Studies show that students who complete their homework have higher test scores, better grades, and are even more likely to go on to college after high school. It’s undeniable that homework is an integral part of any student’s school career, but when you add too much to the mix, it can actually be harmful to kids.
Assigning less homework is one way to protect students from becoming overly stressed, which can tempt them to cheat, cause sleep deprivation, and even contribute to lower scores in school overall.
On the other hand, when kids don’t complete enough homework, they miss out on valuable independent learning time that is essential to their growth as a student, so lightening the load too much isn’t always the best option.
The best way to decide whether kids should have less homework is simple: weigh the pros and cons.
Should Kids Have Less Homework: Pros and Cons
Giving kids less homework has many upsides and downsides that you should consider. Weighing the pros and cons of assigning less homework is the best way to decide whether this is the best solution. Since both sides of the argument have strong and weak points, this can help you create a road map to the right solution for you.
Pro: More Free Time
Having less homework means that kids have more time to spend doing activities they enjoy. Since social development is an essential cornerstone in school, it makes sense that allowing kids more free time is a good thing. Having more time to spend doing leisurely activities also helps minimize stress and expend energy, which helps contribute to better sleep, equating to higher levels of productivity in school.
Con: Less Time Spent Learning
Even though having time to do fun activities is important, spending too much time in this area can also be harmful. Children need structured time outside of school doing academic activities.
This helps to stimulate their brains and allows independent time for them to spend developing their skills. Since time in the classroom is limited, homework offers an excellent way for both teachers and parents to ensure kids are spending plenty of time developing the skills they need to be successful students and adults.
Pro: Higher Grades and Test Scores
Since homework helps hone in the skills that kids learn in the classroom, it also helps boost their grades and test scores. These assignments function as extra practice, which is essential to gaining new knowledge for all students.
Since so much of learning has to do with memorization, it’s undeniable that dedicating as much time as possible to extra practice catapults students’ grades, consequently building a pathway to academic success.
Con: Too Much Homework Can Hurt Grades
Even though homework can make students’ grades better, it does have some potential to be counterproductive. Kids need time to unwind and relax at the end of a school day.
When teachers assign too much homework, it can lead to sleep deprivation, and higher levels of stress, which can negatively impact their grades and test scores—like most things in life, having a balance of homework and home life is essential to a child’s success in school and beyond.
Pro: Develops Life Skills
Completing homework assignments gives kids more than just academic skills. It also helps teach them about self-discipline, setting goals, staying organized, and persevering.
When students set out to complete homework assignments, they are learning about how to meet deadlines and what it takes to push themselves through tasks that aren’t always enjoyable. These are essential life skills that will help contribute to them becoming well-rounded, contributing citizens in society.
Con: Can Lead to Negative Attitudes
Even though homework has the potential to develop life skills, there are adverse side effects as well. Students who are overwhelmed or annoyed by their homework might develop negative attitudes toward school in general. The result?
More cheating on homework and more instances of missing homework assignments on report cards are in severe cases. Even kids who solicit help from their parents on difficult homework aren’t always benefitted by the one-on-one time – it can still lead to lower grades in class and less motivation to complete work in class overall.
Less Homework for Kids: The Bottom Line
Eliminating the homework load that kids are sent home with can be beneficial in many ways, but it is not the perfect solution. The best approach is often to find a healthy balance of in-class assignments and homework that is not too overwhelming for kids.
Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of less homework for kids is the first and most crucial step in determining whether less homework would be beneficial. No matter which side of the argument you are on, arming yourself with the facts can help lead you in the right direction.