In the world of education, there are preachers and there are skeptics. Preachers will tell you that homework is crucial to a student’s education, while skeptics will say that it is merely a waste of time.
I have been in both camps at one point or another in my life, yet I stand firmly in the skeptic camp now. Why? Because I have seen homework harm students in a way no teacher could ever imagine. When a child comes home every day with his backpack full of schoolwork, he has also brought home fear and stress from having underperformed on said work. He goes into paralysis from analysis from trying to compare himself to others rather than truly working at getting better at something for himself .
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When we give children a heavy workload with a strong desire to please, we are not creating a “do what you love” mentality. We inadvertently create a hook of self-doubt and self-flagellation that will pull them deeper into the world of overachievers who can never feel like they have accomplished or succeeded enough .
Is this really what we want for our children?
I know it is not what I want for mine. Instead, let’s help them focus on following their interests and passions while relaxing about where they fall short at the moment. Once they get back on their feet again, perhaps then they will see homework in a new light!
Let us see what experts say on whether homework helps students learn better.
Does homework actually help students learn?
The question of whether homework actually help students to learn better has been a hotly debated question for decades, but with the recent shift in educational philosophy from No Child Left Behind to Common Core Standards, the debate is heating up again.
So what’s new about Common Core?
It really involves two things: (1) tougher standards and (2) standardized testing. And both of these elements result in increased homework loads for students and teachers alike. California had its first taste of this increase last spring when student scores were lower than expected on their new tests aligned to the more rigorous Common Core curriculum. As a result of these less-than-stellar results, standards that were already considered way too high did not budge and the amount of homework assigned did not decrease. In fact, many districts around the stated doubled the amount of homework to make sure students were prepared for next spring.
However, this trend is not only concerning online tutors and parents across the country, but also researchers like Dr. Harris Cooper who conducted a study about homework in 2006 that concluded that there was no benefit to be gained by elementary school children because the gains made in achievement disappeared within a couple weeks. His research has shown that homework can actually decrease performance on standardized tests due to increased stress levels which led many public schools to start reducing their nightly workloads years ago. But with Common Core’s “higher standards” and reassessments every nine weeks, kids are being faced with unending piles of work to complete before bedtime without any additional hours the day. So does it even help?
At this point, no one can answer that question with 100% certainty. But when faced with the choice between more homework and less homework, it seems to make sense to choose the latter since kids spend a majority of their day in school anyway. There has been plenty of research to show that lack of sleep affects nearly every aspect of a child’s learning process from retention to problem-solving skills.
So if we actually want them to learn something through the course of these long nights, maybe they shouldn’t return home immediately after school where they’re expected to tackle another load before bedtime even rolls around. Instead focus on how best to use the time students have during school hours to get the work done there rather than force exhausted children into a second shift of schoolwork.
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What do you think? Should homework be reduced in the age of Common Core testing and higher standards? Let us know your thoughts on whether homework actually help.
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