Should parents opt their children out of homework?

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DENVER — Is too much homework becoming an overwhelming burden for elementary school students? If so, a local author says: opt out!

Denver resident Rebecca Swanson’s recent essay in The Washington Post is stirring up a big conversation among parents. They’re wondering if — after a long day at school — youngsters should be able to unwind or do be forced to do more work?

“Every night we had to track our reading,” Swanson said, recalling her son’s days in kindergarten.

Her Washington Post essay points to unintended consequences of nightly mandatory reading and worksheets.

“My kid was exhausted from doing this all day at school,” she said. “A lot of people can relate to this.”

Parents have expressed frustrations over trying to squeeze homework time into their busy schedules and the lack of family time due to the demands of homework.

In Finland, there is no homework for younger children. Some American school districts dissuade or ban homework until middle or high school. But, in other cultures, it’s more common to pile on more work.

Swanson’s sons are 6 and 10 years old. She has said no to homework with all of their teachers.

“You can just opt out,” she said. “Tell the teacher that your kid is not going to do it … So far, in my own experience, I haven’t had a single teacher push back.”

In the end, Swanson says parents need to figure out what’s best for their families.

Every child is different and some may benefit from homework.

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