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Does Homework Still Have a Place in School?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

We’ve all had that teacher. No matter what grade level they are teaching, what topic they are covering, or if there is a holiday the very next day, everyone is still going to get homework whether they like it or not. Those are the educators that students would spend hours creating voodoo dolls for in an effort to get them to call in sick every now and then.

Perhaps this is how these teachers had it in school when they were children. They were just overloaded with homework and are now passing it forward to their own students. However, is all of that homework needed? Or has homework outlived its overall usefulness in today’s world?

There Are a Few Ideas Out There About Homework

Homework is viewed in different ways depending upon the educator. In fact, when studying, there is a very good chance that training teachers will hear both sides of the story from professors. There will be those in favor of homework for all students and there will be those who state that homework really does not provide many benefits at all.

1. Homework: Every Subject and All the Time

There are teachers that will assign homework for virtually every subject covered in the classroom and they will do so on a daily basis. But when you carefully consider it, are they really just giving out work for the sake of work, to keep students occupied in the classroom and at home? This type of teacher will hand out a math worksheet of 30 problems for homework and instruct the students to complete all 30, even if they understand the concept by question three.

2. Homework: Used to Support Classroom Learning When Needed

There are those educators that will only use homework to strengthen the skills that the children are lacking. Instead of having the students do that whole 30 problem math worksheet, this type of teacher will ask the students to only do 15 of those problems. The students will be asked to take their time and make certain they get the 15 problems right.

This type of strategy is a good one to use for the most part. The students won’t feel like they have to rush through it to complete all 30 problems and they will learn just as much from 15 problems as if they would have had to do all of them. I’ve seen this strategy used first hand several times where the educator would even limit the number of problems more to just three or four.

3. Homework: No Homework Ever Except for Studying Purposes

These teachers won’t issue homework and will cover everything in class instead. This strategy is used because not all students have a good home life and sending home homework is not only asking the student to be responsible, but also the parent who has to check their work. Furthermore, many students have busy lives away from school so to expect them to take more time out of their day to focus on school projects can be a big ask.

These educators will only assign homework when an assessment is coming up. They will ask the students to study and prepare for the exam on their own at home.

Is It Necessary?

Who are the academics that decided how much homework each student should get a night and do they have valuable information to back up their claims?

Harris Cooper, a professor from Duke University in the US, has declared for years that students of all ages must have homework. And he recommends an equation to use for the amount of homework each grade level should have.

  • 10 minutes for first-grade students a night and an additional 10 minutes for each grade level thereafter.

  • This means, by high school, each student will have an hour and a half to two hours of homework a night.

However, with this said, research has been completed that shows that homework does not improve grades in school but may improve standardized exam scores.

Homework Horror Stories in Australia

Overloading homework is a recipe for disaster and a major cause of stress in children. Just ask the children in Australia. According to the National Child and Youth Report Card, Australia ranked 24 out of 26 OECD countries in school pressure. What the research states is that students from only two other countries felt more school pressure than the ones in Australia. Australian schools are handing out a great deal of stress to their students through the amount of homework that is assigned daily.

The Varkey Foundation conducted a survey of more than 27,000 parents in Australia and found the parents help their children with homework for seven hours or more every week. How does this even leave room for family time when every extra minute is spent figuring out homework problems? Are we taking away a kid’s childhood just to give them “busy work” every night that really is not essential to a child’s learning?

Perhaps asking professional tutors to assist with a student’s homework may be an avenue to explore. An assignment that is taking a parent and child hours to finish could be completed in possibly much less time with a quality tutor from Belrose Tutoring Academy.

Is All of This Homework Worth Students Facing Anxiety and Depression?

Depression and anxiety are two mental health conditions that should be taken seriously in children. It’s not enough to think it will go away on its own without something being done about it.

The Students’ Well-Being report of 540,000 15-year-old students showed that Australian kids are suffering from above-average anxiety due to schoolwork. Granted, you may be asking how much of this can be blamed on schools issuing too much homework. The truth of the matter is that it was more likely a slew of issues that causes these things to happen but homework can be an added stressor that makes the core issue more difficult to address.

Present Guidelines and Options to Educators

If more schools would share the view with their teachers that homework is not needed nearly as much as it is being handed down to the students, more educators might reconsider their views on the issue. In any case, making them aware of the homework issue is something that should happen sooner rather than later. There is a major difference between issuing homework that is needed and homework for homework’s sake.