Down with Homework!

A U.S. expert thinks parents should spend more time baking cookies with their kids and less time making their science projects. “The worst side effects of homework are kids’ never being able to escape their identity as students—and the strain homework puts on parents’ relationships with their kids,” says Etta Kravolec, co-author of The End of Homework (Beacon Press, 2000). “Those relationships are fragile, and homework often sours them for years.” Children, she argues, already spend up to eight hours in school, then spend evenings tied in homework. This leaves them with too little time for family interaction and extracurricular activities, both of which foster important learning. And it’s unfair that kids with inadequate home resources can’t compete with those who have access to in-house computers, encyclopedias and informed parental support for their assignments.  “So their homework is not a fair testimony to their academic ability,” Kravolec says. She thinks homework should be done in school under the teacher’s professional guidance and with equal access to resources for all students in the class.

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