Dear Parents, We Don’t Believe in Homework

So my daughter came home from the first day of 4th Grade with this news, “My new teacher says she doesn’t believe in homework.”

Yeah right, I thought. Last year, her 3rd Grade teacher had warned us that she had taught 4th Grade for many years and that’s when the really heavy work started to kick in.

At Back-to-School night we were presented with this information:

We have done some work this year as a staff regarding the purpose and effectiveness of traditional homework. The research is unable to produce evidence that homework improves student performance. Rather, it is telling us that if we want to improve attitudes, mental and physical health and academic performance, we must promote the following things:

  • Children need to play outside for at least an hour after school each day. They should reach a high level of exertion during their play, enough to produce a sweat. 
  • Children should have dinner with their families at least 4 nights weekly. This is shown to decrease eating disorders in females and decrease smoking and drug abuse rates in males. Recent research suggests it teaches good eating habits with more fruits and vegetables. 
  • Early to bed. Research suggests that children need 10-12 hours of sleep a day to be ready to learn. 
  • Reading time every evening. This is a great time for the whole family to sit and read together. 
With these points in mind, I plan to keep homework minimal and meaningful. I will insist on 20 minutes of reading per evening and math homework will be assigned as warranted, if I feel a child needs additional practice with certain skills. 
There will be occasional larger projects or writing assignments that will need to be attended to at home. 
Honestly, I’m torn between hoping my kid doesn’t fall behind the national average of 4th Graders and wondering if we should transfer her to a more academically rigorous school and thinking this is a very innovative and wise approach.
What do you think?
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