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The Truth About Homework

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Practice makes perfect, or so they say. But when it comes to homework, research shows that hours of practice after school most often make for only stress and decreased interest in learning, writes Alfie Kohn in this Education week Commentary. Despite years of research demonstrating virtually no correlation between homework and achievement, the age-old belief that homework ought to help has prevailed, notes Kohn.

According to Kohn, by clinging to this notion that homework should help students, we are disregarding one of the most important factors in students' success in school—their interest in learning. Redundant repetitions and increased time spent on material will not improve student understanding. Instead of focusing on the quantity of work, Kohn recommends we pay more attention to how students learn.

What do you think? Is homework counterproductive, or can it be an aid to learning?

85 Comments

During my years as a teacher, I did practice work in class EVERY day and called this CLASSWORK. The work helped students learn how to look up materials and do research - how to use hints given in the book to learn, how to put on paper information given during lectures and more. Time was given in class to do the work, and I was always available to assist students in finfing answers. When a pupil elected to waste class time and did NOT get the work done - only then did it become HOMEWORK. Important??? In my classes it was! Classwork/homework provided the practice and review needed to score high on tests. My students always excelled in higher grades in the areas I taught them.

Homework is not counterproductive unless it is to long. I think a teacher must use some common sense, think about the level of the student, the time commitment students at that grade level may have from other classes, and they should make homework as interesting as possible if it is repetitious. For example, 2 hours of homework everyday for a 3rd grader would definitely be too much, but I tell my chemistry and physics students that they should spend a minimum of 15 minutes everyday, working on problems, reading the text, finshing labs, etc.

Here's the best refutation I've found of Kohn's "argument" -
http://d-edreckoning.blogspot.com/2006/
08/alfie-kohn-dangerous-jackass.html

As a math teacher, I can speak only for myself that HW really helped me in high school and college. Becoming skilled at math involves many subskills and took practice to master. Practice in class was not enough.

I give HW each day in my classes, but I limit it so that it should not take more than 15 mintes. I think students need more practice than that in math, but at the same time, I want them to do some HW and not feel threatened by it or resentful. If I assign too much, my students tend to "check out".

No one seems to think that and hour or more a day of basketball practice is excessive. To me, skills are skills and practice is what has to happen for mastery.

Homework did not hurt us when we were in school. In fact it helped us so why do we need to change something when we know it works. Homework helps re-enforce what we learned in school for that day.

I think that one important consideration is that in some districts there simply is not enough time (either in terms of lenght of school day or length of school year) to provide students with sufficient independent practice of what has been taught. Of course homework should be engaging with an appropriate time limit. But it is also important to recognize that some very important learning is not very engaging; it's hard work--think memorizing number facts and spelling words. Unfortunately, Progressivists don't belive that any school work should be hard, boring work and/or that students need not learn number facts or spelling.

Two comments. One, from an equity perspective. I remember from a lecture I heard years ago that when the difficulty level of what the students can accomplish independently it serves as a "sorting" device. Those students from highly resourced homes (parents with time and education sufficient to supplement the teaching) do well. Those students who have less support at home fall further and further behind. Thus, practice to develop speed/automaticity in skills that students have already learned is helpful across the board. Homework to "catch up," may be harmful.

Second, I can recall a few times that homework--especially at the elementary level, was an engaging activity that expanded on or provided groundwork for learning in class. As an example, I remember some of my daughter's science experiments that involved putting cups of water in the freezer for specified period of time for observation.

As a parent it is very hard to support worksheets that lack interest and relevance. Similarly work that requires reteaching at home is a challenge. Even though I am well educated and feel very comfortable in mathematics, I am wary of presenting material "my way," that may confuse and confound what the teacher was aiming at (and my student didn't get).

"I remember from a lecture I heard years ago that when the difficulty level of what the students can accomplish independently it serves as a "sorting" device. "

Sorry--that should have read: I remember from a lecture I heard years ago that when the difficulty level of homeworkd exceeds what the students can accomplish independently it serves as a "sorting" device.

As a parent, I'm often amazed at the amount of homework children are asked to do. I think kids would generally do better if they spent their homework time exercising or improvising on a musical instrument, or even reading for pleasure. Teens, especially, could use more sleep, and they're not getting it. If students have already spent up to 6.5 hours absorbing information, they need time to process it and to learn to think independently. We're so results-oriented in American society that we often forget that one of our goals as educators should be to produce mentally stable individuals who will enjoy life and are happy, productive members of a community. As a child, I got time to play independently and to think without constant guidance. My "empty hours" as a child helped me prepare for the work I do today, as well as made me responsible for my own success and happiness.

My views on homework have changed dramatically in the past few years. I have found that my middle school students respond better to assignments that are respectful of their abilities and their 'free' time. Things that they can bring to add to the next day's lesson, such as a data collection or measurement spark life into the assignment.
Yes, they do need practice, but I think it needs to be very purposeful and short. I agree with the idea that our students (and their teachers!) need and deserve some 'down time' to let ideas be sorted, categorized, questioned and absorbed. Continually working does not achieve that.
My district has just changed our middle school math periods to 90 minutes each day. That's double what we have had in the past! It seems to me that the work we do together in class is going to be more powerful than a worksheet completed in front of a television set.

Maybe the question should be: How do we make homework productive? Are we asking students to do work the teacher did not have enough time to cover in class? Are students spending too much time trying to learn materials they didn't get in class, therefore teaching themselves? Are the teachers really understanding how best to teach the students in their classroom or are they teaching the same way every year because it "worked in the past"? There are so many elements involved in this topic, and many right answers. As teachers-remember students change, methods need to change to meet their needs. As parents, never forget to ask your child if they need help, and even sit with them and have them explain what they are doing. Make it safe for them to ask, and ok to tell them you don't know but will help them find out. Teachers be flexible with helping both student and parent during this process-this then becomes a win-win process. Education doesn't only happen during school hours. Give your child down time...are they in so many afterschool activities that their education suffers, as well as their minds and bodies? Balance is the key.

I would love to hear from teachers who do not give homework about how you structure your class without it. You can reach me at [email protected]
Etta Kralovec, co-author of the End of Homework,

I agree that most homework is unnecessary. When most adults go home at the end of a day, they do not sit right down to hours of paperwork. Also, we want out children to be involved in extra activites with their schools. The stress that's involved with homework and these activities is enormous. Children have so many things to worry about. They come from broken homes, two disfunctional parents, or possibly parent(s) that have to work more than one job. How do these children have any motivation to come home and focus on a rediculous amount of homework.

As a child I resented and did not do homework. As a professional who works on staff development, I see homework both as a quick and lazy way to record a grade. Students that do the homework already get it. Students that don't get it, can't or will not do the homework. They become frustrated and disengaged. Students need a teacher to support and scaffold their learning. By definition, if they can do it on their own they are not learning. Too many teacher send home 20 -30 math,grammar,spelling or memorization problems that are either boring and repetious or beyond the students comprehension. It seems to be just another mechanism for drill and kill. The rare teacher that sends home work that is engaging and community or family oriented often has the best return rate.

I think that children need to do their activities that their requires to grow such as play and other kinds of entertainment activities. Homework could be assigned only when any particular student needs to reinforce something that was weak in his/her learning process at school. Definitely, it`s necessary that an adult helps him/her to do it well. Otherwise, it's useless.

The question is what is the purpose of homework? As a secondary teacher for over 38 years, I did not believe in giving homework on a daily basis. Students were given creative assignments to engage students in learning. Assignments were given in a variety of teaching modalities (styles)to meet the needs of the students' interests. Assignments were started in class, with assistance from the teacher, and those that did not complete the work were given time to finish after school.

I have been told by many 'experts' that the reason Asian chidren exceed their Black or Hispanic counterparts is because they spend so much more time on their academic work. If this is not the case, then we need to find an alternate answer here.

William Glasser in The Quality School, stated it clearly, if you give homework make it something they can only do at home, ex. interview a parent about their job. If a student can demonstrate understanding in class, why make them do it many more times at home? What is really wrong is how some teachers feel the need to fail students because they did not do the homework, even though they passed the tests. First why do we grade "practice?" Second are we assessing learning or work? I hope learning.

I give homework Monday through Thursday nights. It should not take my little guys longer than 1/2 hour to do. I look at homework as reinforcing what was done in class that day and a way for parents to see what their children are learning and their understanding of the concepts.

Over 35 years of teaching middle school English, I found that the students who "practiced" by doing the homework that began during class as classwork usually performed better not only on standardized tests but also in daily written and oral language. However, the grammar and usage practice should not take a whole lot of time. What was more important was the independent reading that I required outside of the classroom which also translates into thinking time too. Students practice reading strategies and expand vocabulary as well as life experience by reading. As difficult as it was to monitor, I used to require up to 200 pages of reading every two weeks until our school began Accelerated Reader (AR). With AR monitoring outside reading was a cinch. What was also wonderful was the progress the kids could see themselves making as they read books they chose themselves and passed the tests they took. Also important were the long term projects, especially projects that combined history and English. But quality matters. The projects need to be structured to give the students enough freedom of choice to make the subject matter interesting to them. However, the students have to have clear deadlines and walked through the research project in order to learn how to organize themselves with enough class time spent on the projects for brief conferences between students and teachers. The best projects combined a written and oral report; the most exciting projects combined the written report with a power point presentation. The students were really excited about creating and watching the power point presentations. Whether I worked alone or with a social studies partner, I never did more than two projects a year. They were a great teaching/learning experience and very meaningful for the students, but exhausting for the teachers. Whatever the homework was, it was work that offered opportunities for more indpendent reading, thinking, and/or writing time done outside of the classroom. What a great excuse for a reader to read outside of class! The teacher made them do it!

Homework should serve a purpose. That means that it should not be the same for each student, yet in most classrooms it still is!

Homework should not be punitive! I have heard high school teachers proclaim that they assign homework every day, but that they will only randomly collect it. That, according to such teachers, keeps the students on their toes, because if they do not do their homework and the teacher collects it, the student will get 0 points factored into their cumulative grade!

In The Netherlands where I grew up, homework was never factored into a student's grade! This taught students the responsibility to determine for themselves if they needed practice or not in order to score a good grade on later assessments. We did not have pop quizzes either. And, high school there starts at 7th grade!!

I think many kids get turned off to school and learning because homework is used to instill "work ethic" more than it is to instill an interest in learning.

In a college class I was made aware of research that showed no correlation between achievement and homework in math. I have seldom given math homework at the 8th grade level. My students have math disabilities who need much "guided" practice - not practice working problems incorrectly at home where there is often no help, or even understanding to help them. We start work immediately on a review problem. Then I teach a new concept and we practice that concept under my guidance. We grade the work, correct errors then and leave for home with a feeling of accomplishment. When students spend 70 minutes per day on task, that should be sufficient - especially at the middle school level. Incidentally, my students score very well on high stakes accountability tests - most of the time higher than some students who are not in special education. Many of them begin to feel that they really can do math.

If homework is worksheet after worksheet or pages and pages of problems, then, yes, I agree it is probably boring and will "turn" off kids excitement for school. But, like all things, there are exceptions. I have had children ask me for worksheets and math problems which I will gladly make up for them. However, let us not forget that all too many children go home to homes that are unsupervised and they therefore just sit and watch TV. I give home work to my students that is fun and my students love it. I design special projects etc. or locate special books that I think a particular student would like and then I take the time to talk to them about their projects and birds. I don't grade them but I do praise them for their efforts and sometimes provide incentives like new pencils etc. I would rather see children encouraged to learn than entised by hours and hours and hours of unsupervised TV.

Excessive homework given to children in the primary grades is a sure way to disengage them from the love of learning. It robs them of precious time when they could be using their imagination, creativity, curiosity, initiative and having just plain fun. It distroys valuable family time, and with two parents working there often little enough of that anyway! If it were not for the standards and accountable pressure of the NCLB Act and school funding, none of this would be a problem.

Bob Marzano's meta-analysis of hundreds of schools yielded nine factors that have proven highly effective in increasing student learning. One of the nine featured in his "Classroom Instruction that Works" is homework. However, he qualifies that homework should have one of two functions. Either its purpose should be to reinforce what has been learned in class (in limited amounts) or it should provide an introduction to the next day's lesson. In neither case is it a matter of quantity; quality is what counts. I agree with Kohn that "redundant repetition and increased time will not improve student understanding" unless the homework is carefully designed "with the end in mind." It may provide insight into, background knowledge regarding, or an introduction to concepts that underlie the upcoming lesson, in which case the homework can highly contribute to increased student understanding. Moreover, more time in exploring a concept or in practicing a skill is critical to some students' mastery. Thus, Kohn's statements, as usual, provoke thought and stimulate discussion.

We have 55 minute classes 3 days a week so I try to complete most of the work in class. Generally, homework is useful. In my classroom days I had a lot of homework and it did help me improve. Excessive homework assignments can be too much. As was stated above, use common sense in assigning homework.

It is about time someone has come out with this research. I'm retired from K-12 education, but having worked 43 years as a teacher,special educator, and school psychologist. I've seen the frustration of students spending, or being asked to spend, hours on homework assignments limiting the time they have to let loose and enjoy life. Thus,especially for "slow" learners, increasing their dislike of school and often, even if completing their homework, failing to turn it in to the teacher. We have to make school interesting for students not drudgery if we expect the best performance from them.

Kohn's comment that teachers assign homework to keep students busy after school is a far fetched criticism of teachers in today's classrooms. I would assert that effective homework assignments provide educators and families with additional opportunities to foster a love of learning,and that the practice of doing schoolwork at home helps students understand that learning opportunities are not limited to school and classroom environments.(Joyce Epstein)

The article paints a picture of teachers assigning mindless work with little or no impact on learning. However, we know that effective homework assignments, those that allow students to receive feedback on their work, and provide teachers with additional information about how students understand content, most certainly contribute to reduced anxiety among students, improvement in self-concept and their attitude toward school. (Corno and Elawar)

Kohn continues to attack the acquisition of automaticity by simplistically describing it as "drill and kill" that results in homework that bores kids and turns them off to learning. Teachers today understand that basic skills must be learned to the point of automaticity since the brain is a limited-capacity processor and if energy is spent for example, decoding a word, then there is less energy available to comprehend the sentence.(Beck) In math, we know that problem solving is enhanced when basic skills are learned to point of automaticity, but not to the exclusivity of problem solving.

Effective homework assignments at all levels provide students opportunties to gather information,collect materials, interview someone, or read in preparation for the next learning activity. Homework that extends learning are assignments designed by teachers to encourage research and study outside the classroom and allow students to produce something that reflects their learning, rather than merely reproduce.

It is my experience in working with teachers from across the country on the subject of effective homework, that Mr. Kohn presents a very myopic view of teachers, parents,homework and it relationship to learning as well as its real impact on students and families.

I'm confused. I thought homework was one of Marzano's strategies that work. Where did the research come from that claims it doesn't. My teaching experience has been in a tough school in an urban district. Homework in that environment was useless. Our students lived such chaotic lives that very few students did homework if it was assigned. I was always conflicted about it because assigning it would lower the grade and discourage the very students I wanted to reach most. Not assigning it meant that the students who needed the independent practice most wouldn't get it. Our students really needed an extended school day structured in such a way that they could get the additional support they needed to be able to catch up with their more affluent peers. As a parent, I resented homework. By the time I got two children home from two different child care settings, got bath time and preparation for the next day taken care of, there was no time left for us just to catch up with each other or enjoy some down time if I also had to oversee homework.

I don't think the problem is "homework" in and of itself; rather, the problem is the homework content. Assignments that are in effect, busy work or "drill and kill" are at best, ineffective, and at worst serve to reinforce mistakes students are making. Rather, homework should be short - and should require students to research, observe, record, and analyze - thus reinforcing the "skills" that they have "mastered" in class. AND, they should always be designed to REINFORCE student SUCCESS in class; otherwise, they just stop doing it. Our culture reinforces a person doing what they do best; homework should do so as well.

Homework is bad. Manditory homework is worse. Besides, why would kids who won't work in school do any homework? Out of school kids are often involved with important activities like working. I've interviewed HS students who have two or three jobs out of school. Homework is just one more bad idea implemented by schools that are generally a failure. Think of the public schools as cars that only start three out of ten times.

As a high-school student with a sincere interest in academic learning, I'd like to offer my experiences with homework.

Having lots of homework sometimes undermines my time available for independent study of the subject material; alternately, doing some homework assignments in the depth and related studies I'd like to devote to them takes time away from my normal classwork and I fall behind in grades despite my commmitment to the class.

That said, I feel assignments that encourage students to research and study on their own are often beneficial. It's the 'grunt work', the trying to get a student to engrave the automatic habits of work on their own mind, that can lead to problems. Most of what this works for are things involving muscle memory, like sports, music, or drawing; not academia.

I don't think 'doing homework in class' is the answer. To work on an assignment in class, by myself, with only occasional input from the teacher and not working with fellow classmates is...not exactly pleasant for me.

In college, I took Calc I while homeschooling and Calc II while in full school. I passed the first with a 'B' and failed the second. This was mostly because I did not find the time available second semester to devote to the homework for my math class; this raises the point that college classes are, in fact, mostly homework. Colleges certainly work, however.

Another thing to point out is that work itself is like homework all the time. This is why I can't imagine myself as anything but a scientist, because that's the only homework I could tolerate for 8 hours a day.

What saddens me is that I am interested in and want to learn from all my classes, not just science. Having to do so much homework discourages me from exploiting the opportunities for learning that I have, instead forcing me to work on such a load that I don't have time for individual pursuits related to classwork.

All I've said is rather disjointed and not particularly coherent, but hopefully I have some good points in here. I'll follow this research.

Homework is not necessary regardless. Even math skills can be reviewed enough in class until they are understood and the students are able to comprehend. Nothing is worse in my mind than having to repeat work I didn't understand in the first place and now at home without anyone to consult unless you are lucky enough to be have teachers of the exact subject at home. Even tutors often times have no idea what is being taught in class therefore, they teach their own agenda. Class is where work should be done until you reach the college level. All other work should be done in school especially k-8. AND how many times have I heard teachers say they put homework in a circular file once it is turned in. How useless. I certainly do not want to spend my time in pointless work after work hours and I don't want to force that on my students.

Over the last few years, I have been working with the staff in our school to understand the impact of homework on student achievement. Many of the arguments Alfie Kohn makes in his article, The Truth About Homework, are arguments I have made as well; however, it seems that he is advocating the complete elimination of homework, and I have to take issue with that.

Mr. Kohn is correct in his general assumption that homework cannot be used to gain understanding. Students need guidance in attaining knowledge and understanding – it is not appropriate to have students work on assignments without knowing exactly how to do the work. As we attempt to move instruction into deep understanding through constructivist methods, we have to make certain we are not allowing students to create false assumptions and false knowledge by not shepherding the process. As a graduate student myself, I do not always understand the concepts without some intervention and guidance from my professors. It is wrong for us to assume otherwise with students.

Where I have concern with Mr. Kohn’s assertions is that he ignores the fact that homework with purpose can make a difference for students. The tennis analogy he uses is a good one. In order to understand tennis, the player needs a coach – an individual who can assess the work of the player and help him or her interpret his or her own actions and those of opponents. The player’s level of sophistication grows through the coaching relationship, and eventually, it may be necessary to change coaches in order to reach even greater understanding of the game. However, some parts of the game must be practiced in order to be automatic, because the automatic application of these skills allows the individual’s higher level of understanding to be utilized. We know, from brain research (the work of Pat Wolf and others) and the work of content specialists (NCATE, IRA, NMSTA, and others) that there are some things that must be practiced. The more students write and receive appropriate feedback, the more skill and confidence is shown in expressing ideas through written work. The more students read, the better readers they become. The more students know computation math facts automatically, the more quickly they can apply complex mathematical ideas.

All this goes back to the understanding that learning is never an either/or proposition. I agree with Mr. Kohn that educators have done a disservice to students and the community in misusing and abusing homework regularly. However, I cannot agree that all homework is bad. Effectively used, meaningful homework that contributes to student scaffolding and practices processes important to deeper understanding is one key to the success all students must experience. To say otherwise is to deny access to many.

While I am definitely of the school that homework should not be assigned for the sake of homework (much to my own students' delight, in my high school history class, I do not assign much homework outside of long term projects, essays, and readings). However, I strongly believe that Kohn's disdain for "rote" memorization at any level is seriously misguided. I see the failures of this philosophy come to tragic fruition in my high school class. Many of my students must take out a calculator to do the most simple of multiplication problems. Many of my students have difficulty reading (and difficulty in foreign language classes) because the "meaning based" method has left them without foundations in grammar. Many of my students cannot spell correctly. Most of my students come to me in high school without BASIC skills that I know I learned in elementary school (often by rote memorization). That learning in elementary school served me well. Later on, in High School, I had a solid foundation and my teachers were able to help me to develop my thinking. Too many of my students today can't enjoy the thinking part of lessons, because they struggle with things that should have been committed to their memory at a lower grade level.
Consider this analogy. Everyone wants to teach the "fun" stuff. Everyone wants to give all of these kids a pretty little ornament of learning. "Look at all the sparkly ornaments I've given my students this year!" But the reality is this-- our students are often being left with a collection of ornaments--but they have no Christmas tree upon which they can hang those ornaments. A collection of ornaments is just a collection of ornaments in a box--without meaning. It is when they hang from a full, and stable Christmas tree that they gain their true meaning and shine and inspire those who view them. I am fearful that this fear of establishing foundations through rote memorization is creating a disaster for our children.

If there is a problem, it may be in the term, homework itself. Home stidy may be a better way of saying it. One major problem is that we call himework work, as if it is a job that must be done for some sort of reward.
As teachers, we want our students to be engaged in their learning. We need to present material as interesting and productive, not as tedious work. Interactive websites can be fun and educational for students that have access at home or near home. Libraries filled with good books are another resource. Suggested reading works better than assigned reading. The use of homework to accumulate grade points is counterproductive. Learning is the objective and learning should be the reward.

Ouch! Last night I told my 9 year old son that I would play Boggle with him if he finished his homework by a certain time. He finish his homework five minutes after the time specified, so we didn't play boggle. He cried.
Which would have been a better way to spend that hour after dinner for my son? Playing a word game with a loving parent or completing homework of which he already knew the answers?
Additionally, most teachers I know spend an enormous amount of instruction time passing out homework, explaining it, correcting it, collecting it, and recording it. Then there's also time spent administering consequences to the students who didn't comply. All this happens daily! Imagine all that time being spent on classroom learning instruction. Wow, what a windfall it would be.

I've held the same notion about homework as the author of this article as far back as a young student in K-12. I've recently reinforced my negative associations with home/busy work again while finishing my degree in secondary education. One thing that I did discover in college that has stuck with me ever since, is the concept of metacognition and multiple intelligences. These two topics allowed me to mull over such simple questions as: Why am I learning this, When will I ever need it? How will I know if I have in fact learned it? And Who will care if I know it? in the back of my mind as I studied new concepts, term,etc. I think sharing these same insights with students at all levels empowers them with a sense of purpose so that academic practice can be viewed for what it really is, an opportunity to try out the new stuff

Alfie kohn is on to something in his essay entitled "The Truth About Homework" (Ed. Wk. 9/6). Falmouth Academy is a school with an emphasis on reading and writing. The purpose of homework at Falmouth Academy is to reinforce problem solving skills, foster imaginative thinking and prepare students for a meaningful class discussion the next day. Homework is not simply time consuming busy work or rote repetition of work all ready presented and review in class. In our middle school the bulk of each nights homework is to read - a piece of this reading will always be of the students choice. The objective of this nightly work is to create a growing appreciation for literature and literacy, improve vocabulary, and to encourage our younger students to start thinking abstractly about what they read. In our upper grades homework focuses heavily on writing, where we believe practice does make better writers. These assignments require editing one's own work and honing one's arguments. This may be a point of divergence from Kohn's perspective - the more you write and edit, the better writer you become! But, I do applaud Kohn's encouragement to educators to evaluate the purpose and results of the nightly work they send home with their students.

Falmouth Academy is an intentially small, academically rigorous, community of learners serving children in 7th -12th grade on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Homework has a place but not like it's being done today in New Jersey in early ed. My son's second grade class started off with a bang this year! One week in school and already there are 2 pages of math each night. And starting today, twelve new 4-letter words. The routine last year was first write them 3 times each for 2 nights, next day a couple of bigger words, eventually use them in a sentence. For us, it's all easy and worth about 15 minutes, but when your kid has been in remedial for both subjects for 2 years because he doesn't learn phonetically, the words can take an hour and the sentences turn out to be "the sentences that weren't". Math - he's pretty good but doesn't understand the concept of "doubling". Way behind overall, but the one great thing is that he loves the subject. I'm a natural math whiz so I love that part. I can help him but that's not my job and I have many other things to do, like being the taxi, the chef, the bath guy and ... oh yeah, that work thing too. My son is supposed to come home having been taught ADEQUATELY so he can do the h/w by himself. And be motivated to continue. That's why I let the town extort $7,000 per year in school taxes to pay the teachers. But I'm not getting what I'm supposed to.

And how about the problem of overweight kids? My son gained a lot of weight last year, thanks in part to a school district that loves deals with soft drink and junk food companies. I'm not claiming innocence, but don't make my job so much harder than it has to be. So now that my son has taken a liking to a certain physical activity that will benefit him in at least the weight management area, we began this extra-curricular activity. Homework? He finally did his words, took a break, then onto his beloved math. When I returned from MY needed 30 seconds, he was passed out over the workbook. End of story. The physical activity is important too. It can't be a choice between something he loves and may use one day and a homework burden that seems to be substituting for adequate teaching.

AS a student I think I speack for many other students out there. I like school work, i enjoy keeping my self busy. but when i get home from school i will usually get 2 hrs. of home work PER CLASS. In school when teachers use repitition students do lose interest and boring work sheets every day do cause lose of interesst and may lead to lower grs. by to much homework some students may not do it at all. i believe that as you get up from gr. to gr. you should ad 10 mins. (1st gr. 10 2nd gr. 20 ext.) we are haveing way to much homework and to little time to do it.

The state of Maine did a study a few years back to look at the high rate of high school drop outs. Inability to get homework done was the most frequently mentioned reason for dropping out.
As someone who works with parents to mediate conflict with the school, I can tell you that many families I work with mention how stressful homework is to family life. Families limit their activities because of homework demands. I think that schools should be respectful of what little time families do have to be together. Summer homework is something that needs to be re-assessed. My daughter loves to read and summer is her time for reading all the books she didn't have time to read during the school year. But when it comes to assigned summer reading, she approaches it, not with the joy that accompanies each new book, but with a feeling of resentment that her time to read what she wants to read is being robbed from her. I support public schools and am proud to work for one. I support families. I believe that families should let schools do what they do best, and that schools should support families by letting the school day and school year end, without homework interference.

I do not think that homework is necessary -- in fact I think it is an unnecessary burden that contributes to children disliking school. I have five children and work full-time. Luckily my older children are able to handle their homework on their own, although it can oftentimes cause tears and angry moods when it becomes too much and they are tired. My younger children, however, need help and guidance, and since I don't get home until 7:30 pm at night, many times the homework gets done late into the evening. Needless to say we only do it for the sake of getting it done, not to achieve any kind of learning. I think 7 hours a day in school is plenty. Today's society puts way too much emphasis on getting ahead. We all need to learn how to stop and smell the roses more. Life is too short and we spend too much of it in a very structured environment, i.e., school and/or workplace. While routine has its place, I think we all could use a little more creativity in our lives, and homework is definitely not creative because of the deadlines imposed. Thank you for your insight with this article.

I found the article interesting and enlightening. The only example that came to mind that drill/practice homework can be beneficial is memorizing math facts (i.e. mult. tables). Once the concept of multiplication is understood, memorizing the mult. tables will (should) cause faster recall that will be beneficial with solving more complicated equations. I also agree that having a student do drill/practice worksheets after he/she knows the concept is counterproductive. You don't beat a dead horse, do you? Overall, I enjoyed the article and thank you for presenting a refreshing viewpoint!

I also agree that homework interferes with family activities, such as church, sports...and dinner! But, as a teacher (and parent), I have found that although parents may dislike homework, they are the first to complain if it is not assigned. In my first grade class, homework was not assigned until the 2nd full weeek of school, yet I had parents concerned that homework had not gone home on the first day! The same goes for spelling tests- one year I announced that I would assess students in class rather than assign spelling for homework, and parents went nuts- to the point that I had to give lists and test, even though the grades do not correlate to a grade on the report card! I would much rather not give homework, but in these days of high stakes testing, especially here in FL, if parents insist on homework, we assign homework....we wouldn't want "no (any) child left behind"!)

When I compare my school experience to that of my children, it just seems like there is such intense pressure on them that we didn't have to deal with. I went to public schools from 1962-1975 and had very little homework even through junior high, and not all that much in high school. In spite of that, I graduated magna cum laude from a university with my B.A. degree in only 2 ½ years, so I obviously learned what I needed to learn in grades K-12. However, from the time my three kids were little, they have been loaded down with homework from the youngest grades. When my oldest daughter started kindergarten in 1996, I specifically chose a teacher for her who didn't believe in homework except for being read to; I was appalled that the other teacher was sending home worksheets in kindergarten. It got so much worse in middle school when nearly every book report or project has had a major artwork component to it. My kids have agonized over requirements to draw the climax of a story in detail or multiple little pictures around the edge of a book report, which is what my 7th grade son will be spending this weekend doing instead of his Boy Scout camp out. What do these art requirements, a large part of the book report grade, have to do with improving reading and writing abilities?? On the other hand, I had time to be a child. I was very involved (my choice) in music lessons (piano, guitar, flute, band & orchestra), Girl Scouts, drill team, and other clubs and activities. Since all of this was extracurricular, I would never have had time for it if I’d had the homework load my kids have had, especially in the middle and high school gifted and honors programs. School was one component of my life, and I had plenty of time for personal interest reading, socializing, daydreaming, and spending time with my family! Summers especially were a welcome break in which I could do many fun, interesting, and ultimately educational things. My husband and I drew the line this year at a major summer homework assignment my daughter was given in order to continue in Honors English her sophomore year (reading 3 long and complex classic novels with multiple writing assignments in addition). After 9 months of extremely hard work her freshman year of high school, we felt she had earned the right to take a break and spend her summer engaged in other activities. My children started out as excited, happy kindergarteners who loved learning and school; they are now middle and high schoolers who get great grades and test scores but who at best tolerate and at times strongly dislike school. The overwhelming homework load is the biggest reason for that, which is such a shame! Life is more than just academics, and balance is important. Not all education takes place in a classroom or while doing homework.

I have just read all these responses in search of hard facts and found very few. One that interested me was the reference to homework policy in The Netherlands. Can somebody comment on the homework variables in other countries? I am constantly hearing how our public schools are failing our children and that our children do so much more poorly than children in numerous other countries, I think including the Netherlands. Can someone point me to information on that?
Two things bother me a lot. One is a feeling I get that many teachers assign homework because they are obliged to do so rather than their belief in its value, and this especially bothers me when I see quantities of homework assigned to elementary school children. The other is seeing children getting failing course grades as a result only of failing to turn their homework.

I agree. Homework always causes fights in my house. We don't even care about a lot of things anymore.

Education Week Talk Back

I would like to respond the article, The Truth About Homework, by Alfie Kohn.

I offer the following observations on the value of homework or work done outside the classroom. These observations are based on 28 years of educational experience in middle and high school settings. I have taught vocational courses, math, English, science, technology, computer applications, and college level courses. I have been and a teacher, grant writer, employment placement counselor, and administrator. I have worked in traditional programs, vocational programs, and student at risk programs. I have worked with special education students, bilingual students, regular educations students, and college prep students.

Instructors can do all of the teaching in a 5 to 6 hour day, but students need more than 5 to 6 hours to learn the material.

Well designed homework or outside-of-class work is essential in the following:

• To cover additional subject matter that is not taught in the classroom due to lack of time.

• To test student acquisition of knowledge of material previously taught or delivered.

• To produce the projects (book reports, research papers, lab results and conclusions) based on skills delivered during the normal school day

• To allow students to demonstrate their facility with skills learned in class.

• To hone basic skills (math, composition, and problem solving) developed in class.

• To prepare students with base, background, or preparatory information for an upcoming class.

• To provide an alternative presentational method for diverse learners.

Additionally:

The recall of process, method, and factual information is a learning mechanism. To be effective, such recall requires some elapsed time. Information must be recalled from short term memory to be embedded in long term memory

In the science classroom the instructors can provide investigative leads for answers to questions and solutions to problems. To obtain answers and solutions, students must proceed down an informational path of their own choosing and at their own speed.


In the math classroom instructors present methods to solve problems and have students demonstrate basic understanding. Homework is the tool used to sharpen student skills and embed technique.

Parallels:

• You can’t become good at tennis unless you swing the racquet… …a lot.

• You don’t become a good hitter without multiple times at bat.

• You don’t become a good portfolio or mutual fund manager without doing a ton of outside research.

• You don’t become a good engineer without absorbing a mass of information in your engineering field.

• You don’t learn how to be a good accountant by balancing one ledger.

• You learn to research by doing research… lots of it. Learning doesn’t happen in the classroom. There is not enough time.

• Learning involves more than being taught. You need to work to learn.

Respectfully,

Gerald Corradino
[email protected]

I currently do not assign Homework to my third grade class. I expect that they will read with stamina for 30 minutes every night. That is it! I do offer enrichment opportunities, which are activities students can do at home that connect in some way to what we are doing in class and I expect students to study for tests and practice skills in areas where they are struggling. If students waste time in class or are struggling they can finish class work at home. I have students excited about the "no homework" policy that they are actually more efficient in class and are turning in more work than ever before!
B. Barrett
Teacher

As a parent to two boys who both graduated second in their respective classes and as a Biology teacher, I think that homework, within limits, can reinforce what has been presented in the classroom and it can also create an excitement for learning, if presented properly.

When my older son was in first grade, (he is 22 now), I never saw so many papers come home! His teacher was a wonderful person, but I told her that if school was difficult for a child at that age, you might see first grade drop-outs because of the overwhelming 'paper work'.

When I was in school (and I was 5th in my class), I was totally overwhelmed with homework. Often I was up until after midnight trying to get some math problems to 'come out'. I would tell my parents that it seemed that every teacher thought that his/her class was the only one that mattered. I was lucky if I managed to get two study halls a week.

I really do believe that homework can excite and reinforce material, but it needs to be given in moderation. Homework also develops responsibility in students, which is a necessary if one desires any degree of success in life!

Homework is not given to students just because. Homework is used to reinforce what is taught in class, and to help students further embed these lessons. I think that what we are seeing is that parents want their children involved in too much outside of the school setting that they do not want homework to get in the way of these activities. I have three children (17, 15, and 9) and all are involved in activities outside of school, but not to the extent that their school work/homework takes second seat. Right now their job is school. I have to bring work home all the time to keep up with the paperwork. In addition, I am attending college full-time working toward my Ph.D., and have 'homework' for these classes, setting an example for my own children. While too much homework is not productive, when it is applied correctly it does help students advance in their current classes to strengthen what is taught and also in developing a work ethic for their future.

Hurray for Gerald Corradino! As an instructor for the Chicago Public School System, I am a firm supporter of homework. I give my Algebra classes homework four nights a week, and review it every day in class.

I am a calligrapher and a pianist, as well as a teacher; and I can assure you that none of those skills would have been accomplished without practice (i.e., homework!)

In general, I think homework is very important. Repetition and memorization are important skills that can't always be worked on in class because we don't have time.
Specifically, for art, I find homwork has it's pluses & minuses. Plus side--drawing, drawing and more drawing is important to teach that seeing is not just done in a classroom situtation. It is a life skill for artists. I also use homework as a time to finish up projects that students didn't have time to finish in class (i.e., the composition has been approved, they can color in that spaces at home). The big minuse is having someone else do the work for them. A teammate or parent doing work for the student doesn't teach them a darn thing. But lack of support at home is the biggest issue. Without support from home, homework will never be the answer for kids falling behind.

I think that this question is preposterous. Really, I agree with Corradino above. Excessive homework is bad, and I think that in many cases excessive homework is directly correlated with the extent to which teachers collaborate with each other and/or are aware of what their fellow teachers are assigning. (In middle school and high school, low collaboration can equal ridiculous amounts of homework.) Homework is absolutely essential. I was an English Teacher: You want to tell me that I should spend my entire time in class reading a piece of literature? When will we have time to discuss/analyze/study it? The same goes for basically any subject that requires extensive reading. Also, I should wait for a student to write a book report in my class???

One complaint I do have (since I help young people with their homework regularly) is when teachers send work home, that the students are not prepared to do, i.e. the teacher's lesson did not fully equip them to perform the work. This is more likely to happen for school projects, etc. Did anyone take the time to tell students the rubric the teacher will use to score the project so they will know exactly how to get a good grade? The sad thing about it: students are less likely to absorb a teacher's lesson if they face trouble at home etc. So in some cases, it does not matter how great your lesson is, the student is not absorbing it and therefore, the student will not perform well on the assignment that is meant to test/reinforce what the teacher presented in class.

Also, the point above about some adults not having any homework after they come home is not sound. Students are only in school for about 6 or so hours with at least a 45 minute break!

Bottom line: Equip students as much as possible so that they can actually do the homework on their own, and do not give them excessive homework. Also, homework should be used sparingly until about 5th grade. In 5th grade, they need to be prepared for the expectations of middle school, and in middle school they need to be prepared for the expectations of high school, etc.

Kohn mistakenly asserts that no research has proved that homework results in achievement; however this is simply not the case. In 2000, Robert Marzano at McREL (Mid-continent for Education and Learning)performed the largest meta-analysis of teaching strategies and their effectiveness. Homework was found to be one of the top ten most effective strategies with an effect size of 0.77. Homework alone would result in a 28 percentile point gain. Science not only proves that homework works; it proves that it works well.

HW does work, but it has to be a planned. If you have 5 teachers and they all think "30 mins is not much", 30 mins x 5= 2.5 hrs the student spends after school doing homework. Also, the tachers must take into consideration that to calculate the time the student is going to need to finish that HW, the teacher must complete the "planned HW" and measure th time. If the teacher completes the HW in 10 mins, then muliply by 3=30 mins. That's how long it will take the student to complet the HW. And the teacher needs to make sure the objectives are clear and the student knows what the real goal is.

Homework is reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly bad. I think it should be banned from everybody's school

HW does work, but it has to be a planned. If you have 5 teachers and they all think "30 mins is not much", 30 mins x 5= 2.5 hrs the student spends after school doing homework. Also, the tachers must take into consideration that to calculate the time the student is going to need to finish that HW, the teacher must complete the "planned HW" and measure th time. If the teacher completes the HW in 10 mins, then muliply by 3=30 mins. That's how long it will take the student to complet the HW. And the teacher needs to make sure the objectives are clear and the student knows what the real goal is.

HW does work, but it has to be a planned. If you have 5 teachers and they all think "30 mins is not much", 30 mins x 5= 2.5 hrs the student spends after school doing homework. Also, the tachers must take into consideration that to calculate the time the student is going to need to finish that HW, the teacher must complete the "planned HW" and measure th time. If the teacher completes the HW in 10 mins, then muliply by 3=30 mins. That's how long it will take the student to complet the HW. And the teacher needs to make sure the objectives are clear and the student knows what the real goal is.

During my years as a teacher, I did practice work in class EVERY day and called this CLASSWORK. The work helped students learn how to look up materials and do research - how to use hints given in the book to learn, how to put on paper information given during lectures and more. Time was given in class to do the work, and I was always available to assist students in finfing answers. When a pupil elected to waste class time and did NOT get the work done - only then did it become HOMEWORK. Important??? In my classes it was! Classwork/homework provided the practice and review needed to score high on tests. My students always excelled in higher grades in the areas I taught them.

I am a mathematician and I teach 8th graders.

Homework must be a reasonable amount. Practice independent of the watchful eye of the teacher is good. Teachers have so many more responsibilities besides just teaching. If all I had to do was teach...maybe the idea of "just get it done in class" attitude would work.

Here is some thoughts...
1)as a 8th grade math teacher, is it reasonable that I have students that don't know their multiplication facts? How can they be successful in higher math without that??
2) Do we not learn by doing? In math can you really understand how to solve a quadratic equation by completing the square WITHOUT working through several two step equations(HW) that were easier to see the answer??
3)Just because kids despise HW, are you suggesting we don't give it? My 5year old son doesn't like brushing his teeth...

It is an insult to teachers say that homework is NOT important. To the author: Please explain how students can be successful in Calculus without practicing the art of organized steps to solve an algebraic equation??

I found your article interesting and I agree with parts of it. Reading your article caused me to stop and think about what I am trying to achieve with assigning homework. I believe that homework does have value if it is done correctly. Homework should never be busy work. It should be an opportunity to independently practice a skill taught in school. Homework should be in moderation. I don't need to assign 20 division problems, for example, to see whether or not my students have mastered what I have taught them. Homework also helps children develop organizational skills which will help them throughout their lives. I do believe that children need time to be children! Sports, music, scouts, dance, etc. are all a part of children's overall development and education. At the fourth grade level, I feel thirty minutes of homework is plenty and still leaves time to participate in those other activities or to simply play outside with friends or spend time with family. I am a mother of three and I have always welcomed homework as long as it had meaning and was in moderation.

I'm yet another average student in school. I'm 13 years old, and am in 8th grade, and yet i feel like i get way too much homework. Now, I know what all of the adults out there are thinking. They are thinking I'm overreacting, but this is the cold hard truth. And, also, I think that this website needs a nice, well thought point of view from the person RECIEVING the homework.

Though homework doesn't seem like much alone, with other commitments such as sports, girl scouts, instruments, etc. I feel like there is no time to do what an average teenager should do; ENJOY their childhood. With homework and everything I usually go to bed at 11:00 at night. Now, an average person my age is supposed to get AT LEAST 9 hours of sleep. Now, I get up around 6 in the morning. THAT IS 7 HOURS OF SLEEP. Now, tell me, is it fair to deprive someone of that much sleep?

And, I'm not the worst out there. I know people that go to bed at an average of 2 in the morning, because they don't get to start their homework until really late because of their other commitments. And then I know people that have to wake up at 5 in the morning to catch their bus.

Now, teacher's claim we get about 2 hours a night for homework. Though that is far from true. If you get about 40 minutes (about the amount I get) from every class that is 240 minutes of homework. That's about 3 1/2 hours!!

Now, that doesn't seem like much right now, however, being deprived of sleep as most people are, it will take them much longer to finish it, not to mention if they get stuck or confused it takes them even longer.
Now, I have created an immaginary schedual for a person we will call "Bob".

Bob's an average guy, plays an instrument, does sports, has friends, etc.

4:00- get home from school
4:00-4:30 practice instrument (or something else)
5:30-7:00 Soccer Game (or any other after school thing, I just chose something random)
7:00-8:00 DINNER
8:00-11:30 Homework

Now, think about it, Bob gets a lot of stuff done, but think about it. WHERE IS TIME FOR BOB?!
He hasn't done ANYTHING for himself. Where are the phone calls? The watching tv? ADOLESCENCE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FUN!! But where is the fun? Now, let's say we add in an hour to that schedual, let's say for catching up with friends, or IMing or taking a shower. I don't know, choose something.
Now Bob will be going to bed at 12:30 in the morning.

But wait, Bob's mom also needed to take him out to go shopping because he needs, I dunno, new shoes. Another hour's gone by and GUESS WHAT??
Bob now goes to bed at 1:30 in the morning.

But wait, what if something goes wrong with the family, or if one of your friends has a panic attack and needs to talk to him on the phone.
ANOTHER HOUR!!
So now Bob goes to bed at 2:30.

And you know what? Bob needs to get up at 6:00 for school, so he gets 3 1/2 hours of sleep.
Now, that is 4 1/2 hours less amount of sleep than Bob requires. Now, do you think that's good for Bob?
Well, no, it isn't.

Even if none of that other stuff I included happens, Bob would still only get 7 hours of sleep. Now, poor Bob. His lack of sleep will make him sick, tired, restless, irritable, and will probably hurt his social life as well. And, though I know some people that are reading this probably think, oh, social lives, big deal. But many kids, after feeling they aren't liked by people, become depressed, and sometimes have thoughts of suicide, and if you don't believe me, ask some of my friends. Because, a good amount of people I know honestly have thoughts of suicide.

Now, think. Homework causes all of this unwanted stress and tention, I also found out after doing some research, that homework actually causes students to dislike school and learning in general because of the stress it causes. Also I saw that homework actually barely rises the grades of students.

Now, considering everything that homework causes, picture, instead of having homeowork, simply adding an extra hour or so on to school.
Now, if we look at Bob's new and improved schedual it would look like this:

5:30- get home from school
5:30-6:00 practice instrument (or something else)
6:00-7:30 Soccer Game (or any other after school thing, I just chose something random)
7:30-8:30 DINNER
8:30-9:00 Bob does whatever he wants, because if he goes to bed at 9:00 excactly and wakes up at 6:00 he will get exactly NINE HOURS OF SLEEP!!

YAY BOB!

FAQ:
Q. But what about homework reinforcing what they learned in school?
A. I know this is going to sound somewhat rude, but, really, if you spend seven hours in school 5 days a week (about a fourth of our day during the weekdays), don't you think this stuff is going to get hammered into our skulls?! We are going back to school the next day! I think we won't forget the stuff in 16 hours?!
Q. Homework also shows students responsibility and how to manage their time, is it fair to deprive them of that?
A. Sure, they help us with responsibility to a certain extent, but we are still KIDS we can't juggle so many things at once. With all of the things we have to take care of now, also we are dealing with mood swings, friends, growing up, the whole thing that you discuss in health about "changes", we're already stressed. Trying to deal with this is hard enough!

I'm yet another average student in school. I'm 13 years old, and am in 8th grade, and yet i feel like i get way too much homework. Now, I know what all of the adults out there are thinking. They are thinking I'm overreacting, but this is the cold hard truth. And, also, I think that this website needs a nice, well thought point of view from the person RECIEVING the homework.

Though homework doesn't seem like much alone, with other commitments such as sports, girl scouts, instruments, etc. I feel like there is no time to do what an average teenager should do; ENJOY their childhood. With homework and everything I usually go to bed at 11:00 at night. Now, an average person my age is supposed to get AT LEAST 9 hours of sleep. Now, I get up around 6 in the morning. THAT IS 7 HOURS OF SLEEP. Now, tell me, is it fair to deprive someone of that much sleep?

And, I'm not the worst out there. I know people that go to bed at an average of 2 in the morning, because they don't get to start their homework until really late because of their other commitments. And then I know people that have to wake up at 5 in the morning to catch their bus.

Now, teacher's claim we get about 2 hours a night for homework. Though that is far from true. If you get about 40 minutes (about the amount I get) from every class that is 240 minutes of homework. That's about 3 1/2 hours!!

Now, that doesn't seem like much right now, however, being deprived of sleep as most people are, it will take them much longer to finish it, not to mention if they get stuck or confused it takes them even longer.
Now, I have created an immaginary schedual for a person we will call "Bob".

Bob's an average guy, plays an instrument, does sports, has friends, etc.

4:00- get home from school
4:00-4:30 practice instrument (or something else)
5:30-7:00 Soccer Game (or any other after school thing, I just chose something random)
7:00-8:00 DINNER
8:00-11:30 Homework

Now, think about it, Bob gets a lot of stuff done, but think about it. WHERE IS TIME FOR BOB?!
He hasn't done ANYTHING for himself. Where are the phone calls? The watching tv? ADOLESCENCE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FUN!! But where is the fun? Now, let's say we add in an hour to that schedual, let's say for catching up with friends, or IMing or taking a shower. I don't know, choose something.
Now Bob will be going to bed at 12:30 in the morning.

But wait, Bob's mom also needed to take him out to go shopping because he needs, I dunno, new shoes. Another hour's gone by and GUESS WHAT??
Bob now goes to bed at 1:30 in the morning.

But wait, what if something goes wrong with the family, or if one of your friends has a panic attack and needs to talk to him on the phone.
ANOTHER HOUR!!
So now Bob goes to bed at 2:30.

And you know what? Bob needs to get up at 6:00 for school, so he gets 3 1/2 hours of sleep.
Now, that is 4 1/2 hours less amount of sleep than Bob requires. Now, do you think that's good for Bob?
Well, no, it isn't.

Even if none of that other stuff I included happens, Bob would still only get 7 hours of sleep. Now, poor Bob. His lack of sleep will make him sick, tired, restless, irritable, and will probably hurt his social life as well. And, though I know some people that are reading this probably think, oh, social lives, big deal. But many kids, after feeling they aren't liked by people, become depressed, and sometimes have thoughts of suicide, and if you don't believe me, ask some of my friends. Because, a good amount of people I know honestly have thoughts of suicide.

Now, think. Homework causes all of this unwanted stress and tention, I also found out after doing some research, that homework actually causes students to dislike school and learning in general because of the stress it causes. Also I saw that homework actually barely rises the grades of students.

Now, considering everything that homework causes, picture, instead of having homeowork, simply adding an extra hour or so on to school.
Now, if we look at Bob's new and improved schedual it would look like this:

5:30- get home from school
5:30-6:00 practice instrument (or something else)
6:00-7:30 Soccer Game (or any other after school thing, I just chose something random)
7:30-8:30 DINNER
8:30-9:00 Bob does whatever he wants, because if he goes to bed at 9:00 excactly and wakes up at 6:00 he will get exactly NINE HOURS OF SLEEP!!

YAY BOB!

FAQ:
Q. But what about homework reinforcing what they learned in school?
A. I know this is going to sound somewhat rude, but, really, if you spend seven hours in school 5 days a week (about a fourth of our day during the weekdays), don't you think this stuff is going to get hammered into our skulls?! We are going back to school the next day! I think we won't forget the stuff in 16 hours?!
Q. Homework also shows students responsibility and how to manage their time, is it fair to deprive them of that?
A. Sure, they help us with responsibility to a certain extent, but we are still KIDS we can't juggle so many things at once. With all of the things we have to take care of now, also we are dealing with mood swings, friends, growing up, the whole thing that you discuss in health about "changes", we're already stressed. Trying to deal with this is hard enough!

Also, to prove my statement, I found this on the internet:

http://physorg.com/news4333.html Here is an interesting quote:

Their findings indicated a frequent lack of positive correlation between the average amount of homework assigned in a nation and corresponding level of academic achievement. For example, many countries with the highest scoring students, such as Japan, the Czech Republic and Denmark, have teachers who give little homework. "At the other end of the spectrum, countries with very low average scores -- Thailand, Greece, Iran -- have teachers who assign a great deal of homework," Baker noted.

Hey! I found even more things supporting my statement!!

"Practice makes perfect, or so they say. But when it comes to homework, research shows that hours of practice after school most often make for only stress and decreased interest in learning, writes Alfie Kohn in an Education Week Commentary. Despite years of research demonstrating virtually no correlation between homework and achievement, the age-old belief that homework ought to help has prevailed, notes Mr. Kohn.
According to Mr. Kohn, by clinging to this notion that homework should help students, we are disregarding one of the most important factors in students' success in school—their interest in learning. Redundant repetitions and increased time spent on material will not improve student understanding. Instead of focusing on the quantity of work, Mr. Kohn recommends we pay more attention to how students learn.
Is homework counterproductive, or can it be an aid to learning?"

Here are some sites showing how homework becomes more stressful:

http://www.education-world.com/a_issues/chat/chat095.shtml

http://www.edu-books.com/The_End_of_Homework__How_Homework_Disrupts_Families_Overburdens_Children_and_Limits_Learning_0807042196.html

Here are some sites showing how homework becomes more stressful:

http://www.education-world.com/a_issues/chat/chat095.shtml

http://www.edu-books.com/The_End_of_Homework__How_Homework_Disrupts_Families_Overburdens_Children_and_Limits_Learning_0807042196.html

This Sunday night, I was up until 10:30 editing a 14 page long musical for my drama class. That day, I read from the novel "A Fine Balance" for English, and didn't have enough time to practice playing the bassoon for a music test on monday. This samester I have mostly electives! Next samester I have French, math, geography and more extra credit music. If drama music science and english are giving me this much homework, how can I be expected to keep up next samester?

I am a senior in high school, and believe that while homework occasionally serves a purpose, it is frequently a waste of time. Many teachers assign work, and claim the reason is to help us learn. But what if we already know the material? We still have to waste time on the homework. The best example I can come up with is vocab lists in english class.
Every year, we will get vocab lists, and told that, to "help us learn", we will have homework. Usually, we write the words, definitions, and a sentence. Then take a quiz, which usually counts double the homework. So for example, a student could know the vocab by heart, ace the quiz... and still barely pass because he didn't spend time "learning" what he already knew. Another student could do the homework, get a 50% on the quiz, and recieve the same total grade despite not knowing half the words.

The best solution I have is either:
1: Don't grade the homework, just grade the quiz. If students know the material, they won't need to waste time studying. If they don't know the material, the reward for doing the homework will be a better quiz grade.
2: Make homework semi-optional. EG, instead of making the quiz 20 points and the homework 10, make it a total of 30. If a student chooses not to do the homework, the quiz counts for 30 and they dont get penalized for not doing the homework. If they do the homework, the homework will count for 10 and the quiz for 20.

The latter option would most likely be better for younger students, as it gives a more direct reward for doing homework; younger students would not likely do homework unless it directly helped their grade. Option #1 would work with older students, as they are mature enough to realize that, even though the homework itself would not be graded, the impact on their quiz would be worth it.

Another benefit of the two mentioned above, it allows students to study their own ways. With the current set-up, what if a student doesn't know the material, but uses a different learning style than the one in the homework? I often encountered this in math, as I learned differently from others. It became a problem if I was strapped for time, as I had to choose whether I should do the homework, and hope that grade can counter a low quiz grade, or not do the homework and study on my own, and hope my acing the quiz would make up for a 0 on homework.

To sum up: If the point of the homework assignment is learning, than reward the learning, not the work. If a student knows the material without extra studying, why punish them? If a student needs to spend time studying in their own way, why prevent them from doing so by forcing them to study your way? If a student needs help learning, give them work that will help them learn. If they don't need to study, don't waste their time.

i agree. homework does not help me. if anything it makes me hate school even more. i need statistics tho. i am writing a report for school
help?

i hate home work i think you sould get more school time for less homework

Your article was indeed very interesting. I agree. Homework can be very benificial in the classroom. (Although it is no help to me.) To others If given in a reasonable amount and explained thoroughly maybe. On the other hand some people just can't handle the stresses of homework. ex) family related problems to do with homework, suicide, lack of interest in the classroom, messing up people's SLEEP PATTERNS, and the time that has to be put in. I mean right now it's 2 in the morning and i'm doing homework as well. That was not thoroughly explained and i don't have the proper resources to complete. Not to mention I witness such nonsense in most of my daily classes. Sometimes just because people honestly don't give a damn about their future, their need to be recognized as "cool", and on how they act can leave such an impact on their fellow classmates. Everyone acts up every so often but their should some sort of limit... I've read through a couple of the comments on this page and one that really caught me eye was Danny/ MS math teacher's. His note on children not knowing their multiplication. (No offense what so ever)Is most likely the result of no interest in the classroom at a earlier level. Or not enough attention (1-on-1) with a large amount of students per classroom to 1-2 teachers.

-sincerely yet another average student D:

i am a 6th grade student willing to do homework.....the reason im on this website right now is because im doing homework...like 1 hour a night of homework is fine but some teachers go overboard...(such as my scince/language teacher) right now i have about 4 hours of homework im not exxagerating (not including projects) i mean its ridiculous i spend 6 hours at school and then need to spend another 4 hours on homework when i get home. I have a life, i have friends,i have parents. And how am i supposed to meet any girls if im spending 4 hours on homework every night? you tell me. Also, i cant even play any sports because of all the homework i have

Truthfully I didnt like doing homework as a student in Junior High, or High School. I am a firm believer in classwork. When the teacher is in front of the class explaining the assignment and the students are listening then that has been a productive class. For the students who havent been paying attention, they might need time while the rest of the class works on the assignment. If they dont finish the assignment in class then they should take it home to complete.

As a student I personally don't think that so much homework is necessary. Actually I'm doing homework right now at 9:19 PM on the topic - should there be a limit on the amount of homework students receive - for a persuasive essay!!!! My mom gets really aggravated when she needs to help me finish my homework at 12AM. This has been going on since 5th grade and its completely unnecessary. It's atrocious!!!! It's not like I could actually learn a lot by doing all of this homework.

I am a fifth grade student and i dont like homework.I think every kid has enough work at school. Homework is like school work except u do the work at home with out a teacher. Just to tell u i dislike my math class because my teacher gives the class homework that we dont even know how to do.The only thing homework helps us do is get stress.parents think that it is so easy and its suppose to help us but it doent they dont know what school is like.

Homework is TOO much Stress! we know what parents go through with taxes but this is to much we know we will learn without homework. we learn in class enough! I dislike my math class as wel becauseour teacher stresses us and even if u pass and get like an 87 on homework or on a quiz she tells us we need to get more homework when we are in advanced math class. NO MORE HOMEWORK FOR THE SAKE OF THE POOR STUDENTS!!

i agree with the other 5th grader my math teacher acts just like thiers.

I'm in the 7th grade, and nearly all HW my teachers assign is pointless. Reading does help, though. You don't need an hour of grammar practice if you read for 1/2 an hour. And it can be fun if you like it. Math is basically repetition. History is reading, too. Studying for a test is very helpful, though.

school is starting to be a little easier so it isnt really that hard anymore. But i still dont like homework for somereason i guess we just have to live with it. You know i think i might send a letter to the president and see if he wants to cancel homework. If he did i would be so happy.

I believe that homework is good, for teenagers. It helps prepare them for college, but 4 hours of homework a night is not needed to help them review. Especially for fourth and fifth graders. School has gotten harder over the years and school officials refuse to believe fourth and fifth graders don't need to be performing 8th and ninth grade work in fourth grade. It amazes me that 9,10, and 11 year olds can get 2 to 3 hours of homework a night!

think about it...

-A.

I get good grades on tests and understand what is taught to me, but homework has driven me into a hole of hate, dread, and pity. During break more is assigned as if it not a break at all. I am losing hobbies left and right. If I'm not doing homework i'm worrying about another assignment.

School is pointless. I feel as if I am wasting my time and my life.

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