Do you remember how you felt about homework when you were a kid? Complaining about the mountains of worksheets and constant tests seemed a standard part of conversation. Why-ever would today’s children feel any different? But how do you feel about homework?
Does homework actually benefit the student? I believe the answer depends on what kind of homework we’re talking about. You can’t learn math without practice solving math problems. But science and social studies are learned by thinking about the information thrown at you, not answering a list of seemingly endless factual questions.
Do teachers assign too much homework? If kids don’t get to play after school because their homework occupies most of their time, then I would say, “Yes.” Homework should not rob children of their childhood. Kids need time to hang out, run around, play games, and laugh.
Have you ever wondered why college professors do not assign as much homework as school teachers? In college, a student is expected to read textbooks, take notes in class, and use the information gleaned to prove that he learned something. Class projects and tests are used to demonstrate learning. Most class projects involve taking the material learned, applying it to situations (some of which are researched), and maybe coming up with a creative presentation of conclusions. College focuses on teaching students how to think.
Elementary, middle, and high school exists to fill children’s heads with facts and figures. Instead of teaching children how to study, these schools assume that repetition will force memory. But not everyone’s mind works the same way. Some people have better short term than long term memory, and they forget much of the trivia they learn to pass tests. Maybe schools would be more effective if they taught kids effective study habits, time management, and thinking. With the Internet, people have easy access to trivia, but they need to know how to use the information they find.
I can only conclude that three or more hours of homework a night is excessive and most likely ineffective in actually teaching kids anything they will find useful when they grow up. Since such a load prevents kids from enjoying their youth, I believe that it hurts them.
A smarter solution to this problem would be for all of a student’s teachers to be aware of what the others are assigning for homework and give no more than two hours (in total) of homework a day. Integrating curriculum from multiple classes to create projects that give children the chance to think and create would benefit the children even more. If these projects were performed in teams during the school day, students would attain extra benefit because they would learn the valuable skill of teamwork. For instance, English, Science, History, Music, and Art teachers can assign a project that requires students to create a magazine/newspaper full of articles and pictures of a particular decade/century.