Homework: Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Studying

(Photo by freedigitalphotos.net)

by Christine Urio

The bell hasn’t rung yet, but students are no longer paying attention as they anxiously watch the clock tick away the seconds to their freedom.

At the shrill sound they quickly pack up their things to run to their next class, but only after the teacher announces, “Make sure to complete the questions on page 84 in the text.”

A collective, silent groan travels around the class as they pack up their things a bit more slowly than before, realizing they couldn’t escape soon enough.

Homework is unnecessary. Yet, it is assigned at the lowest grade level and continues to be an ever-present force throughout the school years.

While the argument exists that homework is needed to reinforce the concepts taught during the day, children end up resenting school more than they already do.

The purpose of education is to learn, not to make the lives of children miserable, yet that is exactly what homework is doing to our youth—it is leaving them overworked and frustrated.

In her article, Kamala Nair states, “Many of the assignments are simply busywork and learning often becomes a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.”

Even if homework was just lessened, a child would get more out of an assignment if he could focus primarily on doing five questions right, instead of feeling overwhelmed and racing to finish 50.

Instead of continuing the learning at home, education should be reformed as a whole, so students are actually getting what they deserve out of classroom time and not just wasting their time at home with what is usually busy work.

School is not just 9-5 job, for assignments can take hours to complete and usually seeps over into the weekends.

Even during holiday vacations, children are usually assigned packets of work—for each subject—so they do not forget what they have recently learned.

“Kids don’t have time to just be kids anymore—they’re so bogged down,” Nair said.

There have been nights when I come home and see that my brother has not moved from his desk the entire day because he is struggling to accomplish all that was assigned, leaving him cranky and dejected.

Homework is not only taking a toll on children, but on family life as well.

“A lot of kids can’t even make it to dinner, and as a result, the only interaction they have with their parents involves arguments about homework,” said Nair.

It is not that children have poor time management skills, it is that school has helped kids inadvertently perfect them while teaching them a new set of values—there is no price or unnecessary sacrifice to reach success.

Many children partake in afterschool activities, like athletics, or some may even have jobs to help support their families.

With children running ragged, it is usually their sleep that is sacrificed, which in turn affects their mental health and sanity.

Homework produces a nasty, inescapable cycle that all children are thrust into whether they like it or not. And with schooling sometimes lasting up until one’s early 20s, it is easy to see why so many children become hopeless and lack motivation.

And they say school isn’t a full time job.