Book argues against homework

Ray Curry picked his daughter up from Snowden Elementary Wednesday afternoon, and as normal, she brought homework home with her.  "She has 45 minutes to hour and a half of homework," Curry said. "She had three subjects we had to do last night."

Studies show that today's children have more homework than ever.  A recent University of Michigan study found that students ages six to eight are averaging 30 minutes of homework a night.  Meanwhile, a Duke University study found students in middle school average more than an hour of homework per night.  High school students handle anywhere from two to four hours of homework a night.

That's too much, according to mothers Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, who wrote a new book entitled, "The Case Against Homework."  The authors believe in a no-homework policy, saying homework robs children of sleep, play extra curricular activities, and family time.

Local teachers say the book may make interesting arguments, but many of them can be countered.

"That has merit, but as a mother of two grown sons a lot of our family time had to do with sitting around the table doing homework," said Lori Harvey, a teacher at Snowden Elementary.

Callie Beaver, a teacher at Germantown High, agreed that homework is necessary as a tool of reinforcement.  "We don't have a lot of practice time during class," she said. "I'm trying to teach them and to present them new ideas everyday".

Experts say the most important things for children and families to do is find the right balance between work and play.