Imagine a world where students come home from school and take the time to unwind and relax. It has been proven that almost three quarters of Canadian parents think that homework is a household stress. So why is homework still being assigned at schools, especially for younger grades? In recent years, the question of whether or not homework should be banned from elementary schools and limited to one hour per weekday in high school has been widely discussed. According to a Stanford Researcher, too much homework can negatively children.
It takes their lives away from school, where family, friends, and social activities matter (Parker). The opponents of this educational approach argue that if students are not given homework to do, they will not become successful in the future. However, banning homework from elementary school and limiting it to one hour per weekday in high school is beneficial in terms of health, academics, and real world experiences. If students are at school, for approximately seven hours a day, what is the point in receiving homework from what they have already learned in class?
At school, teachers are there to teach students anything that they need to know. Although high school students can anticipate to do more than one or two hours worth of homework in certain situations, such as completing assignments that are due at the end of the semester (or school year if it is a non-semestered school) or preparing for examinations, expecting students to complete at least two hours of homework every weekday is unreasonable. Homework tends to encourage memorization skills and, at the end of the day, does not help with a student’s understanding of the material.
Even if homework helps students in certain aspects, such as short-term memory of material/information, it is definitely not helpful if the purpose of homework is to aid the student in learning new information. Although many people seem to think that doing homework is a way for students to review what was learned that day, one can argue that doing homework is not the same as reviewing notes. A student can easily review the day’s lessons by looking over the notes and processing all the information in just a few minutes.
As for homework in elementary schools, a study from a Stanford Collaboration indicates that there is no correlation between homework and academic achievement (Enayati). In Ontario, one of the requirements for a student to successfully move on to post-secondary is to receive 40 community involvement hours. However, if not for the holidays that are given during the school year, achieving 40 hours (and more) is nearly impossible due to the amount of homework that is given at school. All the stress from trying to manage work from inside school and out could potentially lead to health issues.
According to a study done in California, excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems, and a lack of balance in students lives (Enayati). Students are coming home from school exhausted every day, five days a week. How are they supposed to complete hours worth of homework, as well as complete other activities that they are committed to? And on top of that, the student is expected to have at least 8 hours of sleep per day. Homework is preventing students from leading an active lifestyle, which therefore is harmful to their bodies.
According to Stats Canada, about 72% of parents found that homework was often a source of household stress (Survey of Canadian Attitudes toward Learning). That is due to the fact that students are put under great pressure from teachers and parents. Unnecessary assignments could raise the stress level of the student, which can potentially lower productivity and performance, rather than raise it. Distress, which is stress that continues without relief, can lead to symptoms such as headaches, migraines, and high blood pressure.
Another problem that students could potentially run into is the lack of having a comfortable, distraction-free place to study. Many students have younger siblings who tend to make a great deal of disturbance, whether it be watching television, or fighting with each other. In situations like so, students are not able to do any work, since they are not able to concentrate. Even if one can argue that the student could go to the local public library to study, there is a matter of transportation and willingness. The student might not be able to get a ride there by car, and ight not be allowed to use public transportation.
Another difficulty is that the parent(s) might not be willing to let the student go somewhere without an adult. And if the parent(s) are at work, there is nothing that the student would be able to do, other than work at home in all the noise. In another example, the student might have a quiet place to study, but not the resources needed to do work. There are many cases in which families are not able to afford computers or printers. And as technology continues to further develop, schools have started giving work that is to be worked on solely on the computer.
Students may find it difficult to do school work in the heart of their own home. Homework is one of the primary reasons why students develop difficulties in their relationships with their parents. Students are expected to excel in school, participate in several extracurricular activities, and at the same time develop good social skills. How is one student, who spends approximately 7 hours in school, supposed to come home and finish homework when they have to join varying academic clubs and sports teams?
They are expected to attend school events, participate in sports, clubs, and more, yet they have too much work to even think about attending. Most students had a lack of time to engage in other activities outside of school (Strauss). Homework also deprives students from their family time and social life. Homework overload has a great impact on family life. Many kids cannot even make it to dinner, and as a result, the only interaction they have with their parents involves arguments about homework.
Having a good social life is important for mental health. Based on a study done in California, it can be determined that 63% of students reported that the amount of work they received made it challenging to spend time with friends and family (Strauss). Social interaction with others plays a key role in development of academic and social skills. When children interact with friends and family, they are able to gain valuable social, conflict management, and impulse control skills.
Homework reduces this time and as a result a child’s social development may suffer greatly. Homework stresses students out in many ways not only mentally, but physically and academically as well. On top of responsibilities that the student has outside of school such as work, taking care of family, and sports, homework to many students can be the problem that just can’t be worked into a normal day’s agenda. That is why homework should be banned from elementary school and limited to one hour per weekday in high school.