You might have noticed that I am featuring more guest writers than I did last year. So whether you’re a student, teacher, mental health professional, or parent, please send me your thoughts. Because I think it’s important to see students’ work in its original form, I don’t edit it or correct grammar and spelling errors. I don’t think teachers see enough of students’ original work. (Too much of it has been gone over by parents, peers, or tutors before students pass their work in.)
Today’s guest blogger is Jordan Swogger, a junior at Calvary Christian Academy in Cresaptown, Maryland. Jordan wrote and presented this speech for his Speech/Writing class. Needless to say, his classmates loved it.
by Jordan Swogger, 11th grader
Did you know that in 1948, a national survey of high school students showed that the average amount of time spent on homework was three to four hours per week? In 1957, the American government became concerned that U.S. students were not keeping up with their fellow Russian students, and so made a movement to increase homework and studies in order to catch up with the Russians, who had launched the first artificially made satellite, Sputnik, into space. After the end of the communist crisis in the 1990’s, the U.S. was still a strong advocate for keeping up the large amounts of homework, and so continued to give students much more homework. In my opinion, the level of homework given today is far more than is necessary, and is bordering on the unhealthy.
My problem with homework is not in the idea of homework itself, but in the amount of it, and what we are required to do. Also, homework takes up time. Think about it for a second. We get up in the morning. On average, we spend seven hours in school, not counting extra-curricular activities and events, or after-school
tasks we need to accomplish. Then, we get home and do our homework. Usually, it’s a given that the homework will take at least an hour, if not two, three, four, or maybe even more. I feel that homework cuts into the already limited time we have with our families. In addition, sometimes the homework we receive could be called “busy work”, not really serving any purpose only to take up time. Research has shown that when homework is given in large quantities, that it becomes harmful rather than helpful. However, homework can be a good thing if given in the right way and in the right quantities.
Solutions to homework problems are simple; however they may not be readily accepted. Cutting down on busy work is one step. Secondly, the teachers must realize that they are not the only ones giving homework. Teacher communication is critical in this aspect, as what one teacher’s “small amount” of homework could pile up into one large amount once you take all the subjects into consideration. More time in class to complete homework would be a good step to take, however usually the teacher must explain a skill before the student can work on something. Lastly, there is the “10 Minute Rule”, a commonly accepted rule that homework should be given every ten minutes for every grade number increase. For example, if the student is in 1st grade, then he should have ten minutes of homework, and if he is in second, then twenty minutes of homework, and so on. Even up until the twelfth grade, this would only amount to 120 minutes (or two hours) of homework, which is not bad at all in comparison to the amount of homework usually assigned.
In conclusion, I do not believe that homework should be totally abolished—as homework grades are usually good for improving grade averages, provided the student does it—but it should be considerably lowered to the point where homework will once again become something helpful to students, and not something they dread. If these changes are made, then I believe that the educational landscape of the country will be changed for the better.