The attempt to ban homework isn’t a new issue – it’s one that has been going on for quite some time. In fact, President Francoise Hollande of France proposed banning homework for all primary and middle school students in 2012. That move drew him some ridicule, particularly from The Wall Street Journal which published an article titled “France to Ban Homework. Really.” The French president said that work “must be done in the [school] facility rather than in the home if we want to support the children and re-establish equality.”
Also in 2012, a German school decided to get rid of homework for students from grades five to nine. But with all the debate surrounding the banning of homework, is there one country where it has actually improved students’ grades?
Apparently, it does in Finland. But rather than a total ban on homework, the country assigns very little. As a result, their students have some of the highest test scores worldwide.
But the debate about putting an end to homework stretches far back. In the 1920s, physicians were concerned about the impact of homework on the health of children. For them, young ones need at least six to seven hours a day of fresh air and sunshine. Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal, called for the end of homework in the 1930s.
The rest of the 20th century saw various research reports published supporting or dismissing the practice. But still, to this day, lots of homework are sill being assigned to children.
Why do some support the idea of homework and why do others oppose it? Let’s look at the reasons:
List of Pros on Whether Homework Should Be Banned
1. Children can spend more time with family.
Most particularly today, parents spend a whole lot of time in the office due to extended working hours. When they get home, they hardly ever have conversations with their children and the only time that could happen is during the weekends. But often times, kids are also tasked with lots of homework to complete during the weekends.
Where does that leave family bonding time? Banning homework effectively allows children to spend whatever little time they have before bed talking with their parents about their day in school and other topics.
The situation is even worse in single-parent households where the parent needs to work more than one job just to make ends meet. Throw homework into the mix and children and parents don’t get to see each other that often even if they live in the same house.
2. Children feel less stressed.
Piling on homework for the kids has a negative effect on performance. As a result, the desired goal of allowing children to apply what they have learned in school isn’t achieved.
Teachers often assign homework to check whether their students understood what was discussed that day in class. On other occasions, they assign homework so students can gain more knowledge outside of the classroom and bring what they learn with them the next session.
However, things don’t always turn out as planned. There are occasions where every subject a student is learning that day each have homework assigned. Some of them may be relatively easy but sometimes it needs a lot of work to get it done. That brings about a whole lot of stress, and while the intention is good, the desired outcome just isn’t achieved.
3. Children have more time to explore other interests.
With so much to do at the end of the school day, children don’t have that much time to focus their energies on things that interest them the most. For example, they could be interested in learning to play the piano. It’s not always that a kid can just pick up an instrument and start jamming along – some need time and a whole lot of patience to just get the keys right and even perform a simple piece.
When tons of homework is thrown into the mix, what time is left for them to explore these interests? How can they develop when they aren’t even being given the chance to do so?
While others don’t necessarily want homework to be banned, they are suggesting a different system. Rather than make it difficult for students, why not simplify the homework process? Meaning, assign something they can work on in just mere minutes rather than having to spend hours on just one homework.
List of Cons on Whether Homework Should Be Banned
1. Children cannot practice what they have learned in class.
Whether it be a mathematical technique or an in-depth look at Romeo & Juliet, teachers want validation on whether or not students actually understood what was being fed to them during class time. This is where homework can be assigned to solve a few mathematical problems at home and have that checked the very next session to gauge whether the concepts were understood clearly or not.
And sometimes, teachers want their students equipped when they come into the classroom, particularly in subjects like literature where it’s useful to open the floor to discussion regarding the themes, characters and plot of different literary greats. This is why they let students read a chapter or two in advance so the a healthy discussion can be made and students can also raise their own questions regarding what they have just read.
2. Children cannot prepare for college.
Homework is part of college life and they tend to more intensive too. Without the proper foundation, how could students cope with what’s expected of them in higher education levels? Often times, students have to read huge chunks of text in just days in preparation for class. They also have to write papers spanning hundreds of thousands of words on their experiences reading a text. And depending on their course of study, they might have to make something for class.
Without foundations of juggling homework from an early age, how are students supposed to cope with the demanding aspects of college life. Better yet, how will they handle being in a very demanding office?
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.