I’m not currently a parent, so I can’t pretend to even have a guess as to what might be best for children. I’m also aware that what might be best for one kid isn’t necessarily the best for all kids – because kids are people, and, as we all know, every person is different. That said, one Texas elementary school teacher is making big moves when it comes to how she teaches her students – and her homework policy just might be genius.
Samantha Gallagher, mom to daughter Brooke, recently shared a photo of the letter she and other parents received from their kids’ new second grade teacher, Mrs. Brandy Young. In the letter, Young announces her intention to try out a new no-homework policy for the upcoming year.
The public Facebook post quickly went viral, with over 69,500 shares at last count. Gallagher shared the photo of Young’s note with the caption “Brooke is loving her new teacher already!” referring to her daughter’s happiness over the lack of homework in the upcoming year. As someone with unpleasant memories of hours and hours of homework, I can’t say I blame Brooke for her excitement.
While some may raise an eyebrow at the idea of no homework – given that homework is considered a basic and integral part of the American schooling system – Brandy Young backed up her decision to go homework-free with research and evidence, and also clarified that there will be work that the kids are responsible for during the day (which will need to be finished at home if they don’t complete it at school). It’s also not the first time homework has been banished from a classroom – New York school PS 116 issued a no-homework policy last year.
In Young’s letter, she states that “research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance” and encourages families to “spend [their] evenings doing things that are proved to correlate with student success,” like eating dinner together, reading, playing outdoors, and getting their kids to bed early – all proven methods of optimizing young children’s educational success. In fact, research does show that “inappropriate homework” or too much of it does have proven negative effects on young kids (and particularly on economically disadvantaged students).
According to Gallagher’s statement to ScaryMommy, her daughter received about an hour’s worth of homework per day while in first grade. It’s been a long, long time since I was a first-grader, but that seems like a lot to me. ScaryMommy also cited a study by Healthline, noting that “researchers reported family fights about homework were 200% more likely when parents didn’t have a college degree.” Yikes! That seems unfair and terrible.
Needless to say, given the rate of shares for Gallagher’s post, many parents responded quite strongly (and, in most cases, favorably) to the idea of no homework.
On Facebook, user James Sterling Rice wrote,
“This is so awesome as it demonstrates how many parents and teachers would support this kind of policy! Especially for kids in Elementary school. It prioritizes family time and youth activity! I feel 8 hrs a day in school for kids this age is enough.”
User Lora Huntley posted this heartbreaking comment,
“That’s amazing!! Noah is crying so hard he made himself sick bc he doesn’t want to do homework today.”
More family time is always a good thing, and of course, if Young is able to utilize the in-class time well, homework for nine-year-olds might just prove to be extraneous and unnecessary. Only time will tell, with this daring teacher’s policy.