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Florida County Bans Homework, & Parents Cheer

Jennifer Mattern

Thirty-one public elementary schools in Florida’s Ocala Marion County are just saying no to homework.

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“It’s no traditional homework, no worksheets, no endless pages of workbooks. Instead, our children are reading aloud with their parents at least 20 minutes a night,” Schools Superintendent Heidi Maier said of the change in policy to Today. Sign us non-Floridians up, please.

According to Maier, the county based the major decision on research that suggested homework is not actually benefiting young students.

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Not all parents are sure how to feel about the new policy — especially those like Heather Ergle who have children who enjoy doing homework (a creature only slightly less rare than a Yeti or a unicorn).

“The homework is kind of a little window into his day,” Ergle said of her son, Lake, who is one who actually likes doing homework.

“I think that homework is good to have,” Lake said. Bless his heart.

Many experts agree with Lake, saying homework teaches responsibility and time-management. Some studies also suggest that kids who do homework tend to do better on tests — but still, the debate over the value of homework rages on in families and in schools.

Many families with children in the no-homework elementary schools in Ocala Marion County are feeling relief after hearing the new policy. Lauren Roger and her two sons are completely exhausted by the battle that is homework and are happy to see it go. “Homework has been a struggle. We had nights that we’d be sitting at the kitchen table with tears,” Roger said.

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(Most of the time, this is our experience too. *Shudder*)

The school district has suggested to parents that they use the extra time in the evenings to read with their children. That’s nice in theory, but we’re betting most families will be just as happy crashing earlier at night (or spending more time getting cozy with their screens).

“For us, it was like a happy dance here in the kitchen,” Roger said.

We’re wondering if this homework ban will catch on in other states (including ours). We might be doing a happy dance too.

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