Remember when you were a kid who looked forward to hanging out with your friends after school? Remember when you discovered that you had a ten-page essay to write before you could hang out? That's the pain over 1.2 billion higher-grade students experience MORE than once in a while. And now that you're an awesome, understanding parent, don't you hate it when your child announces that they have homework, harshly shattering your fantasy of a wonderfully long parent-kid hangout? I understand. Homework can be awful, for both parents and children. Good morning, judges, parents, teachers, and fellow students. I am Jess Maxwell, 12, who has personally experienced the pain of doing homework past nine. That was eight years ago, when I was in grade ONE. Today, I'm going to talk to you about why we shouldn't have excessive homework. I will tell you about what I have experienced with homework, why most people think that the more homework we have, the better, and the ultimate, most important reasons we shouldn't have any unnecessary homework.
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In the first place, I never chose to have that much work in grade one; I was forced to do that work. So whenever I sat down to watch TV, play computer games, or even talk to my parents, I was reminded that I had work to do before I could do those things. BUT - keep in mind that I was only six years old! I think you'd agree that a six-year-old should be enjoying the fun of not having any serious responsibilities; enjoying the fun of being a KID. NOT doing homework all night after vigorous studying at school. According to a Helium Network writer, Annie M. Manzi, "Children need to play and chill out to refresh their minds and bodies. The pressure of having to complete their homework every night is daunting to most children." Well, every time I realized that I had to finish writing my speech, the pressure of it hit me like a fist prepared to rip me to pieces. And I know that it's ironic that I was doing loads of homework against homework excess. But I also know, after all of my awfully unpleasant experiences with those pressuring assignments, is that doing work this time is worth the pain. I'm using this opportunity to tell you my homework experiences!
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In addition, I'm going to consider your arguments. Yes, parents, that's you. Now, I know what you're thinking: Don't we need to practice what we learn to remember it? As to that, it is necessary to repeatedly apply the skills we learned. It is NOT necessary to get assigned work after we've already repeated it lots of times in class, unless it's for completing unfinished school work. Another objection you may have in mind is: If excessive homework is that horrible, then why do schools that assign more homework tend to produce very successful students? Well, they aren't successful because of the workload. It's the competition. In most of those homework-overload schools, you have to be very hard-working to even get it. And because the students had to work so hard just to get in the school, they're thriving even more towards getting higher marks than their peers, therefore becoming competitive-obsessive. And that hard work will only get them to be very successful in life. So, those were the reasons most people think excessive homework is good for us, and my evidence that proved them wrong.
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Correspondingly, you should know about the ultimate, most important reasons that there should not be any unnecessary homework. One specific reason is that sometimes, when people can't stand doing too much work, they copy off of others' work. I have never seen this happen personally, but my friend from Toronto says that her school gives out lots of homework, and once someone offers others to copy their work, the news spreads like wildfire. It's sad that people do this, though. Don't you agree that everyone should only get credit for their original work? Another important reason is that the homework could cause conflict between you and your child. Your poor kid doesn't want to do it, and you're saying that they have too, and so on. But when you objected your child's resistance to homework, did you ever think of how that might affect your family relationship? I mean, sure, you know your kid is just a proud, rebellious teen who will understand that you're doing this for his/her own good when they're older. But - that has nothing to do with your family relationship's problems that are caused by homework amounts, and purely homework amounts. Spending more family time together also ensures that you get along better with your children. But HOMEWORK takes away most of that already lessened family time you get. Now, parents, don't you see how homework negatively affects your child AND you? Not to mention that, when kids have too much homework. they get less social time, resulting in many more social issues than any child have. You want all of those problems to go away, right? Your rebellious child wouldn't be so rebellious if they had much less homework to do.
All things considered, do you still think homework is completely necessary? Excessive homework creates more than just stress among us "youngsters". It creates infringement of kids' own, personal copyright. It creates grudges, bad feelings, and way too much family and social trouble. And, worst of all, it creates a diamond-hard, obsidian-sharp knife that bloodthirstily destroys your paradisiacal dream of some quality family time. And not all parents love homework, either. A quote from Ayelet Waldman: "The hour my children are seated at the kitchen table, their books spread out before them, is without a doubt the worst hour of my day." So, given these parts, will you continue to support that we have to do whatever is thrown at us, OR will you empathize us and vote against superfluous homework? Thank you for listening, judges, parents, teachers, and fellow students. Have a great day! Oh! I forgot to say one last thing - no pressure. I won't be mad at you if you choose the first one. It's your choice, after all. And because I never had one for this case, I want you to make your own decision, based on your own thinking. Thank you.
At the start of the 2013-14 school year, the Fentress County School District in Tennessee announced that it would enforce a district-wide ban on graded homework assignments.
Administrators explained their decision by pointing to the large majority of students who lacked at-home resources to help them with their homework. Anywhere between 65%-75% of each school’s student body qualify for free or reduced lunch programs, so it was decided that students should not be singled out for failing to adequately complete take-home assignments.
“We don’t want kids to be unfairly penalized for their work because they don’t have the resources or support they need at home,” explained Randy Clark, Fentress County Schools’ Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor. “Our new motto for assignments is ‘review and preview.”
That means that homework in the district now constitutes an ungraded review or preview of current course work that’s the students’ responsibility to independently complete. Spelling words, vocabulary practice, and study guides for testing all fall under this purview.
The Great Homework Debate
Some educators aren’t fans of the new policy. Tammy Linder, a sixth grade teacher at Allardt Elementary School, is one of them.
“Students have not had that daily homework practice in any subject that keeps the concepts ‘alive’ and moving in their brains, so that means that much of the practice time and teaching time and testing time had to come during the class time each day,” Linder says.
Still, other districts across the country are taking second looks at the practice. The principal of Gaithersburg Elementary in Maryland decided to ask students to spend only 30 minutes in the evening reading. The decision was reached out of the realization that worksheets and other assignments had been assigned merely out of a sense of obligation to dole our homework to students.
Across the country, parents, teachers, and students are also voicing their opinions in the homework debate. On the issue of the actual educational value of homework, it may seem straightforward to many educators that reviewing lessons and practicing concepts after school would correlate to a greater retention of course material, but studies suggest that the link between assigned homework and academic achievement is drastically overinflated.
Researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education found in a 2012 study that math and science homework didn’t correlate to better student grades, but it did lead to better performances on standardized tests. And when homework is assigned, the help provided by parents often mitigated any of the positive effects of the work. Critics of this type of parental involvement say it can be counterproductive because parents may assume too great a role and/or may not fully understand the lessons being taught.
In April, Denise Pope, a researcher at Stanford University, found that too much homework can negatively affect kids by increasing stress and sleep deprivation and generally leaving less time for family, friends, and activities. According to Pope, homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice.
“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development.”
Video: Do Students Really Have Too Much Homework?
No Homework the New Norm?
“There are simply no compelling data to justify the practice of making kids work what amounts to a second shift when they get home from a full day of school,” says Alfie Kohn, an expert on child education, parenting, and human behavior, as well as the author of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.
Should schools then assign less homework or at least reevaluate what they assign? No, says Kohn, school shouldn’t assign any homework. Teachers who do assign it need to have a very compelling reason for extending a student’s school day.
“My general suggestion is to change the default: No homework should be the norm,” Kohn says, “Six hours of academics is enough—except on those occasions when teachers can show strong reason to infringe on family time and make these particular students do more of this particular schoolwork.”
Still, homework is so ingrained in the fabric of schooling that studies revealing its minimal positive benefits have been largely shrugged off or ignored altogether. For most educators, completely cutting homework out of schools isn’t a viable alternative – at least not yet. And many, if not most, teachers are unconvinced that gutting homework from their repertoire of learning tools is the best idea anyway.
Tammy Linder says that teachers haven’t had the amount of teaching time they usually need to enforce classroom lessons and concepts. With the heavy focus on standardized testing already in schools, losing precious out-of-school homework time drastically diminishes how long teachers can devote to thoroughly covering a given subject, as well as the depth and amount of topics they can cover in a school year.
“I have calculated that I have averaged only two to three ‘teaching’ days per week, depending upon re-teaching for those hard to conquer standards and testing,” Linder says. “My students have not covered as much material as students in the past have because of these factors. Nightly practice of any concept keeps the brain engaged in the topic and helps the student focus.”
Karen Spychala, a teacher in San Jose, believes homework has value, but is concerned about its potential to consume too much time outside the school day.
“Homework has its place: to practice skills and most importantly to involve families in their child’s learning” Spychala explains. “But too much homework that takes over everyone’s lives should never happen. There should be agreed upon standard homework times per grade level.”
Are there ways to deemphasize the overreliance on standard homework assignments and allow students to learn through other conducive means?
One option is changing the paradigm of assigned homework to infuse hands-on, student-led engagement with class lessons as a way of piquing student interest in the material. And instead of simply limiting homework to the teacher/student/parent sphere, allowing students the opportunity to show off exceptional homework to a larger audience can give them a further incentive to put in their best effort.
Angela Downing, an elementary school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, has found great success in displaying excellent student homework on the walls inside and outside of her classroom. By doing so, homework becomes disassociated from the standard teacher-student relationship and gains a whole new level of importance that draws students into the assignment.
“This practice sends the message to students that their work and their learning are important and valued,” Downing says. “Students take special care to do their best work when they know that the final piece will be displayed in the hall or on the classroom bulletin board.”
But for Bonnie Stone, an elementary school teacher in Tulsa, too much homework is too much homework. She saw the impact on her own children and vowed to curtail what she assigned her students.
“As a result of their experience, I vowed never to assign more than 30 minutes of outside reading enrichment for my students,” Stone recalls. “They work hard in class all day. After that, they need to be kids and teens. And I’ve seen no change in the achievement level of my students since I stopped assigning homework.”