Reasons For Less Homework

No, we didn't get bribed by a set of stressed-out students to write this article. Plenty of educators and pundit-types have been dissing on homework and its supposed value in the educational world for some time now. And we're guessing they weren't bribed by students either.

"Too Much Homework is Bad for Kids." The Case Against Homework, in book or website form. "Is Too Much Homework Bad for Kids' Health?" Whoa, they got doctors in on this? It must be real.

But doesn't homework help cement lessons in those kids' heads? Keep them off the street at night? Teach them about a work ethic?

Hey—we're not here for the defense. This is the zone for airing the reasons people give for eliminating or at least limiting homework at all grade levels.

Let the prosecution speak.

  1. Too much homework has a negative impact on students' lives.
     
    Stanford researcher Denise Pope found that students who receive too much homework (more than two hours per night) report negative impacts such as high levels of stress, health problems, and a lack of balance (as in work-life or school-life balance…not unable-to-walk-in-a-straight-line balance). Come to think of it, sometimes grown-ups complain about balance, too. Maybe the struggle shouldn't have to start so early.
     
  2. Homework creates homework-potatoes.
     
    We know, it sounds delicious. But what we mean is that kids spend most of the school day sitting, and then they come home and (you guessed it) sit down to do their homework. In their book The Case Against Homework (hm…that title sounds familiar), Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish argue that one of the many problems with homework is that it exacerbates the issue of childhood obesity. Imagine kids putting on one pound per algebra problem. Now that's some heavy math.
     
  3. There's little to no academic benefit associated with homework.
     
    In a review of the Bennett/Kalish case, the author writes "all the credible research on homework suggests that for younger kids, homework has no connection with positive learning outcomes, and for older kids, the benefits of homework level off sharply after the first couple assignments."
     
  4. The positive effects of homework are like unicorns: largely mythical. (That's right, largely.)
     
    According to Alfie Kohn, author of the book The Homework Myth, "there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school. For younger students, in fact, there isn't even a correlation between whether children do homework (or how much they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement. At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied. Meanwhile, no study has ever substantiated the belief that homework builds character or teaches good study habits."
     
    You tell 'em, Alfie.
     
    Kohn expands on this thinking in his 2012 article "Homework: An Unnecessary Evil?," which calls into question the legitimacy of studies that claim homework is beneficial. We hope they don't try to pull that kind of stuff on the unicorns.
     
  5. Homework punishes economically challenged students for being poor.
     
    According to Etta Kralovec and John Buell, co-authors of The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning, homework, in addition to its many other ills, unfairly targets students living in poverty, setting them up for failure.
     
    Why? Because while "some students go home to well-educated parents and have easy access to computers…others have family responsibilities, parents who work at night, and no educational resources in their homes." And when that sort of thing is stacked against you, you don't even need lines like "the dog ate it."
     
  6. Homework is completed in a black hole, making its worth difficult to gauge.
     
    Another argument presented by Kralovec and Buell is that because homework is completed "in a black hole"—i.e., in a place where teachers don't see it happening, and rarely hear specifically about how the process went—it is impossible to assess its value. Teachers have no way of knowing how students completed their homework or whether or not they've actually learned anything from it.
     
    As K&B state,
     
    "When work goes home, teachers have little understanding of the mistakes that students have made on the material and little control over who does the work.…Did the students do their own work? Did they exchange answers with friends over the phone or before school?….Did they download the paper they are handing in? Homework is a black hole in the learning process, leaving teachers unaware of each student's true educational level or progress."
     
    Yikes.
     
    Feel like doing a little extra homework? Check out the New York Times blog post "Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?" The article gives a brief history of the homework issue and then asks students to comment.
     
    Which they probably do when they're procrastinating on their real homework, but hey—it's some tasty food for thought. And even if you don't go the route of the total homework naysayers, it still may feed you for some schemes that can work in your class.

School is a crucial aspect of children’s lives. If they are unable to go school each day to acquire the skills they require to be successful in life, then they will be at a disadvantage for their entire lives. While school is an important part of a child’s life, it’s also as important that the child takes a break from his education. Multiple studies have found that most students are getting too much extra assignments, leading to sleep deprivation, unhealthy levels of stress, as well as related health problems. Let’s now dive deep and look at why homework is bad for students.

Can stress the child

Extra assignments given to children, particularly younger school going children, can lead to unhealthy levels of stress, according to research. If bombarded with countless lessons at school and at home, students may feel stress and anxiety should they fail to complete the assignment on time. Students need to learn in a classroom setting, but they should also be able to spend some time exploring other things outside of the classroom.

Can be a burden

The second reason that student should not be given homework is that they require time to rest and take their minds off school work. With all the activities in school, students, particularly those in the kindergarten, are already weary when they get home. They have spent the day solving difficult math problems, reading several chapters and memorizing long lines in school. So bombarding them with homework will make them feel burnt out.

Counterproductive

Rather than improving educational achievement, heavy homework load can negatively affect the performance of students. The stress of having to complete homework every other night can affect the student’s performance is school. Students need to learn things in a classroom environment, but they also need to be able to spend time exploring other activities outside of school, spend time with friends, go on family vacation, to name a few.

Less important

While teachers do their best to give children homework that will engage their child, it’s hard to see the value in the work kids take home. This is because some parents or tutors are the ones doing these assignments. This means that the benefits of homework tasks as the learning tool are entirely lost. The excessive amount of homework may also mean that the child is not able to commit as much time to every task as he should.

Consume free time

As stated earlier, children need time to spend with their family, catch up with friends and attend extracurricular activities so they can refresh their minds and bodies. Sadly, homework eats up the time children have to do all these. For older students, school work might also compete with both part-time and casual work, making it difficult for them to strike a balance between school and work.

There you have it, five reasons why homework is bad for your child. A number of studies have found that homework negatively affect the life of school children in many ways. Free-time plays a major role in fostering creativity and emotional development — factors as important to long-term success as education itself.

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