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At the start of the school year, I saw a lot of talk about whether kids should have homework.  Increasingly, it seems that many educators feel that homework is no longer needed.  Some schools have backed off from assigning homework entirely.  Our two younger kids (2nd grade and kindergarten) are both in the same elementary school, but there is not a set policy.  We currently have one kid that has regular homework and one that does not.  After a few months, I have my opinion on the question of should kids have homework?

The Case For Homework

Many people will argue that homework is a good thing.  There are many different arguments in favor of regular homework, even in early grades.

  • Homework establishes a pattern at a young age.  Patterns are important.
  • Assigning homework keeps kids minds working after school.
  • Working on homework gives parents more opportunities to be involved
  • Homework gives parents more insight as to what their kids are learning.

The Case Against Homework

Many now argue that kids should not receive regular homework.  This seems to be a growing trend using many different thoughts.

  • Younger kids are increasingly busy with activities and don't have time for homework.
  • Kids minds need a break from learning and more time for fun.
  • Homework could make tired kids even more tired, which then impacts their classroom learning time negatively.

Our Mixed Homework Situation

Our kids school doesn't have a set policy for homework.  Each teacher is allowed to do what they please.  We actually have a mixed approach this year.  Our son's 2nd grade teacher does not regularly send homework.  He only has assigned homework to review for upcoming tests.   However, our kindergarten age daughter does have homework.  She receives a packet at the beginning of each month with about 20 worksheets.  Each worksheet takes about 10 minutes to complete.  In order to keep on top of things, we try to have her do one worksheet per month.

The mixed approach has honestly not been easy in our house.  Since our daughter has regular work where our son does not, it creates drama.  When our daughter has homework and our son does not, she doesn't want to do it. We've tried getting some workbooks and worksheets to have him do, but he knows it's not required by school.  Also, we often don't know the day to day stuff they're doing, so we sometimes find stuff that is too easy or too hard.

Image from Morguefile courtesy of arker

I know that many schools have school wide policies, which would probably make things easier for us.  That way it would be both kids either expecting to do homework or not having it on their list of things to do.  This mixed approach is not ideal.

Our Thoughts: Should Kids Have Homework

Having seen both sides of the coin, and at the same time nonetheless, my wife and I agree.  Our thoughts:

  • Homework is a good idea for our kids.
  • A small amount of homework is ideal for younger kids.
  • Homework sent home monthly or weekly is a better approach than having nightly assignments.
  • A school wide (or district wide) policy would be beneficial.

We've seen different approaches and we like a little bit of both.  Of course it isn't up to us, but if it were, we would have our kids do assigned homework.

Readers, what do you think about homework?  Do your kids get homework assigned regularly?  Should kids should get assigned homework at a young age to prepare for what comes later?  Please let me know your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.