The debate on how much homework is given at school for children has gone on for a long time. Each side of the supporters and those who oppose to it, all have different reasons as to their conclusions. The debate has been heated so much that the legal measures have had to be taken in several cases. For example, there were debates back in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century whereby there enactment of an act was to make sure that there would be no homework given to children. Research has also shown that children who are given homework and those who are not given homework have no difference in their performance, hence raising the question for the need of homework. This research seeks to find out if the children are being given too much homework.
Necessity for Homework
It has been argued that there is an increasing necessity of having homework given to children at school. The main reason highlighted is that homework helps in bringing attention to the child on the serious matters that are developed over time. Homework is also intended to aid in learning as well as averting behavioral problems.
It is also argued that it is necessary to give children homework as a complement to the classroom work. Homework, when done right, establishes excellent study skills and habits, development of time management, discipline and self control.
Is the Homework Enough, More or Complicated?
There are various people who think that the homework given is enough and that those claiming that it is an overload and should be shunned. For example, during a national interview, it was noted that about 57 % of the responders said that there was enough homework given to them. 24 % said that they were given less work, while the remaining 19 % said that they were overworked with homework. However, it is good to note that the survey was done on a set date for which it was nationally advertised and one of the questions noted was the amount of work that was given to children the previous night. It is considered that during an exam period the teachers are more likely to avoid giving children much work for them to have time to rest, but thus the deductions from the survey were grossly unreliable.
Izbicki notes that children no longer have time to remain children anymore especially when it comes to playing after school’. This indicates that there is an increase in homework given to children. It is fast noted in Corno’s and Xu’s works that there should be a clear distinction between homework and play. Homework to a teacher has more value in its output rather than the process just like in case of other employment. The driving force towards more homework is that children need to practice more for them to grasp the concepts better.
In essence, it is a fact that today’s education system teaches children to produce answers for which the correctness of these answers are assessed by adult experts in place of teaching children how to be creative. This is noted in the increased pressure given to children for them to perform well in exams and homework for them to progress in the academic ladder.
There is more evidence that homework is taking over the time that the family used to spend together. This shows that the children are being subjected to unneeded, numbing and harmful to the health of the children. For example, Lowrie a mother of a first-grader notes that her child was being crushed by regular reading logs, social studies reports and repetitive math worksheet that were threatening to turn their living room into a nightmare and brought much anguish to the child who kept crying daily due to the weight of homework that had to be completed.
Another commonly observed incident in homework is the fact that most of those who do not complete the homework within the stipulated time are often treated as criminals. In a 2004 survey conducted by University of Michigan involving 2,900 within the age group of six-to-seventeen, it was noted that there was an increase in the total time that the homework given to children should be done to 3 hours 58 minutes from 2 hours 38 minutes.
However, there is another approach that can be adopted in showing that children are given the overload homework. In essence, in place of overburdening homework, some teachers are actually giving the children homework that only an adult can be able to complete. For example, a first-grader was given an assignment to research a historically significant person and write an essay that is two pages long and also include a bibliography, while the child had only started to learn how to read and write a few months prior to the assignment. Clearly, this gives the impression that schools are expecting too much from the children and are pushing too hard. In the first place the child may not quite know what the word bibliography means leave alone what is demanded of it application.
It is interesting to note that unlike in the past, the amount of books that children used to carry and what they have to carry today indicates a big difference. Some medical doctors have even had to testify that children’s spines were being bent due to heavy loads of books that they had to carry daily.
If the homework was enough or in consistent with what a child could handle, then the nervous breakdown that the children constantly experienced and never would they feel it as a chore rather than a constructive experience.
In conclusion, researchers have argued that homework really helps children in many ways. However, contrary to this belief, it has been shown that the opposite is true. Children are increasingly being stressed and overwhelmed by the homework load. This has resulted in diminishing time which initially was spent with the family and playing. Children are carrying more books and doing harder homework than they initially used to indicating an overburden to the children.