How To Lighten Your Child’s Homework Load

Brooklyn moms Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish argue that there is such a thing as too much homework in the book The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It. Here, they share some preliminary steps—some more extreme than others—that could help your family find a solution to homework overload.

• Make sure that homework is the problem. Before you approach the teacher, eliminate other possible causes of your child’s anxiety. Does he have a quiet place to work? Is something else going on at home? Does he have a learning issue? If so, are you educated on how to handle it?

• Write a note. Simply attach your message to any incomplete homework assignment explaining why your child did not do it. Kalish tried this one night when she decided her daughter’s sleep was more valuable than a trivial assignment. Her daughter was not penalized and the teacher never complained.

• Find out if your school has a homework policy. If there is a policy and it makes sense to you, gently remind the teacher of the rules. If there is a policy and you don’t like it, think about trying to change it.

• Talk to other parents. If your child feels overburdened, chances are, most of her classmates do too. Make a few phone calls or start an email chain. If other parents overwhelmingly agree with you, you might be able to change school policy.

• Form a committee. Once you’re ready to get serious, try to form a cohesive group. Reserve a meeting place, even a local coffee shop. Together, you can establish a plan of action, pass out flyers, conduct a homework survey, collect signatures on a petition, and really rally support for your cause. Bennett, for one, did all of this, and successfully changed the homework policy at her children’s former school.