When students arrive home from school at the end of the day, they usually want to relax and play. However, most have a couple of hours of homework to complete.
A study suggests homework is one factor that causes students to stress, but some local school officials have found a way around that.
Not only do students worry about homework, but they also worry about achieving high scores on tests and enrolling into a top college or university, according to the U.S. News and World Report. During the school year, a survey called “Stress in America” from the American Psychological Association suggests teenagers are under more stress than their parents.
“Odds are if you ask a teen what’s got them so worked up, the subject of school will come up,” according to U.S. News. “School can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to other serious problems, like sleep deprivation.”
Teens need about eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but only about 15 percent are getting that amount. During the school week, most teens will get about six hours of sleep a night, according to the U.S. News.
In August 2016, a Godley teacher sent a letter home to parents that said she would not be issuing homework to her students for the school year.
At the time, Godley Elementary School teacher Brandy Young said the decision started with a conversation and a dialogue about what is best for children.
The letter read:
“After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.
“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”
Young said there were several reasons she chose the policy.
“For my classroom, the age and socioeconomic status of the children were big factors,” Young said in a previous Times-Review article. “Being that I teach younger elementary students, my focus was on what was most beneficial for them. Homework has a place, as long as it’s meaningful, engaging and relevant. The weekly homework packet I have given in the past was not fitting that criteria.”
According to the National Parent-Teacher Association and the National Education Association, students should be doing about 10-20 minutes of homework per night in the first grade and an additional 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level thereafter.
Also in August 2016 Kauffman Leadership Academy, Johnson County’s first and only public charter school, opened.
CEO/Superintendent Theresa Kauffman said they have structured their schedule to provide a longer day at school.
“Each class period is 75 minutes long, and we designed it that way so students will be able to complete homework in class with the teacher’s assistance,” Kauffman said. “So often parents get stressed because they do not remember some of the concepts our students are working on, and that creates tension at home. We want our students to have a life after school with their family.
“We provide instruction, discussion and practice within the class period. We also allow time for long-term projects that might be done at school and home, but they are not homework with the pressure to be complete by the next day.”
They encourage their students to be children and young adults after school without the pressure to always work on homework, she said.
“We encourage them to help in the family or community,” she said. “We want them to have a life. We feel they are better students when they have the break in the evening and weekends.”
For some of their students before they came to KLA, she said homework had been stressful because they forget what they did during the day at school.
“And then there can be tension with parents who are frustrated because they can’t help their student,” she said. “When we share with families that there is no homework at Kauffman Leadership Academy, it is often the parent who is most relieved. It eliminates unnecessary battles with their pre-teen or teenager and allows a healthier relationship to develop and grow. It is a win-win for parent and student.”