Patchogue Schools Experiment With Expanded Recess, Less Homework

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Elementary schools around the country are debating whether or not homework is beneficial for young students.

It’s a topic that can divide parents and teachers.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the school community of Patchogue-Medford is in the midst of a critical online survey.

“I do believe as a former school teacher that the younger grades are getting too much homework,” one resident said.

“They need homework, it is structuring their life,” another said.

“It holds you accountable for what you need to know,” a parent added.

The conversation is dividing households.

“We tell kids what to do from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to bed,” Superintendent, Dr. Michael Hynes said. “They don’t have the ability to take time for themselves, just be kids.”

An experiment is underway that doubles recess, adds yoga and meditation time, and lowers the amount of homework.

In some other New York area elementary schools homework is entirely banned for kindergarten through fourth grade.

“It started to become something that I spent a lot of time thinking about and obsessing about, why I had to have this contentious relationship with my child about homework,” parent Robin Broshi said.

Their New York City school has decided book work after school is voluntary, not mandatory.

Still, some psychologists think moderate amounts of homework for the young improves self-discipline and achievement.

“Teachers have a rule they call the 10 minute rule. You take a child’s grade, and you multiple it by ten and that’s how much time students should be spending,” Dr. Harris Cooper said.

Back in Patchogue, parents and teachers said they are noticing better focus and behavior with young children and less anxiety and stress.

“There is zero evidence, and I mean zero that there is any correlation between academic achievement and homework for elementary school kids,” Dr. Hynes said.

Their homework now? Play outside, interact with friends without hovering adults, eat dinner together as a family, and devote an extra 30 minutes of reading books at bedtime.

Besides reading at bed time, experts suggest occasional fun tasks that parents and children can do together.

 

 

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