The Pros and Cons of Homework

Ask most children if they like homework and you would expect to get a firm “no” as the answer. Ask parents and you’re more likely to get a mixed response about it. Some schools have rebranded homework as home learning, either way, it’s the same thing. But what are the pros and cons of homework?

Firstly, before we get into the pros and cons of homework, I want to stress that I am not talking about revision for exams here. That’s a whole different ball game. However, it’s undeniable that the two have links and I will discuss that too.

Pros and Cons of Homework

Pros

Solidifies knowledge 

It’s a well-established education concept that homework helps to galvanise what kids have learnt in class. Practising and revising what was learned in the classroom outside of school helps students to strengthen their knowledge

Develops a routine, time management and study skills

Routine and habit are often useful in life, not just school life. Developing a routine and habit around homework and home learning is a skill that will stand a child in good stead as they enter adulthood. If they go on to university, for example, the majority if learning is outside the lecture halls. One of the biggest challenges in life can be organisation and time management, therefore building these skills at an early age will be a huge advantage.

Engaging with studies

School, especially British secondary schools, can feel like very pressured environments. Even with a whole day spent at school, time in class is not always sufficient for kids to fully engage with a subject or topic. Homework allows time and space, with a fresh set of eyes and a clear head, to go over the topic and take in more knowledge. It goes without saying really that it also allows parents to get involved with topics and pass on their own knowledge when required.

Keeping track of progress

Teachers are able to make good judgements on a child’s understanding of a subject or topic from their homework. They can spot when a child is struggling or falling behinds classmates. Of course, submitting homework is also a lesson in responsibility and diligence. When it comes to parent-teacher meetings, homework can also be a good talking point.

Cons

Eats up time

School, especially secondary schools, differ hugely on homework policies. But, some schools set up to 3 hours worth of homework per night. This level of work leaves little or no time for downtime or extracurricular activities once travel and mealtimes are factored in. Having a life and activities, such as dance class or being in a sports team, outside school builds other skills that are often not taught in schools due to curriculum restrictions. Children need time to think about other things, de-stress from school life and spend time with their families.

Saps passion for learning

Homework can sap enthusiasm for learning after kids have spent the whole day at school and then have a stack of homework.

Burn out

With school and extracurricular activities, sitting down to complete homework can seem like a huge task. This often leads kids to feel burnt out, even before reaching the critical latter years of school. Excessive homework can lead to students being deprived of adequate sleep which has serious implications.

Low-value homework

Sometimes, to parents, homework that is set can seem to have little or no value to a child’s learning. Its also often tempting for parents to be a little too enthusiastic with their help and this lowers the value of the home learning too.

Final thoughts

From our own personal perspective, homework is a huge pain in the ass! It’s well documented that our girls enjoy up to 10 hours each of dance and theatre school classes each week. This leaves little time for homework. Our girls’ primary school are aware of this and are a little more accepting of later submission – but we still try to get it all done.

Of course, there’s a hypocritical side of this from us too. Three of the girls actively take part in dance competitions (3 per year) and this requires practice at home. We are far more likely to push that practice than we are school homework. But this comes from the attitude of doing the things you love

Could homework be a thing of the past if the school day were extended a little? Maybe an extra 30 to 45 minutes of free learning time would be a good alternative. Sadly, extending the school day would come at the detriment of dedicated, but already stretched, teachers.

I’d be keen to get your thoughts on this.

Thanks for reading


DIY Daddy
JakiJellz

14 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Homework”

  1. I don’t like homework because of the negative connotations: you have already been shut indoors doing things you don’t usually like, and then they decide to give you even more to do after that! Enough should be enough. Maybe some revision work on Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening might be enough? #ThatFridayLinky

    1. For me, the balance is wrong. It’s easy to blame schools, yet they are under such pressure for the DfE that it’s really not their fault.

  2. Now this is a topic up for debate! I agree on ‘some’ homework. Revision, reading etc. But not the loads they are getting now. My eldest is stuck in this room for hours doing homework and not having much of a social life. I have to remind him to take breaks! #ThatFridayLinky

  3. My sons are both at primary school and get loads of homework, which I think is both counterproductive and unfair given how young they are.

    I believe that they should only have reading to do at home (but that they should read every day as it’s so important) as they do more than enough other work during the school day. All too often, parents end up having to help and this doesn’t really benefit anyone. It’s stressful for kids and parents alike and teachers are busy enough as it is without having to mark extra work.

    It’s inevitable at secondary school, particularly with revision for exams, but I think the amount should be incremental with age. I remember having way too much in years seven and eight and it quickly dampened my enthusiasm for certain subjects.

    1. I do think, especially at primary age, that homework is stealing childhoods. As I said, we’re lucky as ours don’t get as much as some primary schools hand out and they are more relaxed than I know some schools are. Secondary school is a different matter, but while I agree they need to get into a habit of study, they also deserve to have a life away from it too.

  4. Oh, homewrok, homework, homework. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not totally against it, but I think for secondary school pupils, 2 hours a night is way too much. Like your kids, my eldest is hugely into her gymnastics. How she will keep this passion up (which she gets a lot out of) with so much homework as a teen, I do not know. Great thought provoking post.

    1. I know our girls are lucky, some of their friends from other schools get way more than they do. There’s not standard and schools seem to be free to set homework levels at will. Getting into the habit of study is fine, but they should also be free to have a life too.

  5. I’m not really a homework fan, and kids today are doing do much it needs to be a good balance Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  6. Interesting to read but as a very wobbly home educator who tries to put in structure when it is pretty clear it is not that needed as my children are focused and learn anyway every day, I feel it best not to comment further. I worry that children are under too much pressure these days partly from the education system, partly from social media and so on and partly from the push to have every hour of their day scheduled. #TriumphantTales

  7. As a child I loved homework, but hearing parents nowadays, it seems there is too much and most of it is too hard. I mean a six year old being told to learn how to spell Cathedral??? thats just madness. A happy medium needs to be brought back!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

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