Think back to grade school. If you were like most kids, you hated homework more than vegetables, but your parents made you do it. Looking back, who can argue with getting a good education -- and teachers simply push students to learn more.
However, there's a Canadian couple who agreed with their childrens' dislike of homework, going so far as to wage a legal battle to ban them from getting any. And it worked! Interestingly, the couple may have a point. Their complaint is part of a larger question that deserves serious discussion: Are today's children burdened with too much responsibility?
According to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian, Sherri and Tom Milley had ongoing homework battles with their now 18-year-old son. They decided to take a different approach with their two younger children.
"It was a constant homework battle every night," Sherri told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. "It's hard to get a weeping child to take in math problems. They are tired. They shouldn't be working a second shift."
They conducted research and found study after study that suggested that homework, especially at lower grade levels, does not improve school performance. They worked with the school to come up with a new plan. When that didn't work, the couple started legal proceedings. Did we mention Sherri and Tom are both lawyers?
They were able to negotiate a deal with the school that resulted in a two-page legal document signed by the children, parents and teachers. It stipulates that homework "will not be used as a form of evaluation for the children." In return, the pupils promise to get their work done in class, come to school prepared, and study for tests. They must also read daily and practice their musical instruments at home.
"We think it's a parent's right to choose what's in our children's best interests," said Sherri. "But we're thankful the school did the right thing."
And it only gets worse as kids gets older. Between extra-curricular school activities, household chores, college prep classes, homework, need for sleep, spending time with friends and family, and part-time jobs, young people have a lot on their plates. Sometimes children themselves choose to be so busy, but often times it's the parents who are making these decisions. As OpposingViews parenting expert Dr. Gwenn writes:
Power play? You bet. This is about parents trying to predetermine a path for their teens to get to the next phase in life – college, and likely a college scholarship. However, data has been clear this doesn’t work at all and puts so much pressure on the teen that it uniformly fails. Not only are the scholarship bucks just not there but the teens who do get them, whether in academics, sports or the arts, have a much better chance of grabbing that scholarship if they arrive at it by their own hard work and from their own inner passion for the activity.
Dr. Gwenn says parents should be there to support and encourage their children, not be their coach and schedule-maker. And if you doubt what she says, just read her final word on the subject:
Remember, this is your teen’s life and it may not lead to the life you picture for your teen but did your life end up as your parent’s pictured? I didn’t think so!