Disclosure:: This post is sponsored by Episcopal School of Acadiana.
The Benefits of Less Homework – And What We’re Asking Parents to Do Instead
Today’s parents are bombarded with studies on the significance of play, the importance of family dinner, and the need for students to have time to just relax. Yet our days feel shorter and shorter. Finding the time for all of these important things and completing piles of assigned homework each night seems nearly impossible.
Over the past year, ESA Lower School teachers and administrators examined the research on homework, play and family time, and decided to cut back on the assigned work for our elementary students.
Research shows that for students in elementary school, little to no correlation exists between homework and academic progress, except for nightly reading. As we reduce the amount of time we ask students to spend on homework, we recommend that our families:
Studies indicate clear benefits from children reading or being read to for twenty minutes or more every evening. Helping children become proficient readers when they are young builds the foundation for success in high school, college, and beyond.
Focus on social and emotional growth.
Let children play. At the elementary age, so much can be learned through the act of play, and true play can only be accomplished during unstructured time. Allow children to become bored, and give them plenty of low-tech supplies for creating. Give children time to follow their interests and to explore the outdoors.
Make the most of family time and involve children in family responsibilities.
Along with family dinner and game nights, encourage children to complete developmentally-appropriate independent activities. The Let Grow website suggests allowing children “to do one thing they feel ready to do that they haven’t done yet: walk the dog, make dinner…” When students can safely negotiate small risks, they build problem-solving skills that lead to maturity and confidence, and they have less anxiety and depression.
Teach children to manage their time.
Establish routines that help students learn to make the most of their time and energy. In our Executive Function classes, elementary students talk about what their afternoons are like, packing their backpacks, and keeping their planners up to date. Parents can help students structure their time, and give them more independence in managing it as they grow.
Let them make mistakes.
When assignments or projects do go home, allow your children to complete them to the best of their ability. Resist the urge to help or teach. Learning different methods from parents and teachers can confuse children, and help from parents can mask a student’s misunderstanding of the concept or skill. Plus, children show more motivation and interest when they have freedom in managing their homework and grades.
Today’s parents are terrific advocates for their students.
They see the benefits of fostering social and emotional skills and developing a passion for reading. We love partnering with them as they seek learning opportunities for their children. Cutting back on homework so they have more time for meaningful activities benefits us all.
Learn More about ESA::
Find out more about ESA Lower School at Preview Days on December 10th and January 14th (ESAcadiana.com/Preview), or contact Admissions Coordinator Megan Richard at [email protected] or Lower School Head Kathleen O’Shaughnessy at [email protected].