Why is homework bad?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Jerseygirlteach, Aug 28, 2014.

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  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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  2. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I know my sister does things with her kids that are more enriching with her kids than the homework that is assigned by teachers. They go to museums, the symphony, the library, etc. She gets very frustrated when homework gets in the way of these more meaningful activities. Not to mention that family bonding time is not great if all you do is sit and do homework instead of going outside for walks, bike rides, etc.
     
  3. Peregrin5

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    It would be cool if parents could send the teacher a note saying that instead of doing the history assignment, they had their student visit a history museum that night, and here is a short summary (written by the student) of what they learned. I would accept that as homework credit in my class for sure.
     
  4. gr3teacher

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    I'm sure your boss could nitpick your choices of free-time activities. Does that mean he/she should be able to take that time away from you?
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I know right? The facebook and Call of Duty are actually 2 things the students say their parents spend lots of time "doing"
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Homework time doesn't count as free time. It counts as time that needs to be spent doing an assignment to increase practice and learning.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Hence they learn their habits from their parents.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This. I spend a lot of evenings with netflix going on for at the very least background noise.
     
  9. gr3teacher

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    Yes, homework time doesn't count as free time, but you're the one picking on how children choose to spend their free time.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I think that there is a huge difference in what I expected my third grade son to be able to accomplish vs. my eighth grade son to commit to and be able to complete. Perhaps what we expect/hope is that by HS our students are becoming intrinsically motivated to learn and achieve. In reality, some will never get there, sadly, and for others, the parents will bail them out until their dying day. I do think that parents should be around for moral support and to suggest different resources, if a child is struggling, or even to reach out to the teacher and let them know that despite persistent effort, the child was overwhelmed. (a note or email works fine for me) Do all students play video games? Probably not. Will some students complete in 5 minutes what another can't finish in an hour? Absolutely. I think that if HW becomes excessive to the point of total discouragement, it has gone past the good it can do. OP teaches 3/4, so even approaching an hour seems excessive to me, but that's just my opinion.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Primarily why I take care of my business in class with 9 and 10 year olds.

    I would never send anything home for homework that a student would need to do to acheive an "A" in my class.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Are you implying that schools own the lives of children? So, teachers decide how much of the child's time (after contracted school hours) they will take and as long as they deem it needed for practice and learning it is acceptable. What if a teacher decides that their subject needs 1 hour and every other teacher decides the same thing?
     
  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I agree. I teach high school, and homework I give is work that they have had time to do in class, but did not finish. Also, I sometimes give projects, but when I do, I give at least a full calendar week to complete them. My English students have to read their on-level, high interest book at home, but I don't require a certain amount each night. I let them decide how much they are in the mood to read each day.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    No, I'm just pointing out that the ideal doesn't match the reality.
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I think all teachers know that some families spend very quality time together and while others spend absolutely none.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Students aren't under the same contracted hours as teachers. Secondly, it's the teacher's professional responsibility to determine how much homework is necessary to get the lesson across or fully practiced and make wise decisions about class time use and homework assignment. But essentially yes, teachers decide how much necessary practice a student should be spending outside of school to learn a concept. If the teacher makes a poor decision, that should be brought up by the parent to the teacher or admin.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Interesting. The government owns school age children. Then teachers complain that they have to work beyond contract hours. No wonder teachers are becoming more and more disliked by the public.
     
  18. Pashtun

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    Agreed.

    It is interesting how we as teachers want students to behave and do things, do them a certain way, that we as teachers go ape #$#@% over if our bosses did the same to us.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    So much wrong here.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It seems the difference is that with teachers there is an agreed contract and children are owned by the school system if they choose to utilize public school.
     
  21. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I visit Internet forums and play Civilization. I guess those are bad habits?

    I also do all my work at work by working efficiently and smartly. If I want to veg when I get home, I figure my students probably do too. How they do it is none of my business. If I had a kid who did their work, I'd be more than happy to let them Facebook and play video games. Balance is good.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I need some time to myself at the end of the day to decompress. I play around on Facebook, watch TV, sing and snuggle with my kid, and do other "fun" things. I don't touch school/work things in the evenings. If I had an administration that felt like they could dictate what I do after school and how long I must spend doing it, I would be looking for a new job. Our kids don't really have that option.
     
  23. kcjo13

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    Peregrin, I like you and I respect you, but from my perspective as a parent to 3 non-contracted children, I find this at best, wrong, and at worst, offensive. I send my children to school to learn, and I have them at home to do as I see fit. It is a teacher's professional responsibility to teach a specified amount of objectives to my child, and if the teacher cannot do that without requiring-requiring-hours beyond "contract time", then you're not doing it right.

    It's statements like yours that make the divide between school and home widen tremendously.
     
  24. DrivingPigeon

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    Ditto

    I am on a homework committee at my school. The purpose of the committee is to research the pros and cons of homework, and come up with some sort of school-wide expectation. Well, the committee has been on the research step of the process for 2 years now. Most of the research that we have read says that homework at the elementary level is not very effective, and it's usually just busy work.

    Personally, I don't give very much homework, because my students work hard all day. They are "on" for at least 5.5 hours, which is a lot for their little bodies and brains. I'm tired when I get home from school, so I can only imagine how they must feel. If I do give homework, I give them 2 nights to do in, just in case they have church (2nd grade is a huge year for that with First Communion), sports, etc.

    And for those who argue that homework is a way to practice and reinforce newly learned skills, I would much rather have students apply and practice skills in school when I am present. Otherwise I'm taking the risk of them doing it the wrong way, and then I have to re-teach them anyway.

    Lastly, for those who say that kids just go home and watch TV, play video games, play on facebook, etc. who cares?! When I get home from work I watch TV, play on facebook, check out Pinterest, and post on forums. It's how I unwind and relax. It's called down time, and I can do whatever I want with it. So what?
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Perhaps, but where was the outcry for this for decades when homework at home was an expected thing? What it is beginning to sound like from many here is that teachers have no business assigning homework at all regardless of age, regardless of how helpful it would be to their attainment of learning goals, because teachers have no "right" to assign work past "contract hours". Following this logic, there shouldn't be a single minute of homework from any class.

    There is research that students who learn to value homework see increased gains in learning and that it provides other benefits such as time-management skills. Teachers take home work constantly, and so do those in many other professions. While it's not good to work excessively at home, this is what is expected.
     
  26. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I think we just need to determine which families spend quality time together and which ones waste it, and assign homework only for the ones with no quality time spent. After all, fair is not always equal and all that.

    Now that I've solved the homework problem, what's the next problem needing solving?
     
  27. Jerseygirlteach

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    So, if children do homework, they can't have any relax/rest time? I don't know about everyone's family, but I know about my own. My children are in school from 8:00 - 2:30. If they come straight home after school, they're home by 3:00. On a busy day, they'll go to a friend's house for a couple of hours and be home by 5. On a busy day, they'll have an hour's worth of homework (although they rarely have that much) and be done by 6 - in time for dinner. Dinner is usually from 6 - 6:30. On a busy day, they'll veg out for 1/2 an hour and then head off to some organized activity - soccer practice, youth group, gymnastics, etc. until 8 or 9. Then they'll come home, get cleaned up and be in bed by 9:30 (in theory, anyway ;) ). More often than not, there will either be no friend time or no organized activity time and they'll often spend that time watching TV, playing Xbox, or doing whatever it is they do on Instagram. So, at least in my world, I honestly can't see homework as a killer of personal freedom and childhood relax time.

    Of course we reinforce skills in the classroom. That doesn't mean a few extra minutes spent on those skills at home are not productive. And we don't even want to encourage them to read self-selected books at home because that's too taxing for them? Really? I think it's building a foundation of life-long reading habits, but maybe that's just me.
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do not take home work ever. I don't care that it is "expected". The fact that I as a teacher am expected to give up time with own family, and not even get paid to do so, is one of the most terrible things about teaching. It certainly isn't something that should be celebrated or used as a justification for making other people do work on their free time when they could and should be spending time with their families or whatever else they feel like doing.
     
  29. gr3teacher

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    There's a difference between an adult doing work at home because they are paid to do so and a child doing work at home because they are literally being forced to. If your boss gives you too much to do, you can demand a pay raise. You can file formal complaints, including invoking your contract. You can quit and find a new job. If a child gets too much homework... well... sucks to be them.

    The bottom line is that there may be educational benefit to homework at a certain level, but it can be excessive. Kids deserve time to unwind, the same as adults do (more so, in fact).

    The problem I had was your attitude. If a child chooses to unwind by watching MTV while playing a Call of Duty game, that's their OWN business. It is no less valid a form of unwinding than... say... posting on a teacher forum? Is it the best way for students to be spending their off time? No, probably not, but that doesn't give us teachers the right to say that we can just take all of that time because they aren't making good choices anyway.
     
  30. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I had a 20 minute rule. Work for 20 minutes. What you get done is what you get done. My goal was for the students to work through some problems independently and figure out if they really know it or if there's someplace they're still struggling. If they really knew the concept, the amount I assigned should take no more than 10 minutes. Given the variety of topics in math, that could be anywhere from 1 to 20 problems, depending on the topic. Anyway, I told my students to work for at most 20 minutes, and if they couldn't complete the assignment, to write a note telling me what was tripping them up, and I'd consider that a complete assignment.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Solution: Don't give excessive homework.

    Also, I did not say that because a student was watching Nicki Minaj that he should have more homework. I was responding to Pashtun's ideal claim that students spend time with parents at home, play board games, read for pleasure, etc. The idea that most students do this when not assigned homework is absurd and I provided a picture that I feel is a little more close to truth.
     
  32. gr3teacher

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    Like I already pointed out, I have several students in my class that get about three hours of free time a day. That three hours includes socializing with friends, socializing with family, unwinding, playing outside, playing sports... and doing whatever homework I have assigned them. I'm guessing based on the bedtime, your children are a little older (and don't necessarily have the ten hour sleep recommendation that third graders have), and clearly they don't have an hour bus ride in each direction.
     
  33. gr3teacher

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    This whole topic started based on an amount of homework that, based on research, is excessive.
     
  34. Jerseygirlteach

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    My kids are 10 and 12. My ped recommends 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night. They get about 9 - 9 1/2. You're right. They don't have a bus ride. However, my own students report to me doing their homework on the bus. Not ideal, by any means, but certainly something to break up the boredom of the bus ride. :)

    Based on your research, about 10 minutes of spelling, about 10 minutes of math, and 20 minutes of free reading is excessive, but not everyone's research agrees with yours. So, "excessive" is a relative term.

    BTW, I hesitate to bring this up, but most of you would be floored by how little homework I give compared to most of the other teachers in my school. Just floored, trust me.
     
  35. Peregrin5

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    Okay. But this and that discussion seem to be different. The original question is: "Why is Homework Bad", but I believe it has turned into "Should we even have homework at all?" As A2Z said, should teachers lay claim to the time after contract hours, period? Do we have a right to claim that time?

    I said yes, but my only defense is that I feel that homework is helpful and useful. Does that give me the right to reduce the amount of free time a student has outside of school that a student could possibly be using to spend time with his family (but probably not). I don't know. I actually find that question very interesting, and if legally followed, might result in the abolition of homework altogether by law.
     
  36. Pashtun

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    I am pretty confident that every teacher on these forums know that some students spend quality time with their family and others spend virtually none. It really is silly to think you had to clarify that.

    Also, I NEVER said that is WHAT they were doing. I was responding to a question of what SHOULD they be doing. You misread what my quote was responding to.
     
  37. kcjo13

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    You can turn the conversation into whatever you want it to be. The place where I was irked is when I perceived some teachers implying that their priorities for my family were superior to my own.

    Bottom line, and to answer the original question: Homework in and of itself is not inherently bad, when given responsibly and with respect to the idea of family.

    The idea that because some teachers choose to do their job after contract hours, therefore so too should students is an absurd argument.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, we are getting ready to leave for vacation but first my 8th grader must complete 3 math worksheets. One is math facts through 12's, one is a front and back of her workbook (they didn't have time to work on it today because there was a pep rally for the first football game tonight), and the third is a practice for the state test in April.

    I wish I was kidding.
     
  38. orangetea

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    I disagree with this statement. In my math classes, I don't think I could do a good job teaching the standards if students didn't have independent practice at home. It is one thing to practice a skill in class, but being able to do it at home individually reinforces the skill. Due to the amount of material we have to get through, I often have to teach multiple skills during class.

    Many of my students have found that doing homework improves their ability to master the standards.

    I assign homework that is beneficial to my students. I don't think this means I am not doing my job correctly.
     
  39. kcjo13

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    Fair enough, orange tea. I admit to posting before thinking clearly and that was not a fair statement. What I should have said was:

    If you are teaching concepts thoroughly, allowing for supervised practice, and assigning meaningful practice to reinforce topics, you are doing your job correctly. Anything less is irresponsible and disrespectful to family.
     
  40. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't know where anyone implied that, but that does specifically return to exactly the question A2Z asked earlier. Does a teacher have the right to impose homework outside of contracted hours, since it may conflict with the students' priority for free time or the family's priority?

    What takes greater precedence? Should a child be excused from all homework if the parents states that all after-school time is to be filled with activities that the parent has determined for their child?
     
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