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T3 AoW #7

Name _______________________________________ Date_____________

ELA Period ___________
Things Your Kids Should Be Doing Instead of Homework

BY Jessica Smock October 17, 2016

There are many aspects of my more than decade-long career as a teacher that Im proud of. My
reputation for giving lots and lots of homework is not one of them.

For most of my teaching career, I taught fifth or sixth grade. Sometimes I gave more than two hours
of homework. Kids complained a lot, though parents rarely did, at least not to my face. I think parents
mostly felt the same way I did: that homework was the best way to practice new skills, that it teaches
responsibility and helps to develop a strong work ethic, and that its an opportunity to reflect on new

But most of all, my students parents and I were more than a little afraid that our kids would fall
behind behind their classmates in the next classroom, behind the kids in a neighboring school,
behind the kids in other countries. Homework was considered one of many ways to prevent that from

I wasnt entirely wrong about all of that, and I still believe a lot of those things. But only for middle
and high school students (and not hours of assignments). Not for elementary students, and certainly
not for kindergarteners or preschoolers.

When I entered a doctoral program in education policy, I learned about the research that suggests
that homework is not good for young kids. Not only does it fail to improve the academic performance
of elementary students, but it might actually be damaging to kids attitudes toward school, and to
their physical health.3 In a review of available research studies, Harris Cooper, a leading researcher
who has spent decades studying the effect of homework, concluded that there is no evidence that
any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students.4

When I became a parent during graduate school, I experienced for myself just how tired and
overwhelmed kids can be after a full day at daycare, preschool, or elementary school, often followed
by more after school activities. After hours spent sitting and engaging in mostly adult-directed
activities, childrens minds and bodies need other kinds of experiences when they get home, not more

Its not just that homework itself has no academic benefits for little kids, and may even be harmful,
its also that homework is replacing other fun, developmentally appropriate, and valuable activities
activities that help them grow into healthy, happy adults.

So, what are some of the things kids could be doing in those hours between the end of the school day
and bedtime? (list edited by Mrs. Breese)
T3 AoW #7
Name _______________________________________ Date_____________
ELA Period ___________

1 | Jump rope. 14 | Participate in a community service


2 | Talk with parents/guardians

15 | Draw a picture.

3 | Independent reading.
16 | Do a science experiment. (parental
4 | Listen to a book.

17 | Clean their room.

5 | Work on a puzzle.

18 | Write a story.
6 | Play outside.

19 | Meditate.
7 | Playing with a friend.

20 | Create a collage.
8 | Help with dinner.

21 | Listen to classical music.

9 | Take care of a pet.

22 | Learn to knit.
10 | Volunteer.

23 | Take pictures.
11 | Plant a garden.

24 | Ride a bike, a scooter, or a skateboard.

12 | Practice an instrument.

25 | Tell a bedtime story.

13 | Hang out at a relative's.