I recently read The Homework Myth: by Alfie Kohn
I do agree that it would be wonderful if school did use 6 hours of school time to do actually do academic work. This will ensure that no homework is needed. This also means more time for kids to be kids (family time, other activities etc).
However, as school days are mostly filled non academic stuff, Kids have no time for academic work. Also, I realize that many academic lessons are easier to teach at home than at school. I do not like role of teacher AND parent for same kids, however, I see no other options to improve kids academic skills.
I am not so worried about American-kids-falling-behind-rest-of-the-world but
I do believe that mere love of learning, intelligence and can-do-attitude is enough for good and successful life. One does need discipline, basic training to do something which he/she may not love to abut do it anyway.
I see Disney movies always happy ending where kids/hero challenging the norm and conventional wisdom only to become very successful. However, I have NOT seen such thing in real life.
So unless we fix school where kids can work on academic skills, I see no other option but to live with homework (or Kumon or Brain Child or other such worksheets)
Also, I see PTA arranging events such as “Math Bunny” or “Eager Reader” where kids are encouraged to study at home for some rewards. This is not essentially homework but it does eat family time. So in this case, it is not mandatory homework but it is kind of homework that more teachers and parents encourage kids to do.
I do feel little discouraged by size of this issue. Look forward to hear opinion from other parents.