Homework is a controversial topic in schools. Parents and teachers often disagree on whether homework should be assigned or not and what its purpose should be.
The debate has been going on for decades, with no clear answer to emerge. There are many arguments for and against assigning homework to students at all grade levels. This article will explore the various arguments and conclude whether homework should be banned or regulated.
Homework Should be Banned (Anti-homework arguments)
Those who say homework should be banned also have valid points to support their argument.
They argue that too much homework leaves students too tired and stressed out. This is not good for the students’ well-being, especially their mental health. Some, especially elementary students, develop interrupted sleep patterns leading to sleep deprivation due to fatigue.
Students who lack a strong support system last home suffer more from homework overload. Some parents are too busy fending fo their kids hence their availability to help.
Reduced family time
Anti-homework campaigners claim that homework takes most of the students’ after-school time. Younger children need to bond more with their parents since they’re still experiencing growth spurts.
Some parents argue that most students no longer participate in weekend outings with family members. This has negatively affected their family life and caused others to resent school altogether.
Lack of time for extracurricular activities
Young and older students need to participate in extracurricular activities to develop well-rounded personalities. Homework can cause some students to give up on extracurricular activities because they need to dedicate enough time to their school work.
If students do not participate in extracurricular activities, they will be missing out on making new friends outside of school. They’ll also lack other essential skills that will be needed later on in life.
Grades become a primary focus
Anti-homework campaigners also argue that too much homework can put pressure on students to get good grades. This, in turn, puts pressure on their shoulders and causes stress.
Many students buy assignments from professionals to avoid poor grades, especially if they don’t understand a subject. When this happens, it beats the whole point of giving homework and waters down the educational experience.
Lower test scores
Some parents say kids’ grades drop after being given excess homework. Some studies have shown that overburdening students with work decreases their performance in certain subjects.
This performance decline probably happens due to burnout, when students become too tired to study effectively. The monotony of a particular subject can also cause students to lose interest and cause a huge drop in their grades.
Teaching to the test
Many students say their homework is not relevant to their lives, and they don’t understand it. This disconnect can be detrimental to their learning process since some subjects are confusing when not taught correctly.
With more tests being given to students, many teachers have little time for explanations. This makes it hard for kids to understand a particular subject which diminishes the point of homework.
Some students don’t understand what they’re being asked to do, so they end up doing something else during their free time. They’ll probably still get a good grade, but it defeats the purpose of assigning homework.
Unfair burden on lower-income families
Many parents believe that homework is a privilege and should not be given to students who cannot afford tutors. To some, it’s unfair for teachers to expect their children to get high grades without providing adequate support. This problem can be a result of financial instability, often caused by unemployment.
Anti-homework campaigners believe it is not right to equate low grades to intelligence. It takes away the parent’s right to help their children with schoolwork because they cannot afford tutors.
This argument is especially true for families with multiple children and wants to help each equally. It does not matter how well-meaning the family may be; they cannot help all their children study.
Homework Shouldn’t be Banned (Pro-homework arguments)
Those who advocate for homework have the following points to support their position:
Research has shown that homework is good for students who do not get enough studying done during the school day.
As it turns out, homework helps students improve their grades. According to the National Education Association, students who have regular access to homework tend to have higher grades.
Homework also motivates students to work hard during the school day to continue to understand particular concepts better.
Better study habits
Homework can also help students develop good study habits. Many students tend to procrastinate when doing homework, which makes them study less for their exams. However, with regular studying and assignments during the school year, students tend to better prepare for tests and exams.
A lot of research proves that homework is beneficial in increasing a student’s intelligence because it challenges them on different levels. Assignments also push students to go beyond any limits that the classroom sets.
According to research, schoolwork done outside of class tends to make students smarter and more creative. In fact, homework is so helpful in increasing students’ intelligence that kindergartners who do it tend to score higher on tests than students who don’t.
Developing responsibility and self-discipline in students
Other supporters of homework argue that it builds responsibility in students. These supporters allude to the fact that students are expected to complete homework assignments to get good grades.
Self-discipline is also something that teachers encourage. Some may call self-discipline a nonessential component of success. However, it is often cited as one of the most important traits that a person can possess.
Opportunity to review information
Homework supporters may argue that assignments give students a chance to play around with new information. This way, they can review study materials better before an assessment. They may also say that homework helps students learn how to study and dig for information. These skills will benefit the students’ academic performance.
Although not all schools are alike, some homework assignments are more creative. For example, students may be assigned a project that requires them to create a poster or a product.
This type of assignment allows for a little more creativity outside the classroom. Students gather locally available materials and use simple tools to complete the projects with minimal or no help.
Opportunities for parents to spend time with their children
Some parents support homework because it allows them to spend more time with their children. Even if children are not given assignments, they’ll keep themselves busy with other things. Most of the time, they play with gadgets which can be unhealthy.
Some parents say that homework provides an opportunity for them and their children to sit down and discuss the day’s events.
Cutting unhealthy screen time
Some teachers believe that students will spend less time watching TV and playing video games if they have more assignments. Homework tasks take most of the students’ free time to spend the remaining time constructively.
Encouraging independent learning
Parents and teachers who support homework believe that it encourages students to be more motivated towards their education. They may also say that assigning homework gives kids more opportunities to practice and learn with little supervision.
When students work independently, they boost their confidence and gain the stamina to achieve even greater goals in the future. There is a satisfaction that comes with handling tasks unsupervised or with minimal help.
Building teamwork skills
Some schools assign group homework to give students opportunities to work together. For example, students may be assigned a group project or asked to complete an assignment sheet with their partner(s).
These assignments give students a chance to develop teamwork skills. This method is particularly helpful when they have to work together to ensure everyone understands the material.
Developing time management skills
Many homework supporters argue that students will learn how to manage their time better if given a set amount of work each night.
Homework assignments are supposed to be given outside of the regular school hours, allowing students more time to complete them.
Students learn how to plan their time and schedule different activities, including homework. They also schedule their sleep time better since they know the next day will be a busy day.
Research is an essential skill in today’s world. Homework provides students with a chance to learn how to use the library and other online resources to gather information.
Students also do field research, especially those in high school and middle school levels. This enables them to understand their environment better.
Raising a tech-savvy generation
In recent years, technology has been a great tool in learning. Some math and science courses prefer students to use technology than paper and pen.
Some teachers encourage the use of calculators, smart boards, and laptops during class to enhance learning. Tech-savvy students will also make better researchers and innovators in the marketplace.
Developing problem-solving skills
Since homework tasks are done in the absence of the teacher, students learn how to solve problems independently. If they are undertaking complex projects, they’re responsible for making it work regardless of the challenges they face.
Sometimes the materials available aren’t enough for the projects, and students have to improvise. Problem-solving skills are essential for school life and after-school life.
From a parent’s point of view, the debate over whether to ban homework has solid pros and cons on both sides.
While it is important to give students guidance and structure, overloading them with assignments can be detrimental to their development.
The amount of homework should be monitored and adjusted depending on the student’s grade level. Elementary students should receive less homework than junior high and senior high school students.
Teachers need to be mindful of their time away from the students’ families, extracurricular activities, and other personal commitments. It should be balanced with what is essential for their student’s academic development.
Healthy Homework Policies
Developing and implementing healthy policies will reduce the negative impact that homework has on students. Some of these policies are:
- Reducing the number of homework tasks per student
- Considering the different levels before giving homework. For example, elementary school students should have fewer tasks than middle school and high school students.
- Avoiding a weekend assignment overload for the students. Weekends are sacred family times, so teachers should go easy on the assignments. Parents and siblings need to bond.
- Distributing homework tasks throughout the week to reduce possible burnout.
- Assigning students more outdoor homework tasks that will be fun to accomplish.
- Using technology to help students learn instead of giving them more homework. This includes making good use of the internet to aid in academic research.
- Respecting parents’ decisions to opt-out of homework. Teachers should acknowledge that students may not do all the assigned tasks, which they can’t help.
- Balancing study time with healthy life choices to give students more opportunities to succeed in life.
- Teachers being more responsible in teaching their subject areas. They need to make sure they give students the right amount of homework and the right quality as well.
- Parents being more supportive and asking questions to help their children with challenging tasks. They should not be afraid to ask for help if they don’t understand the assignment.
The debate over whether homework is beneficial has been ongoing for decades. There are pros and cons to assignments that can be seen from both parties’ perspectives.
Some believe that it is the responsibility of the parents to help their children with school work. On the other hand, others think that teachers should be mindful of their time away from parents and family.
Instead of banning homework, a healthier approach would involve monitoring the amount, types of tasks that are given, and how much time should be spent on each.
For homework policies to work, teachers must have the right strategies to help students succeed.
The benefits of homework are not very clear because the results are mixed. The effect it has on children varies according to several factors such as culture, socioeconomic background, and grade level.
Before assigning homework to students, teachers should consider research that has been conducted on the correlation between homework and academic achievement.
The verdict is still out on whether homework will become obsolete in schools, but there are healthy policies that can reduce the negative impact that it poses.