Wait; homework isn't helping our kids do better in school? Then, um, why are they doing so much of it?!
Texas mom-of-four Samantha Gallagher wasn't expecting to read a note like the one her second-grade daughter Brooke brought home from her teacher. Godley Elementary School educator Mrs. Brandy Young announced on that slip of paper that there would be no homework this year beyond what the students didn't finish during the school day.
"Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance," the note said. "Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early."
Gallagher also didn't expect that when she shared the note in a Facebook post, it would go viral with nearly 70,000 shares. "Brooke is loving her new teacher already!" the thrilled mom wrote as a caption. I'll bet!
Young talked to Pop Sugar, sharing more about why she instituted the new, no-homework policy in her classroom. "I'm just trying to be innovative—I really want to be a leader of my classroom," she said. "As a mom and as a teacher, [I found that] a lot of homework just wasn't necessary, and it wasn't the right thing for my students." Young also said, "Lower elementary school students are here all day with us, so I think it's our job to educate them here and when they go home they have other things they need to learn there."
News flash! I'm moving my family to Godley, Texas! Okay, maybe not. But luckily, Young has some advice for parents everywhere: "Share your values and your concerns with your teacher if you feel like your child is doing too much homework, and ask the purpose of it. Meaningful assignments are great outside of school but there needs to be a meaning."
Wow. I could not agree more. Because most of the homework my daughter got in second grade was busy work. And every night she would be so tired, just wanting to get it over with! Meanwhile, dinner was rushed as a result, as was the rest of our evening, including getting ready for bed and the next school day.
Not only was that time stressful, but it was honestly a shame, as it's the only time we have together as a family. I think Young is really on to something when she says kids learn and gain more from that special family time, or time with friends, or even down time, than from busy work.
I'd be thrilled if teachers adopted a no-homework or meaningful-homework-only policy where my kids go to school. How about you?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.