Parents in France have started a campaign to boycott homework for two weeks. Joined by concerned teachers, the group has created a blog, Cesain pas de devoirs! (Tonight no homework!) and claim after school work does children more harm than good.
Homework has been officially banned in all French primary schools since 1956 but many teachers ignore this blanket rule and send their pupils home with exercises to do.
The anti-homework campaigners say that homework shifts the responsibility of learning on to parents and causes rows between themselves and their children. They argue that children would be better off reading a book.
“If the child hasn’t succeeded in doing the exercise at school, I don’t see how they’re going to succeed at home,” said Jean-Jacques Hazan, the president of the FCPE (the main French parents’ association). “In fact, we’re asking parents to do the work that should be done in lessons.”
Catherine Chabrun, president of the teachers’ organization ICEM, argues that homework can also reinforce inequalities. “Not all families have the time or necessary knowledge to help their offspring,” she said.
The situation in the UK is similar, with many parents admitting to homework struggles with their children.
The campaign blog is gaining popularity, with over 22,000 visits in the past fortnight. One French mum commented, “My daughter is completely stressed… often she doesn’t have time to finish her homework and she is afraid of being told off… thanks for your blog. I feel less alone!”
How do you feel about homework? Should we scrap it or is it essential for children’s education?