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Does homework really work?

After decades spent trying to assess the value of homework, researchers still argue over the simplest findings.

By Leslie Crawford

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in her 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework, The Homework Myth, and The Case Against Homework and the film Race to Nowhere make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple recently took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what's the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

From the homework laboratories

The good news: In an effort to answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting hundreds of studies over the past several decades. The bad news? Despite scores of studies, definitive conclusions remain a matter of some debate.

“A few studies can always be found to buttress whatever position is desired, while the counter-evidence is ignored,” writes the nation’s top homework scholar, Harris Cooper, in his 2006 homework meta-study at Duke University’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.

How much is too much?

If you’re not ready to make a national case out of your child’s nightly worksheets, it’s worth knowing that she may be complaining for good reason. For better or worse, homework is on the rise in the United States. A survey done through the University of Michigan found that by the 2002-'03 school year, students ages 6 to 17 were doing twice as much homework as in 1981-'82. The homework ante has been upped as school administrators respond to increasing pressure for their students to perform better on state-mandated tests.

So how can you know if your child is doing the right amount? Who came up with that 10-minutes-per-grade rule that’s become the accepted norm? (And if that is the magic number, why is my neighbor’s 8-year-old daughter doing two-plus hours a night?)

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is ubiquitous. Indeed, go to the National Education Association’s website or the national Parent Teacher Association’s website, and 10 minutes per grade is the recommended amount for first through 12th grade.

But where did it come from? “The source [of that figure] was a teacher who walked up to me after a workshop I did about 25 years ago,” says Cooper. “I’d put up a chart showing middle school kids who reported doing an hour to an hour and a half were doing just as well as high schoolers doing two hours a night. The teacher said, ‘That sounds like the 10-minute rule.’" He adds with a laugh, "I stole the idea.”

If you think your child is doing too much homework, Cooper recommends talking with her teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing her assignments. It may seem like they're taking two hours, but maybe she’s wandering off frequently to get a snack or listening to her iPod.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing her work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure she gets enough sleep. Recent studies suggest that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

In fact, for elementary school-age children, there is no measureable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, two hours appears optimal. As with middle-schoolers, give teens more than two hours a night, and academic success flatlines.

Not all homework is created equal

Just as revealing, it appears that grade level has a direct impact on homework's effectiveness.

In a previous meta-study conducted in 1989, Cooper’s team at Duke University found that grade level heavily influences how much homework helps with academic advancement (as measured by standardized and class test scores.) It appears middle- and high schoolers have much to gain academically by doing their homework. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69% of the students in a class with no homework. Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement.

Despite all the research, homework remains something of a mystery. Until Cooper and other researchers discover the best homework practices at every stage of a student’s development, parents will need to use their own best judgment.

is a senior editor at GreatSchools.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/11/2012:
"As a high school algebra teacher who is VERY successful, I have a strong opinion regarding homework. I don't assign it. Ever. The only time I expect kids to do work outside of my classroom is when they need more practice to retake a test. (They must get at least a C on every learning goal.) Ironically, kids ASK for extra practice on learning goals they feel weak on. I keep a binder of worksheets with answer keys and they are all available online too. "
05/2/2012:
"i'm in year 7 and we get an hour of homework per night (3 sets of 20mins). Normaly we have about two days to do it, but you still have to cram in sport, family time and a bit of time to relax. I dont think we get too much homework, I just think that sometimes teachers dont expain it properly. I think that having an hour a night may be a struggle sometimes, but we are constantly reminded that we are just practising for when we come to our GCSE's. "
05/1/2012:
"I don't think that homework in itself is the problem here. I would say the real issue here is unreasonable homework loads. Consider this excerpt from an online Time magazine article: "Teachers in many of the nations that outperform the U.S. on student achievement tests--such as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic--tend to assign less homework than American teachers, but instructors in low-scoring countries like Greece, Thailand and Iran tend to pile it on." Obviously, dumping more homework on kids isn't giving positive results. It stands to reason that after a certain point, homework doesn't serve any beneficial purpose. We can't expect to compete with other countries academically by piling on the homework. We've just about exhausted that option and we've yet to yield much of a positive result (just as you said "the educational levels of other countries are higher" or something to that extent). It's your goal (and hopefully our nation's goal) to perform at the same advanced level as these countries so why not acknowledge their academic methods and practices? I mean they must've been doing something right or at least different to give them those results. There's a pretty unmitigated relationship between educational structure and the success of foreign nations over our own (as you put it "the educational level of other countries is above ours" or something to that extent). We're certainly not going to catch up to them by forcing greater amounts of homework on students. That'll just dig our hole deeper. Now's the time to rethink what we're doing right and wrong in regards to academics, as one, unified nation. American children won't become better citizens or more productive members to their societies from more stress; just the opposite in fact. So isn't it time we owned up and admitted that maybe we've exhausted the "more is better" ideology and give "less is m! ore" an honest try? I'm finding myself pretty overwhelmed from my assignment load and I wouldn't by any means consider myself some over-lazy and/or apathetic American student. In fact, grades are of one of the top priorities in my household. My parents (both European immigrants--yes, I'm first generation American) impose their pressure on me to be a responsible and hopefully successful individual. So I am genuinely concerned with my grades and I do strive to do well in school. I receive comparably high marks, partake in multiple advanced/honors courses (some of which make me eligible for college credits), and hold a respectably high ranking in my class. This is all just to say that I do care about my education and I'm not some "lazy student" sitting around and exaggerating about my petty ordeals. You also have to consider that many people lead busy lives out of school. There's sports, clubs, jobs, church, familial obligations, and the list just goes on. I would get the impression that you're personally part of some congregation or church (not trying to assume if you're not) and that you'd know from personal experience that religion can be a commitment and quite possibly time-consuming without all the other extra-curricula's I listed. I'm sure that the good of our country lies in moving forward and innovating but the problem is our current plan of action is pushing us backwards. You're talking about investing more into an exercise in futility as far as I can tell. I can respect and appreciate your view that homework is a valuable and essential part of a successful academic program (I whole-heartedly agree on that point--maybe because homework is so present in my own learning experiences). I myself would be apprehensive if we made the drastic shift to a "no-homew! ork" policy. However, it's high time that we innovated in terms of education and explored methods which have repeatedly lead to more efficacious results. I'm a junior at my high school (and I believe you must be as well by looking at your post date) and I implore you and others with like views to consider what I'm saying here. This really has turned out to be a lot lengthier than I would have liked but I suppose it's a topic that affects me greatly. I'd be glad if even one person saw this and took one thing away from it; even if I don't succeed in persuading them. I'm a full-time student, performer (music, song, dance), hobbyist, church-goer, volunteer, and family member. I'm really in no position to give up any of these commitments. They're all immensely important to me. So until American education changes (if it's even during the course of my academic career), I will resort to staying up late and accomplishing as much as I humanly can. I will continue to wonder how much I'm really missing out on in life and if this is really the childhood I'm supposed to be appreciating and taking in. I will continue to move forward although I can't exactly imagine that this is the way "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ intended" when other countries are faring better through use of significantly more efficient methods (but then, his teachings do include suffering I guess). I will continue for the sake of my own future as well as my children's and theirs. But finally, I will continue to hope that one day America will realize there's a better wa! y to do things (and I'll just have to keep on hoping it comes in time for my children and their children). But that's just my two cents, haha peace and love p.s. sorry for writing a "novel" "
04/30/2012:
"this is the most stupid article in the world! "
04/23/2012:
"hw doesnt help at all..... way to stressful "
04/23/2012:
"I am a mother of two boys, ages 13 and soon to be 12. This article is great. First of all the mixed reviews are met with my approval. HW is important to kids, helps to keep them in sync with what they learnt. The hours however can be almost crazy. For the most part we must remember that these are kids and when they get home they do not need to be going back to class again! A decent 2 hours of hw is good but anything after than is not going to cut it. You will now have stressed out kids! Education in schools should be taught well and in a motivating way not like a military. Unfortunately . There are so many issues to begin with when it comes to hw. I mean there are parents who work and too much hw can add stress to this family. As for the stay at home moms, well it is stressful too but not as much as it is for the working parent(s). Family time is but a word that goes with 'back in the days'. I am very sympathetic towards the young ones whose curriculums are hectic and stress! ful! America needs to find a better way in keeping the future generation of this country focused in their education and not to subject them to stress. We can advance but we need to do it in stride and ease, so it can be appreciated. "
03/22/2012:
"This is a good article. "
03/8/2012:
"I am still in school, and i am usually loaded down with about 2 or 3 hours of homework nightly! Between family time and sports and other activites, sometimes i feel amazed i did it, and other nights i have to just think it is almost 11:30 p.m. i think i will take the 0. I am in school foe 8 hours a day, why should i have another 3 at home? "
02/7/2012:
"I'm going to make this short. My child is only in Kindergarten but I remember not having any homework when I was in her grade. My daughter comes home with a packet ever Monday that is due at the end of the week (Friday). The packet consist of 4 pages. So basically they want the kids to do 1 worksheet page a night, but they can pace themselves accordingly. If your kid would like to complete on the worksheets in one day that's fine. The teacher will still wait until Friday to retrieve the homework. I like that. It reminds me of college. That way the student won't fill overwhelmed or pressured. So I agree that homework should be assigned, but not worth much. Tests and quizzes, and participation(where valid) should account for the majority of the students accademic grade. "
01/25/2012:
"So, I'm in high school. For me, homework is useless. It's busywork. I can improve my grade just as much, if not more just by reading something a few times. Math, sure, a few problems, likely varying in difficulty and type is good, practice makes perfect. However, my history class has homework account for 60% of my grade. Due to me feeling that most, or all of it is busywork, usually get hit on it. This severely effects my grade. It's not quite fair though, I do well on my tests, so why should my grade not reflect that? I feel that homework should be assigned, but not worth much. Tests and quizzes, and participation(where valid) should account for a majority. This way, kids that feel they need homework to drive a topic home have a conveniently assigned worksheet or page, and those that don't, don't get hit hard for not doing busywork. "
01/18/2012:
"in my opinion i would protest against homework i hate it myself and believe that i am getting no real benefit from all the work i do every night. the only thing i gain from all the work is stress. it may not seem so bad to adults but as a teenager my free time is very important to me and my stress level. nothing makes me happier that sitting back and playing some video games. but i cant always do that because of my homework. another thing is that most of the homework i get already includes many thing i know. so then i'm writing down things that i already know that just take up more of my free time i could be spending doing something i like "
12/8/2011:
"listing to music make kids do there homework !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
10/24/2011:
" I feel as a Aunt who lives with her nephew and his father and our mom that kids should not have homework. They go to school all day and learn and do work. Why do they need homework. It just makes the kids not want to go to school anymore. It's to stressful for the children and the family. Why not once a week???? "
10/24/2011:
"I now have my son in a school that gives no homework whatsoever. He is learning more because he has on hands teachers that know how to teach, that know the subject matter. He is so relaxed and goes to school ready to learn and when he gets home, he can relax, rest, and refresh. I think homework does more harm than good. "
10/21/2011:
"Apologies for the typos I caught after my response was printed. Poor eyesight is not a hallmark of aging--despite how many degrees one has. However, I do know how to spell the words: variable, valuable . . . and HOMEWORK (good grief!!). I do have faith in what I stated; I hope my typos didn't weaken my argument. Homework can be helpful OR hurtful. "
10/20/2011:
"In my opinion (I have a PhD in Educational Leadership), the value of homework depends on several things: 1. the goal/purpose of the homwork 2. previous teaching/learning done in class prior to the assignment 3. the ability/interest level of the student 4. the learning style of the student 5. any attention deficit that interferes 6. the resources/support team present in the child's home 7. other interferences at home 8. teacher attitude/expectation/ability to engage 9. student motivation 10. how well the assignment corresponds to the child's learning style 11. school climate/culture There are so many varibles, I would be willing to stand on the claim that homework can be just as negative as it is positive. It can be very vauable; but it can also be detrimental. Therefore, it should be used with caution, care, and concern--and it should not be used as punishment, as a control measure, in excess, as a substitute for good instruction, as busy work, nor as a way of measuring self-discipline. "
10/20/2011:
"Piling every kid up with the same homework requirements is not very proactive, it's just easier. I believe that for homework to truly be effective, individually assigned lessons should be based on each child, and for the child to "opt in" (when the situation permits). Have them focus on either subjects that need more work or assignments to help the hungry student excel. Every child is different, although implementing something like this seems impossible with "standardization" pumping kids through the system in herds, based on age alone. How about this. Compare the responsibility, time and effort put into schooling, to the same requirements of working a job or a career. "I go to work, you go to school. That's your job." Okay, this sounds like a reasonable real-life comparison. But consider this: not all adults choose to work from home after hours. Some believe that "Once I punch out, I'm done". Then there are others that bring home work regularly. The point is, that adults make the choice depending on their job/career, workload, what they need to work harder on, or even excel at. In my experience, those who work at home after hours are in a career that they chose - so their work is not something they do, it's what & who they are. If what some of the kids are driven to explore is not based within the confines of standardized academia, then so be it. Give them the chance - and the time - to find what it is that makes them tick. "
09/29/2011:
"The one thing that strikes me about this article is that it cites grand concepts without any citation whatsoever as to the basis of it's conclusions. Simply stating that "studies show" X or "experts say" Y is not a believable argument. Educated people reading this article may consider it to be lacking. But then again, this may not be your target audience. "
09/20/2011:
"homework sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
09/19/2011:
"Homework, oh homework, I hate you. you stink... is a poem worth mentioning. It encapsulates the feelings of a majority of school and yes university students. The reason is that the time spent on homework roobs them of their freedom to go beyond the classroom and explore other interests that they may have. The focus on academic excellence is based on metrics derived from homework and testing and with the increased emphasis on GPA etc. The pressure to perform is overemphasized and it destroys creative genius and innovation that the american system was great at before the system became obsessed with "competing in the global marketplace". After working in industry for many years, I am certain that the hype of superiority in the educational system of other countries is largely manipulative and unfair. The American students are still the most creative and innovative, and yes, even smarter than their overseas counterparts if you measure their success not by their academic grades by creativity and innovation, leadership, communications, etc. The constant drumbeat putting pressure on schools, teachers, students and parents focus on improving test scores is fuelled by the leaders in industry - many of whom were college drop-outs themselves! They scapegoat the educational system as an excuse for sending the jobs overseas or for bringing in cheap labor. They compare the best of the other countries talents to the general american student population to support their position. So the comaprision is not unbiased. The sad part is that the negative messages and the attitude to adopt methods used in other countries to measure success are damaging the confidence of the students. So it would be advisable to ignore the prognosticators of doom, reduce the amount of homework and emphasis on grades, and open the education system to allow the student to explore / pursue areas they are interested in. Allow kids to branch out and pursue their interests much earlier. Stop forcing idiotic subjects in the General Education requirements now being mandated in college. It wastes time and money and turns off the kids from the moronic curriculum and instead, encourage pursuit of areas of interest. THe fact is, most of the stuff taught in college has little practical usage in the real world unless you are in academia. Allow students to engage in hands on acrivities and provide internships, mentorships, industry tours, etc instrad of burying them in homework and busy activities that do nothing to further ! their knowledge and experience. "
04/7/2011:
"this article really helped me because for language arts i have to debate on this subject so this helped me with my research! :) so THANK YOU!!!"
03/7/2011:
"Homework is a child's basic need. This is why on the educational level other countries are ahead. I believe america needs to get out of their lazy slump and learn to work for a better future both for you're country and for yourself. If you beleive homework is non-helpful, then you are part of the problem. Homework teaches kids not only whats on the worksheet but also the values of doing it and understand the responsibility that comes with keeping a good grade. I am a Sophomore in High School raised on true american values and i beleive the cheesy school house rock slogan 'Knowledge is power'. Beleive it or not, it's true. Without knowledge our country can not innovate and move forword like our lord and Savoir Jesus Christ Indented. "
02/24/2011:
"Testing Testing 1.2.3 I believe homework is an essential and necessary part a child'd education. It teaches them responsibility, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, and many other skills that they will need in the real world...that is having a real job. As for the previous commentor who said she's 52 and disappointed...well, it also seems she's uneducated, or maybe she's 'edumacated'. "
02/21/2011:
"Homework is a waste of time for my children. The same homework is given to every child regardless of his or her ability or need. Unless homework is tailored for each student, it is a waste. "
02/7/2011:
"The need for homework is a traditional education myth. Homework before Middle School is unnecessary and in Middle & High School it should increase only gradually. Our school, unlike most private schools accepts students regardless of their academic ability, consistantly has students working several grade levels beyond their peers at other 'traditional' schools without any homework. The need for homework indicates a failure of the school's curriculum to teach students in class. Parents who believe 'homework isnecessary for advanced learning' have not been exposed to an efficient curriculum that can teach advanced concepts in a fun, efficient manner that does not require work outside of class. Montessori families are encouraged to use their time outside of school as valuable family time, learning from one another by spending time together and doing interesting activities. Most of our elementary students score at a High School and College level in all subject areas on the! nationally-normed Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). This is done without homework and with P.E., fine arts, cooking, gardening and more. Parents need to look beyond the traditional 'factory model' of education and discover how children can learn much more through a developmentally designed, individualized program."
07/19/2010:
"I am a 68 year old woman, born and raised in Scotland, where every school ran from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Students did not move from classroom to classroom, teachers moved - we had a home room with books on every subject in our desks. The only time students moved was for Phys. Ed or Science. Way too much time is wasted in schools in this country with kids moving from class to class and trying to get books from their lockers, often making them late to their classes. Perhaps if teachers had more teaching time, they would not feel the need to overwhelm the kids with rididulous amounts of homework. When I was in High School, I was given perhaps one hour of homework per week, and that was usually because I didn't complete my class work that day, so I had to finish it at home. I worry about my grandchildren, two of whom are in high school now. My oldest grandchild (16) gets so upset over the massive amounts of homework he receives, he goes into depression. His grades depend! on completion of his homework and he wants to go to college, so his grades are essential - it breaks my heart to watch him struggling night after night to complete projects that, in my opinion, offer no benefit to his education. Just what is he learning from building a huge model of the Taj Mahal, or creating a poster with pictures of Romeo and Juliet? These children leave home at 6:50 a.m. each morning and return home around 3:15 p.m. - they're tired, yet they have to begin their homework almost immediately, sometimes not getting to bed until midnight. I can't tell you how many special family events these kids have missed because they have to finish their homework. I worry mainly about the depression, you hear of so many young people committing suicide and I often wonder if it's because we are putting so much pressure on them that they cannot cope and decide this is their only way out. I don't know of any plumber or electrician who wants to come home after a days work and! start doing work at home. We need to back off with the homewo! rk and ease off on these kids, they need time to just be kids and have fun and relaxation. I say if you don't complete your work in class then you have to do it at home, but some of the projects given to these kids requires 4-5 hours of evening work, and that's only for one subject (do the teachers ever check with one another to see how much homework their colleagues are giving) apart from the time involved, there is also the expense for parents, poster board, clay, markers, colored toners for the printer, etc. it can get to be very expensive. The whole issue of homework needs to be revisited, we need to rethink the moving of kids throughout the school for every subject. Let's study the way other countries manage to provide students with a top notch education without pressuring them so hard that they end up hating school, or perhaps even wanting to die."
01/25/2010:
"I believe homework is an essential and necessary part a child'd education. It teaches them responsibility, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, and many other skills that they will need in the real world...that is having a real job. As for the previous commentor who said she's 52 and disappointed...well, it also seems she's uneducated, or maybe she's 'edumacated'. Her punctuation and grammar is horrible. She says she questioned students about the U.S and it's history...I wonder if she herself knew the answers and how did she learn about the U.S and its history? Not every bit of material covered is essential to their adult life and what they will do with it but it's the overall education and how it applies to their lives that matters. Small children do learn alot through play and socializing but I'd rather my child be learning to read than learning to play videogames or swear words. I spend probably 3-5 hrs a week doing homework with my 5 yr old and I'm not complaining. I volunteer in his classroom once a week. His teacher had me test each child (a test she composed) to see where each child was at and how much each child had learned (in just the 3 months they've been in school). I can proudly say that my son is one of only 4 children who passed that test with flying colors. It shows that all the time I spend with him doing homework and all the extra activities (recommended by his teacher)that we do at home HAVE had a positive effect in his learning. I say bring it on!!"
01/25/2010:
"As a teacher this question plagues both me and my students. I am hounded and hammered to have my students pass a test. I have 42 minutes a day to teach them about US history and remind them of Ancient and Medieval World History. In CA 8th graders are tested in everything they learned about history in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. That is from early man, world history, and U.S. history. I have stopped assigning homework but those students who do not get work done in class must finish it at home. Most homework is not done. I continually hound students to get to work at school, half do, half don't. There is not much else I can do except grade them on their completed work and on their tests. If I were to not grade on their work and just base their grades on their tests they would not pass the test. If they know work is not graded they will not do it, which makes them not prepared to prove their knowledge on the test. The work guides them and prepares them for the test. I! just realized how much I am rambling but this is such a frustrating issue and I get no real answers as to what is best to do."
01/25/2010:
"I have subbed and there is not enough time to reinforce a lot of material at school. Homework is necessary. The district where my kids attend school give hardly any homework, and my kids don't have text books. What happened to old school methods? They need mre homework and textbooks to at least keep at home so that they or their parents can refer to the material when doing homework. A new study shows kids age 8-18 spend 7.5 hours playing with media. Now what is better for the child... more homework or useless media that doesn't teach you anything but how not to communicate effectively with human beings, how to be violent, etc.? Where is the common sense in this matter? Many parents unfortunately don't monitor what their children are doing. At least homework would give some structure and be a benefit to the student."
01/25/2010:
"I, for one, love school but hate homework. I woke up this morning at 3:30. My homework WAS NOT FINISHED! My school started 15 min. ago. I worked on my homework since I woke up and it's STILL not finished. I am a 12 year-old A+ student. I believe that there should be less homework."
01/15/2010:
"I do not promote homework for my kid, especialy socolistic, LIBERAL ideas! If it wasnt a law she would no longer be in school. I questioned many a student from 6-12 on the HISTORY of the UNITED STATES, her founders, her founding, the CONSITUTION, DECLARATION of INDEPENDANCE, BILL of RIGHTS, and NOT ONE, NOT ONE new the answers! I WILL not encourage college either, why should I since everything will be given for free by the GOVERNEMENT...AFTER ALL THAT IS THE LIBERAL WAY! WE DO NOT HAVE HOMESCHOOL HERE IN THIS DISTRICT OR SHE WOULD DIFFENTLY BE PART OF IT! HOMEWORK IS A WAST OF TIME AS MOST OF IT IS BASED ON LIES NOT TRUTH! I AM 52 and beleive me I am SO DISAPPOINTED IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IT MAKES ME SICK!"
01/13/2010:
"I think it all depends on the student, I am in agreement with most when it is mentioned that homework IS a review. Yes it should be a reminder of what you learned in class But sometimes it IS HOW you learn -if the class is not at your pace . I remained a good student in elem, mid and high school (doing my homework in latch-key) BUT when I went to college It was a challenge to discipline myself into that studying mode. Now as a B.A. grad, I will help my children with their homework but now I am informed to not let it stress them out aaannndd it's also a parent's responsibility to keep the kids balanced with their extra-curricular activities and social life not overbearing them. "
01/11/2010:
"As an A student for most of my schooling, I needed homework. It gave me a chance to re-think, re-phase and re-understand some things I missed (while I was watching Judy or Rosalind). After football, or track or basketball and home chores, I knew I had school work to do. It taught be how to manage time. Homework should be a suggestion of activities for those who want to do well. You can't make students learn. You can't make them learn to learn. independently."
01/11/2010:
"this is a useless article. Where are the stas on this? I loathe homework so much and damn projects. My oldest child, who was a straight A student totally hates school! Is there any proof that homework is necessary or not!"
01/11/2010:
"To the foreigner who wrote that Americans were behind their European and Asian peers...I lived in France for ten years. One Frenchman once asked me, why are Americans so happy?! Another once said, 'Americans know nothing, and yet they are so confident!' I don't know if he was talking about me, but I like being looked upon as 'happy and confident'. I was once playing Trivial Pursuit (the French version) with a French girl and a Korean boy (college students). They got all the questions right that asked for facts (dates of famous battles, etc.), and I got all the questions right which required common sense or deduction. They were always surprised. 'How did you know that?!', they would ask. I had no homework in elementary school and only a little in middle school. I loved school but I also loved playing outside after school, climbing trees, biking, roller skating, catching frogs, getting dirty, reading, doing puzzles. One learns to deduce and reason, during play. I no! w own a school - preschool to 8th grade. It's a half-day school that meets only 4 days a week. Kids get homework but only because they are only in school 4 days a week, 4.5 hours a day. We call ourselves a 'mix between homeschooling and regular schooling'. My two sons are in it and they are very knowledgable. They learn a lot through school and homework, but they also learn a lot through reading, on their own, and through doing their own things (tinkering in the garage, building huts, hiking through the woods, etc.). It's nice that they have time for this. I don't think homework is necessary in elementary school, if the child goes to school 7 hours a day, if class size is reasonable, but it usually isn't. I recommend homeschooling, even if one parent has to quit his/her job. 'Live poor, live more' would be a good motto. Parents need to give up material possessions and big houses, in order to raise their kids right. "
01/11/2010:
"My son refused to do his homework. This is what burns me up. His test scores were in the B range, but when his teachers averaged in the homework grade, he would finish with a low C. Now how did that help anyone??? Other students who did not do so well on test but turned in homework, their grades went up. It was a real battle."
01/11/2010:
"I teach math, and this is a long debated subject for reasons previously stated. Like most hotly contested topics, it depends. The homework needs to be carefully assigned, understood and the student should be prepared to do it, mostly review. Sometimes I am unpleasantly surprised when assigning a review that no one can do! Which leads to another reason for homework, letting the teacher know what students really know and understand on their own. That is probably why there is not a high correlation across students when homework is done in primary...so much of it is NOT review and depends greatly on the parents or home support. Used correctly, it is one of the top 9 learning strategies, as researched in the Marzano Research. As you can see, it all depends."
01/11/2010:
"i think homework can help grades because if teachers didnt give homework students wouldnt rememebr the work they did in school so when they get homework they can remember the work and keep up in class and understand it more. "
01/11/2010:
"I am a Pediatrician and mother of four children. My oldest completed his PhD, my second completed his BA, my third is in her second year at Yale and I have a 9 yr old in 4th grade. All of my children approached HW differently. My second and third were at the two ends of the homework spectrum: #2 hated homework and it was always a battle, #3 always did homework without prompting or even parental intervention. There was no statistical difference in their IQs. #3 had a much higher GPA with multiple scholarship offers. Now that he is in college, he has an impeccable work ethic and makes excellent grades. #2 graduated from HS, obviously got into college, did okay, but has employed the same work ethic to looking fo a job as he did to homework. What am I saying? I used my own children as examples, but after treating thousands of children on a professional basis; I believe that the major case for homework is that it serves as a model for real life. People who do better in their chosen profession are those who have a good work ethic. The best physicians are those who continue to study past residency and know the latest research. I do believe that in many instances, there is too much homework. I also believe that in many cases our children are overburdened with extracurricular activities. Moderation is always a good practice."
01/6/2010:
"To master material requires time and effort. The school day is where you learn what you need to know and get help understanding it. Home is where you master the material by practice and repetition. Unfortunately, too many homework assignments are more busy work that structured activities to better understand and apply what is taught in the class room. A more important issue to me is how schools are structured. Why do we have kids divided by age and teachers trying to teach the same material to a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. Why can't classes be divided by subject to be learned and mastered. Once mastered, you move on the next subject. Teachers become more efficient as they are teaching groups all at the same level. Kids who need help, stay in the class longer and get the help they need. Kids who learn quickly move on to the next class. "
01/6/2010:
"I am a nanny, I have been doing this for a bout 10 yrs now nd the truth is that i have a job bc of homework. The parents i work with do not have the time or desire 2 spend the few precious hours they get with their children during weeknights doing homework, nd 2 expect them 2 is not only absurd, it is cruel 2 both them and their children! Now, i work w elementary school childred, nd i help them with their homework every day, nd i must say that it is absolutely useless! Yes, reading is important, but that shouldnt b homework, that should b a normal part of EVERY families daily routine! Meanwhile, 20+ minutes of busy work after spending nearly 8 hours learning nonstop is overkill, nd does make children hate learning! I have seen it w my own eyes, dealt w it for years, nd, imo, it is despicable! For older children who r learning more difficult things nd who need 2 b developing life skills, sure, homework is great, but for a 6-9 year old that time should b spent being a kid!! They will only have this opportunity once in their liftimes, how aout letting them play at the park and devolpe a lust for learning instead of forcing them 2 complete assignments that have no purpose in their education but 2 make their school look better when the test scores come in?!"
01/6/2010:
"Since I'm a stay-at-home mother, when my niece was in elementary school, I'd pick her up in the afternoons and keep her until her mother got off work. Each day, she'd arrive, toting a book bag full of homework -- and she was only in second grade! She regularly had two hours of homework each night. I couldn't help but think that that was excessive, for a second grader. I agree with the statement that homework given in elementary school trains the students to develop a habit of responsibility and self-motivation. But excessive amounts of homework, especially for very young students, does more harm than good. I agree with the parent who commented that children need time to simply play. Play isn't a luxury; it's a necessity, and research supports that concept, down the line. In public schools, teachers find that students who are involved in 'play' like Art or Music (which might be considered a luxury and not a necessity) are better students all around, scoring better on tests, and developing a more positive attitude toward education, in general. The same could be said of ordinary play. Children need to play, not only to relieve stress and get exercise -- which are certainly very valuable. But also because there is a great deal of spontaneous learning which occurs (painlessly) while engaging in ordinary play. (I'm talking here about really playing, not Nintendo DS playing or any other virtual play.) Years ago, researchers began reporting to parents that babies & toddlers learn extraordinary amounts of essential knowledge, spontaneously, when engaged in simple play: building blocks, sand-box play, water play, blowing bubbles -- all these activities, and many more, were discovered to have remarkable educational value for babies & toddlers. In fact, psychiatrists warned parents against allowing babies & toddlers too much exposure to TV because it interfered with their natural curiosity about the world, and inhibited their inclination to play. It stands to reason, that those same babies & toddlers who benefited so significantly from ordinary play, would continue to benefit -- and even need -- play as they progress toward adulthood. Children need to play -- it's not simply a waste of time; it's a need -- just like it was of incalculable benefit when they were babies & toddlers. Now, I'd have to agree with the parent who counters that many parents, who complain about the amount of homework their children are required to do, then become guilty of 'wasting' that time by allowing their children to 'play' on the computer or other virtual devices or watch TV, rather than 'real' play; or, even worse, these parents are too exhausted and stressed out to spend their time “free time� with their kids, building 'Family Time,' and instead fall into the temptation to just vegetate in front of the TV or PC. But, how we use or misuse our time as parents is not the focus of the question here; the question is about whether homework has value. And even further, whether more homework has more value. I'd have to say that, in my opinion, a moderate amount of homework definitely has value for students, even as young as third grade, but that too much homework puts way too much stress on children, when their lives, all too often, are already very stressful. (Studies have shown repeatedly that when both parents work outside the home, there is a significant amount of added stress for the entire family, including the kids.) There needs to be a healthy balance, between homework and play, which are both good for kids, when given in adequate amounts. Like our grandparents used to say: “Everything in moderation.� Neither too much play nor too much work is good for any of us, adults or children. The old adage was true: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.� When I was a kid, I used to think that meant that “Jack� was boring, but the old meaning for the word “dull� was more like “stupid�, slow to learn. Which goes right back around to the fact that children benefit from play, and they also need to “work� at their school. A healthy balance is the ideal. Of course, that’s just my opinion. "
01/6/2010:
"I like the idea of no homework until Middle School. I spent most of my daughter's grammar school years at the table for hours trying to finish all her private school homework, before bath and bed time. It was horrible. She couldn't even carry her own backpack some days, it was so heavy with all the books she needed. I swear it weighed more than she did! Got better when we switched her to public, thank goodness. "
01/6/2010:
"My grandchildren get very unset about doing so much homework..they lose there recess if it`s not turned in, I really think this is to much for young children, school all day and homework at night..Lets stop all the homework..also parents are stressed out if they both work. It has also led to my grandchildren faking illness so they don`t have to go to school."
01/6/2010:
"To all American parents: you should be very concerned about the poor academic performance of your children comparing with their Asian and European peers. What is your motivation to support this trend of raising underachievers? There are many kids in every educational setting that will be left behind, no question about, but those that want to excel should be encouraged, not hindered. Homework is a deep practice of what is being taught in school. If you do not practice a large variety of math problems, you will never master it. If you do not learn vocabulary in English and foreign languages, you will never master it either. In this very competitive international labor market, you should not be surprised that in a few decades most white collar jobs will be held by non US educated individuals. Extra curriculum activities are extremely useful, but they should be scheduled on weekends, the week should be mainly saved for academic issues. "
01/6/2010:
"Over 1,000 words and Ms. Crawford did not answer her catchy article titled, 'Does homework really work?' Very nice, maybe she needs to do some homework. What a disappointment and waste of time."
01/6/2010:
"HOMEWORK works when there is WRITTEN communication between the teachers and the parents as to what the assignments are and what chapters are to be read, etc; such as we had in Virginia Beach, VA Schools. My kids had HONOR ROLE there because I was able to stay on top of their assignments and make them do the work required. Nowdays, especially in schools like Florida where (we now live unfortunately)they cant even send a book home with the kids for the parent to review and dont apparently have the budget to mimeograph anything, they make the kids write down their assignments; and THAT is like having the fox watch the chickenhouse if you know what I mean. 'No..I dont have any homework!' The kids say... and the parents cant find out anything different because the teachers dont respond to phone calls. KIDS without homework learn to NOT study, which is a huge problem for this country... IT is expected in COLLEGE. Something many public highschools such as the one our kids are STUC! K in dont seem to stress anymore, they can all yell 'GO GATORS' but only 20% of the children from this school go on to college, just the opposite of where I was raised, and I had lots of homework.. which I did; and that is why I went to an IVY LEAGUE college. The kids who didnt do their homework.. they are still flipping burgers."
01/6/2010:
"My dad, a Caltech grad and Stanford PhD, told me recently that when he was in high school (back in the 50s), he and his childhood classmates spent about 10 minutes a day on homework--and yet they seemed at least as 'smart' and perhaps better educated than kids today. Go figure. He also reminded me of a professional strategy that served him very, very well: Learn as best you can--then hire those who know more than you. (I prefer that attitude to the one that dictates sacrificing one's childhood to score the highest grades, get into the best universities...and then end up working for someone like me.)"
01/6/2010:
"I grew up in VietNam and my parents were both teachers. They both taught me to pay 110% attention in class to cut down 50% of time in doing homework at home. I usually finished homework, and study for tests in 1/3-1/2 of time that my friends would spend because of that. Teachers should focus on motivating kids on subjects and teaching them HOW to learn instead of dumping them with mountains of homework. I have a preKindergarten boy, his home work is usually NOT something that they teach in class. How ridiculous! "
01/6/2010:
"Over 1,000 words and the author did not answer her catchy article titled, 'Does homework really work?' Very nice, maybe she needs to do some homework. What a disappointment and waste of time."
01/6/2010:
"I currently attend a high school known for giving homework. I wake up at 5:30 every morning for school, I get home at 4:30, and start homework an hour later. It's difficult, but in high school, homework can be a life saver. It provides a cushion if you do badly on a test. Sadly, some teachers give out useless homework assignments, if a class is teaching straight out of a book then they shouldn't assign us homework. And teaching kids responsibility through homework is nonsense. There are other, more creative ways to teach them. For example: sign them up for a sport, they'll have to practice to get better, same idea for an instrument. I'm not against homework, I just want it reduced so I can come home, and study. I want to suggested problems along with required problems. There's nothing totally wrong with homework, but now, it's at a point where all the stress is building up too high. In elementary school, however, homework has been utterly useless. It wasn't until middle school I picked up better assignments, one of my 8th grade teachers told the class to abandon doing things 'the elementary school way' and learn to study in a whole new light. This teacher gave us a project to do all year. To be honest, it took over an hour to do every night, some nights I was frustrated with him, and the class. Yet, I learned so much from his class because of his teaching methods. He'd give us a sheet of paper with questions on them. He'd lecture us in class, then let us work in groups (if there was time) to get started on our homework. If we simply answered his question we'd get a C, if we added a little more detail B- A-, but to get the A or A+ he pushed us to learn on our own. He never gave us tests, just a project step every night (he made it fun too, once you answered all the questions you artistically represented it!). I miss his class, the amount of time and effo! rt I put into his class I got in my grade. High school honor classes do not work this way. Back onto the subject of homework, (yes, I know this is poorly organized, it's being typed impromptu, and unlike most people here I'm not just saying an anecdote)studies have shown it doesn't correlate to grades. It is very important to review, but IF YOU TEACH YOUR KID HOW TO STUDY (ie: read the book chapter EVERY NIGHT, practice problems EVERY NIGHT) they'll fare a lot better. "
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