Homework Necessity or Burden?

The controversy over the importance of homework is not new. When I taught in New York City, my principal gave a guide on the homework time to be assigned nightly. She advised not assigning homework on weekends. On Mondays, I saw the smiling faces of third and fourth graders as they returned refreshed. Needless to say, high school students can’t afford a weekend respite; they have after school activities, and deadlines on long term assignments.

When my son was in middle school, the battle lines were drawn . While I thought a short break and snack would make him ready to start homework, he had a different idea. Sprawled on the carpeting, he would read the newspaper in its entirety. Then, there were phone calls, and a nap. He would often not begin homework until 9pm. The battle continued until I gave up. But, in the end, we were both winners. He proved he had control over his time; I took pride in his A report card.

I recently asked my husband (who is a professor at a local university) whether he found a relationship between his student’s submitting homework, and their doing well on tests. ”Yes,” he answered, unequivocally.

What is the purpose of homework? to reinforce skills and concepts taught in class, to bridge the gap between today’s lesson and tomorrow’s learning, to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to foster focus and concentration. The purpose of homework is NOT busy work. If a student can correctly apply a concept in doing three or four problems, it is not necessary for him or her to do ten problems of the same type.

Students often tell me that going over homework in class is a waste of time. No, I respond. Take an active role in correcting your homework to make it a learning experience. Correct your answers with colored pen, ask the teacher questions, and jot down anything you don’t understand.

Homework is generally a necessity, and correcting homework in class can be a learning experience. For suggestions on organization and study skills that help with the homework process, please visit adelphitutoring.com, and read my blog “How to Succeed in School without Really Stressing.”

Ronnie SilverComment