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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.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

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Why should students have homework, 1. 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 .

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. 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.

2. 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 .

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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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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.

Is homework beneficial? The pros and cons of homework for kids.

By: Virginia | Jan 19, 2021 1:27 PM

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. 

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

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 .

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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Pros and Cons of Homework: The Great Homework Debate

1)    enforcing discipline, 2)    increased learning, 1)    prevents outside growth, 2)    causing stress, the bottom line, alternatives.

There are many pros and cons of homework. If you remember back to your childhood, one of the most annoying parts of school might have been homework. Many of dreaded having to get home, because instead of doing something fun, we had to whip out the textbook and start doing some problems – not a great way to have to spend the afternoon. We didn’t understand the importance of homework, we saw it as a chore. The same is true of children today.

Homework has been heavily debated for years, with popular opinion shifting in and out of favor over the generations. As both a teacher and a mother, I have mixed feelings on the issue. On one hand, I know the importance of skill practice. However, I also know how crucial it is for children to have time for play and exploring interests outside of school.

Homework has been heavily debated for years

Thankfully, I think there is a way to settle the ‘great homework debate’ by finding better alternatives.

Pros and Cons of Homework: The Good

Pros and Cons of Homework: The Good

The most influential part of homework is the habits it instills in students. In class, students are not often challenged to study and learn on their own; they are instead guided. With homework, students must force themselves to get the work done on their own time, instilling discipline and habits of work.

Discipline is especially relevant when these students start to work and, eventually, consider college. If they lack important studying habits, they will struggle in the self-lead world of college. But homework isn’t the only way teachers and parents can help children be more disciplined.

There are many other ways to strengthen this ability as well. One being providing structure and two, teaching problem-solving skills.

many other ways to strengthen this ability as well

Believe it or not, homework does help the student to learn the subject faster and with higher accuracy. In fact, scientific research shows there is no ‘math gene’ that makes people good at math. Instead, it takes practice.

When students approach high school, the amount of work assigned per night slowly rises. Additionally, the amount of work a student can handle with positive results raises over time as well. A high school student and an elementary schooler can’t handle the same amount of homework, which is why it is assigned in different quantities.

The benefits of homework start to degrade after two hours for high schoolers, an hour and a half for grades 7-9, 45 minutes for grades 3-6, and 15 minutes for grade k-2. So instead of getting rid of homework altogether, teachers can focus on assigning a reasonable amount of what really matters.

Pros and Cons of Homework: The Bad

Pros and Cons of Homework: The Bad

Excessive amounts of homework can take away from a student’s free time to engage in other activities. My middle schooler has struggled with this as tons of homework got in the way of doing what she loves, singing.

From sports to work to hobbies and clubs, there is a variety of things outside of homework that’s worth a student’s time. Finding balance is key. This can often be accomplished through schedule and routine.

Along with preventing outside growth, homework can lead to not just a full schedule, but a packed one. It is no secret this generation’s children are pressured more than any in the past to excel. From travel sports for elementary schoolers to thousand-dollar tutoring sessions to endless college visits – the stress is mounting.

Add homework on top of all this work, and the student is going to feel stressed out. The key is helping them feel successful while not overworking them at such a young age. I’ve found that a great way to do this is by making studying fun! If your child is one that hates math or doesn’t see the importance of reading , using interactive alternatives to study time is important.

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I know you may be thinking, I don’t assign the homework, I don’t have control. But most teachers are flexible and will work with you if you explained how other practice alternatives are helping your child.

I think the proper way to go about handling the issue of homework is not full support or a complete ban, but a middle-ground approach.

Most of the cons of homework come from an excess of it, while most pros are from homework in moderation. It is clear homework helps, at least to an extent, and too much is indeed a bad thing. We can’t coddle our kids forever, but it’s irresponsible to force a 45+ hour work week on students.

If we want students to succeed, we need to add in extra work when they need it. We also need to include it in a personalized manner to work their weak spots and hold their interest.

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Pros and cons of homework

pros and cons about no homework clip art

Homework has long been a point of contention, with parents, teachers and education experts continually debating the merits of take-home learning. We’ve taken a look at some key arguments to provide you with a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of homework.

Develops important study skills

From time management and organisation to self-motivation and independent learning, homework teaches students a range of positive skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and working lives. Home learning motivates students to take responsibility for their workload, while also encouraging the development of positive research practices.

Opportunity to consolidate classroom learning

Homework is at its most effective when it allows students to revise what they’ve learnt in class. Assigned tasks that revisit what’s been taught during the day reinforces learnt knowledge and increases the likelihood of students remembering key information. Homework can then help students apply these learnt skills to other subjects and practical situations in their everyday lives.

Provides an indication of academic comprehension

Assigning learning tasks at home is a useful way for teachers to identify whether students are understanding the curriculum. Teachers can analyse gaps in comprehension or information through homework, making it easier for them to tailor their approach to each student’s needs – they can recognise students who need extra support in certain learning areas, while also identifying children who may benefit from more complex learning tasks.

Causes unnecessary stress

Simply uttering the word ‘homework’ can instil a sense of dread in students. When the workload is too large and tasks become increasingly difficult, homework causes students to feel anxious, stressed and unmotivated. This can lead to sleep deprivation and behavioural changes, while also ingraining homework as a negative aspect of schooling life.

Takes away from leisure time

Free time allows children to not only relax, but also discover the world on their own terms – learning how to ride a bike, reading books or interacting with friends and family teaches students useful skills that can’t be learnt by sitting at a desk. Healthy levels of physical activity, which can help to boost cognitive function, can also be impeded by sedentary time spent completing homework.

Not always effective

Plenty of studies have sought to analyse the value of homework and how it benefits academic performance. Research by John Hattie, Professor of Education at the University of Melbourne, has found that homework in primary school has an effect of around zero , as students are completing separate and unrelated projects rather than reinforcing learnt knowledge. Hattie’s work has suggested that homework only becomes effective at the primary and secondary levels when students are assigned learning tasks that ask them to revise taught information.

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Rethinking Homework

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Schools doing away with homework brings up the age-old debate on its pros and cons.

Ask just about any student if homework should be eliminated and you’re likely to get a resounding “yes!” Ask a teacher or parent though, and the results are going to vary -- often significantly. With the summer winding down and the “back-to-school” mindset beginning to seep back into the consciousness of parents, teachers, and students alike, the debate over homework has risen again.

In 2016, Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Texas, earned praise from parents (and of course students) around the nation when she banned homework , instead encouraging her students to engage in family time or go to bed early.

Young isn’t the only educator who has decided to have her students leave their studies in the school classroom, either. Mark Trifilio, a principal at Orchard Elementary in Vermont proposed a no-homework policy to his teaching staff and all 40 wanted to try it out. Students were encouraged to read book recommendations or have their parents read to them, but that was it. Six-months in, Trifilio reported that his students hadn’t fallen behind in their academics.

“My son declared on Monday that he can read now and that he doesn’t need any help,” said James Conway, whose son Sean is a kindergartner at Orchard. Not all parents shared Conway’s enthusiasm though over the new policy. "My kids would be thrilled if I let them eat brownies everyday. But as a parent, I can't let them," Tara Chitko, the mother of a third-grader told the Burlington Free Press .

The long-standing recommendation for homework by the PTA has been 10 minutes of homework per grade level, meaning by the time students are high school seniors they’re taking home around two hours of homework every night.

Advocates against homework argue that its absence frees kids up to discover things they’re passionate about it and say it can discourage students eagerness to learn. However, there are still educators who tote the benefits of sending students home with a manageable amount of homework.

Harris M. Cooper, a neuroscience and psychology professor at Duke University is known for being a homework advocate saying that it has clear benefits, such as organization, time management, and discipline. A 2006 data analysis he conducted of 60 studies on the topic revealed homework had somewhat of a benefit for older children, but didn’t have a significant impact on the grades or test scores of elementary school children. He fully endorses the PTA’s 10-minute per year homework recommendation.

The issue of homework is often one of frustration for parents who feel that it places unnecessary stress on their children. For Jenney Sims, a parent of twins in the second-grade, one of whom is dyslexic, homework equaled hours of daily frustration. “What should take 20 minutes would take hours and there were a lot of tears,” Sims told the Ocala Star Banner.

Cooper told Time that the debate over homework comes and goes in cycles and now the popular view is that it’s too much and should be done away with. "You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness," he added.

The debate isn’t likely to go away anytime soon and but for Lisa Fontaine-Dorsey, a third-grade math teacher in Florida at Wyomina Park Elementary, the school’s new no-homework policy is a healthy thing for her students. “All day at school they are pressured with the test, test, test environment,” Fontaine-Dorsey said. “They need to go home and get away from that.”

Article by Joel Stice, Education World Contributor

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