Being active after school better than homework for academic performance, research suggests

A new school year is upon us, and while I’ve not had a stake in the homework debate before now – my kids have been too young for it to matter – I’m officially declaring myself on the side of not giving kids homework.

It’s a no brainer for me.

There will come a time when extra academic work will be necessary and where it can have a benefit. That could come as early as high school for some kids, but certainly no earlier.

Unless kids clearly benefit from doing extra worksheets after school and in the evenings, I see no point in assigning that work.

In his book, Matters of Life and Death: Public Health Issues in Canada, Globe and Mail columnist André Picard says that homework is “counterproductive.”

In a tweet he clarified this:

Research shows clearly that children being active is more important than homework for improving learning and test scores (and health).

— André Picard (@picardonhealth) May 23, 2017

Get that? Kids benefit more from physical activity and unstructured outdoor play after school and in the evenings than any extra academics. Our kids also play board games and read books. Those are great extra curricular activities that are fun and give kid’s brains a rest. Carolyn Trono, former Olympic rower, coach, and advocate of long-term athlete development, gave this a name:

Take a look @S4L_SPV We know this. How about we change the term homework to homeplay & get kids physically active and physically literate

— Carolyn Trono (@carolyntrono) May 23, 2017

I’m going to be sharing this philosophy with our teachers, and encourage you to do so, also.

We’ve learned so much about what benefits kids; it would be a shame to not act on it.

3 responses to “Being active after school better than homework for academic performance, research suggests

  1. Homework can stop my child from being active and I believe that he should get exercise at least 1 hour each day. Maybe homework should stop for a while.

  2. In one good book it was written that homework kills in children creative thinking and the desire to learn something new. Homework is the worst thing a man can come up with, because what could be more stupid than teaching and doing what you do not want. When I was at school, my parents never made me do my homework, and I always taught what I wanted and what I was useful. It is also much more important for a child to spend time for active games than for boring homework that will not bring absolutely no benefit, and outdoor games will strengthen health! Thank you for this article!

  3. Homework can be a hinderence to a child’s social and emotional well being. That being said..homework can be a fun way for familues to come together…it depends on what it is! My boys in young elementary school love doing research projects with us. In school if they chose to talj eith friends instead of accomplishing work, im glad for it to be sent home. But work to be sent home just for the sake of “extra practice” i find unnecessary.

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