not good for kids, some US parents and educators say
WASHINGTON, Saturday (AFP) - A small but increasingly
vocal group of US parents and educators are pushing for homework
to be abolished for younger children on grounds that it serves no
According to two new books on the subject, American children are
being robbed of time to enjoy hobbies, sports and even their families
because of too much homework.
The books argue that children are doing more homework
than ever with no concrete evidence that their effort contributes
to the learning experience. “There is no research that shows
that there is any correlation between homework and academic achievement
in elementary school and even as kids get older,” Sara Bennett,
co-author of “The Case Against Homework,” told AFP.
A New York-based attorney, Bennett decided to
investigate the subject and write a book about it when she saw the
gruelling schedule her two children were subjected to after school.
“I would look at what was coming home and it would seem like
the biggest waste of my kids' time,” she said. “When
my son was in middle school, I felt like he was working the way
I had worked in law school and I just thought that was crazy.
“I didn't understand why you would ever
do that to a child.”Bennett said she got so fed up with the
system that she decided to place her two children in an alternative
school this year where they have no homework.
“There is nothing that shows that kids will
be smarter or better educated or more analytical or creative thinkers
if they do homework,” she said. “So kids are spending
a lot of time doing work that nobody has really been able to say
is beneficial.”Alfie Kohn, author of “The Homework Myth,”
argues that not only is too much homework eroding children's love
of learning but it may have adverse psychological effects. She cites
a number of studies showing that homework is not a key ingredient
of academic success and that, in some cases, it may have an adverse
Critics also say that in today's two-career families,
parents have less time to help their children and are often forced
to hire private tutors to ensure their kids don't fall behind. But
not everyone agrees that homework is bad for kids.
Homework defenders insist that home study is healthy
for children, teaching them how to manage their time and become
self-confident and responsible. Still, there is evidence that younger
children may not benefit much from homework.
A Duke University study found a correlation between
homework and student achievement, but the link was stronger among
middle and high school students. The study found that as children
age they can handle more homework and suggested that time spent
on studying be adapted to a child's age.