Articles On Why There Should Be No Homework Day

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How long is your child’s workweek? Thirty hours? Forty? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime. Even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars, the daily homework slog keeps many students on the clock as long as lawyers, teachers, medical residents, truck drivers and other overworked adults. Is it any wonder that,deprived of the labor protections that we provide adults, our kids are suffering an epidemic of disengagement, anxiety and depression?

With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p.m. only to face hours more of homework. Now, even as a senior with a moderate course load, my son, Zak, has spent many weekends studying, finding little time for the exercise and fresh air essential to his well-being. Week after week, and without any extracurriculars, Zak logs a lot more than the 40 hours adults traditionally work each week — and with no recognition from his “bosses” that it’s too much. I can’t count the number of shared evenings, weekend outings and dinners that our family has missed and will never get back.

How much after-school time should our schools really own?

In the midst of the madness last fall, Zak said to me, “I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living.”

My spirit crumbled along with his.

Like Zak, many people are now questioning the point of putting so much demand on children and teens that they become thinly stretched and overworked. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”

In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.

Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning. Even top adult professionals in specialized fields take care to limit their work to concentrated periods of focus. A landmark study of how humans develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day.

Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. American high school students, in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found.

It’s time for an uprising.

Already, small rebellions are starting. High schools in Ridgewood, N.J., and Fairfax County, Va., among others, have banned homework over school breaks. The entire second grade at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Va., abolished homework this academic year. Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette, Calif., has eliminated homework in grades K through 4. Henry West Laboratory School, a public K-8 school in Coral Gables, Fla., eliminated mandatory, graded homework for optional assignments. One Lexington, Mass., elementary school is piloting a homework-free year, replacing it with reading for pleasure.

Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. And a second-grade teacher in Texas, made headlines this fall when she quit sending home extra work, instead urging families to “spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”

It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell. Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children.

Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife. Mike Miller, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., found this out firsthand when he spearheaded a homework committee to rethink the usual approach. He had read the education research and found a forgotten policy on the county books limiting homework to two hours a night, total, including all classes. “I thought it would be a slam dunk” to put the two-hour cap firmly in place, Miller said.

But immediately, people started balking. “There was a lot of fear in the community,” Miller said. “It’s like jumping off a high dive with your kids’ future. If we reduce homework to two hours or less, is my kid really going to be okay?” In the end, the committee only agreed to a homework ban over school breaks.

Miller’s response is a great model for us all. He decided to limit assignments in his own class to 20 minutes a night (the most allowed for a student with six classes to hit the two-hour max). His students didn’t suddenly fail. Their test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work.

That’s the way we will get to a sane work schedule for kids: by simultaneously pursuing changes big and small. Even as we collaboratively press for policy changes at the district or individual school level, all teachers can act now, as individuals, to ease the strain on overworked kids.

As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.

We’ll know our work is done only when Zak and every other child can clock out, eat dinner, sleep well and stay healthy — the very things needed to engage and learn deeply. That’s the basic standard the law applies to working adults. Let’s do the same for our kids.

Vicki Abeles is the author of the bestseller Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, and director and producer of the documentaries “Race to Nowhere” and “Beyond Measure.

  • Homework is the reason I fail.

    I am a high school junior, every day I get 12+ pages of homework minimum. Because I cannot possibly do all of this and help around the house as I am the only one able to do so, and therefore I have no time to study my material and therefore my test grades suffer as a result.

  • Homework is like slavery.

    It's basically forcing students to go home after a stressful day of school and activities and do pointless homework. Teachers should be teaching these things in class, not making the students learn it themselves. It's preventing children from leading balanced lifestyles, with a healthy amount of sleep and activities to keep them fit and active. How is a student supposed to do 3 to 4 hours of homework, study for a plethora of tests and quizzes, play sports, get involved in the community, eat food with nutritional value, and get an adequate amount of sleep, all in one day? That's not possible. The amount of stress homework causes kids is ridiculous, especially when they're already under so much pressure to get into a good college and do well in school, along with making friends and staying active. Homework is not necessary.

  • Homework should be banned.

    Why Homework Is Bad
    Are you a kid who hates homework!? Well I am one! Did you know that homework leads to bad grades and overwhelmed cranky kids? It can also lead to stressed out children that can throw fits. Also, homework gives less time for a kid to be a kid. There should be no homework for all children. No homework is even good for teachers because they don’t need to correct it because they already have enough to correct

    In some schools children can get homework as early as kindergarten, or by the third grade. Homework has been annoying many children by the fourth grade. At elementary school, especially, this is a bad idea because many young students are known for having very short attention spans. They have already been forced to sit and learn for approximately 6 1/2 hours at school, with usually only 2 short recess breaks and lunch and they are also very known to like to talk and chat a lot.

    By the time school is out, the kids just want to go home, relax, and be who they are ! It also affects families because Homework trouble = school trouble = family trouble. It is the rare for a child to enjoy homework F.Y.I. .For some students they can be stressed out when they get home and throw fits and for all students they have been exercising their brains at school all day long and at home they are supposed to relax their brain for the next day at school, and if you are not remembering good blame it on the teacher for putting the subject at the wrong time when the students are tired (after recess etc.) or the teacher is not explaining it good.


    Some teachers do not answer a students question which would of helped the student to learn better and teachers always used to say to me “Learning is fun!” well I think now math and school now is a lot harder than in the 70’s and 80’s and put for an example a 10 year old in fifth grade with 6 1/2 hours of school and 45-50 minutes of homework and remember 2013 math is A LOT harder than 80’s and 70’s math so do you think you would be having fun? and I also want to state that homework causes cases of kids hating school (like me). So that concludes the end of my persuasive essay top three reasons homework is bad: overwhelming, interference and dislike.

    One country named Finland has already fixed their school system there is no homework there is recess for 75 minutes, 9-17 students per class and no tests until you are 16 years old.

  • I am a teacher, and Yes!!

    Yes! Ban homework.. As part of our school policy, homework must be given out, and students should complete 30minutes of homework,, per night! I think this is too much as many students have other commitments.
    Sport practices, jobs to do around home, looking after siblings, at after school care etc
    It is a hassle for the teacher to mark/grade and make up something that is remotely fun,and enjoyable for the children to do

  • Homework should be banned because it just isn't useful and wastes time.

    Homework is pointless because kids do enough work in school and they don't need more. When they come home they want to chill out, hang out with friends, or do something. Kids are in school for 8 hours a day doing work, other than lunch and recess. Homework is not relevant for kids. I did a survey at school at resource, and a majority of kids say that homework should be banned in school because it is stressful and they procrastinate until the last second. There is no point in homework. It takes away from spending time with family. According to the text with research 'Homework Should be Banned,' “Schools has increased from 9 to 3 with 1 ½ hour of recess and lunch to 8:40 to 3:15 with only 30 minutes of lunch and recess.” This quote shows that too much is just too much homework. Also, another reason is that, according to research, some of the smartest countries like Finland and Japan don’t have homework. We can be just as smart as them without homework. This shows that homework has no academic benefits for grades.

  • As a student, I think it should be banned.

    As a student, I don't get home from school until 4:30 or 5:00 and I am doing homework sometimes until 8:30 almost every night. It is very stressful when you have seven classes a day and homework in every single class; it becomes very overwhelming. On top of that, I have to get up every morning at 5:30 am just to catch my buss at 6:40. Many mornings are very hard for me because of lack of sleep from the night before staying up doing homework and studying for two or three tests the next day.

    If they banned homework, test scores might improve because then students would have more time to study and be prepared than if we have five different subjects to do on top of studying for a test the next day.

  • It hinders learning which is obviously a bad thing.

    Undoubtedly, homework hinders learning. There are only 2 outcomes possible when doing homework:
    A) You do the homework, proving you were able to do it in the first place and the work was therefore unnecessary.
    B) You do not do the homework because you were unable, and therefore did not learn anything.

    Even besides these points, there are other reasons why homework hinders learning. For example, homework has to be corrected, wasting valuable class time which could be spent teaching new skills. It is an unnecessary burden on children which causes great stress, and actively teaches them to hate learning. Learning has to be an enjoyable experience to be effective, and if children grow to hate a subject because of the homework they receive, it will mean they learn much less in class. Stress can also affect sleep and eating patterns, thus resulting in lower scores in exams. I could go on forever, there are literally no benefits to homework. Work is for work related-things, home is where you can relax. This line should not be blurred.

  • Homework should be banned to reduce student stress.

    Homework causes stress in many students. Homework takes time, and it keeps students up late at night getting the work done. The loss of sleep makes it hard to concentrate during class because students are so tired.

    I once stayed up until midnight and wound up very tired when morning arrived. It was hard to focus on my lessons. As a student,I think sleep is more important than doing homework. Students study during the day at schools and academies,so there is no reason that we have to get homework.

    Many schools have a one-hour rule, but with multiple classes and each teacher assigning one hour of homework, you end up with hours of work to do at home. Students in advanced levels get even more work than the students in basic classes.

    Another reason is that the noise around us. If you have a room of your own, you don't have to worry about this problem. I don't have my own room. I have to do my homework in the study. When I'm working, my mom is busy printing things out. It's annoying and makes it hard for me to concentrate. I can't do my homework before I sleep. I have to complete my homework in the morning when she's not using the study, before I head for the academy. Getting it done in the morning means rushing. Usually, the answer are wrong because I didn't have time to really read the questions.

    Students often think homework should be banned. I think so too.

  • Homework wastes time

    Homework is a serious waste of time, there are some benefits of homework but the negatives out-rule the benefits by a mile. Most teachers say homework helps responsibility and our knowledge but this is not true. I as student personally think that kids are responsible and organize ourselves better than our teachers at times. On a weekday, this is my usual agenda,
    Wake up in the morning, Catch the bus, Get off at the correct stop, take a train, and walk 10 minutes to my school. I then have to go to the school office and drop off my phone, and my wallet. I then have to walk to my locker and get out my keys (if I forget them I have to walk to the Principles office which is quite far away and get the master key) and get out my books. I have to carry them to Homeroom and since I have a job as Office Monitor I have to collect any forms from the other kids and go all the way down to the General Office and drop them off. I then have to go to whatever room we have Period 1 in. Since I go on my own, I have to know where everything is and what room to go to, I cant just follow a classmate like most kids in my class do. If I am late that automatically means a 2 hour detention for me. Just my luck that my name is first on the roll call list. I do my work for that session and do the same until recess. At recess I go to the office, collect my money and buy myself lunch. I then have to survive another 3 sessions. I then catch the bus and go home so thats organized for you! I have written 300 words so Im done with my homework! My name is Anthony and I am 14 years old.

  • It takes too much time.

    I have not enough family time to spend playing games, opening presents, playing with my little sisters or to spend time with my mom or dad. I think homework takes too much time. I want more free time, less homework, and more time with my friends, my dog or outside with nature.

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