As the pressure to perform infiltrates classrooms at a younger and younger age, many schools have responded to the call by increasing the amount of homework with the expectation that doing more homework will make kids better students.
Parents, students, and now even schools have begun a backlash, insisting that whittling down the free time of children is in the long term more harmful than the marginal benefits from issuing more homework. Swinging the pendulum far in the other direction, Orchard Middle School in Vermont adopted a no-homework policy for all students pre-K through fifth grade.
The policy is simply put on the school’s website:
No Homework Policy
Orchard School Homework Information
Student’s Daily Home Assignment
1. Read just-right books every night — (and have your parents read to you too).
2. Get outside and play — that does not mean more screen time.
3. Eat dinner with your family — and help out with setting and cleaning up.
4. Get a good night’s sleep.
Six months after the policy’s implementation, the principal, Mark Trifilio, is ready to prepare the experiment a success based on both academic achievement and a survey sent home to the families of the 400 students. Trifilio has stated that students have not fallen behind and is optimistic that their performance will improve as a result of the “time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions.”
While academics may be the school’s stated concern, parents are finding drastic improvements in quality of life, improvements in which may incidentally improve performance in the absence of nightly homework. Says one parent speaking to the Burlington Free Press, "We have a first grader, and at her age [homework is] as much a chore for the parents as the kids. Instead we've been spending time reading. We don't have to rush."
Given the small sample size and speculative nature of this effort, it’s unlikely that schools will be offering up the wholesale elimination of homework, but it’s an early and important data point that will serve as a counterpoint to the prevailing belief that more homework makes for better students.
Wearing the Proper Eye Protection While Playing Sports Today Can Help Prevent Injury, Save Sight for Years to Come
San Francisco, CA (Aug. 01, 2014)–Every year, thousands of Americans suffer an eye injury related to playing sports according to new data from Prevent Blindness. To help educate the public on the importance of proper eye protection while playing sports, Prevent Blindness has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month.
Eye injuries can range from corneal abrasions, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas or even a traumatic cataract. And in some cases, a significant eye injury can cause permanent vision loss. For individuals with vision issues, especially those who can only see clearly or have limited vision through one eye, proper eye protection is even more essential.
When Ari Rosenthal was five years old, he was diagnosed with amblyopia, or more commonly known as lazy eye. In Ari’s case his right eye was significantly farsighted. The imbalance led his brain to significantly favor the stronger, left eye. If left untreated, the result would have been permanent vision loss in the right eye.
Unfortunately, one day while playing dodge ball, a ball accidentally struck Ari directly on his stronger left eye, causing multiple corneal abrasions.
“When the ball hit me I opened my eye and couldn’t see. I was scared. I thought I might have permanent vision loss in that eye. How could I do the things I wanted to do? How could I be myself? It was very frightening,” explained Ari.
During Ari’s recovery, his stronger left eye was patched. The strain was too much for his weaker right eye and he couldn’t read or do homework. Now fully recovered Ari wants to do more to help others understand the importance of protecting their vision.
He also realizes how quickly accidents can happen and why eye protection is critical when playing sports.
Today at age 16, Ari is now an active, athletic student and has joined the wrestling team at his high school. And, makes a point to always wear eye protection during any sporting activity.
“By taking the simple step of consistently wearing the proper eye protection today, we can help protect our vision for a lifetime,” said Nicole C. Rodriguez, Development Coordinator. “Today, there are different styles to choose from for any sport, including some that offer UV protection. We encourage everyone to consult their eye care professional for the best advice on how to protect their eyes from injury.”
Prevent Blindness has once again joined with The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries and Liberty Sport to provide eye care professionals with free information and materials through the “September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month” campaign. Click here for the Sports-Related Eye Injuries by Age Fact Sheet.
For more informationon sports eye injury prevention and information on sport-specific eye protection recommendations, visit http://northerncalifornia.preventblindness.org. For more information about Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month or to request a kit, please contact John Minnick, Liberty Sport at 973-882-0986, ext. 977 or [email protected].