106: Join the Homework Revolt

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button.

Notes on today’s episode:

Do you worry that your child is getting too much homework for his or her young age?

Do you stress out over the nightly fits as said homework is being accomplished?

Then, you’re going to love today’s episode – it turns out that homework and young children do not mix, and this fall people are standing up and saying “I’m protecting my kid from the scourge of homework!”

For key links and expanded show notes about how to join the revolution, click weturnedoutokay.com/106!

Recently I read a news story about Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Texas who sent a wonderful letter home with her students their first day. In part it reads:

“There will be no formally assigned homework this year.… Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner together as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”

For my oldest, homework in kindergarten and first grade caused a huge amount of daily stress. Max lost twenty percent of his body weight in first grade, was diagnosed with migraine by six years old, and had the most horrible night terrors most nights of the school year (if you’ve listened to my show for more than three minutes, you know this… You also know how painful it was to watch him go through this, and how helpless Max’s dad and I felt during those years.)

I wish I’d had the guts to stand up and say “no.”

Today, I’m encouraging you to take a stand for your child.

In Ms. Young’s letter, she encourages parents to eat dinner together, read together, etc. – because those activities are “proven to correlate with student success.”

And I agree, student success is important. But it’s not the most important reason to reject homework and do these other things instead.

The most important reason, I think anyway, is that spending time with our kids and supporting them is fun! It helps everybody be happier, it helps the family unit be more cohesive.

So, how do you join in, how do you tell your kid’s teacher that you reject homework?

The news story that I read quotes a personal hero of mine, Alfie Kohn, early childhood expert and a man who hates homework so much he wrote a book about why it stinks.

Mr. Kohn states: “talk to each other and organize a group of ten or so parents. Walk in with a story about your child and say, “I’m very sorry, but we will not be participating in a homework program.” The bottom line is – what happens in the evening is for families to decide, not schools. Respectfully, we say no, and we opt out.”

How does homework affect your life and the life of your young child?

Please share – go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – or comment, or ask questions, about this all-important issue that affects so many young children.

Key Links:

Worried about how to bring that all-important reading time into your busy week? Click here to grab my guide to creating happy readers!

Click here to read the Boston Globe article about the homework backlash.

Check out Alfie Kohn’s book, The Homework Myth, by clicking here.