Educators have heavily questioned the merit of homework since the late 19th century. Moreover, it is still a hot topic within the academic community.
Since the 80's the amount of homework assigned has increased significantly.
In the 21st century, students of kindergarten to fifth grades spend an average of 2.9 hours on homework per week.
As students move up a grade, their homework load increases. Sixth to eighth-graders spend 3.2 hours on homework per subject, and ninth to twelfth graders invest 3.5 hours per subject on their assignments.
If a high school student has five subjects, he is spending 17.5 hours on homework every week!
The Importance Of Homework
'Practice makes perfect.' We have all heard this saying. And, it is true, to a certain extent.
According to a new study from Princeton University, Michigan State University, and Rice University, practice does not make you perfect. However, it usually makes you better at what you are practicing.
So, why should students have homework? Well, homework is an efficient way to revise the lessons taught in class.
Students usually retain 50% of what the teacher says. So, when the students do homework, it helps them remember what they learned.
Moreover, practicing on their own helps them grasp the information better, improve their memory and critical thinking skills. Also, homework is linked to a student's academic achievement.
Research showed that pupils spending 31 – 90 minutes daily on homework achieved 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than those who did not.
Also, homework helps parents be more active in supporting their children academically. During the process, a stronger bond can be formed as both parties share their school life experiences.
If you are still wondering why is homework important:
- It allows you to better understand topics learned in class
- Helps in developing essential skills
- Improves your ability to learn
- Instills discipline
- Allows you to be independent
Why It's Necessary
The teachers should rethink homework policies. Work should not be assigned just for the sake of it, but it should be given so it benefits the student; as the saying goes: quality over quantity.
Ever walked inside a room and forgotten why you came there in the first place? The new environment kind of takes you back, and you start to wonder, 'why am I here?'
The same happens with students; after one period ends, a new one begins right after, resulting in the previous class's information taking a bit of a backseat.
Students need to assess information in different environments, so they get a better grip on the subject. Revising what they learned at school helps them remember and practice their skills in a different setup.
Education researcher, Professor John Hattie, told BBC in 2014, "The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects; the best thing you can do is reinforce something you've already learned."
Back to the question, is homework necessary? Research conducted amongst 4,300 students by Stanford Graduate School of Education stated that over 56% considered it stressful.
Others reported an increase in anxiety followed by sleep deprivation, weight loss, and exhaustion. Creating a homework guide for students may help alleviate some of the mental pressure.
Parent's Involvement With Homework
Too much of anything can become overwhelming. For example, too much sugar can spoil a dessert. Similarly, parents should be interested in their kid's school life, but not more than them.
Help them when it comes to their homework but do not do their work for them.
Keep a check on it and guide them, but don't do their entire work for them. According to research, this leads to dependency, which will negatively impact the child's development skills.
A parent should be their child's well-wisher but should not spoon-feed them in any way.
Research done by Eva M. Pomerantz and Missa Murry Eaton, University of Illinois, concluded that children perceived parents helping them with homework at an older age as a sign of incompetence.
As a parent, one wants to build their child up and not bring them down; hence involvement in homework and school is good but to a limit. When the boundary is crossed, it takes a toll in ways one cannot even imagine.
A study done by Pomerantz and Murry shows that after the age of 9, a student perceives their guardian's help in homework as more of an interference. This perspective can damage a child's self-esteem severely.
When the child turns 12, parents should take a step back and let the kid be on their own unless they seek their assistance.
This helps build the child's confidence and gives them a taste of adulthood as they learn how to work independently and face the consequences of their actions.
The feeling of independence at a young age makes the children more responsible and helps them make wiser decisions as they are held accountable for their actions.
What To Avoid While Helping With Homework
When it comes to helping a child with their homework, there are several challenges that parents face, such as:
Doing The Homework
The majority of the parents do this without realizing that they are not helping their children. Doing the homework for your child is unethical and doesn't do any good.
Homework is given for a reason, so the child learns to do it on their own. But, unfortunately, when the parent takes over, they aren't nurturing their child's learning abilities.
Moreover, the teacher thinks that the child is doing the work, so their concepts are clear. But, unfortunately, this sends the wrong message to the child that as long as the work is done, it doesn't matter how you did it.
As a result, the child will also not appreciate the effort and time it takes to complete homework and may struggle academically in the future due to this.
Often, children enjoy doing homework, especially if it is related to their favorite subject. Depriving the child of that little joy can impact their mood negatively.
Complaining About The Homework
Kids learn from watching. So, if a child witnesses their parent complaining about their homework, they will start disliking homework. Therefore, one cannot keep protecting their children and give excuses for their shortcomings.
If a parent feels the homework given is unfair or too much, they should talk to the teacher and school administration directly instead of ingraining this in their head.
Don't turn "homework time" into "argument time." On the contrary, the child should be looking forward to sitting with their parents, assisting him as he does his work.
Make it a way to bond with them instead of getting mad at the young kid for not knowing any better when it comes to schoolwork.
Not Being Present
Nobody likes feeling left behind. The same applies when it comes to helping the child with homework. You have to be present!
Being present does not solely mean just physically, but also mentally. Make sure the child knows they have your undivided attention.
This makes it easier for them to reach out for help, and they won't like they are burdening you with their queries.
Zero Communication With Teachers
Teachers are people your child spends half the day with; knowing about them is crucial!
Not just that, the teachers need to know their students' parents. Moreover, if the child requires special care and attention, then they need to be informed.
Moreover, regular communication with teachers also helps parents keep a tab on their child's school life.
Inconsistency And No Designated Place
Imagine cutting nails on your work desk; It sounds inappropriate, right? But, unfortunately, the same is the case when it comes to your child's homework.
Pick a place, time, and setup. First, of course, the child should know when the time for homework is. So, without you having to check them down, they know when homework time is.
This maintains the decorum and shows that you mean business.
Also, when you take out the time for something and stress its importance, the child will subconsciously start making the same association in their mind. Thus, they will begin giving homework the relevance it requires.
Homework Time Made Easy
When your child needs help, they will come to you, but only if you allow them to believe they can.
Coach, but don't do it for them. Have you ever seen a coach running in the race? No, right? Get the child prepped but do not run the final race for them.
Why is it important to do your homework? If you are still struggling with this question, head to Superprof and get this query answered by one of their esteemed homework help tutors.
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