by Marianne Franzese, MA, MS
Long-term educational studies prove that homework actually has a negative impact on elementary school children. Harris Cooper, educational researcher and author of The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, concluded after 25 years of study, that homework is not healthy for elementary school children.
Think about it. Children put in a full day of work at school, and they need to rest and replenish when they get home. For most families, homework is a source of stress. It gives a false sense of responsibility and robs children of the opportunity to play and explore their natural interests. At Spark Elementary, we are committed to the re-imagination of homework.
Instead of assigning hours of academic homework, at Spark Elementary we simply assign reading and a personal development challenge. We ask our students to limit video game use and explore other areas of interest. Our students are responsible for making an entry in their Happiness Journal every night. They reflect on their day and report their proud and thankful moments. The next day at school, they discuss what they did instead of homework and begin to figure out what personally inspires them.
The success of this initiative has energized us to develop homework that supports the care of a child’s mind, body and soul. We need to question the mindset that believes homework ensures academic success and personal achievement. It is time listen to what children have been telling us for years and promote the work of creating healthy home habits.
Marianne Franzese, MA, MS, has been working in the field of child development for more than 35 years. As a creative arts therapist and teacher, Franzese is the co-founder of Kid Esteem Inc. and principal of Spark Elementary. Her book The Sacred Weave of Mothering (Aslan Publishing, 2002) continues to provide comfort and inspiration for mothers and caregivers. Connect with her at Info@SparkElementary.com. For more information, visit SparkElementary.com.