Lifting the Heavy Burden of Homework

We live in an extremely competitive country full of high expectations which pushes everyone to be the best. But how much is too much? In the mid 1980’s a US Government report announced that children were not succeeding academically at the expected levels. Schools and teachers raced to change this, piling on homework and extra strenuous tasks. Parents started to notice the heavier academic loads and the strain it was putting on their children. Questions were starting to be raised. “Is all of this extra work even necessary?”.

My thoughts precisely. Schools need to take in better consideration of a student’s outside life and lighten the three to four hour homework loads that are burdening us each night. According to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan, the amount of time kids spend on their homework has increased by 51% since 1981. Now that the No Child Left Behind Act has been instated, this startling statistic has fearfully increased as teachers try to keep up with new school regulations and given state standardized tests. The idea is that if students of America get more busy work and lessons to study at home then our countrywide test scores will augment.

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But is this true? Not according to Duke University’s top homework scholar, Harrison Cooper. He concluded after thorough analysis that students in grade levels six through twelve that do over ninety minutes of homework each night have lower scores on standardized tests. So in theory, all those long nights of pencil biting and head scratching aren’t fully paying off. While grades and test scores are important aspects of a student’s academic life, one must not forget to be “well- rounded”. This basically means that aside from the academic aspect of a student’s school career, they take the time to join activities and clubs that could help them further pursue interest in a possible future profession. Once again the burdening homework stands in the way.

It becomes very hard to balance being on track, the debate team, and student body when you have up to four hours of homework each night. The argument could be that the kid should just drop some of the clubs they are in. They could do this, but when looking at the big picture of life after school, joining the debate team could be the deciding factor to help a student become judge in a Supreme court. Same goes for any athlete that was in high school track and goes on to be an Olympic medalist.

These are just broad scenarios but ideally, school clubs and activities are there for students to find their passion. If teachers are so concerned about the success of their students, wouldn’t they want to help them pursue a passion when they got the chance instead of making them read about ancient Mesopotamia and do a worksheet on it? I am not suggesting that homework be completely abolished because to a certain point, it is an important part of the curriculum. Having homework teaches students time management skills and to work and learn independently. The unnecessary “busywork” is what most students dread. Busywork is the little worksheets and packets that have no academic value. Its like comparing cake to a carrot for a snack.

Cake has no nutritional value and just takes up empty calories while a carrot is worthwhile and full of nutrients. Teachers should keep the homework for projects that require outside resources and personal activities like interviews. Imagine a day with out homework. A student would have time to have an actual life. They could come home with out that weary look of dread on their face that shows no hope of sleep in the near future. Kids would have the time to be out exercising and helping the community.

With lighter homework loads every night, teachers are giving their students chances to pursue what interests them to become the next big movie star or discover an unknown species. CITATIONS: * Arthur, Maxine. “Homework: Headache or Helpful.” Welcome to Kids on the Coast Online – The No 1 Parenting Magazine for Families in Regional Queensland. Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Townsville.

Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

;;. * Bennett, Sara, and Nancy Kalish. The Case against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do about It.

New York: Crown, 2006. * Johnson, Todd. “The Well Rounded Student – College Admissions Counseling.” College Admissions Counseling: Helping Students Find the Right College. 3 Sept.

2009. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. ;http://www.;. * Needlman, Robert. “Homework.” Raising Children Network. 8 June 2009.

Web. 16 Feb. 2011. ;

au/articles/homework_the_rules_of_the_game.html/context/1138;. * Wallis, Claudia. “The Myth About Homework – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – 29 Aug. 2006. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.