Homework shouldn’t be a chore, but rather an asset

A brain-numbing 30-hour work week with no paycheck and a workload that follows you home: welcome to high school. The transition from nothing but free time — blowing bubbles and doing whatever it is that elementary-aged children do — to pulling all-nighters to complete homework is a nightmare not discussed nearly enough. 

A troubling lack of elementary and middle school teachers assign enough homework sufficient to condition students for effective time management and comprehension, and it is coming back to haunt the students as they enter high school. 

A wide scope of issues hold today’s high school students back, ranging from procrastination to study skills. 

While elementary school policies seem to vary between teachers, homework is a necessary tool that should be utilized nonetheless; believe it or not, bawling while attempting to take AP World History Cornell Notes at ungodly hours can be avoided by investing in educational conditioning outside of the classroom.

Focus must begin in elementary school. If children approach constructive learning habits from the beginning of their educational journey, all of the qualities that come with the discipline of homework —  beyond its original intention of academic focus —  will be learned and applied progressively, and later accepted as their own tried and true methods of studying. Having the ability to complete work outside of the classroom as early as elementary school helps create familiarity with studying, a concept so foreign to many students that it causes undue stress later in their educational careers. Even the idea of having to complete any type of assignment outside of the confines of a classroom seems to be lost on so many students, because they have never done anything like it before.

A study done at Duke University went into detail about the correlation between the assigning of homework and academic success in response. The study proved that the correlation between homework and academic success is more defensible for grades beyond elementary. 

It is often said that homework can be detrimental to students. An elementary student is too young to be under so much stress and pressure, breaking down over homework in third grade is not very healthy.

First and foremost, the benefits of homework shouldn’t be measured for their short-term effects, but rather for the conditioning it implements. Lead researcher of the Duke study, Harris Cooper, concluded that as long as the homework is adjusted towards the age and maturity of the students, it is a positive thing. The pressing task ahead of us is to determine how homework can be assigned more intentionally at a younger age. For example, the workload of an elementary student needs to be based on multiple factors such as maturity and capability.

Incorporating education into everyday aspects of a child helps to solve this prevalent learning gap as school gets harder. Judi Strang, executive director of San Dieguito Alliance, explained her stance on the issue after working at an elementary school for many years: “I do think that families that read together, talk at the dinner table, visit museums, travel, do service projects together, create an advantage for children, but it doesn’t have to be based on academics.”

Our idea of homework doesn’t have to be defined by a paper filled with numbers and letters, yet the incorporation of academia in everyday life can still prove to be very helpful. If the idea of academics is introduced to a kid in a more fun and inviting way, like museums or experiences, then the dread that’s associated with things like homework no longer exists. What we historically believe to be homework does not have to be what we carry with us to the future of education. As we introduce a new generation of students to school, let us try to help them benefit from what we know.

Art by Kate Johnson

2 thoughts on “Homework shouldn’t be a chore, but rather an asset

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