comments here.)

220 thoughts on ““I Have Banned My Child from Doing Homework,” says English Mum

  1. my mum will drive me to tears and i just puts kids down and they feel scared and trapped comment “yes i agree” if you agree

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  2. I always fall asleep when doing homework and what’s the point of it when I’m just going to forget about it in the future. Can’t we just learn the essential stuff? Can’t we just study in class together instead of doing it at home and take a test? Doing it at home has too much distractions and unhealthy. My butt would hurt after 5 hours of sitting everyday. I already have back pain for a 14 year old. I have back pain almost everyday and there’s no stopping it… It really is stressful and I can’t take it anymore. I sometimes not do my homework on purpose just to relax myself. Then the next day in school I would just make an excuse. I honestly don’t even care for any of my grades anymore, I just care about my stress. Homework isn’t important to me anymore…

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  3. If her mom believes school and homework is useless… I don’t think her kid will go far in life. Not doing these things will make you regret the future, and you will wonder why my life is going downhill. Even if you don’t like it, even if it doesn’t seem important, all throughout high school and college and finally your work place, it will matter what you do. Caring more about a child’s feelings and saying ” oh you got a D- on a test? As long as you’ve tried your best” , well that is a big mistake. It’s called discipline but so far it lacks in many people. Getting a habit of homework at a young age is great for their future.

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  4. The true value of homework has been solidly proven, over and again, by broad thinking minds, yet is persistently misunderstood by the masses who generally think what they think they are told to think. The very first thing one must distinguish is this fact: there is a vast difference between compulsory homework assignments and voluntary homework. We’ve all heard of those wonderfully accomplished heroes who “really did their homework,” right? But what is rarely asked is “which kind of homework did specific individuals do?” Let us examine a couple of well known examples.

    Leading up to, and during WWII, in Germany there were several very different and important personality types. Albert Einstein was one of the best known. Here was an individual who became almost synonymous with the word, genius. Clearly, this person “did his homework.” But which type? It is well documented that throughout all his years, including college, Einstein rarely completed compulsory assignments. When he did complete them, it was with minimalist effort, just because he had to, to survive. (Later on he would describe how school in general, and compulsory homework assignments in particular, served only to get in the way of his education.) On the other hand, he spent vast time and energy on that which simply inspired him. It is true that the establishment punished him for his independence. He did not get good grades and had a hard time even getting a mediocre job. Later, the establishment was unwilling to consider his theories or recognize his work—until finally, they had no choice. His light was simply too brilliant to be kept in the dark. It was not easy to be an Albert Einstein in a society that was molded by the old Prussian Schooling System. He could have easily failed entirely. He could have remained unknown. He could have been imprisoned or executed. In fact, he was forced to leave the country.

    Meanwhile, average German citizens who simply did what they were told, followed all the rules, and completed all their compulsory homework assignments got better grades, better jobs, made more money, and got more respect and recognition. Of course they had no spare time to imagine or invent weird things like relativity. Nor the gumption to question authority. But how else could ordinary people get trained to accept as normalcy the ideas of global domination, mass murder and genocide?

    Now, this is just one extreme example, right? What of the dozens of studies that have been done showing the statistics on the value of compulsory homework? Do they show test scores going up? No. Does IQ go up? No; it goes down. The ability to think critically, to think creatively, to question, and to understand the deeper meanings of things beyond memorized answers—all have been shown to be diminished by compulsory homework. Education, across the spectrum, has been shown to be stifled by compulsory homework. It seems Einstein once again was correct. Surprise. Except for one thing: statistics show that compulsory homework improves one’s ability to follow instructions.

    But what of compulsory homework’s other effects? The side effects. How does it effect physical health? Mental health? Social awareness? Family life? Creative ability? Artistic ability? Spirituality? The ability to invent? To work with one’s body? Community involvement? Statistics are very clear on all of these questions; compulsory homework is extremely damaging. As a father, an educator, and a person who still remembers childhood, I can attest to this. Above all, compulsory homework is the destroyer of inspiration, the natural love of learning that lives inside every individual and should burn bright throughout one’s lifetime.

    The American public schooling system was modeled after the Prussian system—which was originally designed to train soldiers. After a Prussian army was defeated in battle, the leaders devised a training program, so individual soldiers would do exactly what they were told without hesitation or questioning. Greater military success thereafter was their evidence that this system works very efficiently. But that is for the training of soldiers, not for the education of children or anyone. Further, it should be considered, the believers in the Prussian System never made a comparison against free thinking soldiers who sensed to the depth of their beings that they were fighting for a just and moral cause, opposed to others who were simply programmed into believing differently.

    Yet those corporate heads who designed the American School system never desired an educated mass. They desired a workforce similar to Prussian soldiers. We have been trained to believe.

    From the ancient schools of Bardic wisdom there is a proverb; “The beginning of knowledge is doubt.” To be truly educated we can not believe in anything we am told. We must research. We must ponder. We must experiment. And we must sense.

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  5. you guys are all stupid! homework is really important in little kids, if you get a habit going of doing homework they will be more successful in middle and high school, I you just tell you don’t have to do HW they are just gonna get lazy and not do good in school. what is wrong with all you people who don’t make their kids do homework. when my girl was little I made her do so much homework and extra practice and she is going to Stanford college this year as a freshman.

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  6. Peer-reviewed, scientifically based research shows that there is no (zero) benefit to the kind of homework currently given to children before high school. Period. There is actually evidence that it can actually weaken performance. There is, of course, great benefit to promoting critical thinking and discussion. Sadly, this is not what is being promoted through homework.

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  7. The way I look at it is it’s a teacher’s job to show your child how to do their homework I work cook clean I don’t have time to be doing homework so if my child does not know how to complete the homework I am not going to help i’m not a teacher 20 minutes is enough the rest stays in blank apparently the teachers not doing their job if your child is confused and does not know how to accomplish a homework

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  8. BOI. I AM a kid and i can tell you right now that im resisting punching the fricking screen. what are you doin not making your kid do homework. i hate homework. hell yeah id rather be playing video games but i need to get this practice in and understand these key concepts so i can get good grades and get a good job when i grow up. You think your fricking 6 year old is under stress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    plz stfu

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  9. Although I agree the current system of education imposes too much homework on kids as young as students in elementary, banning homework would not be recommended.
    I am currently a college freshman, currently attending UCI, and I am confident to say that homework is one of the best tools to prepare you for academic life or even for a future career.
    Homework, while obviously good for practicing a concept or a lesson just taught recently, not only helps students academically. Homework helps students learn a sense of responsibility, that he or she has a responsibility to complete a homework assignment once assigned by a teacher or professor. Homework also helps students learn to manage their time at a young age, as they would have to commit their time to do a particular homework assignment if they were to spend some time relaxing or playing toys or video games after doing homework. All of this not only helps students in school, but in life.
    A sense of responsibility and good time management are soft skills that useful in the working environment, no matter what career field, and in daily life.

    In my opinion, kids today do seem to have an increasing load of homework each year, and I think something can be worked out to relieve this issue. However, I do not believe banning homework completely is the solution.

    Then again, everyone is different and is raised differently, so my opinion cannot apply to all masses.

    But yea, reducing homework load is a good idea, completely banning homework itself is not.

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  10. I have an 8 year old who has three times the amount of homework as my my16 year old had at his age. It is making my life a misery trying to get him to do it and my life is stressful enough with looking after a parent with dementia. Homework is ruining childhood and family life. When I had children I didn’t know that I needed a teaching degree to be a mother, something that wasn’t mentioned at antenatal classes. Stupidly I thought it was the schools job to educate my children and as I am not academically minded when I try to explain things to him I just end up confusing him. I always thought that children from any background were equal in the classroom but now that parents are expected to do a large part of the educating the gap between the privileged and underprivileged will only get larger.

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