SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - The homework debate has ragged on for years often coming to a head with differing opinions from parents and educators. In 2016, a Texas second grade teacher made national news when she declared the 2016-17 school year a homework-free zone for her students. For the 2018-19 school year, South Brunswick School District students will once again have homework-free holidays and breaks.
"South Brunswick is purposefully and intentionally designating “homework free” nights throughout the year," the South Brunswick School District website states. "The purpose of homework free nights is to give students time off from preparing homework and projects and studying for tests, as well as offering students an opportunity to explore topics that they are passionate about, spend time with family, enjoy outside activities and attend South Brunswick events. There is tremendous value in engaging in meaningful homework assignments that reinforce concepts and skills taught during the school day. At the same time, there are times when we need to collectively have a break from the responsibilities of homework and enjoy time with family and friends."
South Brunswick's homework-free nights include Thanksgiving, winter and spring break along with President's weekend. Students don't have any projects or assignments due on the date of the return from a school break and have a buffer for the due date for long range assignments and tests. For example, South Brunswick students returned to school from winter break on January 2, but did not have any tests or projects due before January 7. The buffer allows students extra time to prepare for tests and finish projects after a break ends.
While there aren't any hard and fast rules regarding homework, most school districts adhere to the 10-minute rule and have for decades. The 10-minute rule allows for 10 minutes of homework a night times the grade level. So, ideally first graders have 10 minutes of homework while second graders have 20 and the time goes up the educational ladder as students move through grade levels culminating with about two hours of homework for high school seniors. The National PTA and the National Education are both advocates for the 10-minute homework rule.