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Students Rejoice: Swedish town to ban homework?

Homework overload
Homework overload
Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

The month of June is just about the happiest month of the year for millions of kid’s world-wide, with December (Christmas) running a close second. This week officially marks the end of the school year for most kids, and the beginning of the long awaited “summer vacation.” No more early wake up calls, no more crazy morning rush, and best of all, a whole glorious summer, for some up to 12 weeks, with no more homework! For any school age kid, it just doesn’t get any better…or does it? What if after a great summer off, your child returned to school to find out that homework had been banned!!!

Banning homework? It’s like a childhood/parent’s dream come true, and according to an ABC News report on June 18, that dream could soon become a reality for the lucky students in the Swedish town of Hallstahammars.

The head of schools in Hallstahammars, Leena Millberg, stated that municipal government officials are investigating the proposal to ban homework, and questioning just how much sense it makes. It has been debated that doing away with homework would help students to retain what they are learning at a higher rate, without becoming overly stressed. Students should not start celebrating yet, as Millberg told ABC News, “if the proposal does go through it’s likely that the school day would be lengthened.”

Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, has researched how homework affects families. Cooper stated that when reading or math comprehension is ranked lower than expected, officials tend to “ramp up” homework, but when studies show that the children are overworked or stressed, officials then consider easing up on assignments.

One family in Calgary, Alberta grew tired of their children’s nightly homework battles. For two years Tom and Shelli Milley argued with teachers and administrators over the homework policy at St. Brigid Elementary School in Calgary, until it finally paid off. Their “homework rebellion” resulted in the “differentiated homework plan,” a contract between the teacher and the student. The contract states that no homework would be sent home, but the children must be graded on what they do in class, they must read daily, complete all assigned work in class, and they must practice a musical instrument at home. For the Milley’s their plan was a perfect compromise, resulting in no more tears, no struggles, and less stress on the children.

Cooper argues that homework can be a benefit if it is kept “simple and short.” He suggests 10 minutes per night per grade. Example, Grade 1 gets 10 minutes of homework, Grade 2 gets 20 minutes of homework and so on.

Where do you stand…To ban homework, keeping all studying in school, or do you prefer the 10 minutes per night per grade style of homework? Leave your comments in the comment section.

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