Homework: Is It Beneficial For Young Students?

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Elementary schools across the country are debating whether or not homework is beneficial for young students.  It is a topic that can divide parents and teachers.

When fourth grader Judah Broshi gets home from school, he doesn’t have to hit the books like most kids.

When his mother asked him, “Do you have homework today?”

“Nope,” he said shaking his head.

That’s because his New York City public school has banned mandatory homework for grades kindergarten through fourth.

Judah’s mother, Robin Broshi, pushed for the policy change after seeing how much her son pushed back on doing the work.

“It started to become something that I spent a lot of time thinking about and obsessing about why I had to have this contentious relationship with my child about homework,” she said.

Dr. Harris Cooper, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, has been studying the benefits of homework for years and says doing away with it completely is not a good idea.

“Studies do show even small amounts of homework help kids do better on unit tests. But they also help to begin shape a child’s time management skills, their organization,” he explained.

He also believes homework improves self-discipline and achievement, but cautions that moderation is key.

“Teachers have a rule that they call the ten minute rule. You take a child’s grade and you multiply it by ten, and that’s how much time students should be spending.”

For fourth-grade Judah, that would mean about 40 minutes of homework a night. His mother says the families should get to decide how to spend their time.

“There are people that want to do multiplication, flash cards with their kids – and they should, that’s great. But it shouldn’t be mandatory.”

Judah’s school does recommend that all students read about 30 minutes a night, something he does enjoy.

For kindergarten students, experts suggest occasional short, fun tasks parents and children can do together.

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