Facts About No Homework

Whether from habit or comparison with out-of-class work time in other nations, our students are getting homework and, according to some of them, a LOT of it.Educators and policy makers must ask themselves—does assigning homework pay off?

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Students and parents appear to carry similar critiques of homework, specifically regarding assignments identified as busy work—long sheets of repetitive math problems, word searches, or reading logs seemingly designed to make children dislike books.

When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of , says that many homework assignments are “simply busy work” that makes learning “a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.” Commenters on the piece, both parents and students, tended to agree.

In the 1940s, educators began to question if homework interfered with home life. In order to stay ahead of countries such as Russia, education in the U. The homework debate reversed again in the 1960s out of fear that it caused extreme amounts of stress on children and parents. After taking a look into homework history, it should be no surprise that the debate continues into the 21st century.

After all, many students had to work on the family farm or in the family business. However, the 1970s and 1980s again saw a change in public opinion when the Japanese began to surge forward economically. What is surprising is that, according to Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor Harris Cooper, the percentage of people for or against homework--and the actual amount of homework given--has hardly changed over the centuries. Simple: Homework is merely the center battle in the growing war for better education.

Family life and activities outside of school were of great importance, and homework began to fall out of favor. Homework is just a small part of the educational system, and it has become a weapon to drive teachers apart further apart as well as parents and administrators. Teachers who work hard to maintain homework are criticized, as are those in favor of the no homework policy, and the two are often pitted against each other.

And let's not forget the students--they are the ones caught in the crossfire.

Why, then, is homework an inescapable part of the student experience?

Worksheets, busy work, and reading assignments continue to be a mainstay of students’ evenings.

The Scholastic article references Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, in which he says, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age.” The article goes on to note that those who oppose homework focus on the drawbacks of significant time spent on homework, identifying one major negative as homework’s intrusion into family time.

They also point out that opponents believe schools have decided homework is necessary and thus assign it simply to assign some kind of homework, not because doing the work meets specifically-identified student needs.

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