Homework is a way to expand what you have learned in class, and looking back, 90 minutes each night at 11 years old following one piece per week was hard work. This then rose gradually to three hours at age 14 in the British education system, and it’s a trend that’s going to keep rising.
This begs the question of whether too much homework is a good or bad thing. There seem to be two sides to the story on this question, with some believing that it sets the student up for later in life, whilst others believe that the stress caused by this could be too much for a child to compute, which may lead to a lack of educational desire in the future.
The balance between the two is that continuing outside the classroom aims to give a child independence in all activities, which to the best of extents is true. However, it is also important to remember that there can be a large difference between what is learned in the classroom, which may be widely perceived as only enough to learn what may be present in examinations, whilst the reality of the work that these qualifications may entail could be a completely different story. Such is the extent of a young electrician that can tell me the theory of how to wire in a plug socket, but when it comes to actually doing the job, is clueless and does not know how the practical element of what they have learned works.
The theory is particularly present in business, where every industry is different, and whilst the basics are there, many of us are never taught how to write a bank-worthy business plan, which is the first major stumbling block for many young people. This also makes tax returns incredibly difficult to do, and in some cases expensive, as not knowing what VAT is applicable on which service can be a costly problem with HMRC when inspection time comes. In fact, having not learned this at a young age means that I am still employing the services of an accountant after several years in business.
The best solution for this would be to set real-life examples into homework, rather than useless sums that will mean nothing in later life. The only time that I have used a certain piece of Mathematics that I learned at around 14 years of age, taking about four hours to complete five questions, was to calculate the loss of light in the garden for a planning application for a conservatory, which whilst it saved time having had to learn this myself, many people would never use this.
With further stresses of many teens having part-time jobs, this can also create a clash, with certain hours reserved for work leaving homework to be done late into the evening. This can create a snowball effect of tiredness, stress and later anxiety, which may not have been caused before.
Whilst homework does need to be set, it should not be too much – but at the same time, not too little.