The notion of younger children doing homework is under attack. New research suggests that homework for younger children does not really provide any benefit and teachers only give it because parents want it. Professor Richard Walker of Sydney University said that elementary school children do hours of homework every week but it has minimal, if any, effect on their test grades or level. He said the situation was little better for junior high school kids. He suggested: “I don't think anyone except senior high school students should be doing a couple of hours of homework.” Dr Walker said: “A little bit of homework is probably OK at all ages, if part of the reason is to help kids become self-directed learners.”
The study from Sydney University comes days after calls by parents in France to boycott homework and read a book instead. Jean-Jacques Hazan of the French Parents Association said: “If the child hasn't succeeded in doing the exercise at school, I don't see how they're going to succeed at home.” He added that schools were pushing the responsibility of teaching onto parents, which causes family friction. “We're asking parents to do the work that should be done in lessons,” he said. A teaching spokeswoman agreed, saying: “Not all families have the time or the necessary knowledge to help their offspring.” French primary schools still give homework despite a five-decade-long ban on it.