NEW YORK CITY — You may have read our story about how a midtown elementary school is nixing homework in favor of students reading books and spending time with their families instead.
Academics and researchers have been studying and debating this issue for decades… and yes they too are divided, but here are some things to take away from all the research.
For young kids, homework is about habits
Homework helps elementary schoolers form routines, learn responsibility and time management, research shows. Once kids get to high school there is a relationship between how much time they spend on homework and their grades. While younger kids naturally have less effective study habits and lower ability to concentrate, homework can start to shape habits and routines that will come in handy later in life.
There is no clear link between homework and academic achievement
Countless studies have gone back and forth on this issue. Just as soon as one academic establishes a correlation, another will refute it. One international study showed that there was no link between the amount of homework students got and how well they performed on tests.
For students with learning disabilities, homework helps
For elementary schoolers with learning disabilities, extra time working on skills learned at school with close parental supervision can help, a 1994 study showed. It gives kids extra time to practice and perfect what they learned in the classroom.
Too Much Homework Can Be a Bad Thing
While some homework can be beneficial, kids should still have time to be kids, read books and spend time with friends and family like the teachers at P.S. 116 are advocating for.
“Homework is frequently the source of frustration, exhaustion, family conflicts, a lack of time for kids to pursue other interests and, perhaps most disturbingly, less excitement about learning,” Alfie Kohn the author of the book The Homework Myth argues. "It may be the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity.”