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.


Letters345 said...
on Dec. 15 2009 at 11:17 am
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

on Dec. 15 2009 at 8:12 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."

sounds to me like Freewebs is our best bet. I can get a pretty basic site up in about an hour, and it's a good website.

on Dec. 14 2009 at 1:32 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

Oh, I won't leave. But, we need to get not only people to join, but classes, students, schools, organizations! Do we really want the revolution to fall?

on Dec. 14 2009 at 1:31 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

:sigh: Letters, you will get what you want.

on Dec. 14 2009 at 1:30 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

I know, I know. Check the comment at the top.

on Dec. 14 2009 at 1:30 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

And I love your article,too, Urbs.

Come to think of it, not only shall we make a joint petition but a joint website and we could place an online petition on there. How about it?

Plus, Letters, we can include a chat room!

on Dec. 14 2009 at 8:11 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."

Loving the article, and It's so true, the amount of homework is way too much. It all feeds into the topic of my article, sleep loss. Anyway, homework is pretty unnecessary, so, let's get this revolution rolling.

Letters345 said...
on Dec. 13 2009 at 10:25 pm
IM BAK i was not looking at the computer for weeks now but now IM BAK!!!

Letters345 said...
on Dec. 13 2009 at 10:22 pm
WHAT?!?!?! Ur LEAVING????? :.(.. (little tears and a frown)

on Dec. 13 2009 at 1:21 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 wish people would understand that of course, homework is very important and should not be eliminated. But too much of it is not liable. THERE IS NO CORRELATION BETWEEN HOW WELL YOU DO IN SCHOOL AND HOMEWORK. So the more homework a teacher gives does not mean the merrier. And when you don't have time to do in school, than it just gets harder. Especially when teachers give loads of busy work. It's just crossing the line.

on Dec. 13 2009 at 12:56 am
SerenityMine BRONZE, Not Saying, California
2 articles 0 photos 156 comments
I personally think that homework is very important. If the workload is too much, try doing some of it in class?

on Dec. 10 2009 at 8:12 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

Hmmmm.......

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 10 2009 at 7:47 pm
Exactly. :-)

on Dec. 10 2009 at 7:42 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

Yes, indeed how a better world it would be if people would think of their children, and how they will contribute to the future.

on Dec. 10 2009 at 7:41 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

That is very true. But if you went to my school, or any school like it, you would be awfully surprised at the amount of homework we students recieve on a daily basis. It's more than what high schoolers get in a week! My town (and other towns) sometimes go a little overboard with preparing us for the future. Sometimes, enough is enough.

jen920 said...
on Dec. 10 2009 at 5:50 pm
I understand your point now. I thought you were talking about homework in high school.

But the whole point of middle school is to prepare for high school, isn't it? Fortunately for me, I hardly got any homework in middle school (I was one of those kids who always sneakily did homework in class, haha). But when high school came around, the amount of homework was a huge shock to me. All in all, I think homework is vital to learning discipline and getting accustomed to a full workload come high school and college.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 10 2009 at 5:40 pm
I agree completely

on Dec. 10 2009 at 3:24 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

Ah, if only people would comply to that golden rule.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 9 2009 at 9:54 pm
Sure Thing. anything to help the minds of our youth. :)

on Dec. 9 2009 at 8:56 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!