GREENFIELD, MA — Let’s face it: Back in elementary school, nobody liked the feeling of being on Problem 2 with 36 more to go on that math homework while a fresh pile of snow in the front yard beckoned just outside the window.
In Greenfield, the principals of the three elementary schools decided to nip that in the bud this year, re-thinking their approach to homework by virtually ending the practice.
Discovery School at Four Corners Principal Jake Toomey said the goal is to reduce stress and anxiety among students caused by having to spend the day in school, then go home and work more before getting up and doing it all over again the next day. That, he said, is expected to improve educational outcomes by helping the pupils focus more during the school day and have time to relax and unwind at home.
“The overall intent has been to have the families engaged and participating in the student learning, to reinforce what’s happening at school,” Toomey said. “We wanted to take the pressure and angst off of schoolwork for kids; it has such a negative connotation for students and families. We want to change that mentality.”
The new guidelines recommend that parents read to their children, listen to their children read to them, practice math for a few minutes with flash cards or games, play outside or cook together in place of formal homework.
“It encourages oral language and relationship building,” Toomey said.