The debate about the importance of homework has been going on for quite a while already. Some parents, teachers and researchers question its efficacy, and many districts across the country have taken steps to eliminate homework altogether in elementary schools. However, research shows that students can succeed academically as well as in standardized exams if they are given appropriate types of home assignments.
Let’s examine arguments from both the sides of this debate to reach a balanced viewpoint on this controversial topic.
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The Great Homework Divide
Recently, the idea of homework has received a lot of criticism with claims that there is no evidence it improves knowledge and grades. These are the main grudges against home-based assignments.
- It takes away precious family time. Nowadays, parents in both nuclear and single-parent families spend a big part of the day working outside the home, so homework encroaches on the already limited time together.
- Assignments may be not checked for accuracy.Teachers, overwhelmed by the increased class sizes, sometimes find it difficult to give individualized feedback and just grade the assignment as completed.
- It can lead to stress and problems with sleep. As older children become more competitive, they tend to spend more time on their homework, which encroaches on their sleep time and contributes to higher stress levels.
- It may contribute to lower motivation and interest in academic subjects. Homework may become a “chore” which kills the kids’ enthusiasm for learning. For example, children often don’t respond well to being forced to read at home.
After hearing all this you might be wondering if there are any reasons why homework should be assigned to students. Let’s hear why many educators and researchers believe that homework is important.
The Benefits of Homework
Although it is difficult to find solid facts and statistics in a country where the educational system differs so greatly, there are many aspects of home assignments that benefit students.
Here are some explanations how homework helps students succeed.
- Encourages responsibility.Homework helps students to become accountable for their own learning and to take control of it. They get a good grade when they complete their home assignment and there are consequences both in the classroom and in learning if they don’t.
- Builds work ethic early in life.Children must understand the importance of hard work, and have the self-control and commitment to take on projects and complete them. These skills will prove useful in college and work life.
- Time management.When a child is young, parents take on the responsibility for their time management and prioritizing tasks. When kids are at high school, they must eventually learn to manage multiple tasks within their schedule and determine which task will take shorter or longer.
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem.When children try to do things on their own, they understand that failure is a part of the process of learning. When they work independently and successfully solve math problems or write essays, it gives them confidence and enhances their self-esteem.
- Teaches study skills. Consistent homework helps students understand how important their practice is, in particular when they see that the tasks they get are directly connected with quizzes and tests.
- Allows parents to be more involved in their child’s education.Homework keeps parents involved in their children’s learning process, so you may notice if your kid is struggling with some topic or subject and intervene, if necessary.
- Standardized test results. Recent studies have shown a slight positive correlation between completing homework successfully and doing well on state standardized tests. It is easy to see that students who are dedicated to their education perform better in the classroom, as well as on state testing.
A Balanced Approach
Most educational theorists will probably acknowledge that homework can be useful in helping kids learn and grow if it is given in moderation. For any homework, the old principle “quality over quantity” should be used. In addition, students must receive timely feedback. And overall, they should see the purpose and relevance of any assignment they do both at home and in class.
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