I got a second email from yesterday’s high school senior, who had even more to say on the problems with homework.
More Thoughts on Homework
by a high school senior
Camarillo High School, California
As always, the homework load depends on the individual teacher.
When homework is excessive, it simply turns into “drill.” The teacher assigns “stuff” (worthless worksheets, pointless projects) which are to be taken home. Very little of “it” was even taught in class, nor will be tested in the future.
The next day in class, students discover they did a lot of the work incorrectly. This leads to low scores and frusteration among students. (I’m sure some cheated w/ peers.)
Class time simply becomes a time for grading and going over homework rather than teaching, therefore making the environment stressful and tight schedules. This leaves very little time to cover the new material, which therefore leads to more homework. It’s a vicious cycle. Confusion among students and classroom complexity lead to students lagging behind.
One solution to less homework is more effective use of class time and better teaching methods to ensure that the students and teachers are on the same page. Another solution is simply not to assign the work, because some assignments are just ridiculous. (You’d be surprised to see what some teachers assign!)
There’s a common myth floating out there that teachers tell and parents purchase. “Homework teaches kids how to manage time and have good study habits.” That’s a lie. Since most of it is unproductive, or better yet counterproductive, it simply is a waste of time. Many students simply don’t know how or won’t study for tests because the homework serves no real purpose for test preparation.
My True story of excess homework (one of many)
When I was in 6th grade the whole class had difficulty understanding basic statistics: (mean, median, mode). She assigned six math worksheets over the weekend. The problem was the students weren’t understanding the material, not that the students didn’t practice enough.