The Homework Revolution | Teen Ink

The Homework Revolution MAG

June 12, 2009
By SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell


A young girl sits at her desk, reviewing her homework assignments for the evening. English: read three chapters and write a journal response. Math: complete 30 problems, showing all work. Science: do a worksheet, front and back. French: study vocabulary for tomorrow's test. It's going to be a long night.

This describes a typical weeknight for students across the country. Now is the time to start a homework revolution.

Do students in the United States receive too much homework? According to guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), a student should be assigned no more than 10 minutes per grade level per night. For example, a first grader should only have 10 minutes of homework, a second grader, 20 minutes, and so on. This means that a student in my grade – seventh – should have no more than 70 minutes of work each night. Yet this is often doubled, sometimes even tripled!

There are negatives to overloading students. Have you ever heard of a child getting sick because of homework? According to William Crain, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at City College of New York and the author of Reclaiming Childhood, “Kids are developing more school-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems, and depression than ever before.” The average student is glued to his or her desk for almost seven hours a day. Add two to four hours of homework each night, and they are working a 45- to 55-hour week!

In addition, a student who receives excessive homework “will miss out on active playtime, essential for learning social skills, proper brain development, and warding off childhood obesity,” according to Harris Cooper, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

Everybody knows that teachers are the ones who assign homework, but they do not deserve all the blame. “Many teachers are under greater pressure than ever before,” says Kylene Beers, president of the National Council for Teachers of English and the author of When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do. “Some of it comes from parents, some from the administration and the desire for high scores on standardized tests.” Teachers who are under pressure feel the need to assign more homework. But why aren't teachers aware of the NEA homework recommendations? Many have never heard of them, have never taken a course about good versus bad homework, how much to give, and the research behind it. And many colleges of education do not offer specific training in homework. Teachers are just winging it.

Although some teachers and parents believe that assigning a lot of homework is beneficial, a Duke University review of a number of studies found almost no correlation between homework and long-term achievements in elementary school and only a moderate correlation in middle school. “More is not better,” concluded Cooper, who conducted the review.

Is homework really necessary? Most teachers assign homework as a drill to improve memorization of material. While drills and repetitive exercises have their place in schools, homework may not be that place. If a student does a math worksheet with 50 problems but completes them incorrectly, he will likely fail the test. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most math teachers can tell after checking five algebraic equations whether a student understood the necessary concepts. Practicing dozens of homework problems incorrectly only cements the wrong method.

Some teachers believe that assigning more homework will help improve standardized test scores. However, in countries like the Czech Republic, Japan, and Denmark, which have higher-scoring students, teachers give little homework. The United States is among the most homework-intensive countries in the world for seventh and eighth grade, so more homework clearly does not mean a higher test score.

Some people argue that homework toughens kids up for high school, college, and the workforce. Too much homework is sapping students' strength, curiosity, and most importantly, their love of learning. Is that really what teachers and parents want?

If schools assign less homework, it would benefit teachers, parents, and students alike. Teachers who assign large amounts of homework are often unable to do more than spot-check answers. This means that many errors are missed. Teachers who assign less homework will be able to check it thoroughly. In addition, it allows a teacher time to focus on more important things. “I had more time for planning when I wasn't grading thousands of problems a night,” says math teacher Joel Wazac at a middle school in Missouri. “And when a student didn't understand something, instead of a parent trying to puzzle it out, I was there to help them.” The result of assigning fewer math problems: grades went up and the school's standardized math scores are the highest they've ever been. A student who is assigned less homework will live a healthy and happy life. The family can look forward to stress-free, carefree nights and, finally, the teachers can too.

Some schools are already taking steps to improve the issue. For example, Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts, has limited homework, keeping to the “10 minute rule.” Raymond Park Middle School in Indianapolis has written a policy instructing teachers to “assign homework only when you feel the assignment is valuable.” The policy also states, “A night off is better than homework which serves no worthwhile purpose.” Others, such as Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, have considered eliminating homework altogether. If these schools can do it, why can't everyone?

So, my fellow Americans, it's time to stop the insanity. It's time to start a homework revolution.



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JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 818 comments.


Nora:D said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 4:16 pm
Candy: I`d have to agree with this article. The ten minute rule is there for a reason; to not strain kids. Yes, being smart is good, but where will you get with that if you don`t have friend-time to practice those socializing skills that all of us will need later on in our lives? We need them to give speeches, express our opinions, and even have a chance to leave a mark on the world community.

on Nov. 9 2009 at 4:07 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

It's kind of funny though. It wasn't my intention to ban homework, only to recieve less of it. But, no homework can work,too. ^^

on Nov. 9 2009 at 4:03 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

I'm working on a website. I'll post the link soon. It's time to get our views spoken!

on Nov. 9 2009 at 4:03 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thanks! We need to start something new, something fresh. Us teenagers/kids need to stand up for what's right! It's our time to start a homework revolution!

(I'm working on a website, so I'll give the link once it is up.)

on Nov. 9 2009 at 3:18 pm
EricBlair BRONZE, London, Other
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I understand HOW, I do not understand WHY" -George Orwell, 1984

Today's education system is outdated. We need redesign for a new era! We're in the 21st century now! Not the Industrial Age when this education system came about!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:42 pm
Great Idea! i'll help

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:40 pm
I'm in! No more homework!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:39 pm
One worksheet is all i want

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:38 pm
Ya, but what did u get out of it?

harmy1 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:31 pm
They should give us homework like 2 subjects or less? cause I be staying up all night doing homework.

Isabella123 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 12:19 pm
1 sheet of paper is all we should get

Minotour5 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 11:43 am
I think we need only 1 homework a day and thats it I don't like homework

Minotour5 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 11:42 am
I will join this revolution and help you spread the word, Us kids get to much homework! We need more play time!

dajuan said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 11:35 am
I think that we should still have homework

but only on a computer and its a weeks worth of homework. They should give

us 2 weeks to get it done. Then we can still

have homework and be active.

doglover95 said...
on Nov. 9 2009 at 11:15 am
WE NEED TO DO IT! allot of us kids are having a hard time in class cause of allot of homework and i stay up till midnight doing homework! i agree HOMEWORK REVOLUTION!!!!!

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 8 2009 at 2:10 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

:) np buddy

on Nov. 8 2009 at 1:42 pm
CaseyLeigh PLATINUM, Moraga, California
31 articles 6 photos 137 comments

Favorite Quote:
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to.

I love this piece. :]

on Nov. 6 2009 at 2:35 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thanks for agreeing. We really need to act fast if we want this to end. Preach my essay to your fellow students and join the HOMEWORK REVOLUTION!

- Lauren M.

on Nov. 6 2009 at 2:30 pm
SpaceKing800 GOLD, Glen Rock, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry"- Maria Mitchell

Thank you.

padme BRONZE said...
on Nov. 6 2009 at 12:05 pm
padme BRONZE, Garner, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"if not now, when"
mr. jon caldwell

will do chief


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