At the beginning of this school year, two elementary schools in Utah banned homework and a few months later things appear to be going well.

The schools did this based on some research that argues homework does nothing to improve learning for elementary students. The schools report that anxiety and stress amongst their students was cut by more than half.

However, this measure was met with mixed feelings from parents, some feeling that their kid's lives were improved and others feeling that their kids would benefit from more structure. Some teachers also feel that if work isn't completed during classtime, it's nice to have home as an option to catch up. Other teachers like being able to streamline their classrooms more so that all learning takes place there.

Here are some pros and cons to help flesh out this debate put together by ConnectUs:

  • Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes.
  • Banning homework can reduce burnout issues with students.
  • Banning homework would increase the amount of family time available to students.
  • It reduces the negative impact of homework on the health of a student.
  • Eliminating homework would allow for an established sleep cycle.
  • It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive.
  • It reduces the repetition that students face in the modern learning process.
  • Home environments can be chaotic.

And for the Cons...

  • Homework allows parents to be involved with the educational process.
  • It can help parents and teachers identify learning disabilities.
  • Homework allows teachers to observe how their students understand the material.
  • It teaches students how to manage their time wisely.
  • Homework encourages students to be accountable for their role.
  • It helps to teach important life lessons.
  • Homework allows for further research into class materials.

Four of my kids are school aged from Kindergarten all the way up to a graduating Senior and my personal feeling is that homework (in moderation) can be a huge help to students at the Jr. High and High School levels, but that most elementary school kids only need it when reinforcing weak areas of their learning. Just like work should stay at work to allow balance for other life pursuits, school should stay at school also.

Read more at Local12.com, the home station for the aforementioned schools.