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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This article has 818 comments.


on Dec. 9 2009 at 8:01 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. ^^

on Dec. 9 2009 at 6:45 pm
betterhappyending BRONZE, San Ysidro, California
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I don't consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin." - Leonard Cohen

I would like to politely disagree with this article. I am in 11th grade and receive approximately 3-4 hours of homework a night. I believe homework is an absolutely necessary counterpart to the work we do in school.

I take many AP and honors classes, and take full responsibility for all of them. The reading I have to do every night is NOT negotiable. There is simply no way to learn everything you need to know for the AP test if you are assigned less homework. In my honest opinion, if you can't keep up with the it all or feel it's too much, then take an easier class.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 9 2009 at 6:26 pm
Not a problem :)

on Dec. 9 2009 at 3:45 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 appreciate that.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 8 2009 at 10:11 pm
I agree completly

on Dec. 8 2009 at 7:07 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. It's time to start something big.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 8 2009 at 5:20 pm
I will definitaly talk to them about it.

on Dec. 8 2009 at 3:42 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

Thank You.

on Dec. 8 2009 at 3:41 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

We need people like you to help us in our quest for lower homework. If anyone you know would like to start a petition, than stop by with a comment.

Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 8 2009 at 2:55 pm
Thank you. My two best friends are in the same dilema. Between sports, chores, choir practice, band practice, and knowledge bowl it get very hectic trying to do anything together.

on Dec. 7 2009 at 7:31 pm
AnImE_LoVeR54, National, California
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love Anime!!!
Forever!!!!
I love to read anime books!!!!

I KnOw Huh...

on Dec. 7 2009 at 3:30 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

That's a lot of homework!

Your a perfect example of our dilemna.

on Dec. 7 2009 at 2:28 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

Well, actually my intention is to lower homework. But no homework would be fine with me!

I know what you mean, my friend. And that is why we are all working together to really get our voice heard. Thanks for the comment!

on Dec. 6 2009 at 7:24 pm
Hisa-Ai PLATINUM, Rockford, Illinois
24 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even the bravest of soldiers recognizes a battle he cannot win.

No homework would be SO awesome!!!

I'm in ninth grade at a local high school (So I'm a Freshmen) and I've got homework just about EVERY night from just about EVERY period. Plus it doesn't really help that three of those classses are honors classes. Honors English, Honors Geometry, Honors World History, Art, Biology, and Sign Language. Between all that plus having to take care of my pets, there's never any time for anything else; anything fun.

And the homework never helps any anyway; it just wastes time all around.

School would be a more enjoyable experience if we didn't have the added stress of homework.

on Dec. 6 2009 at 8:31 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

What I meant was that your school seems to follow the ten minute rule, no matter how easy or hard the teachers are. And that's what I am looking for. Schools like yours. Do you understand what I mean now?

on Dec. 6 2009 at 8:15 am
Caramel_Apple SILVER, Yardley, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 31 comments
Yes. However, my school doesn't have honors or anything. Sometimes things are too easy. We have hard teachers and easy teachers. The hard teachers give us 4 days to study a new topic before a test. The easy teachers barely assign homework. I feel that my school isn't a role model for the campaign because I feel it can get too easy. I know when I came back from break I wasn't up to my elbows in work, but we received a fair amount.

The other seventh grade class once said they needed help studying. Instead of our English teacher saying that they should study with one another or their parents, she decided to make us do a useless assignment, designing a game, making a list with all the vocabulary. I felt it was really unnecessary. It does depend on how the schools are run, though. My school says for the upper school no more than one hour each night. Mostly we don't have an hour of homework a night. But sometimes, when we don't go over a topic in class, the science homework will take forty-five minutes! I don't know if it's the same for everyone else.

on Dec. 5 2009 at 7:33 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

Yes, my teachers do, which I am grateful for. But what teachers need to realize is that after coming back from a break, they need to ease the students back into the swing of things. When I came back from Thanksgiving vacation, I was flabbergasted to find myself up for 3 and a half hours doing homework, without a break or even a slight stare at something else. Like I have said, it depends on your school. It really does seem like your school is doing a fantastic job at keeping things in order and should be a role model for our campaign. It really says something when your "overload of homework" is our low night, you know?

on Dec. 5 2009 at 12:18 pm
Caramel_Apple SILVER, Yardley, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 31 comments
I do agree with you on the fact that schools are getting dumped on with homework. I know this has been a challenge and a problem for many people for many years. I am 11 years old, and I skipped a grade. The homework load has definitely been hard on me, and I do struggle with balancing my time for homework. In response to your comment, I think that at every school you have to show your work. Otherwise teachers don't know what you understand. I can look in the back of my book for answers. It's a trust thing. I disagree with assigning homework over breaks. I think that you need to. I know when I go on vacation (I am in a few days), everything I learned goes out of my head. I feel that you need a few reminders. And teachers do lessen your homework load around the holidays. At least my teachers do. Everyone wants a break around this time, not just kids.

on Dec. 5 2009 at 9:07 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

Homework helps to keep things fresh in your mind, I agree. But homework over breaks is a little bit over the top. That's a whole other subject mattert, one that I could easily write an essay on. And true, if you do a piece of homework you don't understand, you should ask your teacher. But if Math teachers did not give 30-50 problems a night, and I am talking about every single question here, that teacher is going to have to spend a while either a) grading the papers or b) going over it in class. Than, he has a couple of minutes to help children before, during and after school. He can't keep track of every child's progress! I hope at some time, you will agree with me. Caramel, may I ask, is there anything you do agree with me? Or is everything against your will?

on Dec. 5 2009 at 6:57 am
Caramel_Apple SILVER, Yardley, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 31 comments
Well I know that teachers facilitate the homework, but I feel that we do need to toughen up. I have a brother in high school, and teachers assign tests for the next day when they just learned the new concept that day. I feel that teachers are just doing their job. I know that over school breaks all the things I learned go out the window. Homework is to keep what you learned inside your head. And if you are doing things wrong and it shows in your work, go ask a teacher for help. For math, we have the answers for the odd questions in our book, and our teacher gives out the even questions. There are ways you can get help.