Homework is Unnecessary: Students Receive Enough Direct Instruction During the Day

By Kayla Adams

K. Adams

It’s Sunday night and your basketball team has just won the most important game of the year. Plans are quickly made with the team to go to dinner and celebrate the victory. You still feel jitters from when the buzzer went off cementing your victory. You listen to everyone’s parents and friends congratulating you on how well you played, and the crucial shot you made.

Then it hits you, you can’t go to the team dinner, in fact you needed to be home two hours ago starting all the homework you got assigned for the weekend. Your heart drops. Should you go celebrate all the hard work you put in this season, or go home to write answers to questions that will never come up again in your life.

According to the article “Wake Up Calls,” written by Sarah McKibben in “Education Update” from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 43 percent of United States public high schools start school before 8 a.m., and 87 percent of high school students are reportedly getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Students have to stay up late to finish all of their homework and keep up on their social lives. Then the next morning, students have to wake up early, go right back to school, and do it all over again.

Sleep deprivation affects students’ mood, causing them to become pessimistic about the whole outlook of school. This takes away from school’s intended purpose: learning.

According to the article “How Does Homework Actually Affect Students,” published by Oxford Learning Centre, “40 percent of high school students are chronically disengaged from school.” This could be due to the fact that scholars were pushed too hard and have reached the point where they’ve just stopped caring about school. Additionally, “one in five students reportedly suffer from rising levels of anxiety, stress, and depression when dealing with homework.”

When homework is generating this many issues for a student’s well being, the benefits can’t possibly be that important. Parents have even begun to notice the negative results of students getting homework. According to the same article from Oxford Learning Centre, “72 percent of parents feel homework is often a source of household stress.”

This means even at home, where teenagers are supposed to rest and live their lives, they can’t. They always have something they have to do nagging them in the back of their minds.

On the other hand, some believe that homework teaches students beneficial time management skills for their future. According to the article “Ten Benefits of Homework,” written by John Bishop for Hot Chalk, “Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.”

Time management is an important skill, but schools should find a way to teach it to students while they are at school, since they already spend so much time there in the first place. Students are given so much work to complete in the classroom while they are at school, they deserve freedom when they aren’t in school.

According to the Kalamazoo Public School homework guidelines approved by the KPS school board, the daily homework expectation for high schoolers is anywhere from 90- 120 minutes per night, with an additional 30 minutes of leisure reading.

That means a student is expected to be in school for 7 hours a day then go home with an average two and a half hours of homework to do. That is about ten hours of school related work a day, in addition to the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep recommended a night, that means about 20 hours of your day is gone. This leaves only 4 hours for important activities like: work, sports, exercise, eating, hobbies and time with friends and family.

Homework shouldn’t be necessary with the amount of time students spend in school per day. Teachers should start class as the bell rings and make sure time is spent productively all throughout the hour. If each teacher did this and stopped letting 5 minutes pass before starting the class or ending a class 5 minutes early, it would decrease the amount of time students have to spend time at home working almost completely.

The KPS homework guidelines should also be rewritten so that homework is not required for all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade, and should be assigned at the teacher’s discretion as is necessary to supplement the lesson. This will also help teachers who feel obligated to assign meaningless homework throughout the week to meet requirements, focus on the progression of the class.

According to “Swedish School Bans Homework,” written by Norm Drexel of Reach: Professional In-Home Tutoring, a high school in Sweden abolished homework and even tests because of how detrimental and harmful they are for a child’s mental health. The Swedish students reported feeling relieved after the burden of homework was eliminated.

This school in Sweden is one of the examples around the world that proves this type of system can work. It isn’t necessary to alter the school day, just to ban homework. Every school should adopt this solution and see how much change takes place in their school environment.

One comment

  1. First of all, thank you for your time sharing. As a teacher, I understand the viewpoints and have spent time having students share on this very topic. And depending upon their experiences, I can both completely understand and disagree due to personal experiences and an understanding of what their life ahead might be depending upon their experiences early.
    As a student who grew up during a time when our educational system was number one in the world, when teachers had more flexibility to teach the curriculum, I’m sure I was not the easiest of students, often not listening, and often not completing my homework, but the onus of responsibility was on my shoulders. If I did not perform to a sufficient level, I would have to repeat a grade. This happened once, and I made sure it would never happen again. So, I took it upon myself to study as needed, learn my basic skills to mastery, and do what I needed to in order to get better grades, but often my interests led to learning without realizing I was learning. And I did have a few good years.
    But throughout all of this, I learned. And yes, there were times I had over 2 hours of homework. But with time, I learned better time management. I learned how to get more work done “in class,” use the lunch recess time at times, and organize my homework (I employed a self-made 6 pocket folder for all my courses. In college, I developed a method that cut 90% of my study time. But that required years of working at other jobs, listening, and understanding.). Of course, sometimes I still didn’t complete, but I learned in that too.
    As a student, and as a teacher, I see an absolute need for homework. But I also see a need for what the teachers of my time brought to the table. Give me any curriculum and I can find creative ways to teach the standards, but also teach topics of interest in varied ways. For instance, in teaching geography, I’ve constructed 3-D cities with my students, which is both a lesson in grammar and history, not to mention current day America. When teaching grammar and punctuation, we review sentence types, but venture into writing stories, essays, plays, and paragraphs. And what we do in the class, the students who spend more time “at home”, completing their work, striving to improve, some even going beyond, they really excel. Not only do they excel in improving academics, but their “thinking” shows real growth. They experience understanding the others simply do not have. They see causes and effects. They “see” the possibilities. And… This is a big and. The ones who excel, they tend to have less homework. Why? Because in having worked so hard early in their school years, they have learned well, so they end up often with no homework, completing it all in school, then raise the bar at home, often due to parents encouraging them with setting the bar high. And there are a few, who do decent work, not garnering great grades, but also partake of sports and help out with others so their characters are developing.
    But do I concern myself with whether the students do their homework? That is on them. But I also know the fact that I received more work while growing up than many students do today, and as such, learned quite a bit in class and on my own, or with my friends. I give the assignments, and if they can complete the work in school, well, that is good. But I also know that those who set the bar higher, tend to be better prepared for life ahead: usually. There are late bloomers too, and those who have their own ideas of direction, and some move to the beat of a different drummer, which is okay. That is me as well.
    I’ve encouraged students to start their own businesses, and some followed the suggestion. I explained to them, though, that if they go down that road, they will work harder than ever in school. If they do well in school, or in any endeavor they participate, the value to them will carry with them throughout life. What we do as children and teens tend to become habits of a lifetime. But yes, some schools could do with more creativity in lesson planning, utilizing more of the students’ own skills and interests, as when I had the children create their own islands, mapped them out, then wrote a story they created. Individuality.
    Look. Let’s not despair over homework. Learn the material, organize the work, then complete as much as possible in class (even at lunch recess), leaving the rest at home (Be creative with some assignments that your interests are employed.). With time, the two hours of homework become only one, and on some days, require only a review. Then, with interests, perhaps a small business, working for a store, or creating an online job. And, when each student grows up, not only will they have experience and knowledge, along with understanding, but self-discipline and interests they partake of, some which brings in opportunities and money. It’s not about the homework. It’s about outlook. I know of some countries in which the students work hard during the day, then eat at home, only to attend night school, and they are very successful. Do I think we should do things this way? I’d rather students do well in school, teachers be creative in lesson planning, and our youth have sports and projects to do afterwards. Friends? Of course. But friends will be with us all of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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