Sane Rules for Homework

When is homework OK? When it brings joy, not tears or tiredness.

When is homework OK? When it brings joy, not tears or tiredness.

The new school year probably brought excitement. Now it probably brings…homework.

If your children are in elementary school, homework has very little place in it. Research shows (analysis of more approx. 180 peer-reviewed studies) that homework assignments for this age is pointless, and even harmful.

What?! Really? Yes, those struggles with homework each night are not worth it. The research has been showing for years that elementary school homework shows 1) no academic benefit and 2) hurts children’s love of school and learning.

That’s why our family bans homework for our elementary-aged kids. You can read more about it here.  (More coming March 8, 2016 – helpful tips on homework and discussion of homework research in my new book It’s OK to Go Up the Slide, available for pre-order now.)

But is all homework bad? No, not necessarily. It’s important to keep family – child – learning goals in mind. Take a look at your child and what she’s asked to do. Decide if it’s a net benefit or not.

When is elementary homework OK? When it’s…

  • Joyous
  • Gets the child excited about school or learning
  • Optional
  • Something the child can do 100% herself, or mostly herself
  • Pleasure reading
  • A project that’s occasional (1-4 times a year)

If homework in your house doesn’t have these ingredients, take stock. Understand what’s bothering you, then gather up your courage and talk to the teacher.

What do children need more than homework? They need these ingredients more: play, sleep and positive relationships with people who care for them.

It's OK small coverHave you found a sane solution to homework? Is homework a struggle in your family? If you’ve successfully talked to a teacher, share your experience with other families.

It’s OK Not to Share...and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids (2012)

It’s OK to Go UP the Slide...Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids (pre-order for March 8, 2016)

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