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The Pros and Cons of Homework
Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.
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Why should students have homework.
- Homework Encourages Practice Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .
- Homework Gets Parents Involved Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.
- Homework Teaches Time Management Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.
- Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.
- Homework Allows For More Learning Time Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.
- Homework Reduces Screen Time Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.
The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad
- Homework Encourages A Sedentary Lifestyle Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework. While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom. Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.
- Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .
- Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.
- Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success. The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements. It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity. Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.
- Homework Assignments Are Overdone The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however. On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.
The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.
It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.
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Should We Get Rid of Homework?
Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?
By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar
Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?
Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?
Should we get rid of homework?
In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:
Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”
Mr. Kang argues:
But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?
Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?
Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?
When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.
In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:
Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.
What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?
Is there a way to make homework more effective?
If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?
Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.
Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle
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The Pros and Cons of Homework
The dreaded word for students across the country—homework.
Homework has long been a source of debate, with parents, educators, and education specialists debating the advantages of at-home study. There are many pros and cons of homework. We’ve examined a few significant points to provide you with a summary of the benefits and disadvantages of homework.
Check Out The Pros and Cons of Homework
Pro 1: Homework Helps to Improve Student Achievement
Homework teaches students various beneficial skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and professional life, from time management and organization to self-motivation and autonomous learning.
Homework helps students of all ages build critical study abilities that help them throughout their academic careers. Learning at home also encourages the development of good research habits while encouraging students to take ownership of their tasks.
If you’re finding that homework is becoming an issue at home, check out this article to learn how to tackle them before they get out of hand.
Con 1: Too Much Homework Can Negatively Affect Students
You’ll often hear from students that they’re stressed out by schoolwork. Stress becomes even more apparent as students get into higher grade levels.
A study conducted on high school student’s experiences found that high-achieving students found that too much homework leads to sleep deprivation and other health problems such as:
- Weight loss
- Stomach problems
More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies.
It’s been shown that excessive homework can lead to cheating. With too much homework, students end up copying off one another in an attempt to finish all their assignments.
Pro 2: Homework Helps to Reinforce Classroom Learning
Homework is most effective when it allows students to revise what they learn in class. Did you know that students typically retain only 50% of the information teachers provide in class?
Students need to apply that information to learn it.
Homework also helps students develop key skills that they’ll use throughout their lives:
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Independent problem-solving
The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students’ daily lives.
Con 2: Takes Away From Students Leisure Time
Children need free time. This free time allows children to relax and explore the world that they are living in. This free time also gives them valuable skills they wouldn’t learn in a classroom, such as riding a bike, reading a book, or socializing with friends and family.
Having leisure time teaches kids valuable skills that cannot be acquired when doing their homework at a computer.
Plus, students need to get enough exercise. Getting exercise can improve cognitive function, which might be hindered by sedentary activities such as homework.
Pro 3: Homework Gets Parents Involved with Children’s Learning
Homework helps parents track what their children are learning in school.
Also allows parents to see what their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses are. Homework can alert parents to any learning difficulties that their children might have, enabling them to provide assistance and modify their child’s learning approach as necessary.
Parents who help their children with homework will lead to higher academic performance, better social skills and behaviour, and greater self-confidence in their children.
Con 3: Homework Is Not Always Effective
Numerous researchers have attempted to evaluate the importance of homework and how it enhances academic performance. According to a study , homework in primary schools has a minimal effect since students pursue unrelated assignments instead of solidifying what they have already learned.
Mental health experts agree heavy homework loads have the capacity to do more harm than good for students. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether. So, unfortunately for students, homework is here to stay.
You can learn more about the pro and cons of homework here.
Need Help with Completing Homework Effectively?
There are many pros and cons of homework, so let our tutors at Oxford Learning can help your family create great homework habits to ensure students are successful at homework.
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This is why we should stop giving homework
At Human Restoration Project, one of the core systemic changes we suggest is the elimination of homework. Throughout this piece, I will outline several research studies and reports that demonstrate how the negative impact of homework is so evident that any mandated homework, outside of some minor catching up or for incredibly niche cases, simply does more harm than good.
I’ll summarize four main reasons why homework just flat out doesn’t make sense.
- Achievement, whether that be measured through standardized tests or general academic knowledge, isn’t correlated to assigning or completing homework.
- Homework is an inequitable practice that harms certain individuals more than others, to the detriment of those with less resources and to minor, if any, improvement for those with resources.
- It contributes to negative impacts at home with one’s family, peer relationships, and just general school-life balance, which causes far more problems than homework is meant to solve.
- And finally, it highlights and exacerbates our obsession with ultra-competitive college admissions and job opportunities, and other detrimental faults of making everything about getting ahead .
Does Homework Make Us Learn More?
Homework is such a ubiquitous part of school that it’s considered radical to even suggest that lessening it could be good teaching. It’s completely normal for families to spend extra hours each night, even on weekends, completing projects, reports, and worksheets. On average, teenagers spend about an hour a day completing homework, which is up 30-45 minutes from decades past. Kindergartners, who are usually saved from completing a lot of after school work, average about 25 minutes of homework a night (which to note, is 25 minutes too much than is recommended by child development experts).
The “10-minute rule”, endorsed by the National Parent Teacher Association and National Education Association, is incorporated into most school policies: there’s 10 minutes of homework per day per grade level – as in 20 minutes a day in second grade or 2 hours a day in 12th grade.
It’s so normalized that it was odd, when seemingly out of nowhere the President of Ireland recently suggested that homework should be banned . (And many experts were shocked at this suggestion.)
Numerous studies on homework reflect inconsistent results on what it exactly achieves. Homework is rarely shown to have any impact on achievement, whether that be measured through standardized testing or otherwise. As I’ll talk about later, the amount of marginal gains homework may lead to aren’t worth its negative trade-offs.
Let’s look at a quick summary of various studies:
- First off, the book National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling by David P. Baker and Gerald K. LeTendre draws on a 4 year investigation of schools in 47 countries. It’s the largest study of its type: looking at how schools operate, their pedagogy, their procedures, and the like. They made a shocking discovery: countries that assigned the least amount of homework: Denmark and the Czech Republic, had much higher test scores than those who assigned the most amount of homework: Iran and Thailand. The same work indicated that there was no correlation between academic achievement and homework with elementary students, and any moderate positive correlation in middle or high school diminished as more and more homework was assigned.
- A study in Contemporary Educational Psychology of 28,051 high school seniors concluded that quality of instruction, motivation, and ability are all correlated to a student’s academic success. However, homework’s effectiveness was marginal or perhaps even counterproductive: leading to more academic problems than it hoped to solve.
- The Teachers College Record published that homework added academic pressure and societal stress to those already experiencing pressures from other forces at home. This caused a further divide in academic performance from those with more privileged backgrounds. We’ll talk about this more later.
- A study in the Journal of Educational Psychology examined 2,342 student attitudes toward homework in foreign language classes. They found that time spent on homework had a significant negative impact on grades and standardized test scores. The researchers concluded that this may be because participants had to spend their time completing worksheets rather than spend time practicing skills on their own time.
- Some studies are more positive. In fact, a meta-analysis of 32 homework studies in the Review of Educational Research found that most studies indicated a positive correlation between achievement and doing homework. However, the researchers noted that generally these studies made it hard to draw causal conclusions due to how they were set up and conducted. There was so much variance that it was difficult to make a claim one way or another, even though the net result seemed positive. This often cited report led by Dr. Harris Cooper at Duke University is the most commonly used by proponents of the practice. But popular education critic Alfie Kohn believes that this study fails to establish, ironically, causation among other factors.
- And that said in a later published study in The High School Journal , researchers concluded that in all homework assigned, there were only modest linkages to improved math and science standardized test scores, with no difference in other subjects between those who were assigned homework and those who were not. None of the homework assigned had any bearing on grades. The only difference was for a few points on those particular subject’s standardized test scores.
All in all, the data is relatively inconclusive. Some educational experts suggest that there should be hours of homework in high school, some homework in middle school, and none in elementary school. Some call for the 10-minute rule. Others say that homework doesn’t work at all. It’s still fairly unstudied how achievement is impacted as a result of homework. But as Alfie Kohn says , “The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework.” That said, when we couple this data with the other negative impacts of assigning homework: how it impacts those at the margins, leads to anxiety and stress, and takes away from important family time – it really makes us question why this is such a ubiquitous practice.
Or as Etta Kralovec and John Buell write in The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning,
‘Extensive classroom research of ‘time on task’ and international comparisons of year-round time for study suggest that additional homework might promote U.S. students’ achievement.’ This written statement by some of the top professionals in the field of homework research raises some difficult questions. More homework might promote student achievement? Are all our blood, sweat, and tears at the kitchen table over homework based on something that merely might be true? Our belief in the value of homework is akin to faith. We assume that it fosters a love of learning, better study habits, improved attitudes toward school, and greater self-discipline; we believe that better teachers assign more homework and that one sign of a good school is a good, enforced homework policy.
Our obsession with homework is likely rooted in select studies that imply it leads to higher test scores. The authors continue by deciphering this phenomena:
“[this is] a problem that routinely bedevils all the sciences: the relationship between correlation and causality. If A and B happen simultaneously, we do not know whether A causes B or B causes A, or whether both phenomena occur casually together or are individually determined by another set of variables…Thus far, most studies in this area have amounted to little more than crude correlations that cannot justify the sweeping conclusions some have derived from them.”
Alfie Kohn adds that even the correlation between achievement and homework doesn’t really matter. Saying,
“If all you want is to cram kids’ heads with facts for tomorrow’s tests that they’re going to forget by next week, yeah, if you give them more time and make them do the cramming at night, that could raise the scores…But if you’re interested in kids who know how to think or enjoy learning, then homework isn’t merely ineffective, but counterproductive… The practice of homework assumes that only academic growth matters, to the point that having kids work on that most of the school day isn’t enough…”
Ramping Up Inequity
Many justify the practice of assigning homework with the well-intentioned belief that we’ll make a more equitable society through high standards. However, it seems to be that these practices actually add to inequity. “Rigorous” private and preparatory schools – whether they be “no excuses” charters in marginalized communities or “college ready” elite suburban institutions, are notorious for extreme levels of homework assignment. Yet, many progressive schools who focus on holistic learning and self-actualization assign no homework and achieve the same levels of college and career success.
Perhaps this is because the largest predictor of college success has nothing to do with rigorous preparation, and everything to do with family income levels. 77% of students from high income families graduated from a highly competitive college, whereas 9% of students from low income families did the same .
It seems like by loading students up with mountains of homework each night in an attempt to get them into these colleges, we actually make their chances of success worse .
When assigning homework, it is common practice to recommend that families provide a quiet, well-lit place for the child to study. After all, it’s often difficult to complete assignments after a long day. Having this space, time, and energy must always be considered in the context of the family’s education, income, available time, and job security. For many people, jobs have become less secure and less well paid over the course of the last two decades.
In a United States context, we work the longest hours of any nation . Individuals in 2006 worked 11 hours longer than their counterparts in 1979. In 2020, 70% of children lived in households where both parents work. We are the only country in the industrial world without guaranteed family leave. And the results are staggering: 90% of women and 95% of men report work-family conflict . According to the Center for American Progress , “the United States today has the most family-hostile public policy in the developed world due to a long-standing political impasse.”
As a result, parents have much less time to connect with their children. This is not a call to a return to traditional family roles or to have stay-at-home parents – rather, our occupation-oriented society is structured inadequately which causes problems with how homework is meant to function.
For those who work in entry level positions, such as customer service and cashiers, there is an average 240% turnover per year due to lack of pay, poor conditions, work-life balance, and mismanagement. Family incomes continue to decline for lower- and middle-class Americans, leaving more families to work increased hours or multiple jobs. In other words, families, especially poor families, have less opportunities to spend time with their children, let alone foster academic “gains” via homework.
Even for students with ample resources who attend “elite schools”, the amount of homework is stressful. In a 2013 study in The Journal of Experiential Education, researchers conducted a survey of 4,317 students in 10 high-performing upper middle class high schools. These students had an average of more than 3 hours of homework a night. In comparison to their peers, they had more academic stress, notable physical health problems, and spent a worrying amount of time focused entirely on school and nothing else. Competitive advantage came at the cost of well-being and just being a kid.
A similar study in Frontiers of Psychology found that students pressured in the competitive college admissions process , who attended schools assigning hours of homework each night and promoting college-level courses and resume building extracurriculars, felt extreme stress. Two-thirds of the surveyed students reported turning to alcohol and drugs to cope.
In fact, a paper published by Dr. Suniya Luthar and her colleagues concluded that upper middle-class youth are actually more likely to be troubled than their middle class peers . There is an extreme problem with academic stress, where young people are engaging in a rat race toward the best possible educational future as determined by Ivy League colleges and scholarships. To add fuel to the fire, schools continue to add more and more homework to have students get ahead – which has a massively negative impact on both ends of the economic spectrum.
A 2012 study by Dr. Jonathan Daw indicated that their results,
“...imply that increases in the amount of homework assigned may increase the socioeconomic achievement gap in math, science, and reading in secondary school.”
In an effort to increase engagement with homework, teachers have been encouraged to create interesting, creative assignments. In fact, most researchers seem to agree that the quality of assignments matters a whole lot . After all, maybe assigning all of this homework won’t matter as long as it’s interesting and relevant to students? Although this has good intentions, rigorous homework with increased complexity places more impetus on parents. As researcher and author Gary Natrillo, an initial proponent of creative homework , stated later:
…not only was homework being assigned as suggested by all the ‘experts,’ but the teacher was obviously taking the homework seriously, making it challenging instead of routine and checking it each day and giving feedback. We were enveloped by the nightmare of near total implementation of the reform recommendations pertaining to homework…More creative homework tasks are a mixed blessing on the receiving end. On the one hand, they, of course, lead to higher engagement and interest for children and their parents. On the other hand, they require one to be well rested, a special condition of mind not often available to working parents…
Time is a luxury to most people. With increased working hours, in conjunction with extreme levels of stress, many people don’t have the necessary mindset to adequately supply children with the attention to detail for complex homework. As Kralovec and Buell state,
To put it plainly, I have discovered that after a day at work, the commute home, dinner preparations, and the prospect of baths, goodnight stories, and my own work ahead, there comes a time beyond which I cannot sustain my enthusiasm for the math brain teaser or the creative story task.
Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world. Mass shootings, health care affordability, discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, climate change, the presidential elections, and literally: staying informed on current events have caused roughly 70% of people to report moderate or extreme stress , with increased rates for people of color, LGBTQIA Americans, and other discriminated groups. 90% of high schoolers and college students report moderate or higher stress, with half reporting depression and a lack of energy and motivation .
In 2015, 1,100 parents were surveyed on the impact of homework on family life. Fights over homework were 200% more likely in families where parents didn’t have a college degree. Generally, these families believed that if their children didn’t understand a homework assignment then they must have been not paying attention at school. This led to young people feeling dumb or upset, and parents feeling like their child was lying or goofing off. The lead researcher noted,
All of our results indicate that homework as it is now being assigned discriminates against children whose parents don’t have a college degree, against parents who have English as a second language, against, essentially, parents who are poor.
Schooling is so integrated into family life that a group of researchers noted that “...homework tended to recreate the problems of school, such as status degradation.” An online survey of over 2,000 students and families found that 90% of students reported additional stress from homework, and 40% of families saw it as nothing more than busy work. Authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish wrote the aptly titled The Case Against Homework which conducted interviews across the mid-2000s with families and children, citing just how many people are burdened with overscheduling homework featuring over-the-top assignments and constant work. One parent remarked,
I sit on Amy's bed until 11 p.m. quizzing her, knowing she's never going to use this later, and it feels like abuse," says Nina of Menlo Park, California, whose eleven-year-old goes to a Blue Ribbon public school and does at least three-and-a-half hours of homework each night. Nina also questions the amount of time spent on "creative" projects. "Amy had to visit the Mission in San Francisco and then make a model of it out of cardboard, penne pasta, and paint. But what was she supposed to be learning from this? All my daughter will remember is how tense we were in the garage making this thing. Then when she handed it in, the teacher dropped it and all the penne pasta flew off." These days, says Nina, "Amy's attitude about school has really soured." Nina's has, too. "Everything is an emergency and you feel like you're always at battle stations."
1/3rd of the families interviewed felt “crushed by the workload.” It didn’t matter if they lived in rural or suburban areas, or if they were rich or poor.
Learning this way is also simply ineffective because well, that’s just not how kids learn! Young people build upon prior knowledge. They use what they know to make what they’re currently doing easier. Adding more and more content to a student’s plate – having to connect the dots and build upon more information – especially with the distractions of home life is unrealistic. Plus, simply put…it’s just not fun! Why would I want to spend all of my free time on homework rather than hanging out with my friends or playing video games?
Even with all that said – if other countries demonstrate educational success on standardized testing with little to no assigned homework and limited school hours (nevermind the fact that this is measured through the questionable method of standardized testing), shouldn’t we take a step back and analyze the system as a whole, rather than figure out better homework policies? If other countries do this with limited to no homework , why can’t everyone else?
Investigating Systemic Problems
Perhaps the solution to academic achievement in America isn’t doubling down on increasing the work students do at home, but solving the underlying systemic inequities: the economic and discriminatory problems that plague our society. Yes, the United States tends to fall behind other countries on math and reading scores. Many countries impose increased workloads on students because they are afraid that they will fall behind economically with the standard of living to the rest of the world. But perhaps the problem with education doesn’t lie in not having enough “rigorous” methods, but with how easy it is for a family to simply live and be content.
Finland, frequently cited as a model education system which grew to prominence during the 2000s through popular scholars like Pasi Sahlberg, enjoys some of the highest standards of living in the world:
- Finland’s life expectancy is 81.8 years, compared to the US’ 78.7 years . Unlike Finland, there’s a notable difference between the richest and poorest Americans . The richest Americans are expected to live, on average, nearly 15 years longer than the poorest. Further, America’s life expectancy is declining, the only industrialized country with this statistic .
- Finland’s health care is rated best in the world and only spends $3,078 per capita, compared to $8,047 in the US.
- Finland has virtually no homelessness , compared to the 500,000 (and growing) homeless population in the United States .
- Finland has the lowest inequality levels in the EU , compared to the United States with one of the highest inequality levels in the world . Research has demonstrated that countries with lower inequality levels are happier and healthier .
These statistics reflect that potentially — instead of investing hundreds of millions of dollars in initiatives to increase national test scores , such as homework strategies, curriculum changes, and nationwide “raising the bar” initiatives — that we should invest in programs that improve our standard of living, such as universal healthcare and housing. The solution to test scores is rooted in solving underlying inequities in our societies — shining a light on our core issues — rather than making teachers solve all of our community’s problems.
This doesn’t mean that there’s no space for improving pedagogy, schooling, or curriculums, but at the end of the day the solution cannot solely be by improving education.
Creating Future Workers
Education often equates learning with work. As a teacher, I had to stop myself from behaving like an economics analyst: telling students to quit “wasting time”, stating that the purpose of the lesson is useful for securing a high salary career, seeing everything as prep for college and career (and college’s purpose as just for more earnings in a career), and making blanket assumptions that those who aren’t motivated will ultimately never contribute to society, taking on “low levels” of work that “aren’t as important” as other positions.
A common argument exists that the pressure of homework mirrors the real world – that we should assign homework because that’s “just the way things are.” If we want kids to succeed in the “real world”, they need to have this pressure.
But this mentality is unhealthy and unjust. The purpose of education should be to develop purpose. People live happier and healthier lives as a result of pursuing and developing a core purpose. Some people’s purpose is related to their line of work, but there is not necessarily a connection. However, the primary goal for education stated by districts, states, and the national government is to make “productive members of society” – those who are “prepared for the future” through “college and career readiness.” When we double down on economic principles, rather than look to developmental psychology and holistic care, to raise young people, it’s no wonder we’re seeing such horrific statistics related to childhood .
Further, the consistent pressure to solely learn for future economic gain raises generations of young people to believe that wealth is a measurement of success, and that specific lines of work create happiness. Teachers and parents are told to make their children “work hard” for future success and develop “grit.” Although grit is an important indicator of overcoming obstacles , it is not developed by enforcing grit through authoritarian classrooms or meaningless, long tasks like homework. In fact, an argument could be made that many Americans accept their dramatically poor work-life balance and lack of access to needs such as affordable health care by being brought up in a society that rewards tasks of “working through it” to “eventually achieve happiness.”
Many families have shifted from having children participate in common household chores and activities to have them exclusively focus on their school work. Americans have more difficulty than ever raising children, with increasing demands of time and rising childcare costs . When teachers provide more and more homework, they take away from the parents’ ability to structure their household according to their needs. In fact, children with chores show completely positive universal growth across the board , from time management skills to responsibility to managing a healthy work-life balance.
Of course, this is not to say that it is all the teacher’s fault. Educators face immense pressure to carry out governmental/school policies that place test scores at the forefront. Plus, most families had homework themselves – so continuing the practice only makes sense. Many of these policies require homework, and an educator’s employment is centered on enacting these changes. Barbara Stengel , an education professor, noted that the reason why so much homework isn’t necessarily interesting or applicable to a student’s lived experience is because “some of the people who would really have pushed the limits of that are no longer in teaching.” The constant pressure on teachers to raise test scores while simultaneously being overworked and underpaid is making many leave the profession. Etta Kralovec and John Buell add:
As more academic demands are placed on teachers, homework can help lengthen the school day and thus ensure ‘coverage’ — that is, the completion of the full curriculum that each teacher is supposed to cover during the school year…This in itself places pressure on teachers to create meaningful homework and often to assign large amounts of it so that the students’ parents will think the teacher is rigorous and the school has high academic standards. Extensive homework is frequently linked in our minds to high standards.
Therefore, there’s a connection to be made between the school- or work-life balance of children and the people who are tasked with teaching them. 8% of the teacher workforce leaves every year , with one of the primary reasons being poor work-life balance . Perhaps teachers see an increased desire to “work” students in their class and at home due to the pressures they face in their own occupation?
The more we equate work with learning, and the more we accept that a school’s primary purpose is to prepare workers, the less we actually succeed at promoting academics. Instead, we bolster the neoliberal tendencies of the United States (and others like it) to work hard, yet comparably to other countries’ lifestyle gains, achieve little.
This is why so many families demand that their children have ample amounts of homework. In fact, the majority of parents believe their students have just the right amount. They’re afraid that their kids are going to fall behind, doomed to a life within an increasingly hostile and inequitable society. They want the best for their children, and taking the risk of not assigning homework means that someone else may take that top slot. The same could be said for many parts of the “tracks toward college and career readiness” that professor William Deresiewicz refers to as “zombication” – lurching through each stage of the rat race in competitive admissions: a lot of assignments, difficult courses, sports, clubs, forced volunteerism, internships, and other things to pack our schedules.
The United States must examine the underlying inequities of peoples’ lives, rather than focus on increasing schools’ workloads and lessening children’s free time for mythical academic gains that lead to little change. Teacher preparation programs and popular authors need to stop promoting “interesting and fun ways to teach ‘x’!” and propose systemic changes that radically change the way education is done, including systemic changes to society at large. Only then will the United States actually see improved livelihoods and a better education system for all.
And what could be done instead? Much of the research and writing on homework tends to conclude that we should find a “happy middle ground” to continue the practice of homework, just in case it does indeed work. However, based on the decades of studies we have on this issue…I’m not really sure. It seems the best practice, by far, is to eliminate homework altogether outside of incredibly niche and rare scenarios. If a student asks for more things to do at home because they want to explore something that interests them, great! But that doesn’t need to be mandated homework.
Human Restoration Project believes that the four recommendations of the late educator and scholar Ken Robinson allows young people to learn for themselves and make the most of their lives:
- Let children spend time with their families. The single strongest predictor of academic success and fewer behavioral problems for a child, 3-12 years old, is eating as a family. Make planned time during the day to catch up with children, talking to them about what they’re learning, and encouraging them to achieve.
- Give children time to play outside or create something, preferably not always with a screen. Let them dive into their passions and plan a trip to a library, park, or museum. Explore free online resources to discover new skills and interests.
- Give children opportunities to read by themselves or with their family. One of the best ways to learn about the world is developing a lifelong love of reading. Children who prioritize reading are more motivated to learn and see drastically improved academic outcomes.
- Let children sleep! Elementary students should sleep at least 10 hours each night and adolescents, 9 hours. Being awake and ready to tackle each day keeps us energized and healthy.
If you’re interested in learning more, see The Case Against Homework by Nancy Kalish and Sara Bennett, The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn, The End of Homework by Etta Kralovec and John Muelle, or one of the many citations linked in the show notes.
You can also watch a modified video version of this piece on our YouTube channel:
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I think when we were talking about what it gives us time to do, folks are able to get up and learn to paint, play guitar. What have folks been learning. This time isn't lost. Learning looks differently but I think we can lean into that. Who are the transmitters of knowledge? What does knowledge transmission look like? How do we constitute learning and what do those content areas look like in how we might think of things as more of...someone might call it transdisciplinary. So those are just what I was thinking but I think it's certainly a time. And we should, at least I'll say in my opinion, not think of this so much as a learning loss. It doesn't value what families and communities have been doing during this time and only puts out how knowledge translates in this academic sense and these structures that aren't always as flexible as we might add.
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27 Top Homework Pros and Cons
There are both pros and cons of homework. This makes whether schools should assign homework a great debating topic for students.
On the side of the pros, homework is beneficial because it can be great for helping students get through their required coursework and reinforce required knowledge. But it also interferes with life outside of school.
Key arguments for homework include the fact it gives students structure, improves their learning, and improves parent-teacher relationships.
Arguments for the cons of homework include the fact it interferes with playtime and causes stress to children, leading to arguments that homework should be banned .
Pros and Cons of Homework (Table Summary)
Pros of homework, 1. homework teaches discipline and habit.
Discipline and habit are two soft skills that children need to develop so they can succeed in life.
Regular daily homework is a simple way that discipline and habit are reinforced. Teachers can talk to students about what they do when they get home from school.
They might develop a habit like getting changed into a new set of clothes, having an afternoon snack, then getting out their homework.
Teachers can also help students visualize these habits and disciplines by talking about where they will do their homework (kitchen table?) and when .
2. Homework helps parents know what’s being learned in class
Parents often appreciate being kept in the loop about what is going on in their child’s classroom. Homework is great for this!
Teachers can set homework based on the current unit of work in the classroom. If the students are learning about dinosaurs, the homework can be a task on dinosaurs.
This helps the teachers to show the parents the valuable learning that’s taking place, and allows parents to feel comfortable that the teacher is doing a great job.
3. Homework teaches time management
Children often have a wide range of after school activities to undertake. They need to develop the skill of managing all these activities to fit homework in.
At school, children’s time is closely managed and controlled. Every lesson ends and begins with a bell or a teacher command.
At some point, children need to learn to manage their own time. Homework is an easy way to start refining this important soft skill.
4. Homework gives students self-paced learning time
At school, a lesson has a clear beginning and end. Students who are struggling may be interrupted and need more time. Homework allows them to work on these tasks at their own pace.
When I was studying math in high school, I never got my work done in time. I understood concepts slower than my peers, and I needed more time to reinforce concepts.
Homework was my chance to keep up, by studying at my own pace.
5. Homework can reduce screen time
Paper-based homework can take students away from their afternoon cartoons and video games and get them working on something of more value.
Screen time is one of the biggest concerns for educators and parents in the 21 st Century. Children spend approximately 5 to 7 hours in front of screens per day.
While screens aren’t all bad, children generally spend more time at screens than is necessary. Homework tasks such as collecting things from the yard or interviewing grandparents gets kids away from screens and into more active activities.
6. Homework gives students productive afternoon activities
Too often, children get home from school and switch off their brains by watching cartoons or playing video games. Homework can be more productive.
Good homework should get students actively thinking. A teacher can set homework that involves creating a product, conducting interviews with family, or writing a story based on things being learned in class.
But even homework that involves repetition of math and spelling tasks can be far more productive than simply watching television.
7. Homework reinforces information taught in class
For difficult tasks, students often need to be exposed to content over and over again until they reach mastery of the topic .
To do this, sometimes you need to do old-fashioned repetition of tasks. Take, for example, algebra. Students will need to repeat the process over and over again so that they will instinctively know how to complete the task when they sit their standardized test.
Of course, the teacher needs to teach and reinforce these foundational skills at school before independent homework practice takes place.
8. Homework helps motivated students to get ahead
Many students who have set themselves the goal of coming first in their class want to do homework to get an advantage over their peers.
Students who want to excel should not be stopped from doing this. If they enjoy homework and it makes them smarter or better at a task, then they should be allowed to do this.
9. Homework gives parents and children time together
When a parent helps their child with homework (by educating and quizzing them, not cheating!), they get a chance to bond.
Working together to complete a task can be good for the relationship between the parent and the child. The parents can also feel good that they’re supporting the child to become more educated.
10. Homework improves parent-teacher relationships
Parents get an inside look at what’s happening at school to improve their trust with the teacher, while also helping the teacher do their job.
Trust between parents and teachers is very important. Parents want to know the teacher is working hard to support students and help them learn. By looking at their children’s homework, they get a good idea of what’s going on in the classroom.
The parent can also feel good about helping the teacher’s mission by sitting with the child during homework and helping to reinforce what’s been learned at school.
11. Homework helps teachers get through the crowded curriculum
Teachers are increasingly asked to teach more and more content each year. Homework can be helpful in making sure it all gets done.
Decades ago, teachers had time to dedicate lessons to repeating and practicing content learned. Today, they’re under pressure to teach one thing then quickly move onto the next. We call this phenomenon the “crowded curriculum”.
Today, teachers may need to teach the core skills in class then ask students to go home and practice what’s been taught to fast-track learning.
12. Homework provides spaced repetition for long-term memorization
Spaced repetition is a strategy that involves quizzing students intermittently on things learned in previous weeks and months.
For example, if students learned division in January, they may forget about it by June. But if the teacher provides division questions for homework in January, March, and May, then the students always keep that knowledge of how to do division in their mind.
Spaced repetition theory states that regularly requiring students to recall information that’s been pushed to the back of their mind can help, over time, commit that information to their long-term memory and prevent long-term forgetting.
13. Homework supports a flipped learning model to make the most of time with the teacher
Flipped learning is a model of education where students do preparation before class so they get to class prepared to learn.
Examples of flipped learning include pre-teaching vocabulary (e.g. giving children new words to learn for homework that they will use in a future in-class lesson), and asking students to watch preparatory videos before class.
This model of homework isn’t about reinforcing things learned in class, but learning things before class to be more prepared for lessons.
14. Homework improves student achievement
An influential review of the literature on homework by Mazano and Pickering (2007) found that homework does improve student achievement.
Another review of the literature by Cooper, Robinson and Patall (2006) similarly found that homework improves achievement. In this review, the authors highlighted that homework appeared more beneficial for high school students’ grades than elementary school students’ grades.
Several progressive education critics , especially Alfie Kohn , have claimed that homework does not help student grades. We have not found the critics’ evidence to be as compelling.
15. Homework helps the education system keep up with other countries’ systems
All nations are competing with one another to have the best education system (measured by standardized tests ). If other countries are assigning homework and your country isn’t, your country will be at a disadvantage.
The main way education systems are compared is the OECD ranking of education systems. This ranking compared standardized test scores on major subjects.
Western nations have been slipping behind Asian nations for several decades. Many Asian education systems have a culture of assigning a lot of homework. To keep up, America may also need to assign homework and encourage their kids to do more homework.
See Also: Homework Statistics List
Cons of Homework
1. homework interferes with play time.
Play-based learning is some of the best learning that can possibly occurs. When children go home from school, the play they do before sunset is hugely beneficial for their development.
Homework can prevent children from playing. Instead, they’re stuck inside repeating tasks on standardized homework sheets.
Of course, if there is no homework, parents would have to make sure children are engaging in beneficial play as well, rather than simply watching TV.
2. Homework interferes with extracurricular activities
After school, many children want to participate in extracurricular activities like sporting and community events.
However, if too much homework is assigned to learners, their parents may not be able to sign them up to co-curricular activities in the school or extracurricular activities outside of the school. This can prevent students from having well-rounded holistic development.
3. Homework discourages students from going outside and getting exercise
Homework is usually an indoors activity. Usually, teachers will assign spelling, math, or science tasks to be repeated through the week on paper or a computer.
But children need time to go outside and get exercise. The CDC recommends children ages 6 to 17 need 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day.
Unfortunately, being stuck indoors may prevent children from getting that much needed exercise for well-rounded development.
4. Homework leads to unsupervised and unsupportive learning
When students get stuck on a task at school, the teacher is there to help. But when students are stuck on a homework task, no support is available.
This leads to a situation where students’ learning and development is harmed. Furthermore, those students who do understand the task can go ahead and get more homework practice done while struggling students can’t progress because the teacher isn’t there to help them through their hurdles.
Often, it’s down to parents to pick up the challenge of teaching their children during homework time. Unfortunately, not all students have parents nearby to help them during homework time.
5. Homework can encourage cheating
When children study without supervision, they have the opportunity to cheat without suffering consequences.
They could, for example, copy their sibling’s homework or use the internet to find answers.
Worse, some parents may help their child to cheat or do the homework for the child. In these cases, homework has no benefit of the child but may teach them bad and unethical habits.
6. Homework contributes to a culture of poor work-life balance
Homework instils a corporate attitude that prioritizes work above everything else. It prepares students for a social norm where you do work for your job even when you’re off the clock.
Students will grow up thinking it’s normal to clock off from their job, go home, and continue to check emails and complete work they didn’t get done during the day.
This sort of culture is bad for society. It interferes with family and recreation time and encourages bosses to behave like they’re in charge of your whole life.
7. Homework discourages children from taking up hobbies
There is an argument to be made that children need spare time so they can learn about what they like and don’t like.
If students have spare time after school, they could fill it up with hobbies. The student can think about what they enjoy (playing with dolls, riding bikes, singing, writing stories).
Downtime encourages people to develop hobbies. Students need this downtime, and homework can interfere with this.
8. Homework creates unfairness between children with parents helping and those who don’t
At school, students generally have a level playing field. They are all in the same classroom with the same resources and the same teacher. At home, it’s a different story.
Some children have parents, siblings, and internet to rely upon. Meanwhile, others have nothing but themselves and a pen.
Those children who are lucky enough to have parents helping out can get a significant advantage over their peers, causing unfairness and inequalities that are not of their own making.
9. Homework causes stress and anxiety
In a study by Galloway, Connor and Pope (2013), they found that 56% of students identified homework as the greatest cause of stress in their lives.
Stress among young people can impact their happiness and mental health. Furthermore, there is an argument to “let kids be kids”. We have a whole life of work and pressure ahead of us. Childhood is a time to be enjoyed without the pressures of life.
10. Homework is often poor-quality work
Teachers will often assign homework that is the less important work and doesn’t have a clear goal.
Good teachers know that a lesson needs to be planned-out with a beginning, middle and end. There usually should be formative assessment as well, which is assessment of students as they learn (rather than just at the end).
But homework doesn’t have the structure of a good lesson. It’s repetition of information already learned, which is a behaviorist learning model that is now outdated for many tasks.
11. Homework is solitary learning
Most education theorists today believe that the best learning occurs in social situations.
Sociocultural learning requires students to express their thoughts and opinions and listen to other people’s ideas. This helps them improve and refine their own thinking through dialogue.
But homework usually takes place alone at the kitchen table. Students don’t have anyone to talk with about what they’re doing, meaning their learning is limited.
12. Homework widens social inequality
Homework can advantage wealthier students and disadvantage poorer students.
In Kralovec and Buell’s (2001) book The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning , the authors argue that poorer students are less likely to have the resources to complete their homework properly.
For example, they might not have the pens, paper, and drawing implements to complete a paper task. Similarly, they might not have the computer, internet connection, or even books to do appropriate research at home.
Parents in poorer households also often work shift work and multiple jobs meaning they have less time to help their children with their homework.
Homework can be both good and bad – there are both advantages and disadvantages of homework. In general, it’s often the case that it depends on the type of homework that is assigned. Well-planned homework used in moderation and agreed upon by teachers, parents and students can be helpful. But other homework can cause serious stress, inequality, and lifestyle imbalance for students.
Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of educational research , 76 (1), 1-62.
Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The journal of experimental education , 81 (4), 490-510. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.745469
Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001). The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Beacon Press.
Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and family stress: With consideration of parents’ self confidence, educational level, and cultural background. The American Journal of Family Therapy , 43 (4), 297-313. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407
Ren, H., Zhou, Z., Liu, W., Wang, X., & Yin, Z. (2017). Excessive homework, inadequate sleep, physical inactivity and screen viewing time are major contributors to high paediatric obesity. Acta Paediatrica , 106 (1), 120-127. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13640
Yeo, S. C., Tan, J., Lo, J. C., Chee, M. W., & Gooley, J. J. (2020). Associations of time spent on homework or studying with nocturnal sleep behavior and depression symptoms in adolescents from Singapore. Sleep Health , 6 (6), 758-766. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2020.04.011
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Are You Down With or Done With Homework?
- Posted January 17, 2012
- By Lory Hough
The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.
It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.
This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.
"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.
Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.
But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.
The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.
For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.
But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.
Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?
"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."
Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.
Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?
"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."
Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."
Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.
"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."
Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."
One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.
"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.
Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.
As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."
That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."
These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.
"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."
Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.
"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.
Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.
And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."
Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.
"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."
The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.
"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"
Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.
"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"
Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."
According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."
So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.
"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."
Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.
"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."
So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.
Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.
"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."
Read a January 2014 update.
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Tony DelaRosa, Ed.M.'18, unpacks how educators teach Asian American Pacific Islander narratives — and how that can be transformed
Should Kids Get Homework?
Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images)
How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.
Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.
But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.
Value of Homework
Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.
"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."
Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.
"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."
Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.
"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."
Negative Homework Assignments
Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.
But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.
Homework that's just busy work.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.
"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.
Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.
With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.
Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.
" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .
Homework that's overly time-consuming.
The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.
But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.
Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.
"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."
Private vs. Public Schools
Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.
Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.
"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."
How to Address Homework Overload
First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.
"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."
But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.
"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."
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The Pros & Cons of Homework for Teachers
Author: Naimish Gohil
Posted: 12 Jun 2013
Estimated time to read: 2 mins
Homework impacts three types of people in a school: teachers, students and parents. There are pros and cons for all three of these stakeholders, as every one of them has something to lose and something to gain.
Pros and Cons for Teachers
Teachers, for the most part, view homework as a necessary staple to instruction. It helps the students absorb the material so more class time can be spent in discussion, asking questions, experiments and learning. It can provide practice for rote learning skills and concepts like math facts and spelling or vocabulary words.
Homework can be individualized to help with remediation, maintenance or extension of skills. Student can get caught up or take that family trip and stay caught up with the class. Homework encourages students to engage in learning, to read and write and think, and to achieve beyond the classroom. It is a tool to teach responsibility and time management, discipline and study skills necessary for post-secondary education and job careers. Homework increases performance on standardized tests, and therefore, helps students to accomplish their educational goals that eventually lead to life goals. However, time needs to be devoted to prepare and explain the homework, and then there is additional time needed to correct the homework and to explain the corrections to the students so the ultimate can be gained from doing the homework in the first place. Also, there is a lot of time spent on those students who just do not turn the homework in. How do you get them to do it? How to you weight the grade for homework?
Pros and cons of homework for parents
Parents see homework as a positive activity opposed to watching excessive TV or computer gaming and any other activities not recognized for their health or positive contribution to daily life. They feel homework teaches essential life skills concerned with studying, discipline and time management. Parents feel their kids deserve a better life than themselves and one avenue on the road to success is to read and study. They want their children to succeed. However, parents feel that sometimes the homework is too much or not as relevant as it should be. They feel that homework can take away from other time the student needs to devote to either more meaningful study or other relevant activities like sports, music, art, volunteer work, church, clubs and family. They witness the stress that homework puts on students, as well as the entire family. Especially when students are younger, parents question if this is interfering too much with their free time, creativity and time for just being a child.
Students are proud of themselves when they do well in any subject, on a test, or in school for any reason. Sometimes, added study (homework) at night helps students to achieve this. Therefore, homework to review and reinforce specific skills and concepts is important if the homework is selectively given and it is designed to be high quality and relevant. Homework might be more enjoyable if it involves a curriculum area that the student likes or in a manner they enjoy doing (i.e. computer-assisted, group project, study in their favorite subject area or in the manner they like e.g. written work if they like to write; reading is that is their strength area; etc.). However, the negative view of homework seen through the eyes of students is that it can be boring, there is just too much of it, it interferes with more enjoyable activities, it may be difficult and frustrating or unpleasant, and it might be seen as useless.
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It’s not uncommon to hear students, parents, and even some teachers always complaining about homework. Why, then, is homework an inescapable part of the student experience? Worksheets, busy work, and reading assignments continue to be a mainstay of students’ evenings.
Whether from habit or comparison with out-of-class work time in other nations, our students are getting homework and, according to some of them, a LOT of it. Educators and policy makers must ask themselves—does assigning homework pay off?
Is there evidence that homework benefits students younger than high school?
The Scholastic article Is Homework Bad? references Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , in which he says, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age.”
The article goes on to note that those who oppose homework focus on the drawbacks of significant time spent on homework, identifying one major negative as homework’s intrusion into family time. They also point out that opponents believe schools have decided homework is necessary and thus assign it simply to assign some kind of homework, not because doing the work meets specifically-identified student needs.
“Busy work” does not help students learn
Students and parents appear to carry similar critiques of homework, specifically regarding assignments identified as busy work—long sheets of repetitive math problems, word searches, or reading logs seemingly designed to make children dislike books.
When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It , says that many homework assignments are “simply busy work” that makes learning “a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.”
Commenters on the piece, both parents and students, tended to agree. One student shared that on occasion they spent more time on homework than at school, while another commenter pointed out that, “We don’t give slow-working children a longer school day, but we consistently give them a longer homework day.”
Without feedback, homework is ineffective
The efficacy of the homework identified by Kalish has been studied by policy researchers as well. Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State’s Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is “not very effective.” He goes on to say that, “If there’s no feedback and no monitoring, the homework is probably not effective.”
Researchers from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia had similar findings in their study, “ When Is Homework Worth The Time ?” According to UVAToday, these researchers reported no “substantive difference” in the grades of students related to homework completion.
As researcher Adam Maltese noted, “Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be.” The report further suggested that while not all homework is bad, the type and quality of assignments and their differentiation to specific learners appears to be an important point of future research.
If homework is assigned, it should heighten understanding of the subject
The Curry School of Education report did find a positive association between standardized test performance and time spent on homework, but standardized test performance shouldn’t be the end goal of assignments—a heightened understanding and capability with the content material should.
As such, it is important that if/when teachers assign homework assignments, it is done thoughtfully and carefully—and respectful of the maximum times suggested by the National Education Association, about 10 minutes per night starting in the first grade, with an additional 10 minutes per year after.
Continue reading — The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits Students
Monica Fuglei is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a current adjunct faculty member of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, where she teaches composition and creative writing.
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20 Pros and Cons of Homework
Homework. It’s a word that sends a shudder down the spine of students and parents alike.
It is also a question that has become divisive. Some people feel that homework is an effective way to reinforce the concepts that were learned at school. Others feel like the time that homework demands would be better spent with a meaningful activity that brings the family together.
Is homework important? Is it necessary? Or is the added stress that homework places on students and parents doing more harm than good? Here are some of the key pros and cons to discuss.
List of the Pros of Homework
1. It encourages the discipline of practice. Repeating the same problems over and over can be boring and difficult, but it also reinforces the practice of discipline. To get better at a skill, repetition is often necessary. You get better with each repetition. By having homework completed every night, especially with a difficult subject, the concepts become easier to understand. That gives the student an advantage later on in life when seeking a vocational career.
2. It gets parents involved with a child’s life. Looking at Common Core math can be somewhat bewildering to parents. If you see the math problem 5×3 expressed as an addition problem, 5+5+5 seems like the right answer. The correct answer, however, would be 3+3+3+3+3. By bringing homework to do, students can engage their learning process with their parents so everyone can be involved. Many parents actually want homework sent so they can see what their children are being taught in the classroom.
3. It teaches time management skills. Homework goes beyond completing a task. It forces children (and parents, to some extent) to develop time management skills. Schedules must be organized to ensure that all tasks can be completed during the day. This creates independent thinking and develops problem-solving skills. It encourages research skills. It also puts parents and children into a position where positive decision-making skills must be developed.
4. Homework creates a communication network. Teachers rarely see into the family lives of their students. Parents rarely see the classroom lives of their children. Homework is a bridge that opens lines of communication between the school, the teacher, and the parent. This allows everyone to get to know one another better. It helps teachers understand the needs of their students better.
It allows parents to find out their child’s strengths and weaknesses. Together, an educational plan can be developed that encourages the best possible learning environment.
5. It allows for a comfortable place to study. Classrooms have evolved over the years to be a warmer and welcoming environment, but there is nothing like the comfort that is felt at home or in a safe space. By encouraging studies where a child feels the most comfortable, it is possible to retain additional information that may get lost within the standard classroom environment.
6. It provides more time to complete the learning process. The time allotted for each area of study in school, especially in K-12, is often limited to 1 hour or less per day. That is not always enough time for students to be able to grasp core concepts of that material. By creating specific homework assignments which address these deficiencies, it becomes possible to counter the effects of the time shortages. That can benefit students greatly over time.
7. It reduces screen time. On the average school night, a student in the US might get 3-4 hours of screen time in per day. When that student isn’t in school, that figure doubles to 7-8 hours of screen time. Homework might be unwanted and disliked, but it does encourage better study habits. It discourages time being spent in front of the television or playing games on a mobile device. That, in turn, may discourage distracting habits from forming that can take away from the learning process in the future.
8. It can be treated like any other extracurricular activity. Some families over-extend themselves on extracurricular activities. Students can easily have more than 40 hours per week, from clubs to sports, that fall outside of regular school hours. Homework can be treated as one of these activities, fitting into the schedule where there is extra time. As an added benefit, some homework can even be completed on the way to or from some activities.
List of the Cons of Homework
1. Children benefit from playing. Being in a classroom can be a good thing, but so can being on a playground. With too much homework, a child doesn’t have enough time to play and that can impact their learning and social development. Low levels of play are associated with lower academic achievement levels, lower safety awareness, less character development, and lower overall health.
2. It encourages a sedentary lifestyle. Long homework assignments require long periods of sitting. A sedentary lifestyle has numerous direct associations with premature death as children age into adults. Obesity levels are already at or near record highs in many communities. Homework may reinforce certain skills and encourage knowledge retention, but it may come at a high price.
3. Not every home is a beneficial environment. There are some homes that are highly invested into their children. Parents may be involved in every stage of homework or there may be access to tutors that can explain difficult concepts. In other homes, there may be little or no education investment into the child. Some parents push the responsibility of teaching off on the teacher and provide no homework support at all.
Sometimes parents may wish to be involved and support their child, but there are barriers in place that prevent this from happening. The bottom line is this: no every home life is equal.
4. School is already a full-time job for kids. An elementary school day might start at 9:00am and end at 3:20pm. That’s more than 6 hours of work that kids as young as 5 are putting into their education every day. Add in the extra-curricular activities that schools encourage, such as sports, musicals, and after-school programming and a student can easily reach 8 hours of education in the average day. Then add homework on top of that? It is asking a lot for any child, but especially young children, to complete extra homework.
5. There is no evidence that homework creates improvements. Survey after survey has found that the only thing that homework does is create a negative attitude toward schooling and education in general. Homework is not associated with a higher level of academic achievement on a national scale. It may help some students who struggle with certain subjects, if they have access to a knowledgeable tutor or parent, but on a community level, there is no evidence that shows improvements are gained.
6. It discourages creative endeavors. If a student is spending 1 hour each day on homework, that’s an hour they are not spending pursuing something that is important to them. Students might like to play video games or watch TV, but homework takes time away from learning an instrument, painting, or developing photography skills as well. Although some homework can involve creative skills, that usually isn’t the case.
7. Homework is difficult to enforce. Some students just don’t care about homework. They can achieve adequate grades without doing it, so they choose not to do it. There is no level of motivation that a parent or teacher can create that inspires some students to get involved with homework. There is no denying the fact that homework requires a certain amount of effort. Sometimes a child just doesn’t want to put in that effort.
8. Extra time in school does not equate to better grades. Students in the US spend more than 100 hours of extra time in school already compared to high-performing countries around the world, but that has not closed the educational gap between those countries and the United States. In some educational areas, the US is even falling in global rankings despite the extra time that students are spending in school. When it comes to homework or any other form of learning, quality is much more important than quantity.
9. Accurate practice may not be possible. If homework is assigned, there is a reliance on the student, their parents, or their guardians to locate resources that can help them understand the content. Homework is often about practice, but if the core concepts of that information are not understood or inaccurately understood, then the results are the opposite of what is intended. If inaccurate practice is performed, it becomes necessary for the teacher to first correct the issue and then reteach it, which prolongs the learning process.
10. It may encourage cheating on multiple levels. Some students may decide that cheating in the classroom to avoid taking homework home is a compromise they’re willing to make. With internet resources, finding the answers to homework instead of figuring out the answers on one’s own is a constant temptation as well. For families with multiple children, they may decide to copy off one another to minimize the time investment.
11. Too much homework is often assigned to students. There is a general agreement that students should be assigned no more than 10 minutes of homework per day, per grade level. That means a first grader should not be assigned more than 10 minutes of homework per night. Yet for the average first grader in US public schools, they come home with 20 minutes of homework and then are asked to complete 20 minutes of reading on top of that. That means some students are completing 4x more homework than recommended every night.
At the same time, the amount of time children spent playing outdoors has decreased by 40% over the past 30 years.
For high school students, it is even worse at high performing schools in the US where 90% of graduates go onto college, the average amount of homework assigned per night was 3 hours per student.
12. Homework is often geared toward benchmarks. Homework is often assigned to improve test scores. Although this can provide positive outcomes, including better study skills or habits, the fact is that when children are tired, they do not absorb much information. When children have more homework than recommended, test scores actually go down. Stress levels go up. Burnout on the curriculum occurs.
The results for many students, according to research from Ruben Fernandez-Alonso in the Journal of Educational Psychology, is a decrease in grades instead of an increase.
The pros and cons of homework are admittedly all over the map. Many parents and teachers follow their personal perspectives and create learning environments around them. When parents and teachers clash on homework, the student is often left in the middle of that tug of war. By discussing these key points, each side can work to find some common ground so our children can benefit for a clear, precise message.
Quantity may be important, but quality must be the priority for homework if a student is going to be successful.
Why I Think All Schools Should Abolish Homework
H ow long is your child’s workweek? Thirty hours? Forty? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime. Even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars, the daily homework slog keeps many students on the clock as long as lawyers, teachers, medical residents, truck drivers and other overworked adults. Is it any wonder that,deprived of the labor protections that we provide adults, our kids are suffering an epidemic of disengagement, anxiety and depression ?
With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p.m. only to face hours more of homework. Now, even as a senior with a moderate course load, my son, Zak, has spent many weekends studying, finding little time for the exercise and fresh air essential to his well-being. Week after week, and without any extracurriculars, Zak logs a lot more than the 40 hours adults traditionally work each week — and with no recognition from his “bosses” that it’s too much. I can’t count the number of shared evenings, weekend outings and dinners that our family has missed and will never get back.
How much after-school time should our schools really own?
In the midst of the madness last fall, Zak said to me, “I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living.”
My spirit crumbled along with his.
Like Zak, many people are now questioning the point of putting so much demand on children and teens that they become thinly stretched and overworked. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”
In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.
Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning . Even top adult professionals in specialized fields take care to limit their work to concentrated periods of focus. A landmark study of how humans develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day .
Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. American high school students , in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found.
It’s time for an uprising.
Already, small rebellions are starting. High schools in Ridgewood, N.J. , and Fairfax County, Va., among others, have banned homework over school breaks. The entire second grade at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Va., abolished homework this academic year. Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette, Calif., has eliminated homework in grades K through 4. Henry West Laboratory School , a public K-8 school in Coral Gables, Fla., eliminated mandatory, graded homework for optional assignments. One Lexington, Mass., elementary school is piloting a homework-free year, replacing it with reading for pleasure.
More from TIME
Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. And a second-grade teacher in Texas, made headlines this fall when she quit sending home extra work , instead urging families to “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.”
It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell. Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children.
Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife. Mike Miller, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., found this out firsthand when he spearheaded a homework committee to rethink the usual approach. He had read the education research and found a forgotten policy on the county books limiting homework to two hours a night, total, including all classes. “I thought it would be a slam dunk” to put the two-hour cap firmly in place, Miller said.
But immediately, people started balking. “There was a lot of fear in the community,” Miller said. “It’s like jumping off a high dive with your kids’ future. If we reduce homework to two hours or less, is my kid really going to be okay?” In the end, the committee only agreed to a homework ban over school breaks.
Miller’s response is a great model for us all. He decided to limit assignments in his own class to 20 minutes a night (the most allowed for a student with six classes to hit the two-hour max). His students didn’t suddenly fail. Their test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work.
That’s the way we will get to a sane work schedule for kids: by simultaneously pursuing changes big and small. Even as we collaboratively press for policy changes at the district or individual school level, all teachers can act now, as individuals, to ease the strain on overworked kids.
As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.
We’ll know our work is done only when Zak and every other child can clock out, eat dinner, sleep well and stay healthy — the very things needed to engage and learn deeply. That’s the basic standard the law applies to working adults. Let’s do the same for our kids.
Vicki Abeles is the author of the bestseller Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, and director and producer of the documentaries “ Race to Nowhere ” and “ Beyond Measure. ”
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Is homework beneficial? The pros and cons of homework for kids.
It’s a question that looms as large as any other in the education world. Alongside standardized testing, charter schools, and other topics of vigorous debate in headlines and classrooms alike: there’s no denying that homework is a hot-button issue.
With vocal, informed advocates both for and against homework as a part of the daily academic routine, who’s right here? Is homework actually beneficial for kids? And based on that answer, is it necessary?
It’s not just about achievement, test scores, and readiness for college and careers. Homework’s impact on kids’ mental health and non-academic skills also must be closely examined.
Then there’s the sheer amount of it in some schools. As kids juggle enrichment activities , jobs, and family time, many parents are asking how much homework is too much homework.
Pros & Cons of Homework
Let’s dive into each of these critical questions. Don’t worry, we did our homework on this.
In general, homework is beneficial because it could instill independence, improve time management, and encourage critical thinking. Homework can also lead to higher test scores, while giving parents at home a window into life at school.
Pros of homework in schools
1. Research correlates homework with higher academic success for secondary students.
Duke University analyzed findings from 60 homework-related research studies and found statistically significant evidence that middle and high school students who complete homework regularly will score higher on tests and earn better grades than those who do not.
2. Experts actually agree on the right amount of homework
The “ 10-minute rule ” is widely accepted as the best measurement of homework in terms of quantity. It goes like this: in 1st grade, kids should have 10 minutes of homework, 20 minutes in 2nd grade, and so on until about 2 hours of homework in 12th grade.
Among many educational experts, the National PTA and National Education Association (parents and teachers) agree that, if these length guidelines are followed, homework benefits students.
3. Homework gives families a valuable window into life at school
It can help parents and families support their children in multiple ways. Homework offers a tangible snapshot into what (and how) kids are learning, allowing parents to engage with their children in meaningful conversations about school.
Points of success and confusion, furthermore, can help parents identify learning needs that need special attention, like gifted and talented programs, special education services, or custom academic support.
4. High quality homework assignments enrich students’ learning
There is well-documented evidence that, when designed correctly, homework enriches students’ engagement with academic material.
- Overall literacy increases when students are assigned choice reading.
- Math skills increase with independent practice, and technology can help .
-Across disciplines, effective homework assignments increase students’ retrieval abilities , aka the ability to remember information and reapply skills on their own.
-Effective homework assignments are a logical extension of the “ I do/we do/ you do ” teaching model, a widely accepted best practice across disciplines.
5. A solid homework routine helps kids develop life skills
The Duke study mentioned earlier also found that students build important skills like conscientiousness, time management, organization, and prioritization by doing their homework.
There’s no doubt about it: kids will need these skills in college, future careers, and to lead balanced, happy lives. By managing homework responsibilities, kids can build vital skill sets like a “ growth mindset ,” Stephen Covey’s widely lauded 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids & Teens , and the grit necessary to persevere through challenges .
Cons of Homework in Schools
On the other hand, too much homework can be counterproductive, and there is a lack of evidence around homework's benefit at the elementary level. Homework can also increase student (and parent) stress, while exacerbating the achievement gap between privileged and disadvantaged students.
1. Too much homework is detrimental to students and counterproductive to learning
A “more is more” attitude is demonstrably unhelpful and unfounded in the homework conversation.
It’s easier said than done to hit that 10-minute sweet spot across grade levels, and missing the mark is detrimental to students. In fact, studies show that too much homework can undo learning in addition causing mental health issues , which is damaging to children in and outside the classroom.
2. There is a lack of evidence surrounding homework at the elementary level
Educational research has yet to successfully demonstrate a tie between homework and academic success in elementary school .
This raises important questions and concerns about the efficacy of homework for young students. Key among them is the worry that dreading homework from an early age will negatively impact attitudes towards school and learning for years to come.
3. Homework, especially tasks that require/benefit from technology, exacerbates achievement gaps between privileged and disadvantaged students
Think about it. Successful homework completion hinges on things not all students have: quiet, safe space at home, ample school supplies, time after school not spent working/ caring for younger siblings, and internet access (not only for online homework , but research, and more).
The list goes on, so why does the homework brush treat students of all backgrounds the same?
Plus, teachers and other school leaders who make decisions regarding homework don’t always understand or adequately weigh these factors. As a result, homework might perpetuate the problematic inequalities that exist in K-12 education.
4. Homework routines increase stress for the whole family
Many families dread “the homework battle,” and with good reason. Not all parents have the knowledge, time, or (frankly) patience to be homework monitors, and not all students have the self-regulatory skills to do so themselves.
And then comes the deluge of distractions.
Getting those under control is like a miserable game of whack-a-mole for families and students alike. According to a recent poll , 80% of parents identify distractibility as the #1 detractor from successful homework completion.
The sheer number of distractors (social media, games, apps, texting) that will always be more fun than kids’ science homework just seems to keep growing. It’s undoubtedly challenging and stressful to deal with these, especially when the homework battle usurps quality time together.
Considerations for Elementary School
There are specific pros and cons of homework in elementary school that are worth reviewing separately here. Like I mentioned, it’s worth noting that research is limited regarding the benefits of homework in grades K-4. And for many, “preparation for secondary school” isn’t a sufficient reason in and of itself to incorporate it into elementary grades. Throw in the research about how much kids learn through play at this age, and it’s certainly worth asking if homework is worth it for younger kids.
That said, the advised amount of time for elementary school kids should be 10 minutes maximum in 1st grade, 40 minutes at maximum in 4th grade, which should not be a challenge for most kids. The question becomes what skills a homework routine adds into the school routine, just as much as what kind of assignments youngsters receive.
Considerations for High School
Kids get increasingly busy in secondary grades (as any parent knows), so the pros and cons of homework in high school become a part of an increasingly complex schedule equation.
Juggling academics, sports, jobs, and other extracurricular activities is no easy feat, and there can seem to be too few hours in a day to get it all done. That feeling already causes stress for many teens, adding to the mental health challenges they often face at this age.
So, what are the benefits of homework in middle school onwards? Research correlates a regular homework routine with increased long-term academic success. Middle and high school are developmentally critical in cognitive growth; critical thinking, planning, executive functioning, and judgement can all be supported by quality homework routine. College and career-bound kids learn all kinds of valuable life skills, and it’s an important opportunity to practice the academic skills that become increasingly applicable in real life.
The bottoms line is: at this age, balance matters more than ever.
My take on just how beneficial & necessary homework is:
If I didn’t take a stance here, my former students would rightly point out I’m not taking my own advice (and wouldn’t pass the rubric I used to assess their writing).
Based on the existing evidence and personal experience, my take is this: academically enriching, developmentally appropriate homework is beneficial to students on the whole.
I also think there is a lot of work to be done to realize these benefits. The evidence clearly demonstrates that excessive or arbitrary homework assignments do more harm than good.
If homework is here to stay, schools need to get to work in improving its quality, implementation, and constant evaluation within the education community. Families need to get involved and step up at-home support.
It’s past time to tackle the inequalities the homework issue exposes in public schools among other the many challenges outlined above. It is the responsibility of teachers, students, families, and their school communities to navigate these challenges and maximize positive outcomes for kids.
So what’s next?
Glad you asked! A lot needs to happen to make homework actually work for students, so I’ll focus on what’s within reach for action steps. Here are a few recommendations:
Advocate for quality homework assignments. This needs to be a part of teacher training and professional development as well as ongoing conversations between families and schools. These could well be tough conversations, but they’re well worth having.
Talk with your student and school professionals about kids’ mental health. In my opinion, this is as important a conversation as any in schools, but it isn’t currently given the time and attention it deserves—not even close. Reach out to your child’s school to get the ball rolling if needed!
Ask for help! Seriously, don’t be shy. Teachers and other school professionals can’t drive to your house and supervise homework time themselves, but most would be happy to provide advice and/or resources. They know your child too and can add valuable insight into their needs.
Encourage learning outside of school AND beyond homework worksheets. Seemingly endless/excessive practice of anything will inevitably lead to kids feeling discouraged. Revitalize learning for the whole family with a fun read, interesting documentary, or trip to a museum or park.
It’s our mission at iD Tech to help kids thrive, and we love sharing insights with our community along the way to achieving that mission!
For more resources, check out our recent posts on Zoom school etiquette and safety and goal-setting strategies for kids .
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Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.
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All references to "us," "we," or "our" refer to iD Tech/internalDrive, Inc.
All references to "child" or "children" refer to children under the age of 13.
By accessing or otherwise using any of our iD Sites & Services, you consent to the terms contained in this privacy statement, including the collection, use, and disclosure of data as described below.
I. Information We May Ask You To Provide
Through our iD Sites & Services, we collect information about you and/or your student when you choose to provide it to us. For example, we collect information from you so you can use iD Sites & Services, purchase products and services, register for and obtain an account, request information, apply for a job, register for one of our programs, or verify your age. In general, we may ask you to provide us with the following types of information about you and/your student:
- Contact information such as name, email address, mailing address, phone numbers (note to parents/guardians of children: if we have actual knowledge that a user is under 13 years old, the child will be asked to have their parent or guardian continue the registration process);
- Month, day, and year of birth;
- Gender preference;
- Course interests;
- Billing information such as credit card number and billing address;
- User names to third-party systems (for example, Facebook);
- Information provided on forums or chat rooms within our iD Sites & Services (note to parents/guardians of children: forums and chat rooms permit a child user to enter comments through which the child could provide personal information that would be visible to other users);
- Information included in résumés and job applications; and
- Health, any participation limitations or needs, immunization and allergy information.
iD Sites & Services do not recognize “Do Not Track” headers or similar mechanisms.
When we interact with you through our content on third-party websites, applications, integrations or platforms, we may obtain any information regarding your interaction with that content, such as content you have viewed, and information about advertisements within the content you have been shown or may have clicked on. Information from Third Party Services We may also obtain other information, including personal information, from third parties and combine that with information we collect through our Websites. For example, we may have access to certain information from a third-party social media or authentication service if you log in to our Services through such a service or otherwise provide us with access to information from the service. Any access that we may have to such information from a third-party social media or authentication service is in accordance with the authorization procedures determined by that service. If you authorize us to connect with a third-party service, we will access and store your name, email address(es), current city, profile picture URL, and other personal information that the third party service makes available to us, and use and disclose it in accordance with this Policy. You should check your privacy settings on these third-party services to understand and change the information sent to us through these services. For example, you can log in to the Services using single sign-in services such as Facebook Connect or an Open ID provider.
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. Check the “Tools” or “Help” tab on your browser to learn how to change your cookie and other tracking preferences.
If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the functions of iD Sites & Services and/or some of our services will function improperly, in particular the inability to log in or manage items in your shopping cart. We do not share cookie data with any third parties. IV. How We May Use Your Information We may use the information we collect from and about you and/or your student for any of the following purposes:
- Allow you to register yourself or your student with iD Sites & Services, or to otherwise register and open an account with us;
- Allow you and/or your student to use iD Sites & Services;
- Fulfill orders, process payments, and prevent transactional fraud;
- Respond to your or your student’s requests or inquiries;
- Provide you or your student with information about our products and services;
- Consider you for employment or a volunteer opportunity;
- Register you or your student in one of our programs;
- Verify your student's age;
- Monitor and improve iD Sites & Services, support the internal operations of iD Sites & Services, personalize your online experience, and for internal analysis;
- Protect the security or integrity of iD Sites & Services and our business;
- Facilitate the sale or potential sale of our business or any of our assets; or
- As required by law.
V. How We Share Information We do not sell or otherwise share your or your student’s information with any third parties, except for the limited purposes described below. Parents/guardians of children under the age of 13 have the option of consenting to the collection and use of their child's personal information without consenting to the disclosure of that information to certain third parties.
1. Law Enforcement And Safety
We may access, preserve, and/or disclose the information we collect and/or content you and/or your student/child provides to us (including information posted on our forums) to a law enforcement agency or other third parties if required to do so by law or with a good faith belief that such access, preservation, or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (i) comply with legal process; (ii) enforce the Terms and Conditions of iD Sites & Services; (iii) respond to claims that the content violates the rights of third parties; or (iv) protect the rights, property, or personal safety of the owners or users of iD Sites & Services, a third party, or the general public. We also may disclose information whenever we believe disclosure is necessary to limit our legal liability; to protect or defend our rights or property; or protect the safety, rights, or property of others. 2. Service Providers; Colleges and Universities Information collected through iD Sites & Services may be transferred, disclosed, or shared with third parties engaged by us to handle and deliver certain activities, such as housing, meals, payment processing, mail/email distribution, software providers, and to perform other technical and processing functions, such as maintaining data integrity, programming operations, user services, or technology services. We may provide these third parties’ information collected as needed to perform their functions, but they are prohibited from using it for other purposes and specifically agree to maintain the confidentiality of such information. Some of these providers, such as payment processors, may request additional information during the course of offering their services. Before you provide additional information to third-party providers, we encourage you to review their privacy policies and information collection practices. 3. Business Transfer During the normal course of our business, we may sell or purchase assets. If another entity may acquire and/or acquires us or any of our assets, information we have collected about you may be transferred to such entity. In addition, if any bankruptcy or reorganization proceeding is brought by or against us, such information may be considered an asset of ours and may be sold or transferred to third parties. Should a sale or transfer occur, we will use reasonable efforts to try to require that the transferee use personal information provided through our iD Sites & Services in a manner that is consistent with this privacy statement. VI. Our Commitment To Children’s Privacy Protecting the privacy of children is paramount. We understand that users and visitors of our iD Sites & Services who are under 13 years of age need special safeguards and privacy protection. It is our intent to fully comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Our iD Sites & Services are intended for general audiences. We do not knowingly permit anyone under 13 years of age to provide us with personal information without obtaining a parent's or guardian’s verifiable consent, except where:
- the sole purpose of collecting the name or online contact information of a parent or child is to provide notice and obtain parental consent;
- the purpose of collecting a parent’s online contact information is to provide voluntary notice to, and subsequently update the parent about, the child’s participation in our iD Sites & Services that do not otherwise collect, use, or disclose childrens' personal information;
- the sole purpose of collecting online contact information from a child is to respond directly on a one-time basis to a specific request from the child, and where such information is not used to re-contact the child or for any other purpose, is not disclosed, and is deleted by us promptly after responding to the child’s request;
- the purpose of collecting a child’s and a parent’s online contact information is to respond directly more than once to the child’s specific request, and where such information is not used for any other purpose, disclosed, or combined with any other information collected from the child;
- the purpose of collecting a child’s and a parent’s name and online contact information, is to protect the safety of a child, and where such information is not used or disclosed for any purpose unrelated to the child’s safety;
- we collect a persistent identifier and no other personal information and such identifier is used for the sole purpose of providing support for the internal operations of iD Sites & Services; or
- otherwise permitted or required by law.
If we receive the verifiable consent of a child's parent or guardian to collect, use, and/or disclose the child's information, we will only collect, use, and disclose the information as described in this privacy statement. Some features of our iD Sites & Services permit a child user to enter comments, such as forums and chat rooms, through which the child could provide personal information that would be visible to other users. If you are the parent or guardian of a child user, please advise your child of the risks of posting personal information on this iD Sites & Services or any other site. VII. Parental/Guardian Rights If you are a parent or guardian, you can review or have deleted your child's personal information, and refuse to permit further collection or use of your child's information. To exercise any of these rights, please email us at [email protected] or send your request to:
iD Tech ∙ PO Box 111720 ∙ Campbell, CA 950011 Client Service Toll Free Number: 1-888-709-8324
VIII. Restrictions On Child Users Children under 13 years of age are prevented from accessing areas of iD Sites & Services which include, but are not restricted to, client account information, unless approved by their parent or guardian and any course content defined as age inappropriate by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). IX. Forums And Chats We may offer forums and chat rooms. Please be aware that anyone may read postings on a forum or in a chat room. Furthermore, any information which is posted to a forum or chat room could include personal information, which would be disclosed and available to all users of that forum or chat room, and is therefore no longer private. We cannot guarantee the security of information that any user discloses or communicates online in public areas such as forums and chat rooms. Those who do so, do so at their own risk. We reserve the right to monitor the content of the forums and chat rooms. If age-inappropriate content or potentially identifiable information is seen, it may be removed or edited by us for security, privacy, and/or legal reasons. We will not republish postings from forums or chat rooms anywhere on the Web. X. Links And Third Parties
At our discretion, we may include or offer third-party websites, products, and services on iD Sites & Services. These third-party sites, products, and services have separate and independent privacy policies. You should consult the respective privacy policies of these third parties. We have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of linked sites, products, or services.
Our iD Sites & Services may contain links to other third-party websites, chat rooms, or other resources that we provide for your convenience. These sites are not under our control, and we are not responsible for the content available on other sites. Such links do not imply any endorsement of material on our part and we expressly disclaim all liability with regard to your access to such sites. Access to any other websites linked to from iD Sites & Services is at your own risk.
XI. Legal Basis for processing Personal Data and Your Data Protection Rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), iD Tech’s legal basis for collecting and using your personal information as described in this policy depends on the personal Data we collect and the context in which we collect it. ID Tech may process your personal data:
- To provide the services which you requested or purchased;
- Because you have given us permission to do so;
- To provide you with better services, including conducting audits and data analysis;
- For payment processing;
- For marketing; and
- To comply with the law
You have certain data protection rights. iD Tech aims to take reasonable steps to allow you to correct, amend, delete or limit the use of your Personal Data.
If you wish to be informed about what Personal Data we hold about you and if you want it to be removed from our systems, please contact us at [email protected] .
In certain circumstances, you have the following data protection rights:
- The right to access, update, or delete the information we have on you. Whenever made possible, you can access, update, or request deletion of your Personal Data directly within your account settings section. If you are unable to perform these actions yourself, please contact us to assist you.
- The right to have your information corrected if that information is inaccurate or incomplete.
- The right to object. You have the right to object to our processing of your Personal Data.
- The right of restriction. You have the right to request that we restrict the processing of your personal information.
- The right to data portability. You have the right to be provided with a copy of the information we have on you in a structured, machine-readable, and commonly used format.
- The right to withdraw consent. You also have the right to withdraw your consent at any time where iD Tech relied on your consent to process your personal information.
Please note that we may ask you to verify your identity before responding to such requests.
You have the right to complain to a Data Protection Authority about our collection and use of your Personal Data. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the European Economic Area (EEA). XII. International Visitors (non GDPR Locations) Our iD Sites & Services are operated and managed on servers located in the United States. If you choose to use our iD Sites & Services from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and uses that differ from the United States, then you recognize and agree that you are transferring your personal information outside of those regions to the United States and you consent to that transfer. XIII. Data Security Commitment To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place reasonable physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect. We also use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol on your account information and registration pages to protect sensitive personal information. Sensitive data is encrypted on our iD Sites & Services and when stored on the servers.
XIV. How You Can Access, Request A Copy, Correct, Or Ask For Information To Be Deleted Access to certain personal Information that is collected from our Services and that we maintain may be available to you. For example, if you created a password-protected account within our Service, you can access that account to review the information you provided.
If you have signed up to receive text messages from us and no longer wish to receive such messages, you may call or email us at the address provided below. Please provide your name, account email, and the number(s) you want removed. Email: [email protected] Phone: 1-888-709-8324 XVI. Terms And Conditions Your use of our iD Sites & Services and any information you provide on our iD Sites & Services are subject to the terms of the internalDrive, Inc. (referred to as “iD Tech”) Terms and Conditions. XVII. Privacy Statement Changes We will occasionally amend this privacy statement. We reserve the right to change, modify, add, or remove portions of this statement at any time. If we materially change our use of your personal information, we will announce such a change on relevant iD Sites & Services and will also note it in this privacy statement. The effective date of this privacy statement is documented at the beginning of the statement. If you have any questions about our privacy statement, please contact us in writing at [email protected] or by mail at PO Box 111720, Campbell, CA 95011. XVIII. Your Credit Card Information And Transactions For your convenience, you may have us bill you or you can pay for your orders by credit card. If you choose to pay by credit card, we will keep your credit card information on file, but we do not display that information at the online registration site. For your security, your credit card security number is not stored in our system.
We use state-of-the-art Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology to safeguard and protect your personal information and transactions over the Internet. Your information, including your credit card information, is encrypted and cannot be read as it travels over the Internet. XIX. Social Networking Disclaimer iD Tech provides several opportunities for social networking for both participants and staff on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. These sites are not affiliated with iD Tech and offer their own individual social networking services. Please read the following Terms and Conditions carefully, as well as the Terms and Conditions of the sites in which iD Tech has created a forum ("Group"). These Terms and Conditions are a legal agreement between you and iD Tech and apply to you whether you are a visitor to these sites or any site with an official iD Tech affiliation. iD Tech is a member of several pre-existing sites (as mentioned above). There may be, however, portions of www.iDTech.com that include areas where participants can post submissions. Any of the above-mentioned "Sites" (or other similar sites) have their own distinct rules and regulations. iD Tech reserves the right to take action to remove any content deemed inappropriate by the sites or by iD Tech standards. iD Tech will not be held liable for any loss of content or disagreements that may arise between the individual social networking site and the user. You understand that by registering for an iD Tech program, your participant(s) may access and upload content to social networking sites. In order to access certain features of the social networking sites or pages on iDTech.com, and to post Member Submissions, the majority of these sites require that the user open an account with them. Please note that these sites have their own individual Terms and Conditions that must be followed. Age requirements are outlined within each Site's Terms and Conditions. You hereby authorize your participant to access social networking sites while at camp and create an account if they choose to do so and if they meet the requirements listed by each site to create an account. Interaction with other users:
- iD Tech is merely providing a medium in which to socialize online with fellow participants. Users are solely responsible for interactions (including any disputes) with other Members and any volunteers that may advise and assist participants with projects and activities via your use of the iD Site & Services.
- You understand that iD Tech does not in any way screen Members or review or police: (i) statements made by Members in their Member Submissions or the Member Submissions in general; or (ii) statements made by Users or any information a User may provide via the iD Site & Services.
- You understand that your participant(s) is solely responsible for, and will exercise caution, discretion, common sense, and judgment in using the various iD Sites & Services and disclosing personal information to other Members or Users.
- On behalf of your participant(s), you agree that they will take reasonable precautions in all interactions with other Members, particularly if they decide to meet a Member offline or in person.
- Your participant's use of the social networking sites with which iD Tech is affiliated, their services, and/or Content and Member Submissions, is at your sole risk and discretion and iD Tech hereby disclaims any and all liability to you or any third party relating thereto.
- On behalf of your participant(s), you agree that they will not harass, threaten, intimidate, bully, stalk, or invade the privacy of any individual in connection with your use of the social networking sites with which iD Tech is affiliated and their services, whether or not an individual is an iD Tech Member; and you further agree not to advocate such activities or to encourage others to engage in any such activities.
- On behalf of your participant(s), you agree they will not give their social networking information to an iD Tech staff member.
- You and your participant(s) should also be aware that under no circumstances are iD Tech employees allowed to give personal contact information for social networking sites. This must be arranged by the participant's parent/guardian through the People Services Department.
iD Tech Terms & Conditions
Id tech general terms & conditions publish date: october 26, 2023.
These Terms and Conditions apply to all pages found at www.idtech.com and all Programs operated by internalDrive, Inc. (referred to as "iD Tech") including but not limited to iD Tech In-Person programs and iD Tech Online Programs. These terms apply to all lessons, classes, courses, and options offered by iD Tech (hereinafter referred to individually as “Program” or collectively “Programs”).
Online Programs: If you are purchasing, or you or your student is participating in an Online Program you also agree on your own behalf and on behalf of your student, to be bound by the additional terms and conditions found HERE .
On-Campus Programs: If you are purchasing, or you or your student is participating in, an On-Campus Program, you also agree on your own behalf and on behalf of your student to be bound by the additional terms and conditions found HERE .
I. Code of Conduct
To promote the best learning environment possible, all students and parents will be held to this Code of Conduct. Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct or engaging in actions or attitudes that seem to be harmful to the atmosphere, other participants, or staff, in the opinion of iD Tech can lead to removal from a Program or Program(s). iD Tech reserves the right to dismiss students from a Program and prevent a student from attending additional Programs without any prior warning for (1) violating any of the terms of this code of conduct, or (2) if iD Tech determines that a Program is not a suitable and/or productive environment for a student (this includes incidents in which a student does not have sufficient English language skills to participate in the Program; participation in courses requires a high level of English understanding). Refunds will not be given for students dismissed for failure of the student or the parent to abide by the Code of Conduct, or if it is determined that a Program is not suitable for a student. While iD Tech strives to maintain excellent relationships with students, in some rare cases, we may determine that iD Tech is not a compatible environment for every student.
Students and parents/guardians may NEVER:
- Disrupt, bully, intimidate, or harass others;
- Use inappropriate language (for example, students cannot use of swear or curse words, racial, gendered, homophobic/transphobic, stereotypical, or culturally insensitive words, even if done in a joking manner);
- View, display or post any inappropriate material (including sexual content, material depicting inappropriate violence, racism, bullying, etc.) during a Program;
- Share Program information (including lesson plans, etc.) with third-parties, without permission from iD Tech;
- Impersonate another person; or
- Contact instructors outside of the Program.
Students also may NEVER:
- Engage in Internet hacking;
- Create an account on or log into third-party websites without the permission of their instructor;
- Use false information to create an account on or log into third-party websites;
- Share personal information with staff members or ask staff members for their personal information;
- Share or create video or audio recordings of iD Tech staff or another student without the permission of iD Tech.
Students and parents/guardians MUST:
- Follow directions/instructions of iD Tech personnel;
- If online, ensure the student attends the Program in an appropriate, private setting;
- Dress appropriately during the Program;
- Only share material that is related to lessons and appropriate.
II. Age Policy
iD Tech offers Programs for students ages 7-19. Therefore, students may interact and/or room with a student that is within this age range including 18 or 19 years old. Please note the age range of the Program being registered for.
If a student is 18 or 19 years old and participating in an On-Campus Program, they must successfully pass a criminal and sexual offender background check prior to being allowed to attend. Clients are responsible for all costs and fees associated with any background checks required for a student to attend.
III. Special Accommodations
If a student requires an accommodation to participate, or needs an aid to attend in an iD Tech Program, a parent/guardian must call iD Tech at 1-888-709-8324, no less than three weeks prior to your student’s first day of the Program to make needed arrangements.
If a student requires an aide to participate in an iD Tech Program, the aide must be age 18 or older, may not be a family member, and if it is an On -Campus Program, the aide must successfully pass a criminal and sexual offender background check prior ro being allowed to attend with the student. Aides may also be subject to fingerprinting. Clients are responsible for all direct costs, including background check processing fees, parking, and compensation for the aide’s attendance.
IV. Payment Policy
- Unless otherwise noted, all financial transactions are made and quoted in U.S. Dollars.
- All Payment Plan Fees, fees paid for Online Programs, and the $250 per week deposit for On-Campus Programs are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
- Other than if iD Tech needs to cancel a class, there are no refunds, credits or replacement days for classes missed. If iD Tech needs to cancel a class, iD Tech will either provide you a pro rata credit or reschedule the canceled class(es).
- If iD Tech cancels an entire Program for any reason, the fees paid for the Program will be refunded, less the non-refundable fees, as set out above. Non-refundable fees (other than the Payment Plan Fee, if any) will remain in your account as a fully transferable credit that is valid for three (3) years.
- iD Tech has the right to charge a $25 late fee on any payments not paid by the due date. For balances that are over 30 (thirty) days past due, iD Tech has the right to charge a 1% monthly finance charge and send the balance to a collection agency for collection (collection agency and legal fees may apply).
- All fees (registration, administrative, late, etc.) must be paid prior to the start of a Program, unless a payment plan has been agreed to. Students will be withdrawn from a Program if the Program has not been paid in full prior to the start of the Program, or if at any time a payment is not paid by the due date. No refunds, credits, or make-up classes will be provided if a session is missed due to a delinquent payment.
- By agreeing to a subscription or payment plan, you are authorizing iD Tech to auto charge the credit card on file as agreed at the time of purchase and as set out in My Account.
- A $35 returned check fee will be assessed for any checks returned or card transactions that are not honored.
V. Reservation Changes
To provide outstanding Programs, we may have to limit your ability to make changes (such as registering for a different course or changing attendance dates) and/or cancel a Program. Please reference the Terms and Conditions for specific Programs (linked above) for the rules and restrictions for changes and cancellations for that Program.
VI. Promotions and Discounts
Promotional discounts are limited to one discount per student. There may be other limitations as to how they apply, and codes must be submitted at the time of registration. iD Tech will not honor retroactive adjustments, and the total discounts received cannot exceed the total cost of the products purchased.
The Refer-a-Friend Program is a voluntary Program that applies to Small Group Classes and In-Person Programs.
- Each Referral Code can be used a maximum of 10 times. The code can only be used by students attending iD Tech for the first time (may be limited to certain Programs) and must be applied at the time of registration.
- A tuition credit will be given for each new student that registers for an In-Person Program or Small Group Class using a referral code and attends the course for which they registered.
- The Refer-a-Friend Program does not apply to siblings.
- Students may not refer each other to both qualify for the Refer-a-Friend Discount.
- Tuition credit will be applied after the referred client registers, pays in full and attends the Program. If the referred friend cancels his/her Program, the credit will be removed, and you will be responsible for any account balance that is created as a result of the lost credit.
- All tuition credits must be used in the Program term in which they are earned, can be used to offset Program tuition and other fees incurred, but do not entitle you to any form of payment.
- Tuition credits have no cash value.
All certificates/vouchers are non-refundable, non-transferable, and not redeemable for cash. Certificates/vouchers must be redeemed at the time of registration. Certificates/vouchers are valid until the specified expiration date, without exception. They are valid for up to the amount issued, and any amounts not used are forfeited.
VIII. General Releases
- Media Release: As a condition of participation, you authorize iD Tech and its partners to take photos, videos, images, audio, and testimonials of and/or from you and your student and agree that said content may be used by iD Tech in promotional materials, marketing collateral, and online media. These images, testimonials, photos, videos, and audio may be shared and used by corporate partners, the media, or other organizations that work with iD Tech. You also agree that all projects and work created by your student during an iD Tech Program may be used by iD Tech in promotional materials, online, and other print media, and may be shared and used by corporate partners, the media, or other organizations that work with iD Tech. You understand that iD Tech, its owners, agents, partners, facility providers, and employees will not be held liable for damages and injuries associated with use of any content released herein, including any and all claims based on negligence. You agree that all images, testimonials, photos, video, and audio taken at or in connection with an iD Tech Program are the sole and exclusive property of iD Tech, and that iD Tech has a royalty-free, perpetual license to use copies of all student work and projects created at an iD Tech Program.
- Name and Likeness Release: As a condition of participation, you authorize iD Tech and the press to use your student's full name and likeness in print, radio, TV, and other mediums.
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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?
Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.
Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.
The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.
The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.
However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.
Small Benefits for Elementary Students
As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).
For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.
Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students
As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).
There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”
In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :
- How long will it take to complete?
- Have all learners been considered?
- Will an assignment encourage future success?
- Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
- Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?
More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well
By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).
Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.
Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.
Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.
Parents Play a Key Role
Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.
But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.
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Homework doesn't align with our family values. Here's how I explain that to teachers and my kids.
- I think there are more meaningful ways to spend the after school hours.
- I typically tell teachers that our family won't be completing homework.
- Sometimes, my fourth grader still wants to do the assignments.
Despite my best efforts to avoid over-scheduling my family, our weekday calendars are full. My daughters, in kindergarten and fourth grade, do horse riding , swim lessons , and soccer. I have powerlifting two evenings a week. As we run out the door to those activities, our dog looks at us longingly with his leash in his mouth, so we try to squeeze in walks with him.
All of that leaves very little time for homework . This is why I've decided that in our family, homework is strictly optional and sometimes downright discouraged.
The hours between after school and bedtime are so limited. My girls get home at about 3:45 p.m. and are off to bed by 6:30 p.m. Factor in dinner time, I have only two hours to offer them the after-school enrichment that most aligns with our family values.
Homework simply doesn't make the cut.
My daughter is supposed to do about 40 minutes of homework each night
It's important to acknowledge that my district doesn't give much homework in elementary school. My fourth grader is expected to do 20 minutes of reading and 10 minutes each for math facts and penmanship. Gone are the endless worksheets that I remember from school.
And yet, 40 minutes is a huge chunk of our afternoons together. Reading, math, and penmanship are important, but practicing them happens organically throughout our day — when we talk about money skills together or pen a letter to their grandparents.
Rather than sitting down at a desk for 40 minutes, I'd prefer my girls gain confidence and safety skills in the water, contribute to their community by doing barn chores, or just be silly outside in the fresh air.
I sent teachers an email saying we wouldn't be doing homework
I spoke to my daughter's teachers about homework in second grade when I first felt the pressure to choose between homework, after-school activities, and getting the kids to get on time.
I kept it straightforward and sent the teacher an email: "Our schedules make homework challenging, so my daughter will not be completing the weekly assignments. We'll continue to practice math and reading at home. Please let me know if you have any concerns about this now or in the future."
Neither that teacher nor the one after had any worries. I got the impression that their beliefs aligned with mine: there were many ways to learn in the afternoons, and not all of them were academic. As long as the lack of homework wasn't impacting my daughter in the classroom, skipping it was ok.
This year, we're doing more homework than ever before
This year, my approach to homework has been challenged, and I've been reminded that nothing is black and white. My kindergartener is in speech therapy and regularly has "homework" assignments from her therapist. Those go to the top of our priority list — not only does she love doing the exercises, but there's a clear benefit that we can hear with our own ears.
More surprisingly, my fourth grader has decided she's devoted to homework. Just like I was, she's a bit of a teacher's pet and gets genuine satisfaction from the check mark she receives on each assignment. I have no problem with her doing her homework for fun, as long as it's not coming at the expense of more important things, like sleep, outdoor time, and hobbies.
Recently she explained she was going to wake up extra early to complete her reading assignment for the day. I just raised an eyebrow and said, "You know you really don't have to do that, right?"
I'm not sure how we'll handle homework as she moves into middle, then high school. For now, we're taking a laid-back approach.
15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons
Homework was a staple of the public and private schooling experience for many of us growing up. There were long nights spent on book reports, science projects, and all of those repetitive math sheets. In many ways, it felt like an inevitable part of the educational experience. Unless you could power through all of your assignments during your free time in class, then there was going to be time spent at home working on specific subjects.
More schools are looking at the idea of banning homework from the modern educational experience. Instead of sending work home with students each night, they are finding alternative ways to ensure that each student can understand the curriculum without involving the uncertainty of parental involvement.
Although banning homework might seem like an unorthodox process, there are legitimate advantages to consider with this effort. There are some disadvantages which some families may encounter as well.
These are the updated lists of the pros and cons of banning homework to review.
List of the Pros of Banning Homework
1. Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes. The reality of homework for the modern student is that we do not know if it is helpful to have extra work assigned to them outside of the classroom. Every study that has looked at the subject has had design flaws which causes the data collected to be questionable at best. Although there is some information to suggest that students in seventh grade and higher can benefit from limited homework, banning it for students younger than that seems to be beneficial for their learning experience.
2. Banning homework can reduce burnout issues with students. Teachers are seeing homework stress occur in the classroom more frequently today than ever before. Almost half of all high school teachers in North America have seen this issue with their students at some point during the year. About 25% of grade school teachers say that they have seen the same thing.
When students are dealing with the impact of homework on their lives, it can have a tremendously adverse impact. One of the most cited reasons for students dropping out of school is that they cannot complete their homework on time.
3. Banning homework would increase the amount of family time available to students. Homework creates a significant disruption to family relationships. Over half of all parents in North America say that they have had a significant argument with their children over homework in the past month. 1/3 of families say that homework is their primary source of struggle in the home. Not only does it reduce the amount of time that everyone has to spend together, it reduces the chances that parents have to teach their own skills and belief systems to their kids.
4. It reduces the negative impact of homework on the health of a student. Many students suffer academically when they cannot finish a homework assignment on time. Although assumptions are often made about the time management skills of the individual when this outcome occurs, the reasons why it happens is usually more complex. It may be too difficult, too boring, or there may not be enough time in the day to complete the work.
When students experience failure in this area, it can lead to severe mental health issues. Some perceive themselves as a scholarly failure, which translates to an inability to live life successfully. It can disrupt a desire to learn. There is even an increased risk of suicide for some youth because of this issue. Banning it would reduce these risks immediately.
5. Eliminating homework would allow for an established sleep cycle. The average high school student requires between 8-10 hours of sleep to function at their best the next day. Grade-school students may require an extra hour or two beyond that figure. When teachers assign homework, then it increases the risk for each individual that they will not receive the amount that they require each night.
When children do not get enough sleep, a significant rest deficit occurs which can impact their ability to pay attention in school. It can cause unintended weight gain. There may even be issues with emotional control. Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well.
6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation. When these emotions are present, then a student is more likely to feel “down and out” mentally and physically. They lack meaningful connections with other people. These feelings are the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. If students are spending time on homework, then they are not spending time connecting with their family and friends.
7. It reduces the repetition that students face in the modern learning process. Most of the tasks that homework requires of students is repetitive and uninteresting. Kids love to resolve challenges on tasks that they are passionate about at that moment in their lives. Forcing them to complete the same problems repetitively as a way to “learn” core concepts can create issues with knowledge retention later in life. When you add in the fact that most lessons sent for homework must be done by themselves, banning homework will reduce the repetition that students face, allowing for a better overall outcome.
8. Home environments can be chaotic. Although some students can do homework in a quiet room without distractions, that is not the case for most kids. There are numerous events that happen at home which can pull a child’s attention away from the work that their teacher wants them to do. It isn’t just the Internet, video games, and television which are problematic either. Household chores, family issues, employment, and athletic requirements can make it a challenge to get the assigned work finished on time.
List of the Cons of Banning Homework
1. Homework allows parents to be involved with the educational process. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their children about what they are learning, the answers tend to be in generalities instead of specifics. By sending home work from the classroom, it allows parents to see and experience the work that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then moms and dads can get involved with the learning process to reinforce the core concepts that were discovered by their children each day.
2. It can help parents and teachers identify learning disabilities. Many children develop a self-defense mechanism which allows them to appear like any other kid that is in their classroom. This process allows them to hide learning disabilities which may be hindering their educational progress. The presence of homework makes it possible for parents and teachers to identify this issue because kids can’t hide their struggles when they must work 1-on-1 with their parents on specific subjects. Banning homework would eliminate 50% of the opportunities to identify potential issues immediately.
3. Homework allows teachers to observe how their students understand the material. Teachers often use homework as a way to gauge how well a student is understanding the materials they are learning. Although some might point out that assignments and exams in the classroom can do the same thing, testing often requires preparation at home. It creates more anxiety and stress sometimes then even homework does. That is why banning it can be problematic for some students. Some students experience more pressure than they would during this assessment process when quizzes and tests are the only measurement of their success.
4. It teaches students how to manage their time wisely. As people grow older, they realize that time is a finite commodity. We must manage it wisely to maximize our productivity. Homework assignments are a way to encourage the development of this skill at an early age. The trick is to keep the amount of time required for the work down to a manageable level. As a general rule, students should spend about 10 minutes each school day doing homework, organizing their schedule around this need. If there are scheduling conflicts, then this process offers families a chance to create priorities.
5. Homework encourages students to be accountable for their role. Teachers are present in the classroom to offer access to information and skill-building opportunities that can improve the quality of life for each student. Administrators work to find a curriculum that will benefit the most people in an efficient way. Parents work hard to ensure their kids make it to school on time, follow healthy routines, and communicate with their school district to ensure the most effective learning opportunities possible. None of that matters if the student is not invested in the work in the first place. Homework assignments not only teach children how to work independently, but they also show them how to take responsibility for their part of the overall educational process.
6. It helps to teach important life lessons. Homework is an essential tool in the development of life lessons, such as communicating with others or comprehending something they have just read. It teaches kids how to think, solve problems, and even build an understanding for the issues that occur in our society right now. Many of the issues that lead to the idea to ban homework occur because someone in the life of a student communicated to them that this work was a waste of time. There are times in life when people need to do things that they don’t like or want to do. Homework helps a student begin to find the coping skills needed to be successful in that situation.
7. Homework allows for further research into class materials. Most classrooms offer less than 1 hour of instruction per subject during the day. For many students, that is not enough time to obtain a firm grasp on the materials being taught. Having homework assignments allows a student to perform more research, using their at-home tools to take a deeper look into the materials that would otherwise be impossible if homework was banned. That process can lead to a more significant understanding of the concepts involved, reducing anxiety levels because they have a complete grasp on the materials.
The pros and cons of banning homework is a decision that ultimately lies with each school district. Parents always have the option to pursue homeschooling or online learning if they disagree with the decisions that are made in this area. Whether you’re for more homework or want to see less of it, we can all agree on the fact that the absence of any reliable data about its usefulness makes it a challenge to know for certain which option is the best one to choose in this debate.
18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned
Homework has been a part of the schooling experience for multiple generations. There are some lessons that are perfect for the classroom environment, but there are also some things that children can learn better at home. As a general rule, the maximum amount of time that a student should spend each day on lessons outside of school is 10 minutes per each grade level.
That means a first grader should spend about 10 minutes each night on homework. If you are a senior in high school, then the maximum limit would be two hours. For some students, that might still be too much extra time doing work. There are some calls to limit the amount of time spent on extra limits to 30 minutes per day at all of the older K-12 grades – and some are saying that homework should be banned outright.
Can teachers get all of the lessons taught in an appropriate way during the 1-2 hours per subject that they might get each day? Do parents have an opportunity to review what their children learn at school if none of the work ever gets brought back home?
There are several advantages and disadvantages of why homework should be banned from the current school structure.
List of the Advantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned
1. Homework creates a longer day for students than what parents work. There are times when parents need to bring work home with them after a long day of productivity, but this time is usually part of a compensation package. Students do not receive the same luxury. After spending 6-8 hours at school, there might be two more hours of homework to complete before getting through all of the assignments that are due. That means some kids are putting in a longer working day than their parents. This disadvantage means there are fewer moments for going outside, spending time with friends, or pursuing a hobby.
2. There is no guarantee of an improved academic outcome. Research studies provide conflicting results when looking at the impact of homework on a student’s life. Younger students may benefit from a complete ban so that they can separate their home and classroom experiences. Even older students who perform projects outside of the school benefit from time restrictions on this responsibility. Design flaws exist on both sides of the clinical work that looks at this topic, so there is no definitive scientific conclusion that points to a specific result. It may be better to err on the side of caution.
3. Homework restrictions reduce issues with classroom burnout for students. Homework stress is a significant problem in the modern classroom for K-12 students. Even kids in grade school are finding it a challenge to maintain their performance because of the pressure that daily assignments cause. About 1 in 4 teachers in North America say that there are direct adverse impacts that happen because of the amount of learning required of students today. It can also cause older students to drop out of school because they can’t stay caught up on the work that they need to do.
When students have a chance to have time to pursue interests outside of the classroom, then it can create healthier learning opportunities in the future for them.
4. Banning homework would give families more time to spend together. One in three American households with children say that the homework assignments that teachers give are the primary source of stress in their home. When kids must complete their work by a specific deadline, then there is less time for families to do activities together. Instead of scheduling their time around their free hours, they must balance homework requirements in their plans. There are even fewer moments for parents to be involved in the learning process because of the specific instructions that students must follow to stay in compliance with the assignment.
5. Student health is adversely impacted by too many homework assignments. Kids of any age struggle academically when they do not have opportunities to finish their homework by a specific deadline. It is not unusual for school administrators and some teachers to judge children based on their ability to turn work in on time. If a child has a robust work ethic and still cannot complete the work, the negative approach that they might encounter in the classroom could cause them to abandon their learning goals.
This issue can even lead to the development of mental health problems. It can reduce a child’s self-esteem, prevent them from learning essential learning skills, and disrupt their ability to learn new skills in other areas of life outside of the classroom. Even the risk of self-harm and suicide increase because of excessive homework. That’s why banning it could be a healthy choice for some people.
6. Banning homework would help students get more sleep. Teens need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to maximize their productivity. Students in grade school can need up to 12 hours nightly as well. When homework assignments are necessary and time consuming, then this issue can eat into the amount of rest that kids get each night. Every assignment given to a K-12 student increases their risks of losing at least one hour of sleep per night. This issue can eventually lead to sleep deficits that can create chronic learning issues. It may even lead to problems with emotional control, obesity, and attention problems. Banning homework would remove the issue entirely.
7. It would encourage dynamic learning opportunities. There are some homework projects that students find to be engaging, such as a science fair project or another hands-on assignment. Many of the tasks that students must complete for their teachers involves repetition instead. You might see grade school students coming home with math sheets with 100 or more problems for them to solve. Reading assignments are common at all grades. Instead of learning the “why” behind the information they learn, the goal with homework is usually closer to memorization that it is to self-discovery. That’s why it can be challenging to retain the data that homework provides.
8. Banning homework would provide more time for peer socialization. Students who are only spending time in school before going home to do homework for the rest of the evening are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. When these sentiments are present in the life of a child, then they are more likely to experience physical and mental health concerns that lead to shyness and avoidance.
These students lack essential connections with other people because of their need to complete homework. The adverse impact on the well being of a child is the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes each day. If kids are spending time all of their time on homework, then they are not connecting with their family and friends.
9. Some students do not have a home environment that’s conducive to homework. Although some kids can do their homework in a tranquil room without distress, that is not the case for most children. Numerous events happen at home that can shift a child’s attention away from the homework that their teacher wants them to complete. It isn’t just the TV, video games, and the Internet which are problematic either. Family problems, chores, an after-school job, and team sports can make it problematic to get the assignments finished on time.
Banning homework equalizes the playing field because teachers can control the classroom environment. They do not have control over when, where, or how their students complete assignments away from school.
10. It would eliminate the assignment of irrelevant work. Homework can be a useful tool when teachers use it in targeted ways. There are times when these assignments are handed out for the sake of giving out busy work. If the content of the work is irrelevant to the lessons in the classroom, then it should not be handed out. It is unreasonable to expect that a student can generate excellent grades on work that is barely covered in the classroom.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that given students just four hours of take-home assignments per week has a detrimental impact on individual productivity. The average U.S. high school already pushes that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week.
List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned
1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can provide this information as well, but not in the same way. If the data sticks outside of the educational setting, then this is an excellent indication that the process was effective for that individual. If there are gaps in knowledge that occur in the homework, then the learning process can become individualized to ensure the best possible results for each child.
2. Homework can reduce the stress and anxiety of test-taking. Students often study for tests at home to ensure that they can pass with an acceptable grade. Walking into a classroom only prepared with the notes and memories of previous lessons can create high levels of fear that could impact that child’s final result. Banning homework could place more pressure on kids to succeed than what they currently experience today. This disadvantage would also create more labels in the classroom based on the performance of each child in unfair ways. Some students excel in a lecture-based environment, but others do better at home where there are fewer distractions.
3. Assignments can be an effective way to discover learning disabilities. Kids do an excellent job of hiding their struggles in the classroom from adults. They use their disguises as a coping mechanism to help them blend in when they feel different. That behavior can make it a challenge to identify students who many benefit from a different learning approach in specific subjects. By assigning homework to each child periodically, there are more opportunities to identify the issues that can hold some people back. Then the teachers can work with the families to develop alternative learning plans that can make the educational process better for each student because individual assignments eliminate the ability to hide.
4. Parents are more involved in the learning process because of homework. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their kids about what they are learning, the answers tend to be given in generalities. Without specific examples from the classroom, it is challenging to stay involved in a student’s educational process.
By sending homework from the school, it allows the entire family to encounter the assignments that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then there is more adult involvement with the learning process, reinforcing the core ideas that were discovered by their kids each day.
5. Homework provides opportunities for students to use deeper research. The average classroom in the United States provides less than 60 minutes of instruction for each subject daily. Generalist teachers in grade school might skip certain subjects on some days as well. When there are homework assignments going home, then it creates more chances to use the tools at home to learn more about what is happening at school. Taking a deeper look at specific subjects or lessons through independent study can lead to new thoughts or ideas that may not occur in the classroom environment. This process can eventually lead to a better understanding of the material.
6. The homework process requires time management and persistence to be successful. Students must learn core life skills as part of the educational process. Time management skills are one of the most useful tools that can be in a child’s life toolbox. When you know how to complete work by a deadline consistently, then this skill can translate to an eventual career. Homework can also teach students how to solve complex problems, understand current events, or tap into what they are passionate about in life. By learning from an early age that there are jobs that we sometimes need to do even if we don’t want to them, the persistence lessons can translate into real successes later in life.
7. Assignments make students accountable for their role in the educational process. Teachers cannot force a student to learn anything. There must be a desire present in the child to know more for information retention to occur. An education can dramatically improve the life of a child in multiple ways. It can lead to more income opportunities, a greater understanding of the world, and how to establish a healthy routine. By offering homework to students, teachers are encouraging today’s kids how to be accountable for their role in their own education. It creates opportunities to demonstrate responsibility by proving that the work can be done on time and to a specific quality.
8. It creates opportunities to practice time management. There can be problems with homework for some students when they are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. If you give a child two hours of homework after school and they have two hours of commitments to manage at the same time, then there are some significant challenges to their time management to solve. Time really is a finite commodity. If we are unable to manage it in wise ways, then our productivity levels are going to be limited in multiple ways. Creating a calendar with every responsibility and commitment helps kids and their families figure out ways to manage everything while pushing the learning process forward.
Verdict of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Banning Homework
Some students thrive on the homework they receive from their teachers each day. There are also some kids that struggle to complete even basic assignments on time because of their home environment. How can we find a balance between the two extremes so that every child can receive the best possible chance to succeed?
One solution is to ban homework entirely. Although taking this action would require teachers and parents to be proactive in their communication, it could help to equalize the educational opportunities in the classroom.
Until more research occurs in this area, the advantages and disadvantages of banning homework are subjective. If you feel that your child would benefit from a reduced workload, then speak with the teacher to see if this is an option. For teens and older students, there is always the option to pursue a different form of education, such as a vocational school or an apprenticeship, if the traditional classroom doesn’t seem to be working.