By: Mindy Hua and Jacob Parker
Breaking news: homework makes you smarter
By: Jacob Parker
It’s that time again. The last few minutes of class. Your classmates start gathering their books and folders on their desks even though the teacher has told you five thousand times to wait until the bell rings. The teacher starts talking really fast because she spent too much time telling that story about their nephew’s birthday and she’s running out of time. The anticipation is palpable as everyone waits on the bell like Usain Bolt at the starting line. Freedom is mere seconds away. Your teacher gives up on the lecture and checks her lesson plans.
Then she says it.
Those dreaded words… “And your homework tonight is…”
You thought you were free. You were moments away. But alas! The evil that is school has manifested itself into a new creature—one that follows you home every single night—homework.
But is homework really that evil? Do you think there’s a chance that it might actually… gulp… help you?
Before we cheat and ask what the experts think, let’s look at homework objectively. What is it really?
Homework can in fact be classified into four distinct groups: practice, preparation, extension, and integration.
Practice homework is the classic, “do problems 1-30,” homework; it is when a teacher assigns homework that applies what was learned in class. Practice homework is based on the philosophy “practice makes perfect.” Most skills and concepts have no ‘magic shortcut’ that leads to quick mastery; they have to be learned through practice and repetition. Practice homework is a logical method for students to reinforce and master what is taught in school.
The second type of homework is preparation. Preparation homework is when students are assigned a new concept to try that will soon be taught in class. This type of homework, however, is growing less popular as studies show it to stress students when the homework requires skills that have not been learned.
Extension homework is more complex; it involves applying skills learned in class to new situation. This type of homework requires and develops critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is a necessary skill in life and benefits the student to further his or her mental adeptness.
Integration homework is essentially all summative projects, book reports, and essays. It is the integration of all the skills a student has learned into a final project. Integration homework is often not considered “homework” in the traditional form of the word and can be placed in a separate category. Nevertheless, integration homework/projects are vital to the education project because at most jobs, the goal is to create a final product.
Besides education, there are other purposes for homework such as developing responsibility, time management skills, and a good work ethic. It may even be appropriate, sometimes, to overlook the faults in a poorly designed assignment and just do it because at most jobs, homework isn’t optional.
Although homework is under much scrutiny, most researchers do not deny that students who do their homework benefit from both short- and long-term academic success as well as non-academic success. A Duke University research synthesis states that in general, studies between 1987 and 2003 show “a positive influence of homework on achievement.”
It seems that homework has no obvious flaws and when studied without its evil stigma, it seems to be a good idea. There will always be arguments about how much homework should be assigned and for what purpose, but the essential idea of homework is an educational requirement.
No matter how much we all hate homework, it’s hard to deny that without it, most of us would be lost.
So next time you are sitting at home or in English class or wherever you tend to do your homework, and you find yourself hard-pressed to finish that dang math assignment, remember—you’re making yourself smarter.
No more homework!
By: Mindy Hua
“Before I forget, here’s your homework. Where do you want me to put it? ” The student pointed at the trash can. “Right there would be fine.”
This quote from author Becca Fitzpatrick is something a majority of students have thought of saying, but have never had the guts to act upon. Now those thoughts are put into words. Our lives are difficult and stressful, but does it have to be? With this in mind, students should not be assigned homework for after school.
Most students wake up at around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning to get ready for school. After we arrive, around eight hours are spent diligently working and learning. This does not include the extra-curricular activities some people participate in before and after school. Although we have a 30-minute break during lunch and a couple minutes in between periods, we still feel exhausted at the end of the day.
But guess what? We still have homework to do after school is over! It is one thing to bring school work home that was not finished in class, but it is a completely different topic to have work assigned specifically to be done at home.
To put it another way, homework is not necessary. If students cannot learn what they need to learn during the school day then that is a problem. Students are expected to take what we are given at school and further our studies at home using work assigned to us. But this can become an issue if we do not initially understand the topic at hand. As a result we end up not doing our homework, which makes it even harder to keep up in class. Instead of giving students work to bring home in order to compensate for what they did not learn during the day, schools should change their teaching curriculum in order to better benefit students.
Having a healthy, balanced social life is extremely important. When school ends we should have our own time to sit back and catch up on hobbies and favorite activities. Unless working on school work is your favorite pastime, then you do you. A lot of adults dislike when activities from their work life intertwine with their personal life. Students feel the exact same way. Just as adults get to to go out after work and de-stress, we should have the same in that respect. After all, school does take up much of the day. Why extend school into our lives outside of school? If we already spend hours upon hours of the day cooped up in school with no sunlight and then go home and end up in the same situation because of school work, we are bound to live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Not every student will come home to the perfect environment. School is a place made to be the ideal learning environment. When some students get home, they may have the responsibility of taking care of the household. Many have to work right after school or take care of their younger sibling(s) while their parents are busy working. These may just seem like baseless excuses, but not everyone gets to have the additional support from a parent/guardian if they need help with homework. This in turn discourages students from doing their school work, which decreases their interest to actually pay attention in class due to feeling so overwhelmed.
Let there no longer be homework for as long as school exists. With 24 hours in a day, only so much can be done and to live life to the fullest we cannot dwell on one thing for too long. If school takes up the majority of the day we no longer have the time for what makes us truly happy. When we do need the extra help in school a little assignment could do the trick, but not too much as to avoid being too overbearing. This way, students and teachers alike can be at peace as this creates a win-win situation. Students do not feel pressured about school work and teachers will not have to grade stacks of tests and paperwork.