Almost always, it comes back to the parents and the prevailing belief that there's so much homework because competitive moms and dads want their kids to get ahead. More than one-third of the parents we surveyed feel the same way.
Ironically, other parents who took our survey insist that the amount is "just right," only to go on to describe all sorts of negative effects their kids suffer-from nightly crying fits to stomachaches to facial tics. One reason is that many parents have faith in the school system and assume that educators have good reasons for subjecting our kids to so much work.
In fact, as this book will explain, when children are asked to do too much nightly work, just the opposite has been found.
And study after study shows that homework is not much more beneficial in middle school either.
As child psychologist Dan Kindlon, a Harvard professor and author of several books, including Tough Times, Strong Children, told us, "The issue of too much homework comes up whenever I talk to parent groups, and the truth is, there's no good research justification for it.
The analyses out there just don't make a connection between homework and success." Throughout homework's up-and-down history, everyone has had an agenda. We have the same goals as most other parents: We want our children to be happy, healthy, and competitive in a highly competitive world, and get an excellent education. But the current pile-it-on approach to homework is not the answer. Many parents know intuitively that something is very wrong with the system, yet might feel unqualified to challenge it.The Case Against Homework: Introduction Wherever parents congregateat work, at pickup time after school, at dinner parties, or at the doctor's officethe conversation often turns to homework.Whether kids go to public, private, or religious schools and no matter what grade they're in, everyone has the same frustrations: How much homework are our children doing?These days, as many of us know all too well, our kids are burdened with way more homework than we had ourselves.This is especially true for elementary and middle school kids, and this is certainly what we found when we conducted our own national online survey and interviews of more than 1,300 parents, educators, and kids.A former Legal Aid attorney, Sara had been successfully negotiating with teachers for years to reduce her own kids' homework loads, and she decided to push the school to finally change its overall policy.By getting other parents into the act, Sara knew that the school could no longer dismiss each parent's problem as "personal." She was right.Do kids need a tutor, or even medication to help them deal with it?Do kidsincluding preteens and teenshave meltdowns over the never-ending grind?Even in high school, where there can be benefits, they start to decline as soon as kids are overloaded.That's why educators, child psychologists, and other experts on learning are questioning the value of homework, especially in large amounts.