Crunching Homework for Lunch

Crunching+Homework+for+Lunch

Elizabeth Pearl Corey, Section Editor

Crunching homework for lunch, struggling to get things done, and stressing all the way out: is mandatory homework really worth all of that? Listen, the 21st Century is no time to spend stuck on questions that may or may not ring relevant to the every-student, or zooming through questions for the sake of getting them done and getting the grade, but not receiving any benefit or growth from doing so. It’s time for we as an advancing society to abolish homework! Or at least make it optional.

According to http://www.alfiekohn.org/homework-improve-learning/, and many experiments, there is no real evidence that homework has any positive effect on students, but it has been proven, through experience and the angry, defeated outcries of the vox populi, to be stressful, time-consuming, and unimportant. In my own experience, I side with the people on the fact that homework does not have any real benefit to students. When scholars sit down, stand up, or log on to do their homework, a looming possibility (and truth) is that they are not putting any effort into their work, and they’re not benefitting from anything by zooming through the work. The majority of students get the work done just to get it done, and this proves the work useless. Besides, students have lives and responsibilities outside of school (jobs and families), and not everyone is trying to pursue careers in the core subjects. Is math homework really going to help an aspiring figure skater reach his or her goals if he or she needs to practice more than sit down and write? Not unless it’s the mathematics and physics behind the sport. Moreover, students are already spending so much time sitting down and busting their brains at school—why devote more time to sitting and brain busting at home? Students need to use that time to move around and give their brains breaks. It’s no wonder that a large percentage of the student population is without the proper fitness. We need to give our scholars the care that they deserve by making homework a choice—not forcing it upon kids and then punishing them for not completing it, causing stress or embarrassment via the assignment and/or through the consequences, in the process.                           

People have already been having success with optional homework. Mrs. O’Flaherty, the psychology teacher, has made homework an optional practice. Her students receive credit for doing it, but there is no penalty for not completing it. She also assigns all of the homework weeks before it’s due, giving students a whole lot of flexibility and more of an educational and academic advantage, in contrast to classes that assign homework the day before it’s due, requiring it to be completed and checked…or else…PENALTY. This is detrimental to a student’s grade, which may or may not determine how their future goes, and is therefore a big, fat Catch 22. Mrs. Donnan of Weldon E. Howitt Middle School has switched to an optional homework program, only requiring assignments that have been mostly completed in class to be finished at home. This has relieved her students of a whole lot of stress, as evidenced by my younger sister’s happy face when she announces to me that she only has a little homework to do! Like Mrs. O’Flaherty, Mrs. Rossi and Mr. Hughes also offer homework in a week or so in advance, giving their students the opportunity to divide their time up wisely, and not stressing them out with a whole lot of work in one night. The A.P. Language/A.P. U.S. History/Humanities 11 teachers are also lenient enough to be flexible with busy students, as long as you communicate with them. It’s obvious that these four teachers are here to help you.

I went to a Summit for educators last year (for Journalism) and I attended a conference about the reduction of homework in the education system. The man who had been informing us had many brilliant points, but I’m only going to touch upon one that directly relates to homework. There was a girl, in a story that he told, who had been able to teach herself a myriad of incredible things. On top of that, she still had to maintain her homework grade. If students were given more time to focus on themselves rather than work, then society could be full of happier, healthier, more successful, increasingly self-actualized people—which is what we as human beings should be prioritizing and aiming directly for. Let’s focus on improving the ones who will be dominating and shaping this world wholly, instead of focusing on stressing them out.

Remember what it was like to be a student. Remember the days where homework was less frequent and free time more so. Remember that homework was originally designed to be a punishment for misbehaving students. Remember that students have lives. And, most importantly, remember that if Brunelleschi’s (creator of Il Duomo in Florence, Italy) blueprints were homework, then he, a master of secrecy (or maybe of “winging it,”) would have failed despite his success and impressiveness, because his “homework” was nowhere to be found.

     

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license