Is homework important? A Texas teacher started a social media firestorm last month when she sent a letter to parents saying she would not assign her students homework.
And it’s not just one teacher. A Portland, Ore. elementary school is trying out a “no-homework” policy.
Here in Georgia, Perimeter School in Johns Creek doesn’t go quite that far, but they have for three decades presented a philosophy of “minimal homework”.
Perimeter is a K - 8 private school. In those early years, teachers are instructed to give their students, at most, 30 minutes of homework, mainly reading that the kids can do, if they want, with family.
School officials gradually ramp up the homework as the kids get older so the students can transition to high schools with undoubtedly more work. I
Headmaster Bobby Scott said homework often doesn’t serve its intended purpose.
“It can be busy work, it can be, ‘Well we just feel this should be done because most schools do it, and therefore the dot-dot-dot means if you're really doing great education, then homework needs to be a part of that,’” Scott said. “They haven’t been motivated to do it. There’s no excitement behind what’s taken place in the classroom itself.”
This is one several unique elements at Perimeter. They also don’t give grades, even though they do perform the state’s required standardized tests. Scott said his main goal is an atmosphere where kids want to learn and will carry that passion after they leave.
Is he suggesting other schools should adopt this philosophy as well?
It’s tricky. Scott acknowledges his school has much greater flexibility with its policies and much smaller class sizes than most public schools. He said the “minimal homework” philosophy might not work for everyone, but that it’s been invaluable for Perimeter.