I have spent nearly 25 years of my life in the field of education. Despite the many changes that have occurred during my time in the field one item always seemed to remain a constant. Many of the schools I worked in may have been lacking in several areas but one thing they always seemed to have was a homework policy. During my days as an educator and student, homework seemed an essential part of the school day.
Now the issue of homework has come under question. Homework has been put under the limelight in terms of its effectiveness and amounts. With parents and students, both with busy schedules many school districts are now questioning whether or not homework should be given at all. The following are some of the most convincing reasons for giving homework the heave.
One of the main arguments for scrapping homework is the pressure it is now putting on kids. Smithsonian magazine quotes a 2004 study from the University of Michigan which states the amount of time spent on homework had increased from 2 hours and 38 minutes in 1981 to 3 hours and 58 minutes in 2004. The increased time takes students away from extra-curricular activities and time with friends and family.
One of the most compelling reasons for scrapping homework is its lack of effectiveness. Smithsonian magazine also quotes a Duke University study which stated they found very little evidence to support any change of effectiveness with increased amounts of homework. In fact they went so far as to say homework can at times decrease effectiveness depending on the task and subject.
I was very fortunate to have parents that had the time and ability to help me with my homework. However, today many students aren’t as lucky. According to education rethink.com, parents are very busy and often don’t have the time, ability or patience needed to sit with their children several hours per week. Some children are given the responsibility of minding younger siblings while parents work long hours. They often don’t get the additional support provided by other families.
As an educator myself I can see the validity of a certain amount of homework. However, perhaps it’s time we gave the concept a rethink.