Say no to Homework

Kids have too much homework. I question the fact that they need homework at all except for studying or for special projects. The word homework invokes strong conflicting emotions among many. The word evokes negative connotations to everyone involved; students, parents and teachers. Why does such a benign word inspire such negativity? Because it causes unnecessary stress and work for everyone. Homework is looked upon as the necessary (unnecessary?) evil.

Some homework is necessary to catch up on lost work due to absenteeism or to reinforce certain memorizations of math, spelling or vocabulary. Also an occasional creative project to be worked on outside of school is quite acceptable as well as studying for a test at home. However the many hours of homework our children have is almost criminal. Children go to school for 7-8 hours a day and then go home and work several hours a night on their homework. What are the negative consequences of this regime? How many adults work a full day and then work all night on work from the office every night?

Reasons student should not have homework:

* Children have less downtime to unwind and relax when burdened with homework. Children need to play and chill out to refresh their minds and bodies. The pressure of having to complete their homework every night is daunting to most children. The time spent doing the homework dulls them after they put in a long day at school where they are constantly learning new things and trying to become socially acceptable. School in itself is stressful. But learning is what is expected of us and it is a wonderful experience. Homework is not. It should be kept at a minimum if at all.

* It takes away from a child’s family time. Family time is important to a growing child. Without time spent as a family unit, especially for the elementary and middle school age, the family becomes fragmented on how they relate to each other. Without family time, social problems can crop up and the family unit can be compromised by lack of time spent together.

* Homework can cause conflict between the parents and the student when there is resistance by the student to do their overwhelming task.

* Over abundant homework takes away from important social time with friends. If a child is isolated from his friends due to having to complete hours of homework, then that child has a more difficult time forming social bonds and learning social skills.

* Children who are involved in sports and after school activities sometimes have to choose between doing their homework and participating in activities they love. This can stifle the student from becoming a well rounded person. There is more to life and learning than just school work. Exercise and creative activities are important to the growth of a child. Often the only time a child can get the amount of exercise they need and the creative stimulation they desire is in after school activities.

* Many children who are given excess homework just give up either doing much of it and therefore start getting bad grades in school. Zeros or lowered grades that they receive often lowers the student’s self esteem and opinion on themselves as a student. This sets them up for failure in not only for school, but often in life.

* Too many teachers often don’t have the time or take the time to grade the homework in a timely manner, so by the time the students get their work handed back to them, the lesson is past and new one is being learned. The students do not learn from their mistakes or success as it is too long after the lesson was done. Or a teacher is overwhelmed with the amount of homework to grade and just glances at the work and checks it off as being done. Where are the lessons in that?

* Too much homework fosters cheating. Kids will copy off each other to get the work done. This is sad, because children end up getting rewarded for cheating. For the teachers and parents who don’t think this is a huge problem, think again. It is a widespread practice that many students do.

* The argument that kids need to know how to do hours of homework for college is just not realistic. For one thing college students don’t have as many hours of classroom work and have many more hours in the day for study and work on their own. College students don’t have to be at class or do the work. It is their choice if they want to put the effort in. They will fail or succeed on their own integrity and merit at this point. Also many children don’t go to college, they choose different career choices that don’t need college or intense education.

On the whole, there should not be any homework given out without a specific and clear purpose and actually helps the student gain knowledge. Special projects should be given out with plenty of time to complete without comprising family, social, active and mind refreshing times. Homework should not be used to teach what should have been taught in the school hours. Maybe we should be looking at the methods of teaching during the school day and how the time spent on a subject is broken down instead of forcing the students to continue school for hours at home.

Homework is necessary to a certain extent. The trick is to give the student quality homework that will enhance their work at school without overloading them and teaching them bad habits. We want our children to become lifelong learners, not become shut off from loving to learn new things because of overload of tedious and long hours of homework.