I can remember the days when I knew that the first thing I was supposed to do when I got home from school was my homework. It was ingrained in me just like brushing my teeth before bedtime or saying the blessing before each meal. It just was. I never really questioned it. I didn’t complain about it. I just did it. Things have changed in this regard, though. Many people feel that homework is a thing of the past, that it does not serve a significant purpose and that its assignments are too immense for students to complete thoughtfully. I try to think back to my experiences as they relate to homework in order to build some discernment here. Having my personal experiences to draw from as both a student, parent and teacher, I find myself turning more and more to research to see what they have to say about this current debate.
So, in looking for any current research on this topic, I came upon one study several times. Alfie Kohn, in his book The Homework Myth states that no research can be found which links homework to academic achievement in elementary schoolers
He thereby concludes that homework is therefore not necessary in high school either. As these curriculum and ages vary extensively, I’m not so sure he can legitimately make such a jump. Nevertheless, he states that homework may even diminish interest in learning.
Other arguments that have been presented against homework deal with the amount and content of homework given to students. It has been proposed that today’s homework is just busy work and not meaningful. Author Nancy Kalish, in her book, The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It, proposes that one reason for this phenomenon may be that teachers have not been appropriately trained in this area. Perhaps there needs to be a meeting of the minds and skills in order for teachers and administrators to set some homework standards and know how best to assign it.
Believe it or not, I could find very little research that showed the positive aspects of homework. What I did find related to the idea is that if kids are doing homework, they are less likely to be on social media, watching t.v. or playing video games. This might be oversimplifying a point, but I believe it is a very valid point to consider. Today’s world is overwhelmed with messages on all of these mediums that may not be the best influencers of young minds. Although my next attempt to find something on the benefits of homework was not research-based, click on this link to find out some practical and common sense benefits.
Even though this is a very ‘hot’ topic today in the educational community, it appears that both sides have some valid points. This suggests that a compromise needs to be reached. Perhaps giving teachers some pointed instruction on how and when to assign homework, combined with limiting the amount of homework that can be given on a daily basis would be a good start. Whatever your inclination here, I believe we all agree that the students should be our main focus. How we best encourage learning, both inside and outside of the classroom should be the foremost concern. If you are finding that your child is struggling with their homework, either in content or amount, Dynamis Learning Academy employs highly qualified tutors that can help. Reach out to us for assistance, so we may help your child. We offer a complimentary 15 minute consultation on the phone.