Homework in Grade School: The Pros and Cons

Banning homework from school? To most American parents, the notion mirrors the fantasies of their school-age children. Yet the homework-free policy has in fact been implemented in other countries around the world.

A recent report out of Quebec, Canada detailed how one school launched a year-long pilot project that banned homework for students in first through sixth grade. This news has reignited the decade-long controversy surrounding the value of homework.

While some parents fully support and campaign for a homework-free experience, others are concerned that their children will fall behind or fail to learn the discipline and time management skills required in both academic and professional settings.

Adding to the debate is the presence of mixed data in research regarding the value of homework. A recent study published in The Journal of Experimental Education surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. The research indicated that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives.

In a literature review of over 100 studies that examined the impact of homework, Harris Cooper (1989) concluded that there is little evidence that homework at the elementary school level impacts school achievement. Studies of the junior high school level, however, have found modest benefits of homework, while studies of homework at the high school level have revealed clear advantages.

Further, building effective homework strategies is thought to foster the ability to plan and organize tasks, manage time, and problem-solve.

These core skills contribute to effective functioning in the adult world of work and families, and can help children develop the habits of mind, which will serve them well as they proceed through school and, indeed, through life.

Are you searching for appropriate support for your child with homework and study skills? Contact us to schedule an executive functioning (EF) support session with our Learning Specialist.

Next week, we will explore effective strategies to help your child effectively manage his or her homework load.