Homework: What is it?

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Bennie is sitting at his desk, bored and depressed… once again. He is staring at the clock in front of him, waiting for it to move. He had a pile of homework in front of him but he wasn’t willing to do them. Too useless, too much he thought. If only there wasn’t any homework, he would actually like being at school. He had asked his parents many times why homework was necessary and every time he got the same dull answer: Just Do It. Many parents in America, not just Bennie’s, cannot answer that simple question; why is homework useful?
Let’s begin by acknowledging what homework exactly is. Most kids think of homework as a waste of time although they aren’t even sure what it is and how it may help you. Homework is defined as out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom work. There are three types of homework: practice, preparation, and extension.
These 3 types help you learn in different ways. Practice assignments reinforce newly acquired skills. For example, students who have just learned a new method of solving a mathematical problem should be given sample problems to complete on their own. Preparation assignments help students get ready for activities that will occur in the classroom. Students may, for example, be required to do background research on a topic to be discussed later in class. Extension assignments are a frequently long-term continuing project that revolves around class work. Students must apply previous learning to complete these assignments, which include science fair projects and term papers. All these activities require students to think outside of school, which is why homework is so important.
Research in the last decade has begun to focus on the relationship between homework and student achievement and has greatly strengthened the case for homework. Overall, the results are that in middle and high school grades “there is a positive association between the amount of homework that students complete and their grades” (Bempechat, 191). This means that students’ homework affects their grades. Therefore, if no homework is done then the student’s achievement is lowered and their grades will suffer. Similarly, students who do their homework will increase their achievement and improve their grades. Studies generally have found homework assignments to be most helpful if they are carefully planned by the teachers and have direct meaning to students.
Many students have come up with lots of excuses to not doing homework. Most of them were silly ones such as “it’s not useful” or “I have more important things to do”, but one valid excuse has actually come up these past couple years and that is: Homework counts for so little of a student’s overall grade. At our school, tests count for 60%, quizzes for 30%, and homework for just 10%. I can see why the Board of Education has problems overcoming this one; a student could not be doing three or four homework assignments and getting an A on a test and still maintaining a high B average. Although that may be the case, how many students can actually get a high grade on a major assignment without doing homework?
The important thing that a student must know is that homework is way more important than the percentage points it is tagged because homework makes a student think. It gives the brain a chance to continue learning in a different environment and gets kids thinking about what they learned when they are outside of school. Homework is practice. Practicing anything helps your brain to learn how to do that thing better and better. As you practice doing your schoolwork, you not only learn the facts and skills that were taught in class, you learn how to learn. Your brain starts to see how all the knowledge is connected, how to find information in different places, how to compare and contrast, how to observe, how to memorize ... doing homework teaches you things you never imagined you were learning.
Homework also prepares you for the future. No matter profession you would like to major in, they will all require extensive work. If you want to be special in any one area or subject, it will always mean extra work, which on the other hand, means less free time to hang out with friends.
I am not saying that you won’t be able to enjoy yourself as a teenager, because teenage hood is all about having fun, but educationally it’s also one of the most important stages of your life since you’re finishing high school and if you can get into a good college, it pretty much sets the table for your future.
Bennie and many other students in the U.S. will probably have a better understanding of what homework really is if somebody had told them about these facts. Students, especially in the 7th and 8th grade, really need to start understanding the value of homework. Once high school rolls around homework will just keep piling up and if students at that point still don’t get the meaning of homework, they could be in deep trouble.





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