No doubt you've seen this floating around your Facebook feed...it's the letter sent home by a 2nd grade teacher near Dallas saying she's not assigning any homework this year.

She claims there's still no proof that doing homework helps kids do better in school, and spending more quality time with family might work better.

My initial thought was firstly, I never had THAT much homework in 2nd grade that it would hinder my friends and family time.  Secondly, with busy schedules for every member of the family, how much family-time is actually going to be spent on family-time, and not more video games, tv-watching, etc.?

Finally, I felt like a policy like this discourages independent thinking and problem-solving.

 

My friend Heather, a mom of two, totally agreed with the teacher though, and said more quality family time would, in fact, be much more beneficial than homework time. I asked her about my stance.  She said:

Great question. You would think so, BUT most parents I know who have kids in elementary school actually nag their children to do their homework and then check it before allowing them to hand it in. They find errors and have their children correct them. That is not any more independent than what they do in school. I am sure some parents do not do this and allow their children to make the mistakes, but in my experience, teachers are too overworked to go through homework with the kids. They correct it and hand it back - this shows the kids that they did something wrong, but not how to do it right. It isn't the teacher's faults - teachers are amazing!

One more thing...Teachers now need to run their classrooms like well-oiled machines. Every minute of the day is planned and if they faulted from that, something else suffers... Which is usually free time for the kids. Since the students are "on" for 6+ hours per day, they are spent when they get home. Speaking only about my own kid, if left to his own devices to do his homework, it takes him double or triple the amount of time to do it because he is tired, disinterested after doing it for hours at school, and his attention span is short. As a parent, this is both infuriating ("Just get it done!") and saddening. All this wasted time of complaining and not focusing should be spent outside with his friends... Afternoons and evenings turn into snack, homework, 30 minutes of free time, dinner, showers, bed. That just isn't enough time for a kid to have a childhood. (And it is worse during the winter when it is dark by 4:30!)

What are your thoughts?

Here are a few comments from our text line:

  • Krista / Buffalo: I think it's great my daughter is in 5th this year and her teacher is doin the same and I like it he said if they don't finish they take it home...my kids get home at 4 and last yr it was awful my kids doin homework for 1 to 2 hrs no time to do stuff I'm home by 4 so this is great I'm happy I think it's a good idea to not overwhelm kids with homework they need sports n family time
  • Kim / Freedom: If teachers to send homework, at least don't send math!! Common core requires you show work and this is contrary to what most parents have learned!
  • Aida / Buffalo: I disagree with this teacher. First of all, second graders are learning penmanship, which requires practice AT HOME...they must practice spelling and vocabulary words...AT HOME. Also, not all families are home early in the day for family time. This teacher may sound wonderful to some people but not to me. She sounds lazy because she's have to check the children's homework the next day. She shouldn't impose family time or suggest anything for the family outside if the classroom she's there to teach second grade and not act like a therapist! She's flat out lazy! I'm listening to these callers and SMH. I have three children...in 1st and 2nd grade and they didn't get a lot of homework. Remember, homework is crucial do that the teacher can see who's struggling with classroom work. All the complaints began with lazy ass parents. My children went to private and public...I can tell you that private schools give a lot more homework than public schools. We still made family time and still had fun. I didn't complain. What the..?
  • Linda / Sloan: Although I agree that young children should have minimal homework, how many of these families are going to spend time together? I'm thinking that it just means more time on video games, tv watching, etc
  • Melissa / Clarence: Agree with Shannon [this was a woman who said homework was robbing her of time w/ her kids]. Homework takes up family time. Especially when you don't get home until 6:00. 2nd grade - Clarence - nightly (unusually 1 hour) 1 math sheet front and back 1 spelling sheet 20 min of reading. Plus unfinished seat work, studying for tests, etc
  • Jordan / Depew: Younger grades shouldn't have much homework anyway except maybe a reading assignment, math tables, or a long term project. However, when they get older (maybe middle school), it gets tougher and learning to manage your time and get everything done is an important skill that helps with life. You want to do a sport, balance it with your part time job and homework.