Is Homework Necessary?

April 22, 2018
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For generations, most people have gone to school. In school, everybody is used to the term of homework. Everybody would just assume that homework is actually good for you, and you just do it. But sometimes it’s not.
Wait what?

You heard that correctly. Sometimes homework is actually not good for you. Before you jump to conclusions let me explain. “In 2006, Harris Cooper [a psychologist a Duke University] shared his meta-analytic study, which found homework in elementary school (K-5th grade) does not contribute to academic achievement"(Healy).  Cooper’s  study did not only say homework was ineffective in elementary school, but she said as the students get older, the more benefits they got from homework. The article also claims that,“Cooper’s study isn’t black and white: There were modest gains for middle and high school students, so it looks like the developmental window of early childhood is the place where homework isn’t necessarily beneficial”(Healy). What she is trying to tell us is that homework is acceptable, good, and effective for middle and high school students but the opposite for the elementary kids. I could almost hear the disappointed sighs of middle and high school students.

There is no way that every elementary school in the world would not hand out homework.The National Parent Teachers association guidelines are: each grade level should get 10 minutes of homework. For example, a first grader would get 10 minutes of homework, while a 12th grader would get around 120 minutes of homework per night). This is a very simple and effective rule, but many schools struggle to follow this rule. Some teachers even give 1st graders as much as 40 minutes of homework a night! That is Four times the recommended amount of homework for a first grader. Or in other words, 400% more than how much homework a first grader is supposed to do (Research Spotlight on).

If teachers do not hand out homework to elementary students, they would stop looking like a bunch of stressed, sad, tired puppets and instead will be the playful and energetic children they are meant to be. Childhood is supposed to be the best time of their lives, but their homework load is just out of this world. Homework is meant to be helpful, not be a burden.  Back then When I was in elementary school, there was excessive and there was literally homework every single day. I was extremely stressed and anxious because there was too much homeowork, and I had now way of finishing it in time.  Now when I Look back, I still find it quite funny that I considered the workload back in elementary school a lot compared to the amount of work that I have to do today.

Although a lot of schools around the world still give out a lot of homework, there are a few schools in the United States that have taken action. A good example would be a teacher a teacher named Heidi Maier. She made headline news when she banned homework from school and replaced the homework with 20 minutes of reading a night. There are studies that prove that younger students gain more benefits from reading on a regular basis because they can choose books that they are legitimately interested in. (Healy) Another example would be  Mark Trifilio, a principal of a school in Vermont suggested that instead of handing out homework, they could replace it with reading every night, eating with their family and also playing in the outdoors. He claims that students have not fallen behind on classwork and are doing quite well in class. People would wonder that if the teachers don’t hand out homework, then how would the students learn? If the teacher is doing his/her job well, then the students would not need homework (Healy). Parents know that Homework (elementary school) is predictable. They expect that kids would receive math practice, spelling list, and a reading assignment. All of these assignments happen on a regular basis. Any other homework is work in class that students  did not finish (Adams).

Wouldn’t it be better if elementary schools would just ban homework completely and let the kids live a stress-free life before they enter middle school? They would do what they love and be free, instead of being cooped up in a room studying unnecessary things that would not improve their overall academic achievement. One solution is that the only homework elementary students should do, is the work that they did not finish in class.

This way younger kids would not have been stressed about their homework and would do the things that they actually have a passion about. This solution might not work, because some studies might argue that homework will help expand the student’s knowledge and intelligence. There is another solution, that is teachers in elementary school would not give out homework and instead make their students read 20 minutes a night instead.. This was technically still homework, but reading is more enjoyable than for example some math homework or a spelling list. Plus, it will just take 20 minutes of the time and they can do whatever they wish with the amount of free time they get. Without homework, teachers wouldn’t need to mark the students' homework, therefore the teachers would have less work to do. It is like a chain reaction where the students and the teachers both get more free time.

There are hundreds of studies about homework that contradict each other. Some might say that homework is crucial for elementary students, some might say they’re not. There are articles about why homework is inadequate , or why is is beneficial and essential. However, I am student and speaking from my perspectivet, I believe that 20 minutes of reading a night is way more valuable of 20 minutes of homework to elementary students. It is an easy solution and the kids can use the free time to be creative and socialize.

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