Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homework Hurts

"It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" ---Henry David Thoreau
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Work, work, work. Many children spend hours and hours doing their homework each night. Homework is supposed to help---right? Therefore, the more children do, the more positive effects it is having---right? Actually, excessive homework forces many negative effects on the shoulders of not only children, but also the families of those children.
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Excessive homework hinders the proper development of children. Today's school children spend numerous hours completing the ridiculous amounts of homework distributed by their teachers which eventually strips them of their needed sleep and exercise time. At a young age, children need this time for not only proper brain and physical development, but also proper emotional development. Supposedly, homework's goal is to help mature the brain, but when it is given in excess, it only hurts the brain.
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Not only is homework hurting children's brain, but also it is an unknown cause of obesity in children. Spending so much time on homework, children are deprived of the beneficial amounts of exercise time needed to stay healthy; therefore, becoming what Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish call "homework potatoes."
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Children's families are also hurt by excessive homework. Family time becomes inferior to the homework. Most children feel compelled to finish their homework; therefore, they miss out on time that could be spent at the dinner table, on a family trip, or bonding with family.
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One might argue that family involvement is a benefit that results from homework. Usually, though, excessive homework sparks family arguments and fights over the issue of the amount of homework and time spent laboring over the work.
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One might also try to argue that homework itself is beneficial for children giving them the self-discipline and work ethic needed to survive the world. According to Bennett and Kalish, the truth is, however, that there is "absolutely no proof that homework helps", especially when given in excess. Almost every child can tell you that, as they try to avoid the unnecessary load of work, procrastination becomes a favored habit.
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I understand that homework has been around for a long time. I understand that teachers are not going to stop giving out homework. There are things, though, where more is not necessarily better. Homework is one of those things. Excessive homework does nothing but hurt children and their families. Why give so much homework out when it goes against every goal that schools strive for students to achieve?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

You don't define "excessive." What do you consider "excessive"? Is the problem in the amount of homework or in the nature (quality) of homework or both?

Is this a problem at BHS? If so, what might we--teachers, parents, administrators, students--do to devise a reasonable solution?