Is Homework Redundant?

andreas

For as long as there have been schools, teachers have given homework to students for them to complete out of class. However, it is clear that homework, especially when teachers give it in excess, is unnecessary for the students. Recent studies performed by experts at Penn State University as well as the Curry School of Education have pointed to the fact that more homework does not correlate with better grades. In fact, some studies showed that homework is useless because of all the stress it puts on the young students that it is given to.

Nonetheless homework is useless for three reasons. The first is that homework puts unneeded stress and, unwanted anxiety onto students who are not used to it. Second, homework leads many kids to start cheating and plagiarizing because they either cannot or will not complete the work, or they are afraid of not doing well and so they copy a smarter person’s homework. Lastly, homework can also lead to kids not establishing a solid childhood because of how many hours they spend doing their homework instead of playing outside and having a personal life. Homework in schools is unnecessary and should be taken away as it is not beneficial to education and is bad for kids and their well being.

It cannot be denied that homework itself is a very stressful and anxiety producing task for many kids who have trouble in school and even those who even do exemplary in school. With that said, it is clear that homework should be abolished so that we do not continue overloading todays students.

Lee Bartel, a professor at the University of Toronto, did a study on the effects of homework on children and if it causes stress and anxiety. His tests comprised of data from over 20,000 kids and the results showed that homework does cause stress and anxiety and this led him to even state himself that “Homework … if the kids already understand the concepts, is basically unnecessary, and if they don’t understand the concepts, it’s useless”. Professor Bartel goes onto say how if homework is unnecessary, then it’s only purpose is to cause kids unwanted stress and anxiety that he found can lead to students having emotion breakdowns(and in some cases even lead to marital problems for the students parents). Bartel shows how since homework is already in itself unnecessary, that it is actually doing harm to the kids by putting them under stress that they do not need. The stress and anxiety caused by homework is unacceptable and the students of today are not the only ones feeling it.

Frank Bruni, a Toronto parent, says himself that, “We were structuring my whole life around my son’s homework.” This demonstrates that homework is actually affecting kids home lives as well and this cannot be continued. Unless homework is discontinued, kids of all ages will continue to feel the stress and anxiety that will cause them to have physical and emotional breakdowns and have large amounts of unnecessary stress.

Kids also find that the amount of homework they are getting is taking too much time and so to shorten the time they take to do the homework, they cheat and plagiarize instead. This means that kids are not actually even doing the homework, and so they are not getting any benefit at all from it. The pressure to complete homework can also lead to students cheating by copying from their peers or getting a tutor who does it for them. Students who “perceive that achievement is defined by schools and teachers in terms of grades and performance, worry about school, and believe they can get rewards for doing well in class such as getting out of homework” are more likely to cheat, and to “avoid using deep level cognitive processing strategies such as trying different ways to solve a problem”, according to the American Psychological Association. This illustrates that since kids are under pressure to do their homework, they get in a habit of cheating more often and on a variety of different assignments. When students start cheating they tend to do it more and more as they grow up.

According to a Brookings Institution study they did on homework, 2,900 six to seventeen-year-old children “found that time spent each week on homework had increased from 2 hours 38 minutes to 3 hours 58 minutes since 1981”. Additionally the study said that, “while about 20% of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940’s, today between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school”. This is an enormous jump in kids cheating today and it can be directly correlated to huge increase in homework given to students now. It is obvious that the amount of homework kids now receive in school is unnecessary and is leading to kids cheating and plagiarizing is schools.

A child also needs to have a childhood and today’s homework does not allow them to do this, as they are too bogged down with hours of it. Since kids go to school around seven or eight every morning and do not get back until sometimes five, or even six, kids are not starting their homework until then and that means that they have no time at all to play outside and do extracurricular activities like sports and clubs. Jason Sapan, a parent of a girl at an elementary school in White Plains, says that “it takes the joy out of kids who are exceptional, and overwhelms those who are struggling.” Parents also agree that their children are no longer enjoying what they do because it is overwhelming them and tiring many of them out. Homework is supposed to be for kids to help reinforce what they learn, not to tire them out and make them not like what they do. They are getting so much homework that Margot Steinberg of White Plains, states that her ”kids get so much homework, they’re not getting something out of it. They’re doing it to get it done.” This is not what the purpose of homework should be. Homework takes away all the time that kids should be outside playing with friends and turns it into time when they just have to sit inside and do stressful work.

Carey Browne, a ten year old, says that, “homework sucks the life out of kids….. [Takes hours] out of that kid’s life. Finally you are done, but, oh no, it is dark.” Casey demonstrates how her problems are like those of many kids around America, which is that the homework they have simply takes too much time and does not allow for them to have any free time in which to be a child. Unless homework is decreased significantly, or erased from schools, students in America will no longer be able to participate in other activities that help them build strong childhoods.

Although the case for abolishing homework is very strong, there are those who believe that homework is a good thing and should be kept in schools. People who take this stance tend to think that what homework does is keep kids off the street and out of trouble while also helping to improve their education and overall well being by teaching them hard work and discipline. However, these reasons are all untrue. As was proved in one of the earlier paragraphs, studies show that there is no actual connection between having homework and getting better grades in school. Furthermore, people who think that more homework can teach kids hard work and discipline are wrong. This is untrue because the only kids who actually will work hard are those who are motivated or see a point to the homework. Lastly, some people say that kids who do homework will be kept off the streets and out of trouble. However, this is completely false. Even Orson Scott Card, popular author of many bestsellers, argues that, “Don’t [people] get it that the kids who are on the streets and in gangs and getting in trouble aren’t doing homework?” It is clear that homework does not help keep kids out of trouble as the ones who get into trouble are not doing homework anyways.

Clearly, there are not very many benefits to homework and so people who support it are unreasonable because there is very little evidence supporting the fact homework does greater good than it does bad.

Homework is a waste of time. It has very little benefit to it compared to the negatives it creates. Homework is useless for many reasons. Homework causes tremendous stress, leads to cheating, and it also takes away from kid’s childhoods. Studies show how there is just no real evidence that more homework, or that any at all, leads to better grades in schools for students. Surely homework must be abolished in order to cease putting unwanted pressure and stress and the students of today. Without homework being discontinued in schools, kids will continue to suffer from the many problems that they suffer from today and all for something that yields no benefits or gains for the child.

Andreas is currently a high school junior.

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