The Homework Debate

There are arguments in families everywhere about homework. Kids mainly resent homework, seeing it as an intrusion into their free time, school breaking out from its proper place into home. Parents know that education is important, want their children to do well at school, see homework as part of school, and that is why they insist children do their homework. Teachers, education experts, and politicians airily state that homework is a vital part of education, but what are the benefits of homework.

Teachers set homework for pupils to do outside lesson time. Teachers give many reasons why they set homework for their pupils. Setting homework can be a way to discover how much each individual child has learned from a particular lesson. Sometimes there is not enough time during the lesson for children to practice the skills that they have learned in class and to absorb that knowledge. In British fee-paying schools, pupils call homework, “prep” short for preparation, and teachers, sometimes set homework to prepare pupils for the next class topic or assignment. Homework is a way to teach pupils time management. Homework can also be a way for teachers to communicate with parents as to what the child is learning, his, or her, progress in the subject, and involve them in the child’s education.

A school, which sets homework, shows the wider community that the school is a serious educational institution. Teachers set homework to fulfill school and government education policies, requiring that pupils do so many hours homework per day or per week. Teachers may also set homework to punish children, who have misbehaved or chattered in class and not produced enough work.

Homework has benefits for pupils’ education. It can drive home lessons learned in class. While every child in the class has heard the lesson, it is impossible to know what each child understood and homework is a way to discover this. It can be a way to practice skills learned in class. It is easy to do long division sums in class all together with the teacher writing the workings on the board, it can be quite another to remember how to do them on your own. Pupils need to retain and remember the skills and information that they learn so that they can both reproduce them in examinations and build on that knowledge to learn more about the topic.

Homework can also be a way to ensure that individual pupils have completely grasped a concept, before moving the class onto another topic. It ensures that pupils understand each step before going onto the next and do not flounder or fall behind in their studies.

Homework is also a good way for children to practice private study, a skill that they will need, if they are to go on to further education. Whatever youngsters do when they leave school, whether they go to college, or university, or do an apprenticeship, or training job, they need to know how to study alone, without the help of teacher or classmates. Private study is a life skill as well as an educational skill, for example, if you want to learn anything in life, whether it is how to cook a meal, about butterflies, or sailing, you need to know how to research a subject and learn about it on your own.

Homework’s benefits are often over stated and some teachers feel pressurized to set homework for reasons other than children’s educational needs, but homework has both educational and life benefits for pupils. Employers like employees, who can manage their time effectively. Homework can be a way to ensure that the child’s learning is on track, what the pupil understood from the lesson and to enable him or her to practice the skills and techniques learned. Homework gives a connection between home and school and involves parents in education. Children may complain about homework, but it is unavoidable, vital to the learning process and to life.