Homework: Harmful or Helpful?
The contemporary understanding of homework is the academic activities that students are instructed at schools to carry out at home. Most of these activities are educational and related to course curriculum. My argument about homework is that now a days the definition of homework may mean a complete engagement in academic activities even after time at schools, which, in my opinion is disastrous for the academic and psychological growth of a student.
Most students spend about seven to eight hours daily at school, where they read, write, and take tests, quizzes, and exams. The academic activities does not stop at schools. Students come to home and after a short break and having something for lunch, they might have to sit and start their homework as it’s a lot. A recent study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy notes that “students in early elementary school years are getting significantly more homework than is recommended by education leaders, in some cases nearly three times as much homework as is recommended” (Wallace). The recommended amount of time for homework assignments is generally advised to be roughly ten minutes per grade level. (This means that fifth graders should receive fifty minutes worth of homework and so on.) Many parents are concerned that their children, even at young ages, are being stressed out about the amount of homework they have in addition to their in and out of school obligations.
When faced with the choice between “wanting to encourage children to complete their work and wanting them to exercise, play, [and] just be a kid”, more and more parents are opting out of forcing their children to complete their homework (Joyce). Many parents claim that forcing their child to sit down and spend their precious free time doing the same work they just spent eight hours doing at school is ridiculous. Since stopping homework, some parents have reported that their children now have the opportunity to participate in team sports, or otherwise have time to run around outside and be a kid. For children whose personalities and worldviews are just forming, socialization and freedom are integral to a healthy upbringing. After school activities allow students “to do what they want and reduce stress from school [because it is] a great time to hang out with…friends and cooperate with them to complete various tasks” (Kasahina). It’s been noted by psychologists and educators that younger children are becoming more stressed, which researchers believe is “detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills, and their quality of life” (Wallace). By reducing the amount of homework that children have, educators are allowing their students to just be kids and explore the world with their friends without having to worry about homework holding them back.
Parents aren’t the only ones that believe students receive too much homework. Many teachers have begun assigning homework more in line with the ten minute recommendation. Some teachers, like Brandy Young of Texas, have decided against assigning homework in the first place. Young, a second grade teacher in Texas, made headlines all over the country earlier this year when a note that she sent home with her students went viral. The note reads:
“After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only be consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year. Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.
Mrs. Brandy Young” (Criss and Stapleton)
This letter went viral because it confirmed what researchers and parents alike had said for years; homework does not improve student performance and instead takes away time from the things that do. As this letter made its way around the internet, a number of teachers instituted similar policies, freeing up the afternoons and evenings of their students so that they could spend time outside and with their families, socializing and relaxing.
Of course, the argument can be made that homework correlates with increased performance. There are a number of relatively outdated research studies that claim “a link between time spent on homework and achievement, but also found it was much stronger in secondary school versus elementary school” (Criss and Stapleton). This study mostly applies to secondary school, which, in following with the ten minute per grade level system, would create the amount of homework that the study suggests. So, then, increased homework really only benefits older students who should be receiving more homework than elementary school students anyway. This only proves to back up the claim that children should be given less homework so that they can focus on the important things in life.
Children should be assigned less homework. There is no proven correlation between increased homework and increased performance in elementary school children. However, research does tend to show that children that spend more time socializing with their peers and families tend to do better in school than those who do not. Many teachers have begun assigning less homework or have even opted to assign no homework so that their students may socialize and form healthy relationships. While totally eliminating homework may not be the way to go, researchers suggest assigning ten minutes of homework per grade level. With this system in place, children will have more time to do what is most important-be children.
Criss, Doug, and AnneClaire Stapleton. “Teacher Cancels Homework for Rest of the Year.” CNN. CNN, 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
Joyce, Amy. “Too Much Homework? Some Parents Are Just Opting Out.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
Kasahina. “5 Reasons Why Students Should Have Less Homework.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
Wallace, Kelly. “Kids Have Three times Too Much Homework, Study Finds.” CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.