Just the mere mention of homework sends both shudders through students and parents alike. Do the benefits outweigh the cost? In a recent article by Britannica ProCon.org three pros and cons for homework were outlined and are summarized below.
1. With homework, parents can be involved with their children’s learning by seeing not only the content of what is being assigned but strengths and challenges in doing the assignment. Opponents however suggest that homework is a disadvantage to some groups of students, who might not have the proper supplies, time or parental help at home further pushing the academic equity divide.
2. While it has been proven that homework improves achievement for older students, there is little to no evidence that homework helps to improve achievement for younger children. As Temple University professor Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, says “They’re learning way more important skills when they’re not doing their homework.” That is of course assuming that they are not simply plugged in.
3. Homework can help to reinforce the learning that happens at school through intentional practice. It also helps students to develop good study habits and life skills such as accountability, time management, and goal setting. However it is important to remember that kids are still just that…kids. Alfie Kohn, an education and parenting expert, said, “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school. After all, we adults need time just to chill out; it’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.” (Strauss, “Opinion: Your Kid Is Right, Homework Is Pointless. Here’s What You Should Do Instead.,” cnn.com, Jan. 28, 2020)
As the second grader’s wrapped up their opinion writing unit, they shared their thoughts about homework. Interestingly enough, it was about half for homework and half against it.
At PNA, the homework assigned is fairly light, especially for younger students. When homework is intentional and thoughtfully assigned, students do see the benefits of learning those life skills mentioned above and do further their achievement in their academics. However, we also recognize and respect that kids need the chance to just be kids. They need the space and time to be curious, engage in other interests and to just play, since that is the true work of childhood.