Kids, News

Quebec School Bans Homework

A boy doing his homework. Image: Moonsun1981
A boy doing his homework. Image: Moonsun1981

An elementary school in Jonquière, Quebec, has made some of its students very happy by banning homework for the year.

Students in grades one to six at Collège de Saint-Ambroise will be part of a one-year experiment to see if they actually do better in school without homework.

Marie-Ève Desrosiers, who works for the Jonquière School Board, said many families find it hard to fit homework into their schedule, especially if the children are in daycare before and after school.

She said teachers will still be able to ask students to study and read at home, but they cannot give them assignments like pages of math problems. The school will  change the way students spend time in class to make sure they don’t fall behind in their work.

Some parents think it’s a bad idea. They say homework is a way for them to keep track of how their children are doing in school, and to help them if they are having problems.

The school says it will send home an exercise book so parents can see how their children are doing.

Several schools in Canada and the United States have been debating whether homework is a good idea or not.

In 2009, a study by the Canadian Council on Learning found that students with more homework tend to get higher marks. But this was only true for students in grade seven and higher, not in elementary school.

Many people believe that homework is important because it teaches children to be more disciplined and to manage their time better. They say it also reinforces what the students are learning in school.

But other people think homework causes stress for students and makes them less interested in learning.

They say children’s lives are too busy, and they need to be able to spend more free time with their families, or just playing.

Some teachers say that homework is not fair. Some students get more help from their parents, or have access to computers, which makes homework easier. Other students have more responsibilities at home, like looking after younger brothers and sisters, so they have less time to spend on homework.

Prince of Wales Public School in Barrie, Ontario, tried a similar experiment in 2008. The school banned homework for the year and found that the students’ grades improved.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
People have different opinions as to whether homework should be part of school. Some people believe it helps students while others think it is a waste of time.

Debate (argue) the following question: should homework be banned? To have a debate, you need two sides. One side will argue that homework should be banned. The other side will argue that it shouldn’t. Before discussing this question, prepare some points to support your side. Then talk with someone from the other side. Make sure you share your ideas and respond to the other person’s ideas as well.

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
How much homework do you get? Do you think it is the right amount – why or why not? Do you think homework helps your learning – why or why not?

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6)

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6)

Language Feature: Its versus it’s 
The article includes the following two words: its and it’s. Although they are spelled similarly, they have different meanings.

Find the two sentences that use these words and explain how they are different.