The debate over whether homework is still a viable learning tool or has become outdated has actually been going on for many years. The trend in this debate seems to be heading in the direction of «outdated» but there certainly is no consensus yet. The factors I see as most significant in this issue are societal, centered on the family, and are primarily based on TIME; and as such, are unlikely to be reversed.
Top 3 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned:
1. Family time gets first priority.
Family life has changed considerably over the past few decades. With today’s high divorce rate, many parents spend a great deal of time just shuffling children back and forth. Each parent values the time with their child and the child values the time spent with each parent.
The financial realities of life now dictate that both adults in the home need to have jobs, but those jobs do not always coincide. Many of the jobs in today’s society are not the old standard 9-5 kind of jobs. When parents get home, they very often bring their own version of homework.
Many families are having to deal with military deployments to various parts of the world, and all indications are that we will be deploying soldiers as «peacekeepers» for many years to come. A parent on deployment may be gone for up to a year at a time. Some families have had to deal with multiple deployments. In a few cases both parents have been deployed at the same time.
For each of these situations and many others, family time becomes too precious to spend on school homework.
2. Children are too busy.
In years past, children came home from school, changed clothes, went outside to play with the neighbor kids until dark, did their homework–sometimes with parental help, and then went to bed early. Not so anymore!
Today, a large percentage of children are involved in some kind of sport after school. It may be Little League, or league soccer, swimming at the «Y,» football, volleyball, etc., but kids are involved in sports. Many also take music lessons, or dance, or gymnastics, or even language lessons. Some children are involved in scouting. Some are active with church activities. The list of potential involvements is quite long; but the point is that by the time children get home, THEY ARE TIRED!
School homework is the very last thing they want to do.
3. Teens are even busier.
Many teenagers are involved in the same kinds of activities as their younger siblings, but they may also be involved in school activities like band, drama, debate club, etc. Some teens play school sports as well as league sports. And on top of everything, some teens have jobs. Many of the teens who don’t do school activities, work a job after school every day.
When are these students supposed to do school homework?
Certainly, it can be argued that a student’s «job» should be learning first; and, I hate to admit that I said those words once or twice in my teaching career. However, we all must realize that life changes and we must adapt to those changes. To continue to require homework of students whose families endorse their activities is simply not fair. The schools cannot be in a position of punishing the child (for failing to do homework) when the family considers other things more important.
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