Every night from September to June homework invades the privacy of every home in America. It preempts every family activity and it interrupts meals, sports, and culture. It prevents family traditions and denies parents the opportunity to be parents and spouses. Homework is an equal opportunity destroyer, wrecking havoc on every family regardless of income, social status or ethnicity. And, there is no provision for parents or students to challenge, question, negotiate, appeal or arbitrate any aspect of homework.
Unfortunately, parents and teachers think that homework is important and necessary. Everyone believes that it helps their children academically as well as in the development of character. We assume that homework is carefully structured to challenge each child with detailed professional attention to the optimal development of his or her talents. We assume that teachers know exactly what our children need and we trust that they can bring it about through the medium of homework. The research, however, does not support these assumptions. Quite the contrary, the research suggests that homework reflects the quality of the home not the child. In sum, homework has little, if any value and is not worth the trade-off with family life and childhood being at stake. Homework takes away our freedoms.
My wife and I have five children and I am a university professor of education with 20 years of research on homework under my belt. We believe in hard work and expect our children to get good grades. So far, all of our children have maintained grade point averages above 3.85 and they have all earned at least two varsity letters in sports.
Our concerns over homework are focused on the research as much as the reality that we have experienced in our home. Homework has taken away our family life and replaced it with a life of busy work. The research says that homework does not help with academic achievement or with character development. Homework does not make kids smarter and it doesn”t teach kids to manage their time more effectively or work independently. The only thing we know about homework is that it takes up time every night and it often causes stress and strife in most families.
Ask yourself how homework helps your children. Watch your children at play and think about the needs they have to enjoy life as a child, not an extension of the schools. It is time to think out of the box and see homework for what it really is and how it destroys family liife every evening, on weekends, and holidays.
Our hope is that evenings, weekends, and holidays will be returned to the family and children will return to being children. With homework being abolished, families will return to being families. And, as research has shown, when children have no homework they watch less TV and spend more time talking to their parents about what they did and learned in school.
It is time to reclaim our children and reinstate our families. Evenings, weekends, and holidays belong to the family and they should remain the sacred domain of the family without any interference from the schools. By law, schools already have our children every day and they have no legal or moral right to claim their evenings as well. Our family life should be ours to do as we see fit. Our children do not belong to the State.
About The Author
I am a University Professor of Special Education.
I am the father of five children.
So far, my children have attended 4 High Schools and have had GPAs above 3.875.
I have been…
…a school principal
…a director of special education
…a high school teacher and coach
…a middle school teacher and coach
…a grade school teacher and coach
I have coached…
…club soccer & Little League baseball
…high school football and wrestling
…college wrestling, rugby, and baseball
I have conducted research on homework for twenty years
I am a tough task-master and ask for excellence
I believe in rigorous academic standards
I believe schools need to get tougher
I believe schools need to demand excellence
Homework should be abolished for the following reasons:
Schools have no moral justification to invade my home and family at night. Schools have my children every day for almost seven hours because of mandatory attendance laws and they should leave the after-school hours to me and my children.
My family needs time together. My children want to enjoy life as children. Homework preempts everything my family wants to do every night.
Research shows that homework does not improve academic achievement.
Homework does not teach time management, responsible behaviors, or independence.
Homework reflects the home – not the child.
Homework discriminates against students from disadvantaged homes.
Homework discriminates against students with special needs.
Homework denies children the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays.
Homework has no legal authority over students or families.
Problems With Homework
Teachers are not held accountable for homework.
Children have no rights to appeal, question, challenge, or redress any aspect of homework.
Parents have no rights to appeal, question, challenge, or redress any aspect of homework.
Teachers can give as much homework as they wish.
Teachers never assess the effectiveness of homework.
Schools never assess the effectiveness of homework.
Districts never assess the effectiveness of homework.
Homework increases the incidence of high school drop outs.
Homework should be supervised by teachers.
The less homework – the less TV viewing time.
The less homework – the more parent/child interaction.
What To Do About Homework
Organize a group of parents and approach the school principal.
Organize a group of parents and approach the school board.
Write editorial opinions against homework for the newspaper.
Email teachers and ask them about:
A. How they measure the effectiveness of their homework?
B. How they differentiate homework for students of different ability levels?
C. How they know that an assignment was worth while?
D. Why any specific assignment was given?
E. What research supports their giving homework?
F. Can they try supervising homework in class and not assigning it to children to take home?
G. Could they possibly give homework every other week?
H. Could they possibly give homework only one week per month?
I. Could they possibly give homework only one night per week?
J. Could we have no homework on weekends or holidays?
K. When was the last time they gave the class a week off from homework? And, what happened?
Please join our fight to reclaim our families from the schools.
Go to the links below and print off each web page. Go to your district and get things going now. Restore your family and save your child from the agony of defeat!
Three Good Books To Read
The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by John Buell and Etta Kralovec
This is a fantastic book and should be given to every teacher in America.
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