Should or Shouldnt Your Child Be Assigned Homework

Giving homework can free up time so that teacher can actually teach during school hours.

Over the last few years parents and teachers alike have debated whether or not homework is a helpful tool to learning.

Parents who oppose homework site such things as a busy life limiting their child's time to do homework, that it serves little purpose in the learning process, and that most homework assignments are just busy-work and of no real benefit.

Teachers who oppose homework site reasons such as too little or too much parental involvement, little time for grading homework assignments, and students unable to get help if they don't understand an assignment.

Those in favor of homework, both parents and teachers, site such reasons as it gives the student practice in new concepts, and it helps to remind them of old skills they have already learned.

So, is homework a good thing or a bad thing? To answer that question, there are several things we should consider.

Let's begin by looking at what giving homework can and should mean to in-school lesson time. Giving in-class assignments does allow for the teacher to be present if a child needs help understanding a concept. The teacher is right there and on hand to give instant help. This can and often is a benefit to students and does help in the learning process, and therefore in-class assignments should be used when introducing a new concept.

However, using in-class time for doing assignments also cuts down on the amount of teaching a teacher actually has to or can do. There has been a lot of talk of going to a year-round school system in order to cover the amount of material that should be covered in a given school year. When homework is given, that frees up the amount of time a teacher can actually spend teaching, instead of having "down time" when students are completing assignments.

Giving homework, and allowing for more actual instruction during the school day, would result in more learning during the school term we now have. This would allow for students to learn all the information that needs to be covered without extending the school year.

The best method of seeing that a student understands the material is to introduce a new concept, give one or two in-class assignments so the teacher can be on hand to help the students, then to assign homework to reinforce the concepts and free up more teaching time.

Such a combination of in-class and out of class learning would be beneficial, as the students would be able to have the opportunity of clearly understanding what is expected of them, before tackling a new concept on their own--while at the same time freeing up teaching time, and giving the student some responsibility for their own learning.

Another consideration in deciding if homework is beneficial is in understanding how constant review helps students learn and increases their chances of doing well on tests.

In many classrooms, once a concept is learned, the class then moves on to a new concept, leaving behind all the previous concepts learned. Needing to cover as much material as possible, there is little time for constant review of material that was was all ready covered.  Homework however, can and should provide a review of both old and new concepts, taking questions or covering problems from the first day of class through to the present. Using homework in this fashion will help a child understand how the concepts they are learning are related, as well as serving to keep their memory fresh on all the material they have learned in each course.

This will make it easy when test time comes to review the material and to do well, as all the concepts will be refreshed and reinforced.

However, homework should never be given as a class punishment, or simply because a teacher feels they should assign outside work. Homework should always be relevant to the learning situation and helpful to the student in understanding the subject matter.

Neither should either the school or the parent allow sports or other activities to interfere with the completion of homework. While sports are important to a child's overall well-being and school experience, it needs to be understood that education is the main focus of school, and should be given the respect and importance it deserves.


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