Is Homework Beneficial? The Debate Rages On

is homework beneficial

As far as kids are concerned, the person who invented homework should be thrown off the planet Earth – for good! The question ‘is homework beneficial’ has been raging since time immemorial, and we’re no closer really to getting solutions to this ongoing homework debate.

When it comes to the pros and cons of homework, the kids believe that nothing good comes from too much homework. They say:

  • homework is harmful for them – it making them exhausted.
  • they feel sorry for their parents who feel compelled to be involved with homework. Parents often work all day and the very last thing they want in the evenings is to battle with homework.
  • if the lesson wasn’t understood in class, the student becomes highly agitated at home not knowing how to get started on the homework.

Does Homework Help with Positive Feelings?

A poll of high school students in California found that 59% of the kids believed that they had too much homework. They had negative feelings about homework. They reckon that there are no strong statements in favor of why homework is beneficial. On the contrary they feel that homework causes them endless stress.

It’s not only low-achieving students who might be labeled ‘lazy’ who complain about homework – there are some high-achieving students who say that the amount of homework they are expected to complete leads to headaches, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stomach problems and weight gain.

Students have sports, music, dancing, swimming and a host of other extra-curricular activities. Students feel that hard facts about homework include 3 or 4 hours of slog every day. This is robbing students of time for anything else. Students feel that they ought to have a life outside of the classroom and that these other activities they are taking part in are just as important to their development.

Advantages of Doing Homework

Even though homework appears to have have some negative effects, there are also pros of homework – work that has a positive effect on kids. One of the good points of assigning homework according to some is that writing homework helps a student to retain what they learned that day. This seems to be a reasonable statement. Homework and practice does wonders to entrench into the mind the work that was completed during the school day.

Why is homework important for some schools and not for others? Should kids have homework and why? Does homework help? A proponent for homework will tell you that homework allows a child to practice what was taught in class. Homework encourages an older child to question what a teacher has said. The child then independently use resources such as the Internet and the library to get answers. This questioning and finding answers will help them throughout life.

  1. The entire homework issue is best answered by actually doing research – to compare students who are given homework to those students who don’t receive homework. Research has been done on children who are similar ages and in similar schools so as to answer the question ‘is homework beneficial?’ It was found that in fact homework can improve the marks of students when writing tests in class.
  2. When you look at the pros and cons of homework, pros don’t outweigh the cons. Children certainly deepen their understanding of the work as they probe certain topics independently at home till they grasp it. Parents can offer assistance and understand how their children are getting on. There are highly educated people – deans of universities who say that homework develops responsibility, problem solving skills as well as confidence and this can all contribute to making a success in the work environment later on.
  3. In the elementary grades, little ones consider homework fun, as its indicative of ‘going to big school – being ‘grown-up’, but as a child matures, the benefits of homework fade and it becomes far less welcoming.

Taking kids attitudes about homework into account, one would have to ask the question ‘is homework beneficial’, and perhaps even more importantly ‘what amount of homework is appropriate for children?’.

Accepted Guidelines for Time Spent on Homework

Who invented homework? What’s it for, anyway? The whole idea of homework is to put the work learned in class ‘to the test’. Perhaps this is why homework is important, because when the teacher isn’t there, the child, with the help of the parents, can see if they have grasped the work. In the classroom, the teacher presents material to the students and their homework will be based on what was covered in class.

The amount of homework students get varies from school to school and from grade to grade. In the United States of America the accepted guideline is what is known as the 10 minute rule. This rule is supported by the National Parent Teacher Association as well as the National Education Association.

  • Grade 1 – 10 minutes of homework
  • Grade 2 – 20 minutes of homework
  • Grade 3 – 30 minutes of homework

Add 10 minutes on for each grade so that 12th graders should be doing roughly 120 minutes of homework a day which equals 10 hours a week.

Attitudes to Homework

The way children perceive homework can be put down to the way they are brought up – their attitude to learning. There are no-nonsense parents who tell their children that homework is part of school and it must be done, like it or not. Other parents may not agree with the amount of homework their children are assigned, but they believe in the positive effects of homework, instilling in their kids a positive attitude to learning which continues after the last school bell has rung for the day.

Other parents bring up their children to moan about everything they don’t like. It’s these children that can’t accept homework. They’re the children who admit to copying someone else’s homework. These are the children whose parents encourage them to take these ‘cheating’ shortcuts.

Teachers have to put up with the negative attitudes of a student doing homework under duress. If there wasn’t homework, the teacher wouldn’t have to continuously hound these students to do it. Many children resist doing homework and many teachers are exasperated by it. Stopping homework will be met by outrage from some parents and joy from others.

One person will explain why homework is beneficial and another will say its not beneficial. There are schools making headlines with their no-homework policies, but in 2020, the debate as to whether homework is beneficial or not is nowhere near a solution.

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