Homework, huh? Who needs it! Not the students in Mrs. Brandy Young’s class at Godley Elementary School in Texas, apparently.
The progressive teacher impressed both students and parents when she sent a note home about her class’s homework policy, saying she’d been doing a lot of research into the matter, and she found it was not necessary in order for children to thrive at school.
As such, the only homework she’ll be asking her class to do, is finish off any work they didn’t get done during school hours. Seems fair to us … or at least our eight-year-old selves, anyway.
What does she want them to do instead?
Mrs. Young has not only chosen to do away with the normal homework routine, she’s requested that families put the extra time that gives them to good use.
“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” her note reads. “Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”
“It wasn’t the right thing for my students”
“I’m just trying to be innovative,” Mrs. Young told Popsugar. “I really want to be a leader of my classroom. As a mum and as a teacher, I found that a lot of homework just wasn’t necessary, and it wasn’t the right thing for my students.”
She advises all parents that feel their kid is doing too much homework should raise their concerns with their child’s teacher and ask why it’s necessary. “Meaningful assignments are great outside of school but there needs to be a meaning,” she said. However she also notes that parents need to trust that their child’s teacher is making the best choices for all the kids in the class.
Samantha Gallagher, the mum-of-four who posted the note, told the publication, “I’m really happy that at the end of a long school day, [Brooke will] have time just to come home and be a kid, play outside, and make new friends. I believe it will enable us to spend more time in the evening together!”
The lowdown on homework
The fact that Samantha’s post has gone viral, accruing 46,400 shares, shows that many parents (and kids!) believe Mrs. Young is onto something with her thinking.
In 2012, the NSW government released a policy on homework that suggests their research into the topic of homework reached similar findings to Mrs. Young. “There is little consensus in the literature as to whether homework raises student achievement,” it reads. “Most researchers, however, conclude that for primary students, there is no evidence that homework lifts academic performance.”
In Victoria, primary schools “must have a documented approach to homework which takes into account the personal and developmental needs of students.” However, while it may be compulsory, schools are also told this must “take into consideration the need for students to have a balanced lifestyle. This includes sufficient time for family, sport and recreation, cultural pursuits and employment where appropriate.”
It is also important to note that the requirements of primary and high school aged children will always be different.
Ultimately, the homework debate is one that will continue to cause controversy amongst schools and parents. We’re glad that Mrs. Young is doing her part to innovate in her classroom, and we think that in itself is going to work wonders for all the children who are lucky enough to have her as a teacher.