Friday, August 26, 2016

A Letter to My Child's Teacher Regarding Homework

Ever since a picture of 2nd-grade teacher, Brandy Young's homework policy went viral this week on Facebook, the anti-homework movement for young students has attracted more and more attention. Resharing a Facebook post is a great start, but I believe we can do more to move the needle on this important issue.

Rather than relying on social media to spread a message that I am passionate about, I decided to take my own advice from my recent blog post and actually speak up about my concerns with homework. Below, I am sharing a version of a letter that I recently sent to my child's teacher regarding my perspective on homework and the ways I hope to support my child's learning this year. (Feel free to borrow it, by the way.)

Thankfully, my child's teacher immediately responded to my letter, saying that she was happy to see that we share very similar ideas about homework. I knew we struck gold with this teacher when my daughter came home from school saying, "Homework can be anything this year, Mom! Playing Monopoly or even making a YouTube video can be our homework!"

Here's hoping that many other educators in my child's future have her mindset.


To My Child’s Teacher,

I want to begin by thanking you for playing a role in my child’s education. Without your support and guidance, my child could not reach her full potential, and I am grateful to have you as a partner in her education this year.

I am writing to share my perspective on homework and to respectfully ask that you avoid sending home homework assignments or incomplete work from the school day. Much of the research on the topic of homework suggests that there is little to no proven benefit, and I worry that homework is negatively impacting my child’s view of school.

One of my primary goals for my child is to ensure that her after-school hours are spent in a meaningful, productive way to foster responsibility and a love of learning. Rather than encourage the completion of traditional homework assignments, I hope to support her growth and development by pledging to do the following:

  1. I will talk to her about what she is learning about in school on a daily basis.
  2. I will establish a routine for her that supports nightly reading.
  3. I will foster authentic learning experiences in our home (cooking together, sharing household responsibilities, problem-solving through life’s challenges)
  4. I will encourage her to be active outside of school by either playing outdoors or participating in an activity that promotes physical health.
  5. I will support the development of her talents and interests by giving her time for experimentation and practice.
  6. I will respect that she is still a kid who deserves downtime and free-time to keep her feeling revived and enthusiastic about school.

By removing the nightly obligation of homework completion, I believe that my child will have an opportunity to develop her character, talents, and interests. My hope is for her to be excited to go to a place of learning each day and equally as excited to come home to a stress-free, loving home environment for continued learning each night.

Thank you for your support in protecting our family’s quality time together.

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