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.



Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 818 comments.


Moonbound94 said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 10:30 pm
Me too. i have friends in other districts that get alot less homework than i do. Most of the time the work load is ridiculous

on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:10 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 the comment. Although I do not agree with what you are saying, I must congratulate you. Your school follows the rule completely. But homework, in general. does cause stress for some student. Now, I am not talking about stressing over a grade. I am talking overall stress. My friend does not go to sleep until 10:00 most nights (and this includes many other students, like me. I'm not lazy, nor do I procrastinate. Plus, I can cope with the stress.) This friend now has vertigo, a condition which has taken a toll on her life. My peers are expieriencing similar issues, whether anxiety, or even a major stomach problem all due to one thing (you guessed it): homework.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:04 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

Actually, it's a perfectly liable fact to blame teachers, who are the only ones to mandate homework. Homework, true, is vitally important to our modern education, and I am glad your school does not recieve a lot. But this essay complies to the schools that do recieve a lot, and in turn, must be lessened. Again, and how many times must I repeat it, studies have shown their is no correlation between homework and how well a student does in school. If a student does their homework, but merely writes down the CORRECT answers, not paying attention, then what is the point.

But thanks for the comment.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 4:25 pm
Caramel_Apple SILVER, Yardley, Pennsylvania
6 articles 0 photos 31 comments
I am also in seventh grade. However, my school doesn't give much homework. A lot of homework to me is 30 math problems, a science assessment, a response to a history paper, and studying. I believe, though, that homework is quite important, and it does reinforce what you're learning, and commiting it to memory. Many parents do get upset about too much homework, but there isn't a lot the teachers can do. They just want to help us learn. So don't blame the teachers, because in the end there's no one really to blame.

izz123 GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 3:23 pm
izz123 GOLD, Gaithersburg, Maryland
13 articles 5 photos 24 comments
The issue of homework is a delicate subject for many. Personally, as of now, I find no faults with it. I am a tenth grader, and receive about an hour and a half of homework each night. I have no problem with this. For me, homework is necessary practice for me to get the grades I get. It helps that it is only graded for completion, so personally I do not stress over getting things wrong. Homework is necessary, in my opinion.

However, a friend of mine spends way too much time on it. She takes the same classes as me, yet it takes her six hours to complete her homework. That is, of course, extremely wrong. My friend now stresses constantly over her grades, and doesn't participate in fun activities anymore. Of course it's wrong to obsess like that, mentally and emotionally. Yet, I do not think homework is the culprit in cases like these. It is the stress certain students, like my friend, are putting on themselves. So, as I said the issue is delicate. We cannot terminate homework, or even lessen it considerably. Yet homework does seem to amplify stress some. In my opinion, steps should be taken to eliminate the stress, not the homework. How this is to be accomplished, I cannot tell you. Maybe by eliminating standardized tests and even GPA's altogether. Maybe by stressing the importance of doing no more than your best. In my opinion, a homework revolution is not the answer.

Great article though. You did a good job of expressing your opinion, and researching to make it convincing.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 1:33 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

Thank you!

And, by the way, I know you follow my website. I just didn't know if you ever actually read my article.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 8:13 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."

How quickly you forget. I've been following your website for quite some time.

Anyway, absolutely correct, and as a 9th grader, this is something I believe quite fervently. I simply cannot function sans-sleep, and sleep is what I lose when I get homework. Therefore, I say, LET IT BEGIN!

on Dec. 3 2009 at 6:23 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

Indeed.

Do you believe we get too much homework, and that this overload is really not necessary?

on Dec. 3 2009 at 6:22 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 not that I don't care about homework. It's just that we recieve a little too much. And trust me; I don't procrastinate. Ever. But at our school, and I know at many schools around the country, students are bombarded with assignments, LARGE ASSIGNMENTS, due the very next morning. True, we need a good, liable amount of homework to prepare us for our later years, but studies have shown, as stated, there is NO CORRELATION BETWEEN HOW MUCH HOMEWORK (OR EVEN, HOMEWORK FOR THAT MATTER), THAT CONTRIBUTES TO HOW WELL A STUDENT DOES IN SCHOOL. Now, considering these studies are performed by major colleges, I assume they are not lying. But when you are doing 50 problems of math problems, and doing them all incorrectly, it only cements the wrong method into a students brain. Now, we all have to consider that I am referring to students who a) don't procrastinate and b) who always do their homework. If you don't believe me by now, fine. That's your opinion. But take this as a factor: College professors that have gone through years of physical and mental work through homework have told me that it is not necessary. If we lessen the homework load, than maybe, those students that hardly pay attention will begin to notice what they are missing. Hey, it could happen.

Thanks. I never really thought my essay was that good.

If you want, I can send you the real 8 PAGE ESSAY all about less homework.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:58 pm
Scripted BRONZE, Calgary, Other
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We walk by faith, not by sight"

Surprised that a seventh grader wrote this beyond compare to fellow classmates.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:57 pm
Scripted BRONZE, Calgary, Other
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We walk by faith, not by sight"

I think in a lot of cases procrastination plays a big role. Students leave all their homework to the last minute which results in "major assignments over a school night." I went to a good high school, in my opinion, and I was never given a major assignment without a reasonable amount of time to complete it. In some cases I would leave it to the last minute and complain, "Why are we given so much homework." Reality is, it was perceived as "a lot" of homework because I left it to the final night, rushed through it, and received a lower grade then I was capable of achieving. I understand what you mean about thinking homework should wait until higher years because I marvel at the work my brother brings home and he is in fifth grade. It is in place to ensure that students are ready to progress and to be successful as the grades get harder. If you have minimal homework in eighth and ninth grade what happens when you start getting into higher, harder, classes that affect placing in post-secondary? Average students will not have the discipline to sit down, study and do their homework because they were never given any in the first place. Grades will suffer and people blame it on too much homework. Get over it. If you want to get anywhere and succeed, you need to be educated, organized, disciplined and be able to work harder than the other person who is competing for the same thing. Homework builds and reinforces a mindset and a sort of "imaginary" schedule that prepares you for life after high school. If you do not have study habits going into post-secondary you will get slammed and these habits do not develop overnight. If you plan on being a janitor for the rest of your life then who cares about homework. Don't do it.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:46 pm
Yep I wish that would happen...

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:41 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

Also, a quick question. Are you surprised that a "seventh grader" wrote this, meaning that it is not up to standards or that it's beyond compare with other seventh grader's works?

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:37 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

Actually, I am not in seventh grade anymore, but eighth. But I understand where you are coming from. But the truth is, if you want to earn a degree, school isn't going to cut it. You have to be a well rounded person, meaning you should have something that designates you as unique. True, homework does play a part in education, and only needs to be lessened, not elminated. But, my point is that sometimes, a students just gets too much. When you are expected to do major assignments over a period of say, a school night, that's cutting it a bit to close. In college, it can be different. Why not wait until those fateful upper years to give more homework, and allow us to practice? But, I enjoy each and everyone of the comments I recieve, and look forward to convincing you to join the homework revolution. Obviously, the teachers have pushed it too far. And some parents have even had enough.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 5:20 pm
Scripted BRONZE, Calgary, Other
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We walk by faith, not by sight"

I was quite surprised a seventh grader wrote this essay/article but that's not the point. I would argue that homework is not just given for the sake of doing extra repetitive assignments. It helps to contribute and instill continuing success in the way of study-habits, the ability to effectively allocate time to studies and to find and maintain a balance between school and play building up to when you decide to pursue further education. Unless you go to a top high school that offers IB courses or some form of pre-university programs, regular high school students will be hit HARD with the difficult transition from high school to post-secondary. Homework preps you for this by realizing the amount of work you have to complete and having the mindset and discipline to sit down and finish it before you go out with your friends. School is the first priority if you plan on earning a degree, masters, etc. If you have done your research like I assume, you have already heard these points so they are not new to you. I would also like to put forth a thought that homework might be given to keep teens out of trouble. With a lot of class grades based on assignments and projects that fall into "homework" this results in a lot of time at home in most cases. This keeps teens and younger ones from doing such things as graffiti, drugs, social underage drinking - things that parents do not want their children doing. When children are home doing work parents need not to worry.

on Dec. 3 2009 at 4:48 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

Indeed, they do.

eosberg SILVER said...
on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:57 pm
eosberg SILVER, Grand Island, New York
8 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall." -Nelson Mandela

i agree with this article completely! they give us way too much homework.

on Dec. 2 2009 at 6:53 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

Personally, I believe it is the teachers that you get that are the basis of how much homework you recieve. This is why the school, the state, needs to further mandate these teachers and set a limit. It also depends on the school. For example, if you attended my school, you would not be happy with the homework load.

But thank you for the apology. I appreciate it, especially since my little walk of getting people to join the revolution is soon to be over, counting on the fact the next issue of Teen Ink was released.

on Dec. 2 2009 at 5:09 pm
literaryaddict PLATINUM, Albuquerque, New Mexico
23 articles 3 photos 157 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We're almost there and no where near it. All that matters is that we're going." Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound." Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

sorry about my "lazy self-centered jerk" comment. wasn't thinking when i wrote it. i really do apologize. but i do maintain that the homework load isn't as bad as some make it out to be. please forgive me

on Dec. 2 2009 at 2:01 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

Exactly, Letters!