French President François Hollande proposed banning homework as part of his plan to reform the French educational system. But is he throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
Hollande believes homework favors the wealthy and disadvantages children from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds because wealthier parents are more likely to have the time and means to support, monitor, supervise, and assist their children when they are doing their homework. The reality of such distinctions aside, such an all-or-nothing approach misses the more practical problems ALL students face when dealing with homework—the sheer volume of homework they are assigned.
I’ve written about this question previously (read, How Much Homework is Too Much?) and stated that there are few if any studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of piling on excessive amounts of homework on students, especially when it comes to children in elementary and middle school.
When children are assigned too much homework, it taxes not just them but their parents as well. Further, children who are assigned hours of homework a day are often unable to engage in the kind of socializing and play that are essential for healthy child development. One easy guideline to keep in mind is that children should be assigned no more than 10 minutes a day of homework per grade level. A sixth grader should be doing no more than an hour of homework a day, and a senior in high school should have no more than two hours a day of homework. However, such is rarely the case, especially (but not exclusively) when it comes to private schools.