Homework Policy

When I first began to teach, I was completely convinced that homework was a necessary daily part of school. Sure, I had had teachers of my own who would assign homework religiously, day after day. Due to my experiences as an educator and as a parent, however, I have come to the realization that assigning regular, daily homework does not automatically equate to higher student learning.

There are educators out there who have a special section on their blackboard with the day’s homework assignment. The assignment is completely independent of whatever students are working on in class and is usually due the next day. These homework assignments often involve several hours outside the classroom. Most teachers will assign separate homework every day of the week. I do not agree with this viewpoint.

Let me preface everything by saying that there are, admittedly, times when homework is absolutely essential. For example, if I am covering a rather exhaustive unit like The Ancient Roman Empire or World War II, then I do assign readings for homework. In these cases, it is important for students to complete some background readings in order to come to class with a decent foundation of the material and thus participate in classroom discussions. The other instance where homework happens in my classroom is if students do not finish something during class time. It follows that the student would obviously need to take it home and complete it. Finally, reading quality literature at home for pleasure is extremely beneficial to students. Other than these exceptions, I do not believe in homework. Outlined below, are the top ten reasons why I am not a champion of homework specifically assigned:

1. No Room for Physical Activity, Reading for Pleasure and/or the Arts

Most assigned homework wastes a tremendous amount of time and restricts students from pursuing outside activities and passions such as sports, independent reading, music, dance, etc.

2. Less Family Time

Excessive homework, also known as "busywork" in my opinion, prevents students from spending quality time with family and friends and cuts into important things like the family sit-down dinner.

3. Stress & Frustration

Excessive homework causes stress and frustration for both students and parents. I remember when my daughter would come home every night with a multitude of worksheets to complete. She’d begin at 5:30 and many times would not be finished until 7 p.m. Often, homework ended in tears and anger. With so much stress related to the activity, students can easily be turned off to learning and associate learning with torment thereafter.

4. Studies Do Not Prove the Necessity of Nightly Homework

There is no legitimate study proving that homework helps kids learn. See the Time Magazine article on the subject.

5. "Busywork" homework is pointless

Especially in high school, students need homework that is meaningful. Like I said, background readings are important. Tons of busywork and worksheets that teachers rarely grade are a travesty.

What is your opinion on Homework?

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