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 819 comments.


on Jan. 4 2010 at 2:56 pm
phoenixqueen GOLD, Idaho Falls, Idaho
10 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I cannot live without books."

I think that homework does serve a purpose, but that purpose is not being met. Some students have so much homework that they have to choose quantity over quality, i.e., getting it done instead of doing it right. I, for instance, have a job that gives me half an hour to do homework on Tuesday through Thursday. This is not enough time, so I am staying up until 11, sometimes 12 o'clock to get it done. Teachers need to cut back, but not nessesarily get rid of homework.

on Jan. 4 2010 at 2:07 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

Thank you for reading my article!

Actually, a lot of people believe my essay is to eliminate homework, which is exactly NOT what I want to do!

Homework (productive, I mean) is completely necessary to enforce a subject. However, an oveload, or busy work, does not compensate with anything.

on Jan. 4 2010 at 8:23 am
Urbs2013 BRONZE, Not Listed, New York
4 articles 2 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things."

I believe that we should use an existing website, so, yours is best. Um, and as for the chat-box idea, I know how we can set it up..

jmjanecek said...
on Jan. 3 2010 at 1:56 pm
This is a beautifully written, insightful, and well-researched article. You make great points. However, to play the devil's advocate... you could definitely elaborate on the "productive homework" that teachers can assign. Siting pressures from teachers to get their students to achieve high test scores is one issue, but time constraints are also a significant one. 45-80 minutes is sometimes just not enough to teach new information, practice, re-teach, and demonstrate mastery of it. Sometimes, homework can take some of this time (imperfectly, perhaps, but most educational approaches are imperfect at best) so the teacher can focus the majority of the time on teaching and monitoring progress. Also, homework can offer such an ability to extend knowledge for the students. Something that isn't completely necessary to cover in class, but can push students a bit further and extend their knowledge and ability in a certain area can be extremely beneficial.

As a 7th grade teacher (if it wasn't obvious), you make a phenomenal stand against homework - one that I am even willing to share with my class. However, before you start raising your fists and painting your anti-homework signs, I urge you to look very closely at your homework assignments and make sure they don't serve some greater purpose than simply wasting your free time. Believe it or not, teachers are usually acting with your best interests at heart.

on Jan. 1 2010 at 9:27 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

We are not complaining. We are saying that some schools are recieving to much homework. When a person who does nothing afterschool but comes home and does his or her's homework, and they are doing it for 4 or 5 hours, that really tells you something. And don't say they aren't capable of doing it in a timely manner. When you have alot, you have alot.

on Jan. 1 2010 at 2:50 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

My friend, extracurricular activities such as sports are a fine thing, truely. However, they are just that: EXTRAcurricular. They are not an excuse to put off or complain about your school load.

on Jan. 1 2010 at 2:48 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I see. Homework serves no worthwhile purpose. Hmm. Perhaps that is true in a few instances; I will be the first to admit that contrary to my teachers beliefs, I have had homework assignments that I felt are completely useless. I mean, come on, an English assignment to randomly choose words from a dictionary and sort them based on their relevance in your life? Really? What's the point? That will never help me in life...

However, should there be a "homework revolution" lets make sure that we are revolting homework that truely has no relevence to the subject - no one is going to care if we revolt from work we are simply too lazy to perform.

on Dec. 27 2009 at 10:32 am
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

Actually, homework has no correlation between how you do in school and how much homework you recieve. The more you get definitely does not reinforce much. But, at least you understand that we teenagers just recieve the maximum, which is not right.

on Dec. 27 2009 at 10:29 am
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, Urbs. We have to start on that petition soon. Have you created a website yet? Or would you like to use mine?

on Dec. 25 2009 at 11:06 pm
Urbs2013 BRONZE, Not Listed, New York
4 articles 2 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things."

Well, Emma, if you would look at my article, the second part of the Homework Revolution, you would see that we don't have to add anything. It's the one next to this.

on Dec. 25 2009 at 7:14 pm
emmajumbilia SILVER, Bellingham, Washington
5 articles 8 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it" - Andy Warhol

I really love this, almost all teens out there can really relate. I know I can, I usually have at least 3-4 hours of homework a night, and with work and sports, i usually end up going to bed at midnight or 1, then wake up at 5:30. If you were to add more to this, maybe add something about how excessive homework adds to sleep deprivation? thus making it harder to focus in school? Just an idea, but keep up the good work! :]

on Dec. 23 2009 at 4:44 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

me too but something I (Santa) can bring u.

on Dec. 23 2009 at 4:41 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

Me too. But something u can wrap. Or something I (SANTA) can bring u. HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS

on Dec. 23 2009 at 4:33 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

Less Homework.

on Dec. 23 2009 at 12:44 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

Hi Lauren, so what do you want 4 Christmas

on Dec. 22 2009 at 8:22 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

or uhh what can I call u besides space king?

on Dec. 22 2009 at 8:21 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

Thanks. Hey space king ...I hope u don't mind me asking but whats your name? My name is Montana (if u didn't know already :D

on Dec. 22 2009 at 3:06 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 like your viewpoint, Montana!

on Dec. 21 2009 at 9:26 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

Sorry I meant to type... Am I in?

on Dec. 21 2009 at 9:24 pm
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

Am I in. Anyone who is intelligent enough would be unintelligent if they were not in. Of course I am in the Revolution.