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 818 comments.


on Dec. 2 2009 at 1:59 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

ATTENTION!

An idea has popped into my head that I must share!

In order to really begin something, just hit a little button on my computer I like to call "Print." Yes, my readers, you heard me.

One person can change the world, but as a group, we are unstoppable. Print this essay( print any facts you could, for that matter), march into your board/state office and protest with all of your fellow revolutionaries.

It's time to start the Homework Revolution. And that time, is now.

-- SpaceKing800

(If anyone wants the 8 page essay, drop me a comment and I will send it to you. The longer, the better! )

on Dec. 2 2009 at 1:56 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 all for the positive (and even the negative) comments. I wanted to write about something that was close to not just myself, but to the rest of the elementary/middle/high school populous as well. Let's keep up the good work, and remember, it's time for a homework revolution

-- SpaceKing800

on Dec. 1 2009 at 8:10 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

For all the major subjects, you mean.

A little is fine by me!

on Dec. 1 2009 at 7:48 pm
I think that we should have a little bit of homework each period when we are in school but not that much.....

on Dec. 1 2009 at 5:27 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

More homework? That's new. But I enjoy reading everybody's comment. Thanks for the opinion!

I do not think we need more homework (I already get enough; that's why I wrote this essay!), but more time on our original amount would be a fine way to go.

on Dec. 1 2009 at 4:47 pm
http ://teenink .com /opinion/school_college/article/145056/School-or-Sleep-Why-must-we-choose/

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 30 2009 at 11:04 pm
U know, I m not lazy, but i got too much hw still! i do it all AND keep good grades! But enough is enough... and a book report evry month on a new book is just way too much...

IT'S TIME FOR A HOMEWORK REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Letters345 said...
on Nov. 30 2009 at 10:59 pm
BECAUSE!!!!! WE JUST FOUND THE PERFICT SOLUTION TO ALL THE SCHOOL PROBLEMS RELATED TO LEARNING AND HOMEWORK!!!!!! IF WE CAN GET THIS IDEA TO EVRYONE IN OUR NEGHBORHOOD AS WELL AS THE SCHOOL OFFICALS, THEN THE SCHOOL SYSLTEM WILL B CHANGED FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sonic said...
on Nov. 30 2009 at 8:10 pm
No I think I more homework is good but they should extend the time its do

on Nov. 29 2009 at 7:18 pm
XOXOhaloXOXO GOLD, Ellsworth, Maine
13 articles 1 photo 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm the author of my life and, unfortunately, I'm writing in pen=]

no problem...ur a great author...u'll go far!

Shattered101 said...
on Nov. 29 2009 at 5:33 pm
I completely agree with the article. For the past few weeks I ave been thinking about the homework load I have. It is still near the begining of the school year, and you would think we would have less homework. I'm really hoping it will not get worse in the weeks to come. I have easily 3 hours of home work a night. And that is on a good day. So many people wonder why so many teen's are depressed. But why wouldn't they be? With 2-3 hours(or more) of homework a night, they don't have time to live their(our) lives. What fun is that, and how is that fair? Now that is just my opinion. But, thanks for the article! I support this revolution 100%!

on Nov. 28 2009 at 5:29 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 the point I am trying to get at. When will it end; that America is trying to live up to it's counterparts? Isn't it the people, not the grade, that truly counts?

on Nov. 28 2009 at 5:27 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

Thanks for agreeing!

on Nov. 28 2009 at 5:26 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

Thanks for agreeing!
If anyone wants to start a true revolution, head on over to the Homework revolution website!
homeworkrevolution.blogspot .com

on Nov. 28 2009 at 5:24 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

I'm a very quick learner and I don't get very distracted easily. My middle school is just over the top and I know there are a lot of schools who follow our lead. True, it depends on each student. Some people can get their HW done quickly, but then averages to be completely wrong. While for others, this is the complete opposite. It can go either way. Still, we students are pounded by homework everyday. 80 minutes is what we Eighth graders should be recieving. Everything over that time limit is just not right.

on Nov. 28 2009 at 1:40 pm
XOXOhaloXOXO GOLD, Ellsworth, Maine
13 articles 1 photo 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm the author of my life and, unfortunately, I'm writing in pen=]

i spend about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of homework on average. i hate it. im not lazy and i dont stall. i sit down and get it done. im a straight a student and even i think we have way too much homework. my best friend's mom works at the school and she thinks it's ridiculous(which it is). too much homework is something to be complained over! good job.

on Nov. 28 2009 at 11:20 am
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

i have no problem with my homework load. i have an hour to 2 hours every night and i'm a freshman. it's only the lazy, self-centered jerks who complain. i'm a straight-a student who's looking forward to going to a great college. just get off your lazy butt and do your hw

on Nov. 28 2009 at 9:45 am
potterlight PLATINUM, Cleveland, Ohio
32 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
That makes sense

I agree. I hate homework and since I'm in a 3-year highschool, we get double the homework and tests and projects than everyone else. But I guess since America's education is not as great as foreign education is in places like Asia or Europe, we feel we have to be competitive and therefore live up higher than their expectations and this means more work!

on Nov. 28 2009 at 8:09 am
Miss_Bliss GOLD, Waban, Massachusetts
17 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

-Thomas Edison

You are GENIUS! I've felt for a while that my friends and I are being assigned too much homework, and now you've backed my thoughts up with real reasons. As an eighth grader, I get an average amount of two hours per night--and this is still relatively close to the beginning of the year. However, sometimes I wonder whether the amount of time I take is affected by my homework speed; I am easily distracted and it often takes me longer than it does my friends to finish my homework. You've said that many students are receiving hours and hours of homework, but do you know these students' speeds? One student could be a quick learner and take only an hour and a half, while another student could be terribly slow and take three hours. What say you on this?

on Nov. 25 2009 at 6:06 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

You will soon get what you want, my friend. The revolution has just begun!

Thanks for the feedback!