Guide: Is homework a good idea or not?
The Christmas holidays are over and it's back to school!
That means lessons, assembly, seeing your friends and - for a lot of you - time to do homework again!
While giving homework to pupils in secondary schools is generally seen as a good idea, some don't think that kids in primary schools should have to do it.
For the last 100 years or so, experts have been trying to work out if it is beneficial to give homework to kids in primary schools.
In the UK, the government says it's up to the head teacher to decide whether or not their school will set extra work like this.
Find out more about both sides of the argument with Newsround's guide, and then let us know what you think of doing homework when you're in primary school.
What is homework?
Homework: A timeline
- 1997: Just over 6 in every 10 primary schools made their pupils do homework
- 1998: Government publishes advice for schools in England and Wales about setting homework (e.g. pupils aged 5 to 7 should do 10 minutes of homework a night)
- 1999: Around 9 in 10 primary schools are setting homework
- 2012: Government gets rid of its guidelines, saying that schools should get to decide for themselves
Homework generally means work that is set by teachers for you to do outside of your normal school hours.
When you're younger, your parents might help you to do it.
But as you get older, you will generally take more responsibility for doing your homework on your own.
Professor Sue Hallam from the Institute of Education - who is one of the most experienced researchers into homework in the UK - says that in 1997, just over 6 in every 10 primary schools made their pupils do homework.
Just two years later, this had risen to around nine in ten primary schools and the majority still set homework now.
Why do people think homework is a good idea?
Many think that giving homework to primary school children is an important part of their learning.
They believe it helps them to practice what that they have learnt in lessons, in order to get better at things like spelling and handwriting.
They say it helps to teach children how to work on their own and be disciplined with themselves - both skills that are useful later in life.
It can also allow parents or guardians to get involved in their children's learning.
To find out more about why people think homework is a good idea, Jenny spoke to Chris from the campaign for Real Education, which is a group of teachers and parents who care about how well schools are doing.
Members of the organisation believe that traditional homework is important.
Chris told Newsround: "If you like learning, homework helps to support your learning. It's really important to go back afterwards and think about what you're learning in class. Practice makes perfect."
"In parts of the world, children are doing much better in school than children in the UK. In most cases, they are doing much more homework.
"That doesn't mean you should be doing home work all the time.
"But a little bit of homework to support what you're doing in the classroom, involving your parents and guardians, is really good because it allows you to do as well as everybody else in the world."
Chris added that it is important to have a balance between homework and other activities.
"Homework shouldn't be overdone. Let's do some homework and some play."
Why do people think homework is a bad idea?
Some people think that giving homework to children at primary school is not necessary.
They think it puts too much pressure on them and that the time spent doing homework could be used to do other activities.
Jenny also spoke to Nansi Ellis - assistant general secretary of one of the biggest teacher's unions in England, made up of teachers and heads - who doesn't believe that giving homework to primary school children is needed.
She told Newsround: "There is other good stuff you can do at home, like reading, playing sport or a musical instrument, or helping with the cooking, shopping or with your siblings. You might be a Guide or a Scout.
"Those things are really helpful for you to learn to work in a team, to learn to be creative, to ask questions and to help other people. These are really important skills.
"The trouble with homework is that it gets in the way of all of those good things that you could be doing and it doesn't necessarily help you with your school work."
Sometimes parents or guardians try to help with homework and, if they have been taught differently, it can end up being confusing for the child doing the homework. They can also end up doing too much of the work themselves!
Nansi added: "Some children live in really busy houses with lots of people coming and going, and they don't have a quiet space to do homework, so they can't use it to help them to get better at studying on their own, which doesn't seem fair.
"Teachers set homework for you to get better at your learning - that seems like a really good reason. But actually, the evidence isn't clear that even that's true."
Another expert Rosamund McNeil, from a teachers' organisation called the NUT, said: "Pupils in Finland are assigned very little homework yet they remain one of the most educationally successful countries in the world."
Why is this issue being talked about?
People have been trying to find out if homework is a good thing or a bad thing for many years.
Recently, a report was done by an organisation called the Teaching Schools Council, which works with the government and schools in England.
It says: "Homework [in primary schools] should have a clear purpose."
The report explains that if there isn't a clear reason for the homework and the pupils won't necessarily gain something from doing it, then it should not be set.
Dame Reena Keeble, an ex-primary school head teacher who led the report, told Newsround: "What we are saying in our report is that if schools are setting homework for you, they need to explain to you - and your mums and dads - why they're setting it, and your teachers need to let you know how you've done in your homework.
"We found homework can really help with your learning, as long as your school makes sure that what you're doing for your homework is making a difference."
So is homework a good idea or a bad idea?
Many people have different opinions. However, the truth is it's hard to know.
Professor Hallam explains that part of the problem is that it is difficult to accurately work out how useful homework is.
Generally, people agree that homework is good idea for children in secondary school.
But for primary school, it isn't clear if there's a right or wrong answer to this question.
And you've been having your say too.
Nearly 900 of you took part in an online vote about the amount of homework you get: whether it is not enough, just right or too much.
It's just a quick snapshot of what some of you think. Here's the results:
Homework is the reason I fail.
I am a high school junior, every day I get 12+ pages of homework minimum. Because I cannot possibly do all of this and help around the house as I am the only one able to do so, and therefore I have no time to study my material and therefore my test grades suffer as a result.
Homework is like slavery.
It's basically forcing students to go home after a stressful day of school and activities and do pointless homework. Teachers should be teaching these things in class, not making the students learn it themselves. It's preventing children from leading balanced lifestyles, with a healthy amount of sleep and activities to keep them fit and active. How is a student supposed to do 3 to 4 hours of homework, study for a plethora of tests and quizzes, play sports, get involved in the community, eat food with nutritional value, and get an adequate amount of sleep, all in one day? That's not possible. The amount of stress homework causes kids is ridiculous, especially when they're already under so much pressure to get into a good college and do well in school, along with making friends and staying active. Homework is not necessary.
Homework should be banned.
Why Homework Is Bad
Are you a kid who hates homework!? Well I am one! Did you know that homework leads to bad grades and overwhelmed cranky kids? It can also lead to stressed out children that can throw fits. Also, homework gives less time for a kid to be a kid. There should be no homework for all children. No homework is even good for teachers because they don’t need to correct it because they already have enough to correct
In some schools children can get homework as early as kindergarten, or by the third grade. Homework has been annoying many children by the fourth grade. At elementary school, especially, this is a bad idea because many young students are known for having very short attention spans. They have already been forced to sit and learn for approximately 6 1/2 hours at school, with usually only 2 short recess breaks and lunch and they are also very known to like to talk and chat a lot.
By the time school is out, the kids just want to go home, relax, and be who they are ! It also affects families because Homework trouble = school trouble = family trouble. It is the rare for a child to enjoy homework F.Y.I. .For some students they can be stressed out when they get home and throw fits and for all students they have been exercising their brains at school all day long and at home they are supposed to relax their brain for the next day at school, and if you are not remembering good blame it on the teacher for putting the subject at the wrong time when the students are tired (after recess etc.) or the teacher is not explaining it good.
Some teachers do not answer a students question which would of helped the student to learn better and teachers always used to say to me “Learning is fun!” well I think now math and school now is a lot harder than in the 70’s and 80’s and put for an example a 10 year old in fifth grade with 6 1/2 hours of school and 45-50 minutes of homework and remember 2013 math is A LOT harder than 80’s and 70’s math so do you think you would be having fun? and I also want to state that homework causes cases of kids hating school (like me). So that concludes the end of my persuasive essay top three reasons homework is bad: overwhelming, interference and dislike.
One country named Finland has already fixed their school system there is no homework there is recess for 75 minutes, 9-17 students per class and no tests until you are 16 years old.
I am a teacher, and Yes!!
Yes! Ban homework.. As part of our school policy, homework must be given out, and students should complete 30minutes of homework,, per night! I think this is too much as many students have other commitments.
Sport practices, jobs to do around home, looking after siblings, at after school care etc
It is a hassle for the teacher to mark/grade and make up something that is remotely fun,and enjoyable for the children to do
Homework should be banned because it just isn't useful and wastes time.
Homework is pointless because kids do enough work in school and they don't need more. When they come home they want to chill out, hang out with friends, or do something. Kids are in school for 8 hours a day doing work, other than lunch and recess. Homework is not relevant for kids. I did a survey at school at resource, and a majority of kids say that homework should be banned in school because it is stressful and they procrastinate until the last second. There is no point in homework. It takes away from spending time with family. According to the text with research 'Homework Should be Banned,' “Schools has increased from 9 to 3 with 1 ½ hour of recess and lunch to 8:40 to 3:15 with only 30 minutes of lunch and recess.” This quote shows that too much is just too much homework. Also, another reason is that, according to research, some of the smartest countries like Finland and Japan don’t have homework. We can be just as smart as them without homework. This shows that homework has no academic benefits for grades.
As a student, I think it should be banned.
As a student, I don't get home from school until 4:30 or 5:00 and I am doing homework sometimes until 8:30 almost every night. It is very stressful when you have seven classes a day and homework in every single class; it becomes very overwhelming. On top of that, I have to get up every morning at 5:30 am just to catch my buss at 6:40. Many mornings are very hard for me because of lack of sleep from the night before staying up doing homework and studying for two or three tests the next day.
If they banned homework, test scores might improve because then students would have more time to study and be prepared than if we have five different subjects to do on top of studying for a test the next day.
It hinders learning which is obviously a bad thing.
Undoubtedly, homework hinders learning. There are only 2 outcomes possible when doing homework:
A) You do the homework, proving you were able to do it in the first place and the work was therefore unnecessary.
B) You do not do the homework because you were unable, and therefore did not learn anything.
Even besides these points, there are other reasons why homework hinders learning. For example, homework has to be corrected, wasting valuable class time which could be spent teaching new skills. It is an unnecessary burden on children which causes great stress, and actively teaches them to hate learning. Learning has to be an enjoyable experience to be effective, and if children grow to hate a subject because of the homework they receive, it will mean they learn much less in class. Stress can also affect sleep and eating patterns, thus resulting in lower scores in exams. I could go on forever, there are literally no benefits to homework. Work is for work related-things, home is where you can relax. This line should not be blurred.
Homework should be banned to reduce student stress.
Homework causes stress in many students. Homework takes time, and it keeps students up late at night getting the work done. The loss of sleep makes it hard to concentrate during class because students are so tired.
I once stayed up until midnight and wound up very tired when morning arrived. It was hard to focus on my lessons. As a student,I think sleep is more important than doing homework. Students study during the day at schools and academies,so there is no reason that we have to get homework.
Many schools have a one-hour rule, but with multiple classes and each teacher assigning one hour of homework, you end up with hours of work to do at home. Students in advanced levels get even more work than the students in basic classes.
Another reason is that the noise around us. If you have a room of your own, you don't have to worry about this problem. I don't have my own room. I have to do my homework in the study. When I'm working, my mom is busy printing things out. It's annoying and makes it hard for me to concentrate. I can't do my homework before I sleep. I have to complete my homework in the morning when she's not using the study, before I head for the academy. Getting it done in the morning means rushing. Usually, the answer are wrong because I didn't have time to really read the questions.
Students often think homework should be banned. I think so too.
Homework wastes time
Homework is a serious waste of time, there are some benefits of homework but the negatives out-rule the benefits by a mile. Most teachers say homework helps responsibility and our knowledge but this is not true. I as student personally think that kids are responsible and organize ourselves better than our teachers at times. On a weekday, this is my usual agenda,
Wake up in the morning, Catch the bus, Get off at the correct stop, take a train, and walk 10 minutes to my school. I then have to go to the school office and drop off my phone, and my wallet. I then have to walk to my locker and get out my keys (if I forget them I have to walk to the Principles office which is quite far away and get the master key) and get out my books. I have to carry them to Homeroom and since I have a job as Office Monitor I have to collect any forms from the other kids and go all the way down to the General Office and drop them off. I then have to go to whatever room we have Period 1 in. Since I go on my own, I have to know where everything is and what room to go to, I cant just follow a classmate like most kids in my class do. If I am late that automatically means a 2 hour detention for me. Just my luck that my name is first on the roll call list. I do my work for that session and do the same until recess. At recess I go to the office, collect my money and buy myself lunch. I then have to survive another 3 sessions. I then catch the bus and go home so thats organized for you! I have written 300 words so Im done with my homework! My name is Anthony and I am 14 years old.
It takes too much time.
I have not enough family time to spend playing games, opening presents, playing with my little sisters or to spend time with my mom or dad. I think homework takes too much time. I want more free time, less homework, and more time with my friends, my dog or outside with nature.