Homework has been part of the school experience for several generations. There are some lessons that are perfect for the classroom, but there are also some things that kids can do better at home. As a general rule, the maximum time a student should dedicate to extracurricular activities per day is 10 minutes per grade level.
This means that a first grader should spend about 10 minutes on homework every night. If you are a senior in high school, the maximum limit is two hours. For some students, that might still be too much extra time for work. There are some calls to limit time spent on extra limits to 30 minutes a day in all older K-12 classes — and some say homework should be banned entirely.
Can teachers get all the lessons adequately during the 1-2 hours per subject they could get each day? Do parents have an opportunity to check what their children are learning at school if nothing is brought home from work?
There are several pros and cons why homework should be banned from the current school structure.
List of advantages why homework should be banned
1. Homework makes the day longer for students than their parents' work.
There are times when parents need to bring work home after a long day of productivity, but that time is usually part of a compensation package. Students don't get the same luxury. After spending 6-8 hours at school, you may still have two hours of homework to complete before completing all the assignments that are due. This means that some children work longer hours than their parents. This disadvantage means there are fewer moments to go outside, spend time with friends, or pursue a hobby.
2. There is no guarantee of improved academic success.
Research studies provide conflicting results when it comes to the impact of homework on a student's life. Younger students can benefit from a total ban so they can separate their home and classroom experiences. Older students who carry out extracurricular projects also benefit from the time limitation of this responsibility. Design flaws exist on both sides of the clinical work addressing this issue, therefore there is no definitive scientific conclusion pointing to any specific finding. It may be better to be safe than sorry.
3. Homework restrictions reduce classroom burnout problems for students.
Homework stress is a significant problem in the modern classroom for K-12 students. Even children in elementary school find it challenging to maintain their achievement due to the pressure that daily tasks create. Approximately 1 in 4 teachers in North America report that there are direct adverse effects resulting from the learning effort required of students today. It can also cause older students to drop out of school because they can't focus on the work they need to do.
When students have time to pursue interests outside of the classroom, they can create healthier learning opportunities in the future.
4. Banning homework would give families more time to spend together.
One in three American households with children say that teachers' homework is the number one source of stress in their home. When children have work to do by a certain date, there is less time for families to do activities together. Instead of planning their time around their free hours, they have to balance homework demands in their schedules. There are even fewer moments when parents need to be involved in the learning process, as students have to follow specific instructions to complete assignments.
5. Students' health is affected by too much homework.
Children of all ages struggle in school when they don't have the opportunity to finish their homework by a certain deadline. It is not uncommon for school administrators and some teachers to judge children on their ability to turn in their work on time. If a child has a robust work ethic and is still unable to complete the work, the negative approach they might encounter in the classroom could cause them to abandon their learning goals.
This problem can even lead to the development of mental health problems. It can lower a child's self-esteem, prevent them from learning essential study skills, and interfere with their ability to learn new skills in other areas of life outside of the classroom. Excessive homework also increases the risk of self-harm and suicide. Because of this, banning it might be a healthy choice for some people.
6. Banning homework would help students get more sleep.
Teens need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to maximize their productivity. Students in elementary school may also need up to 12 hours per night. When homework is necessary and time-consuming, this issue can affect the amount of rest children get each night. Every task given to a K-12 student increases their risk of losing at least an hour of sleep a night. This problem can eventually lead to sleep deficits, which can lead to chronic learning problems. It can even lead to problems with emotional control, obesity, and attention problems. A homework ban would completely eliminate the problem.
7. It would encourage dynamic learning opportunities.
There are some homework projects that students find interesting such as B. a science fair project or another practical task. Many of the assignments that students have to do for their teachers involve repetition instead. You might see elementary school students coming home with math sheets with 100 or more problems to solve. Reading assignments are common in all classes. Rather than learning the “why” behind the information learned, the goal with homework is usually memorization rather than self-discovery. Because of this, it can be difficult to keep the data that homework provides.
8. Banning homework would create more time for socialization among peers.
Students who only spend time at school before going home for the rest of the evening to do homework are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. When these feelings are present in a child's life, they are more likely to have physical and mental health issues that lead to shyness and avoidance.
These students are missing important connections with other people because they have homework to do. The adverse effect on a child's well-being is equivalent to smoking more than one pack of cigarettes a day. When children spend all their time doing homework, they are disconnected from their family and friends.
9. Some students do not have a home environment conducive to homework.
Although some children can complete their homework in a quiet room without stress, most children cannot. Numerous events occur at home that can divert a child's attention from the homework that the teacher expects of them. It's not just television, video games and the internet that are problematic. Family problems, housework, an after-school job, and team sports can make it difficult to finish assignments on time.
Banning homework levels the playing field by allowing teachers to control the classroom environment. They have no control over when, where, or how their students complete assignments outside of school.
10. It would eliminate the assignment of irrelevant work.
Homework can be a useful tool if teachers use it well. There are times when these tasks are assigned to distribute a lot of work. If the content of the work is irrelevant to classroom instruction, it should not be distributed. It is unreasonable to expect a student to get excellent grades on work that is rarely covered in class.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that students with just four hours of homework per week are detrimental to individual productivity. The average US high school is already breaking that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week.
List of cons why homework should be banned
1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught.
Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student understands the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can also provide this information, but not in the same way. If the data stays outside of the educational setting, that's an excellent indication that the process was effective for that individual. If knowledge gaps arise during homework, the learning process can be individualized in order to achieve the best possible results for each child.
2. Homework can reduce exam stress and anxiety.
Students often study at home for tests to ensure they pass with an acceptable grade. Entering a classroom prepared with only the notes and memories from previous lessons can create high levels of anxiety that could affect the child's bottom line. Banning homework could put more pressure on children to succeed than what they are currently experiencing. This disadvantage would also lead to more classroom labels that are unfairly based on each child's achievement. Some students excel in a lecture-based environment, others do better at home where there are fewer distractions.
3. Tasks can be an effective way to detect learning disabilities.
Children do an excellent job of hiding their struggles in the classroom from adults. They use their disguises as a coping mechanism to blend in when they feel different. This behavior can make it difficult to identify students who might benefit from a different approach to learning in certain subjects. By assigning homework to each child on a regular basis, there are more opportunities to recognize the issues that can hold some people back. Then teachers can work with families to develop alternative learning plans that can improve the educational process for each student because individual assignments eliminate the ability to hide.
4. Parents are more involved in the learning process through homework.
Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even when they ask their children what they are learning, the answers tend to be rather general. Without specific examples from the classroom, it is difficult to stay involved in a student's educational process.
By sending out homework from school, the whole family can learn about the chores their children do when they are at school during the day. Then there is greater adult involvement in the learning process, thereby reinforcing the core ideas that are discovered by their children every day.
5. Homework provides students with an opportunity to research more deeply.
The average classroom in the United States provides less than 60 minutes of instruction for each subject each day. General education teachers in elementary school can also skip certain subjects on some days. When homework goes home, it creates more opportunities to use the tools at home to learn more about what's happening at school. Looking deeper at specific topics or lessons through independent learning can lead to new thoughts or ideas that may not appear in the classroom. This process can eventually lead to a better understanding of the material.
6. The homework process requires time management and persistence to succeed.
Students must learn basic life skills as part of the educational process. Time management skills are one of the most useful tools that can be in a child's toolbox. Knowing how to consistently get your work done by a specific deadline can have that ability translate into a future career. Homework can also teach students how to solve complex problems, understand current events, or harness their passion in life. By learning from a young age that there are jobs we sometimes have to do even if we don't want to, the lessons of perseverance can lead to real gains later in life.
7. Assignments hold students accountable for their role in the educational process.
Teachers cannot force a student to learn something. The child must desire to know more for information retention to occur. Education can dramatically improve a child's life in a number of ways. It can lead to more income opportunities, a better understanding of the world, and building a healthy routine. By offering students homework, teachers are encouraging today's children to take responsibility for their role in their own education. It creates opportunities to show responsibility by proving that work can be done on time and to a specified quality.
8. It creates opportunities to practice time management.
Some students may experience homework problems when they are heavily involved in extracurricular activities. When you give a child two hours of after-school homework and at the same time they have two hours of responsibilities, there are some significant time management challenges to solve. Time really is a finite commodity. If we are not able to manage it in a smart way, our level of productivity will be limited in several ways. Creating a calendar with each responsibility and commitment helps kids and their families find ways to manage everything while driving the learning process.
Judgment on the advantages and disadvantages of the homework ban
Some students make a living from the homework they get from their teachers every day. There are also some children who have difficulty completing even basic tasks on time due to their home environment. How can we balance the two extremes so that each child has the best possible chance of success?
One solution is to ban homework altogether. Although this action would require proactive communication from teachers and parents, it could help equalize educational opportunities in the classroom.
Until more research is done in this area, the pros and cons of banning homework are subjective. If you think your child would benefit from a reduced workload, speak to the teacher to see if this is an option. For teens and older students, there is always an option to pursue another form of education, such as trade school or an apprenticeship, when the traditional classroom doesn't seem to work.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As an author, Keith's work has been featured in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, please doSend our editorial team a message here.