How Necessary Is Homework?
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Student Life

How Necessary Is Homework?

Is it too much?

How Necessary Is Homework?

This past week, Canadian blogger and mother, Bunmi Laditan, took to social media to share a message she sent to her ten year old daughter's school. Attaching a screenshot of the email to her child's teachers, Laditan posted that her daughter would no longer being taking part in something that caused her elementary school aged child chest pains and enough stress to wake her up at four in the morning. Laditan also claims that over the past four years, she has watched her daughter, who loves school in general, begin to dread attending classes Monday through Friday because of her complaint.

The cause of her daughter's anxiety and physical pain? According to Bunmi Laditan, ten year old Mayra's condition stems from the amount of homework she brings home every day.

Now, at first glance, it's easy to roll one's eyes at this social media post and at Bunmi Laditan's decision to stop making ten year old Mayra do homework. After all, isn't it crucial for a child to get extra practice at home, outside of the classroom and away from the teacher? While many people are attacking Laditan or simply writing her off, she may have a valid point.

In 2015, the American Journal of Family and Therapy conducted and published a study that claimed that American children have too much homework in general---approximately three times too much. The researchers stated that this level of homework can be damaging to a child's self-confidence and to their social skills, as most of their free time after school would be filled with paper and pencils, as opposed to friends and different activities.

Laditan's situation seems to back the study's findings. Laditan says that her daughter always arrives home with two to three hours of homework in her backpack and subsequently, misses out on spending time with her family and friends in her neighborhood. "Is family time not important?" Bunmi Laditan asked. "Is time spent just being a child relaxing at home not important? Or should she become some kind of junior workaholic at 10 years old?" While many people have disagreed with Laditan online, a majority of the response has been positive. Surprisingly, even teachers have supported her.

One Facebook user commented, "I’m a fifth grade math teacher and I quit assigning homework three years ago. There is zero data supporting that is does any good and actually increases student anxiety."

Another educator added, "As a fourth grade teacher, I fully support this. In fact, I have not given my students the first night of homework this year, and their academic growth has been just as much or more as I’ve seen from other classes in the past. Not to mention the fact that they seem much less stressed and ready to learn when they walk into my classroom."

As an education major, I have been taught in my classes that homework may not be helpful for a number of reasons. For one, the student might not have the resources at home to complete the assignment. They may lack art supplies for a project or their home might not have access to the internet. Another reason is that students might not have someone at home to assist them if they have questions. Their parents could be working or caring for siblings.

According to my education courses, if an assignment isn't completed by the end of a class day, it should roll over to the next day, as opposed to sending it home. It wouldn't be fair to hold a child accountable for homework they couldn't understand or lacked the resources needed to complete it.

When I was a public school student, the homework I was assigned was doable and usually took less than two hours a week for every subject combined. I found it helpful in subjects, like math, that I found difficult. However, the amount of homework assigned has seemed to increase significantly as America tries to catch up to other countries in subjects like math and reading. Unfortunately, adding more after school assignments might not be the answer.

In Finland, elementary school students have next to no homework. Middle and high school students do have homework. However, their amount of homework is less than most other countries. Finland schools give greater times for recess and only has one standardized tests a year. Despite the lack of homework, the children in Finland score near the top in the Program for International Student Assessment for reading, mathematics, and science.

Bunmi Laditan ended her Facebook post with “I don’t care if she goes to Harvard one day. I just want her to be intelligent, well-rounded, kind, inspired, charitable, spiritual and have balance in her life. I want her to be mentally and emotionally healthy. I want her to know that work is not life, it’s part of life. My kid needs to be a kid."

As a mother myself, I want these things for my own son. However, I'm a little torn. I'm not sure if no homework is the answer, as it helped me in school. I don't believe two to three hours of homework is necessary for academic success, either. Children need to have time to be children. However, can't an appropriate amount of homework help supplement a teacher's lesson? Then again, how much is an appropriate amount?

Let me know what you think about this story in the comments below.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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