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What do you think: Do Kids Need Homework?

What do you think: Do Kids Need Homework?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - October 26th, 2016

What do you think? Do Kids Need Homework?

Do Kids Need Homework

Really, do kids need homework? A second-grade teacher’s note about her “no formal homework policy” went viral last month, spurring a national debate online amongst teachers, school administrators and parents. This teacher has one exception: students need to finish assignments which weren’t completed during the school day.

What do scientists think about Brandy Young’s controversial policy? Surprisingly, most experts agree — this Texan teacher’s note was spot-on!

What Do Studies Say?

Since the early 1980s, teachers have steadily assigned more homework in response to American students’ relatively poor performance when compared against their Japanese peers. Author David Baker collected data from 41 different countries when researching this issue for his book, National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling, and discovered that by 1994, fourth graders were doing more than two hours of math homework a night. But it wasn’t improving their test scores; instead, the opposite was true — and Japanese teachers that year were assigning half as much homework (one hour per night, on average).

No Homework…with an Exception:  Reading!

Stanford University Graduate School of Education senior lecturer Denise Pope confirmed that for elementary school students, research shows no correlation between academic performance and doing homework, but with one exception: free reading time.

Build Successful Habits in Your Child Today

Young’s note suggested that kids should “spend evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success … eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.” And she’s right! Since many parents don’t think of “free reading time” as homework (which Pope confirms does improve academic achievement).

These are areas where we can make a difference.  We can encourage and facilitate all of these recommendations in our homes on a regular basis.  If you need some ideas for reading recommendations for your child.  We have a few great ones for each age and stage, so here are some books for your child’s age/grade level.

Our Recommended Reading List


* The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

* Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

* Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney


* The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

* Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman

* Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey

First Graders

* Heidi by Johanna Spyri

* Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

* The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Second Graders

* The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

* The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

* The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Third Graders

* Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

* Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Fourth Graders

* The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

* Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

* A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Encourage your child’s free reading time, especially promote reading about the topics that interest your him or her.  This is where the growth happens and learning THRIVES!  While you may or may not have any impact or sway on how much homework your child brings home, you can encourage your child to read in his or her free time.  Or you can read aloud to your child, as well.  It makes for some wonderful memories, which they will cherish for a lifetime!

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My daughter doesn’t like to read period. She isn’t interested in anything I ask her to read. What can I do to help her over come this issue. She is a lot like me. I didn’t have any interest in reading as a child and I try to read myself, but fall out of interest most of the time.

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