Awesome Elementary School Ditches Homework In Favor Of More Free Time For Kids

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487703851An NYC public elementary school has decided to stop sending kids home with piles of homework so they can use that time to play, instead. Teachers are encouraging students to read books and spend time with their family. What a fantastic idea.

PS 116’s principal Jane Hsu told DNA Info that the school “spent over a year ‘analyzing studies focused on the effects of traditional homework’ and decided that it was more important for the Pre-K through fifth grade students to do activities that ‘have been proven to have a positive impact on student academic performance and social/emotional development’ such as reading at their own pace and playing.”

I remember being shocked to see the amount of homework my stepdaughter was bringing home from her second grade Brooklyn class. Unless my memory fails me, we just didn’t have that much homework when I was growing up. I struggle to remember if we had any at all. It seems very excessive for an elementary student to be at school for six hours then be expected to perform even more schoolwork once they get home.

Hsu insists that there are “a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.” There is no district-wide policy on homework so teachers and principals can use their own discretion. I’d be thrilled if this was my kid’s principal. Some parents are not. One told DNA Info,” I think they should have homework — some of it is about discipline. I want [my daughter] to have fun, but I also want her to be working towards a goal.”

Some parents are so annoyed, they’ve been creating their own homework assignments for their kids. Some have even decided to look for other schools for their children to attend. One of the reasons the school decided to stop the assignments is because the number of kids that were being forced to sit out recess due to unfinished homework assignments alarmed administrators.

While the discipline angle is understandable, the only “goals” I want my grade-schooler working toward are mastering the basics and learning how to really socialize with other kids. I honestly don’t understand the necessity of giving a first or second-grader homework. I also understand other parents may not agree with me. Maybe one idea would be to make the assignments optional — that way all of those Tiger parents will be satisfied, and parents like me can spend a little extra time having a living-room dance party or something.

I think the principal is on the right track. I’d be thrilled to have my child in that school.

(photo: Getty Images)