Your first step should be to buy a copy of The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It. The first half of the book lays out, in a readable fashion, the problems with homework. The second half of the book is a step-by-step manual on how to go about advocating for change with your child’s teacher, at your school, or in your District, and how to organize other parents. There’s also a chapter that looks at the most common homework assignments and tells you why they don’t have any educational value. (Be forewarned: after you read the book, you’ll be angrier than you already are.)
If you can’t find it in your local bookstore, you should order it from your favorite online source. Of course, you can always buy it on Amazon.
But, as a way of spreading the word, you should ask your local bookstore to order a few copies, and then ask it to prominently display them.
Take a look at what other students think about homework by browsing through the archives section of this blog, Students Speak Out. Or, take a look at this zine by three high school students, “A Students’ Guide to Taking Back the Classroom”. Copy and distribute it at your school.
The book has dozens. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the book, take a look at this letter, which was written by a New Jersey parent to her second-grade son’s teacher and principal, or take a look at the numerous letters I’ve posted by parent activists. You can find them by scrolling through Moms (and Dads) on a Mission.
Yes. In The Case Against Homework, there are many examples of parents advocating on behalf of their children. And, if you browse Moms (and Dads) on a Mission you’ll find lots of posts by parents who describe, in their own words, what they’re doing and whether they’re having any success.
Sadly, there aren’t nearly as many as I’d like.
In Toronto, Canada, the Toronto District School Board completely overhauled its homework policy. Read the most family friendly policy I’ve seen yet here. Frank Bruni, the parent who instigated the reform, blogged about his experiences on stophomework.com. To see what other parents have done, or are doing, be sure to take a look at Moms (and Dads) on a Mission.
In England, the teacher’s union debated a motion to abolish or greatly reduce homework in April, 2008. In the Fall of 2008, a highly ranked boys’ school near London and England’s newest and largest school either reduced homework or vowed not to have it.
A newly opened school in Australia has included an opt-out clause, which states, “In recognition of other demands on our students, we support individual students, with parent support, formally ‘opting out’ of the set homework.”
Yes. Here’s a copy of a letter a principal in Wyoming sent to the parents at her elementary school.
Yes. At BAM! radio, you can find lots of interesting interviews.
I also recommend getting a copy of the DVD of the Fall, 2008, Stressed Out Students’ conference, with keynote speeches by David Elkind, Dr. Ken Ginsburg, Dr. Madeline Levine, and Denise Clark Pope. You can order a copy of the DVD here.
I would definitely have them read the fact sheet on pages 259-260 of The Case Against Homework.
I would pick and choose from the following:
- *this article from The Washington Post, where education reporter, Jay Mathews, who had given himself the moniker “Mr. Homework,” calls for the abolition of homework in elementary school
* this article from The Wall Street Journal, this piece from the National Association of Independent Schools, or this article from Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice (Homework Issue), on the stresses facing high schoolers
*this article on redesigning homework to create more time for learning from Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice (Homework Issue)
* this information on the importance of sleep
* this information on the importance of play
* this information on how math homework doesn’t help the average student
* this information on what works in an English class
* this information on the the trouble with packaged reading programs