To Homework or not to Homework?

Students dread it on a daily basis. It lurks in our backpacks, hidden in the brightly colored folders we use to organize our subjects. It silently waits, longing to be completed.

Of course, I’m speaking about homework.

Homework is something that most, if not all classes are assigned. It generally consists of a page or two of extra work that the assigning teacher could not find a way to fit into the 90-minute block of time allotted for each class in school. Be it math, science, English or history, you can be sure that you will be on the receiving end of an array of to-be-completed assignments.

The problem with homework is simply this- students aren’t doing it.

As students reach different points in their lives and assume new responsibilities, they are forced to set aside more and more time each evening to take care of new obligations in the six or seven hours they have after school, besides taking care of their homework. Generally speaking, 20 percent of students have jobs after school.

One example: Luke Harvey works from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.  three days a week. After speaking with him, he informed me that on most days, his homework goes undone.

“I just don’t have the energy to come home and do more work,” says Harvey.

Asking a student to set aside time to complete a few problems after school does not seem like an absurd request- until you take the time to factor in just how much time a student who works after school actually has.

For example, I am a working student. I get home from school at approximately 3:15. After sitting down my backpack and getting in the mail, it probably is about 3:25. From that point on, I will start to cook myself a small dinner, which probably takes me about 20 minutes to cook, and another ten or fifteen to eat, taking me up until 4:00. At 4:00 I will get prepared for work by changing into my uniform, shaving, brushing my teeth, and the like. Assuming that takes another fifteen minutes, I have now arrived at 4:15 p.m.  Heaven forbid I run into any delays in that process, because I have to leave for work at 4:30, and that leaves me with a whole 15 minutes of free time before I slave away at Lancaster’s best grocery store until 10 p.m.. In those 15 minutes, am I expected to complete all of my allotted homework assignments for the night? The answer is yes, I surely know that when I get home from work, I’ll be more than ready to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep, and consciously ignore my homework.

As it stands, I can safely say I’ve completed about 20 percent of my homework assignments for the year. Is this because I am a bad student, or because I don’t care about school?  Neither, not in the least.

It raises the question, is homework even worth assigning?

Is the time of the students who do complete the work being wasted? Even more so, is the teacher wasting their personal time by grading only a handful of assignments each night, only to find out that the students who did complete their homework did not score high on the tests, because their homework was not efficient in teaching them the necessary concepts?

With 90 minutes in each block of school time, why do teachers find it necessary to assign homework? I can surely understand the idea behind it, especially in classes such as science or math, when perhaps the best way to learn something is simply through repetition- but the truth of the matter is that teachers still require homework to be completed. If someone feels that they have a convincing grasp on a subject, should they truly be required to take home an assignment that they probably won’t complete, and lose points in the class on an assignment based upon a subject they are proficient in? I don’t think so.

So no, in short, I am not asking for the abolishment of homework. I am asking for our teachers and faculty to consider the prospect of making homework worth fewer points, or perhaps even making it optional, rather than to rid of it completely. Sure, we all need some practice from time to time, but should we be penalized for not having the time to practice?

Andrew Zell

3 thoughts on “To Homework or not to Homework?”

  1. Last semester it was horrible. I had three honor classes and the first half of an AP course, and the homework load was outrageous. I hated having so many hours of work each night, and it almost never benefited my learning. It was useless busywork that stole what should have been my free time to relax after an already stressful day of school. I say down with homework!

  2. Best advice I can give you..use your homeroom time! It makes such a difference if you take at least one non-club homeroom day to catch up on things.

  3. Sooo, I’m from a totally different school district, and I stumbled upon this site/article.

    This truly is the case with most students, teachers don’t seem to take into consideration that we are in other activities, such as sports, clubs, etc. Hours upon hours does not work for anyone benefit. We have lives out of school and other responsibilities such as chores and responsibilities in our homes.

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