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.


PEACE HEY123 said...
on Nov. 25 2009 at 2:42 pm
I LOVE THIS YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH HW I HAVE AND TEST I HAVE

OK SO I AM A 3.7 GPA BUT WHAT HAPPEN IS THAT I ABSOLUTELY FAILED THESE 2 TEST IN LA BECAUSE I DIDNT STUDY BECAUSE I HAD WAY TO MUCH HW THEN THE NEXT TEST IN LA CAME AND WHEN I NOT TO MUCH HW LIKE WHAT I WAS SUPPOSE TO HAVE 7 HOURS A NIGHT I WAS ABLE TO STUDY AND I GOT 100%

on Nov. 22 2009 at 9:38 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

The school board should be wary about sickness, but us students should get some illness "benefits", persay. Teachers should allow those students extra days, and only assign them the homework they feel is totally necessary. We need rest when we are sick.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 9:34 pm
I can understand the school board being wary about sickess because of the swine flu outbreak, but you should cut those who were sick some slack! Only give them the vital homework, and not just the busy work some teachers give.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 9:24 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

Alas, it's like the school board doesn't even care.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 9:22 pm
Yikes! Do you miss a lot of school due to weather? It's really hard to make up school work if you miss because your sick, especially when you're in high school. My school district made anyone presenting with any type of flu symptom stay home, and some people missed a lot of they had swine flu. If you miss three days of school, and you have six hours of homework and studying each night, you could end up having to work on make up work for eighteen hours! And then you have to do the curren homework.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 4:31 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

I'm only in Eighth and I get more than most students in other school districts get!

Moonbound94 said...
on Nov. 22 2009 at 3:58 pm
ya i have on average a math set of 30 problems, a grammar packet, a vocab packet, a science outline, science questions, and choir music to study and this is for one night. I definitaly think that the work load could be cut down a little bit. and it is said to get worse over the years. i am only in ninth grade imagine what it will be like in tenth

on Nov. 22 2009 at 2:40 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 don't have less homework. We have more. But, you do have a point.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 2:35 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 agree. Thanks for the comment!

Moonbound94 said...
on Nov. 22 2009 at 2:34 pm
I loved this article i believe that we should still have some some homework but not as much as many of us have to deal with each night

on Nov. 22 2009 at 12:17 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 always have to make up the work we miss, even if we're dieing with the flu. That's how strict my school is!

on Nov. 22 2009 at 11:05 am
In my state, we're not going to have calamity days next year. Every day of school we miss, we have to make up. You think they'd spend more time on our education than on a fight over calamity days!

on Nov. 22 2009 at 10:27 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

Here is our website, in case you are wondering:
homeworkrevolution.blogspot .com

on Nov. 22 2009 at 8:51 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

Exactly!!!

on Nov. 21 2009 at 9:02 pm
I think it would take a lot of lobbying to eliminate homework all together! School without homework would be a big change! There are definitely some things that don't need to be practiced to death.

on Nov. 21 2009 at 9:01 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

I'm working on it.....

on Nov. 21 2009 at 9:00 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

As I see, there are many new revolutionaries. Visit our new website!
homeworkrevolution.blogspot .com

on Nov. 21 2009 at 8:59 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

If we all stick together, we will make it happen. One step at a time.

on Nov. 21 2009 at 8:59 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

You don't know how right you are, my friend. Thanks for the comment!

on Nov. 21 2009 at 8:58 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!

It's not my intention to elminate homework altogether, just to lessen the load. Some subjects, I agree, do need the required practice but not the maximum amount!