Keep homework out of elementary schools

McKenzie Fysh, Staff Writer

Multiplication tables in preschool? AP Chemistry textbooks in lieu of Barney storybooks? Not quite, but this type of high pressure attitude seems to be the direction in which our schools are heading. When I look back on my childhood, I recall fond memories of going on playdates, discovering my love of music, and coloring outside the lines. However, today, it seems as if childhood is in risk of being bogged down by masses of homework, pressure to meet deadline requirements, and even preparation for college ahead.
Last week, I was babysitting one of the younger kids in my neighborhood and was shocked about her answer to my question of what we should do that day. Her answer was homework. This nine year old spent the afternoon learning math problems, working through her spelling and grammar notebook, and attempting to study for her science test, while the day slipped away. Her frustration and stress was unreal to me. What happened to the days of using your imagination? The last thing that we would want to do to today’s younger students is to create an aversion to learning.
I believe that learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom and doesn’t only get reinforced through homework. There are other ways to gain the experiences that lead students to learn self-reliance and other skills that will become important for their futures.
So, with all of the over-scheduling and pressures that have become the norm for today’s young kids, why not let kids use their imaginations to explore the world on their own after school hours? Let’s leave the stress that homework brings to middle and high school and give kids a chance to figure out who they are and what they love to do before they face the grind.