Is no homework the answer to smarter kids?

There’s a no homework movement out there and your kids might be caught up in it.  According to this story on Parenting.com http://www.parenting.com/blogs/mom-congress/melissa-taylor/should-schools-abolish-homework  elelemntary schools and middle schools are dropping homework – instead asking kids to read instead.  In other less extreme cases, the some scholls have a no homework on vacation rule.  The policy of no homework is supposed to give kids more time to become better readers, and to do that, they need more time to read – not more time doing worksheets.

In many instances, this no homework policy has had no impact on test scores – they’ve held steady (note, this is not to say they’ve improved, but it just goes to show that the kids may be getting all the test prep they need in class.)

The no homework policy leaves more time, theoretically, for kids to have unstructured play time.  However, I wonder if it just leaves more time – which might be spent watching tv (I know I use ‘homework first’ as the incentive for tv time) or on structured sports – I heard that our rec lacrosse league (which is a spring sport) now has “optional” practices, year round, three days a week.

And while these are optional and a chance to for kids to get better at a s sport, I also suspect that any kid who doesn’t avail him or herself of these practices will find themselves at a disadvantage come the spring.  So would no homework be a good deal in this case, because it would let a kid play an organized sport all year round, all the time.  Seems to defeat the “unstructured” or “reading” time behind the no homework policy.

So what do you think – should there be a no homework policy for our kids?  Will this make them smarter?  What would you do to make sure this time didn’t get transferred over to more ‘activities’ or tv/video game time.  Would you make your kids read?  Play outside?  Would no homework mean you’d have a family dinner more often?

Let us know what you think below.

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