Less Homework In School

This article is an editorial based upon the author’s experience.

I’ve been reading with great interest the current debate about the usefulness of homework. As with most debates, the issues have become polarized and both sides resort to hyperbole in order to make a point. On the one side are those who argue that homework puts too much stress on families, takes too much time away from other more useful activities, destroys creativity, and isn’t very helpful anyway. On the other are those who argue that homework reinforces lessons presented in school, helps students prepare for class, and provides useful repetition so that concepts won’t be forgotten.

As with most debates, there’s some truth to all of it. Homework can indeed provide preparation, practice, and reinforcement for lessons. Homework can help kids learn important life skills like organization, time management, and how to use resources. It’s also true that homework can be busy work, a reinforcer of mistakes, and stressful. Continual failure with homework, like continual failure during school hours, lowers self-esteem and makes it less and less likely that a kid will be successful. When homework becomes a nightly battle, it can damage parent-child relationships.

The questions concerning how much homework should be required at what age, concerns about quality, and issues around effective parent involvement can be adequately responded to by taking credible research seriously, training teachers to design homework wisely and well, and developing home-school partnerships that give parents the skills they need to be good homework helpers Once we institute sensible homework guidelines, though, we get to a much more difficult and painful issue. Managing homework comes down to whether the kid’s home can provide the atmosphere and support for the work.

Middle- and upper-class families are likely to spend time helping with homework; structuring homework time, providing space, materials, computers, and encyclopedias; insisting on correcting it, and contacting teachers when there are problems. These families are the same families who are able to provide supplementary educational experiences like summer camps, family vacations and travel, and Saturday outings to the museums. These families generally live in areas where schools are good to excellent anyway.

Parents who are struggling to make it financially, parents who are struggling with mental illness or addictions, parents who live in fear of domestic or neighborhood violence, don’t have the emotional space to make homework a priority. Their kids are pretty much on their own. Financial limitations are just that, limitations. Families living in poverty aren’t able to afford a computer or getting connected. Unless they happen on camp scholarships and special programs, their kids aren’t going to be spending vacations and Saturdays anywhere but at home and in front of a TV or on the streets. Often they live in school districts that are under-funded and in which teachers are stretched to their limits.

There are exceptions, of course. Some parents in well-to-do families neglect their kids or try to buy the help and support they themselves should provide. Some parents from impossibly impoverished situations none the less find the personal energy and psychological strength to champion their kids’ schooling. However, exceptions are, after all, exceptions. Generally kids are sent down the path of school achievement or school difficulty from an early age. That path is largely determined by the ability of their parents to provide them with support. Economic status doesn’t have everything to do with it but certainly is a major contributing factor.

Until we as a culture decide to look boldly and honestly at how inequalities in class are connected with academic achievement, until we are willing to match our ideals about equal education for all with our money, there will be lots of kids who will never have the opportunity to reach their potential. We may not be able to solve all the inequities of class but we can provide more support for school success to the kids who need it. By keeping schools open and staffed many more hours each week, we can make sure that every child has the opportunity to get extra help and enrichment from caring adults. The school library and plenty of computers need to be available after school, during the evening, and on Saturdays. Equally important, there needs to be sufficient qualified staff available to provide practical help and to take personal interest in the kids doing well.

It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect overwhelmed parents to continue the work of school at home. My vote is to pay attention to the research, drop homework entirely from elementary schools, and instead focus on providing young children who need it with after school help as well as enrichment experiences. For middle and high school aged kids, institute school-based help time outside of normal school hours as an option for getting homework done and done well. Then all of our students will have a much more equal opportunity for success in school and in life.

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  • We should have less homework and less school time

    I said this because if we have less homework we can explore the world more and go to friends houses and play with sibling's and to spend more family time and play with friend online and play basketball,soccer,and other things but most importantly kid are getting the most homework and they are the least to do it.Also click that like button if you can bye.

  • Kids NEED less homework!

    Homework is pretty much the same thing you do at school at home. Most of the time the homework you'd get for an assignment is unnecessary and teaches totally unrelated stuff. Homework can also be very frustrating and, in a classroom, you can always ask a professional. However, at home, most of the time your parents won't even know what the lesson is teaching and how to help you. In my opinion, kids shouldn't have homework at all! Take THAT you overstimulating pieces of crap!

  • Kids Need Less Homework!!!!!!

    In class you do lots of non-stop work. Then you go home and do the same thing for 5 days. All that work could easily put you under pressure which makes you do your homework all wrong and you don't notice until you get to school.

    All that pressure could also fail you on a test. When your tying to do your homework your also studying for a test. With all the sports you have you could only have about one and a half hours to study and do your homework. If your in the high grades like high school, one and a half hours is defiantly not enough to finish your homework and study for a test. These are my reasons why kids shouldn't have as much homework to do.

  • There should be less homework

    Another reason school days should end earlier is there would be less homework because students have less classes. Students normally have seven hours then come home for another hour of homework. A student’s brain cannot function right when everything taught that day is stuffed into their brains. A shorter school day would alleviate that feeling of being overwhelmed. We all know that shorter school days equal less homework and less homework equals less stress for students.
    When kids have so much homework they get more anxiety any that could lead to health issues. So yes i agree that kids should have less homework. Kids sometimes cry because they have so much anxiety.

  • Kids NEED less homework!

    Homework is pretty much the same thing you do at school at home. Most of the time the homework you'd get for an assignment is unnecessary and teaches totally unrelated stuff. Homework can also be very frustrating and, in a classroom, you can always ask a professional. However, at home, most of the time your parents won't even know what the lesson is teaching and how to help you. In my opinion, kids shouldn't have homework at all! Take THAT you overstimulating pieces of crap!

  • I totally agree

    I agree but sometimes it is up to the student as well. I am an allstar cheerleader and im in track, and i have NO time!!! I have 5 core classes and i get about 1 hour of homework for each core class most days!!!
    I HAVE A LIFE!!!! PLEASE!!!!

  • Kill the homework.

    Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the homework.Kill the f****ing homework.

  • To much homework

    We kids now days have allot of stuff to do. By the time we got home the day is almost over and we have sports and band to do. And if we have more homework we don't have anytime to do stuff outside or hangout with your friends and family's.

  • Less homework.!!!! Please

    Okay so we do 8 hours of school with 7 classes we leave at 3;45 but the bus ride is like 30 min and we have to wait to load the busses so i don't get home till like 4;30 then I have to think back to what I learned that day the I have to do 5 hours of home work and projects which we have like every other week on top of 6 more classes I have to do homework for So yes less home work If you give us a class project and we have home work for 6 other classes.

  • Kids Should have less homework

    Kids should have less homework because they are stressing way to much about getting it done on time, there not learning their just stressing. Studies show that the man that invented homework was to punish the kids not to learn.Kids DO NOT need anymore homework then they already have they need less!

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