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Curbing the Homework Battles with High Ability Kids

gtchat 03282017 Homework


It’s no secret to parents of gifted kids that they often do not like or even feel the need to do homework and what may start as a simple assignment can quickly escalate to a full blown battle. Assessing the value of homework represents a great divide in education; expectations are rarely met. The purpose of homework is usually to reinforce lessons learned in class, but is this necessary for high-ability kids?

The effects of homework for our youngest students are unproven. Many believe time could be better spent in play and socialization activities. Homework may be more valuable at the secondary level for students considering higher education or to learn better work habits.

Socio-economic status can have a profound effect on the benefits of homework; many students must work and not all families have access to resources, such as Internet access at home, necessary to complete homework assignments.

Many believe that homework aids in student achievement. There are, however, many factors involved in  realizing value from homework ~ i.e., subject matter, student ability. The quality of the homework assigned and an individual student’s needs affect the beneficial aspects of homework.

Should high ability students be required to do homework? Redundant, busy work provides few benefits to these students. They tend to work well independently in areas of interest. Meaningful, challenging work would provide greater benefits. High-ability students are often overloaded with homework; and experience high levels of stress, anxiety, health problems, and feelings of alienation.

Teachers can offer alternatives to homework. Younger students need to be actively engaged in ‘play’ time. Older students should be allowed to pursue passions so that they will be motivated to work outside classroom.

Homework is probably here to stay for the immediate future but educators are definitely taking a second look at when and what type of homework to give. A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify page.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Homework or Play?

Homework: is it worth the hassle?

The question of homework: Should our kids have it at all?

31 Things Your Kids Should Be Doing Instead of Homework

The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children (pdf)

What Research Says about the Value of Homework: Research Review

When Homework Is Useless

Down with Homework: Teacher’s Viral Note Tells Of Growing Attitude

Homework Hardships

Parents in Spain go on Homework Strike

3 Scary Ways Homework Is Harming Your Family’s Health

Are Young Kids Doing Too Much Homework?

The Value of Homework

The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’

Millions of Children Can’t Do Their Homework because They Don’t have Access to Broadband Internet

A New Program and a New Approach to Homework

Sprite’s Site: Sprite on the Subject of Homework!

Cybraryman’s The Homework Debate Page

You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz to Find Out C BY-NC-SA 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Homework or Play?

gtchat Homework or Play 03132015

For years teachers and parents have believed that homework was a good way to reinforce lessons learned in class, but there is mounting evidence that this simply is not true; particularly at the elementary level in it’s present form. During the early years, children learn valuable skills through play that serve them throughout their lives.

Shanna Weber, a gifted and talented teacher in New Jersey, pointed out, “Teachers confuse “rigor” with more and harder, and parents apply pressure to stay informed.” Angie French, a gifted resource teacher in Texas, added, “I think it’s associated with teachers being accountable for covering so much to met state expectations.” However, Gina Boyd, a 4th/5th grade teacher of gifted students in Indiana, reminded us that simply not doing homework does not guaranteed quality play time for all children.

Some of the negative effects of homework at the elementary level discussed included that no studies link homework to current or future academic success. Children can develop a very negative attitude toward school and learning at a young age. Jeff Shoemaker, 7/8th grade teacher of gifted students in Ohio, told us that “homework for little ones makes stress for the family and that a lot of it is useless repetition.”

The benefits that come from reducing or eliminating homework for elementary students were many. Lisa Lauffer of Creative Miracles said, “[It gives children] time to pursue what interests them. [The resulting] reduction of stress reduces anxiety and depression.” Carol Bainbridge, expert on gifted kids at, added, “Kids are free to explore topics of interest in depth.” Also, The benefits of ‘down’ time cannot be overlooked. Sometimes gifted kids just need to ‘chill’!

Check out the full transcript at Storify to see some of the alternatives to homework that were proposed. How do you feel about homework? Leave us a comment below!

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Elementary School Dumps Homework and Tells Kids to Play Instead 

No-Homework Policy Improves Home Life for Younger Students at One Chicago Public School 

When the Playful Disappoints. Notes on Primary Socialization of the Young Gifted Child

The End of Homework? Why Some Schools are Banning Homework

What Happens When an Elementary School Abolishes Homework

Why More and More Parents Are Opting Their Kids Out of Homework

Homework: An Unnecessary Evil? Surprising Findings from New Research

When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating Association Between Homework & Achievement in HS Science & Math (Abstract)

Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003 (pdf)

The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers & Parents (Amazon)

Abusing Research: The Study of Homework & Other Examples

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (Amazon)

My 5 Year Old Grandson Hates Homework & I Don’t Blame Him

Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too

When Schools Cannot Meet gifted Children’s Needs

Homework Guidelines Victoria (AUS) Department of Education and Training

Cybraryman’s Homework Debate Page

Play and Children’s Learning

Heavier Homework Load Linked to Lower Math, Science Performance, Study Says 

This Is Me : Article 31 and a Child’s Right to Play (YouTube)

TED Talk: Play is More Than Just Fun (video)

TED Talk: The Child-Driven Education (video)


Flickr: Photo Credit   CC 2.0 (homework)

Pixabay: Photo Credit  CC0 Public Domain (play)

The Homework Dilemma

People from 6 countries and 13 states joined together to discuss the problems with homework. New faces continue to join each week and we always welcome those who prefer to simply lurk and learn. Congratulations was extended to longtime chat participant, Leslie Graves (@LesLinks) who was recently elected president of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. She will take office in August at their World Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

A consensus was reached by hour’s end that homework should be meaningful, an extension of learning in the classroom and not be graded. Cybraryman introduced a bit of levity into the chat with one of his homework jokes, “Why did the student eat his homework?” Answer* to follow later in this post. A full transcript may be found here.

Participants also discussed the ‘flipped classroom’, strategies to help children with their homework and the best places to find resources for homework help.

At the end of chat, it was announced that March 22nd will be a very special chat as we celebrate our first year of support by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Not only have they provided excellent support to the moderator, but have helped to spread the word about chat through their website, weekly member’s eNewsletter, and by giving voice to #gtchat throughout their annual conference. Look for an all star line-up of guests that day as we chat about the value of Twitter chats. Please join us at 7PM EDT/6PM CDT. Also, note that the U.S. has already changed to Daylight Savings Time. Check your location’s time here.


Sprite on the Subject of Homework” from @jofrei

Cybraryman’s Homework Help Page

Cybraryman’s The Homework Debate Page

How to do Homework Without Throwing Up from Free Spirit Publishing

Ending the Homework Hassle (ebook)

Homework Without Tears (Amazon)

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions (Borba)

Homework: New Research Suggests It May Be an Unnecessary Evil

Is The Nightly Homework Battle Worth It? (NPR)

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper

Scholastic’s Homework Hub

Homework: The Good and the Bad from @SENG_Gifted

Getting Organized – Homework Steps from Sprite’s Site @jofrei

Homework Takes a Hit

Five Hallmarks of Good Homework

Livebinders: Flipping the Classroom

Flip Your Classroom through Reverse Instruction 

The Flipped Classroom Engages Students and Challenges Teachers

Why I Bothered to Flip My Classroom from @TheHeadKnuckle

8 Crucial Resources for Flipped Classrooms from @edudemic

Salman Kahn: Let’s Used Video to Reinvent Education (TED Talk – video)

Rethinking Teaching and Time with the Flipped Classroom


* Because his teacher said it was a piece of cake!



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