TEACHING TECHNIQUES

Homework: Useful Teaching Tool or Waste of Time?

Contents

  1. Helpful or harmful?
  2. How is homework helpful?
  3. Does homework promote learning?
  4. Downsides of homework
  5. Should students have homework?
  6. Stress free homework tips

 

Almost all schools require homework, but should they? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of homework for students, plus what the research says students should really be doing after school. 

Homework. How can one little word cause so much trouble? 

Without a doubt, your student will encounter homework during their school career. Some kids love it, others...not so much. Parents struggle to make their child complete their homework and to fit it into their family’s busy schedule. But forget about feelings - is homework really necessary? 

is-homework-helpful

Is homework helpful or harmful?

 

Well, it depends. There’s loads of debate about homework and whether or not it helps students learn. Researchers have been trying to find the answer to this question since we parents were in school!

It all comes down to the purpose of the homework and the age of the student. 

 

How is homework helpful?

 

For secondary students, homework is useful as a "short and focused intervention.” ⏲️ That means something like a research project that students complete at home.

For primary students, homework can help reinforce skills students are learning in school. It makes sense to practice spelling words at home or working on beginning reading skills, for example. 

 

How does homework promote learning?

 

One way homework can promote learning is by giving older students a chance to read more content than can be covered in class. For example, a Literature student might read a couple chapters of a novel at home and then spend the class time discussing its themes with peers. This saves classroom time for the part of learning that is done with other students. 👥

Research shows that the best homework is closely linked to what the students are learning in the classroom. It should expand their learning and always be something they can complete independently. 

 

Downsides of homework

 

It goes without saying that homework takes time. The more homework your student has, the less time they can spend outside or relaxing. 

Homework leaves less time for creative activities that are also very important for brain growth. 🧠

Studies show very little difference in test scores between students who spend lots of time on homework and students who do less homework. For primary school students especially the benefits just aren’t there. 

 

So, should students have homework? 🤔

 

In an ideal world, primary students would not have homework. And secondary students would only have short-term homework assignments with a very specific goal, like a book report or a science project. 

Since students often do have homework, it shouldn’t take much time - the benefits are the same for a few minutes and a few hours of homework!

 

Stress-free homework tips 

 

At the end of the day, there may be very little you can do immediately about your child’s homework situation. If the teacher assigns it, it must get done. 🤷🏻‍♀️ But here are a few tips to make it less stressful.

👉 Give your child a chance to be independent with planning their work time. Maybe they need a snack first, or maybe they want to tackle one subject before dinner and another after.

👉 Make sure your child has distraction-free space to work at home. Turn off the television, and keep electronics out of sight.

👉 Let your child have some free time after school before starting homework. Their day at school is long! They need a chance to relax and regroup before jumping right into homework. 

👉 Consider a chat with your child’s teacher if they aren’t able to do their homework on their own. Homework should follow closely the in-class learning and should not take more than an hour.

 

Homework help with GoStudent

 

If your child is struggling to understand concepts they need to know in order to complete their homework, a GoStudent tutor can help. 

Our tutors have a deep understanding of the content they teach. Your tutor will work with your child individually to get them on track and able to finish that homework in no time! 🚀

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