Do Kids Need Homework?
TULSA, Oklahoma - Elementary schools across the country are debating whether homework is beneficial for young students.
It's a topic that can divide kids, parents, and teachers.
But what if your child's homework is actually counterproductive?
Many parents are resigned to the idea that homework is just part of learning and succeeding in school.
But for fourth grader Judah Broshi homework is a thing of the past.
That's because Judah's school in New York banned mandatory homework for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade.
The policy change came about after a big push from Judah's mom.
"I was obsessed about why I had to have this contentious relationship with my child about homework," said Robin Broshi.
In fact, studies show that for younger children homework can even be counterproductive. Instead of teaching math and reading skills, it can kill a child's love for learning - and place a tremendous amount of stress on the entire family."
Megan Elliott, from Northwoods Fine Arts Academy in Sand Springs, says "homework is a doubled edged sword, it really is."
Before Megan Elliott took on counseling duties at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy, she spent 16 years in the classroom.
"Little kids especially need to be playing," said Elliott. "They need to be eating dinner with their families. They need to be moving."
But Elliott says teachers are finding it harder and harder not to send extra work home - because of government mandates on what children should learn and when.
"The school day doesn't allow for us to teach all of the things we have to teach," explained Elliott.
Doctor Harris Cooper has studied the benefits of homework for years.
He says parents, students, and teachers need to find some common ground because doing away with homework altogether is not a good idea.
"Studies do show even small amounts of homework help kids do better on unit tests," said Dr. Cooper. "But they also help to begin shape a child's time management skills, their organization."
Dr. Cooper also believes homework improves self-discipline and achievement, but he cautions that moderation is key.
"Teachers have a rule that they call the ten minute rule," stated Dr. Cooper. "You take a child's grade and you multiply it by ten, and that's how much time students should be spending."
For Judah, that would mean about 40 minutes of homework a night - precious time that his mother says she would rather spend focusing on family.
"There are people that want to do multiplication, flash cards with their kids - and they should," said Broshi. "That's great. But it shouldn't be mandatory."
While Judah's school has outlawed homework, all students still have to read about 30 minutes a night.
Experts say if your child is overwhelmed by homework, come up with some fun, short tasks parents and children can do together to get a break from the homework headache.