25 Reasons Homework Should Be Banned (Busywork Arguments)

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As students across the globe plow through heaps of homework each night, one question lingers in the minds of educators, parents, and students alike: should homework be banned?

This question is not new, yet it continues to spark lively debate as research findings, anecdotal evidence, and personal experiences paint a complex picture of the pros and cons of homework.

On one hand, proponents of homework argue that it reinforces classroom learning, encourages a disciplined work ethic, and provides teachers with valuable insight into student comprehension. They see homework as an extension of classroom instruction that solidifies and enriches learning while fostering important skills like time management and self-discipline. It also offers an opportunity for parents to be involved in their children's education.

However, some people say there are a lot of downsides. They argue that excessive homework can lead to stress and burnout, reduce time for extracurricular activities and family interactions, exacerbate educational inequalities, and even negatively impact students' mental health.

child stressed about homework

This article presents 25 reasons why we might need to seriously consider this radical shift in our educational approach. But first, lets share some examples of what homework actually is.

Examples of Homework

These examples cover a wide range of subjects and complexity levels, reflecting the variety of homework assignments students might encounter throughout their educational journey.

  • Spelling lists to memorize for a test
  • Math worksheets for practicing basic arithmetic operations
  • Reading assignments from children's books
  • Simple science projects like growing a plant
  • Basic geography assignments like labeling a map
  • Art projects like drawing a family portrait
  • Writing book reports or essays
  • Advanced math problems
  • Research projects on various topics
  • Lab reports for science experiments
  • Reading and responding to literature
  • Preparing presentations on various topics
  • Advanced math problems involving calculus or algebra
  • Reading classic literature and writing analytical essays
  • Research papers on historical events
  • Lab reports for advanced science experiments
  • Foreign language exercises
  • Preparing for standardized tests
  • College application essays
  • Extensive research papers
  • In-depth case studies
  • Advanced problem-solving in subjects like physics, engineering, etc.
  • Thesis or dissertation writing
  • Extensive reading and literature reviews
  • Internship or practicum experiences

Lack of proven benefits

measured scientific results

Homework has long been a staple of traditional education, dating back centuries. However, the actual efficacy of homework in enhancing learning outcomes remains disputed. A number of studies indicate that there's no conclusive evidence supporting the notion that homework improves academic performance, especially in primary education . In fact, research suggests that for younger students, the correlation between homework and academic achievement is weak or even negative .

Too much homework can often lead to increased stress and decreased enthusiasm for learning. This issue becomes particularly pressing when considering the common 'more is better' approach to homework, where the quantity of work given to students often outweighs the quality and effectiveness of the tasks. For instance, spending countless hours memorizing facts for a history test may not necessarily translate to better understanding or long-term retention of the subject matter.

However, it's worth noting that homework isn't completely devoid of benefits. It can help foster self-discipline, time management skills, and the ability to work independently. But, these positive outcomes are usually more pronounced in older students and when homework assignments are thoughtfully designed and not excessive in volume.

When discussing the merits and drawbacks of homework, it's critical to consider the nature of the assignments. Routine, repetitive tasks often associated with 'drill-and-practice' homework, such as completing rows of arithmetic problems or copying definitions from a textbook, rarely lead to meaningful learning. On the other hand, assignments that encourage students to apply what they've learned in class, solve problems, or engage creatively with the material can be more beneficial.

Increased stress

stressed student

Homework can often lead to a significant increase in stress levels among students. This is especially true when students are burdened with large volumes of homework, leaving them with little time to relax or pursue other activities. The feeling of constantly racing against the clock to meet deadlines can contribute to anxiety, frustration, and even burnout.

Contrary to popular belief, stress does not necessarily improve performance or productivity. In fact, high levels of stress can negatively impact memory, concentration, and overall cognitive function. This counteracts the very purpose of homework, which is intended to reinforce learning and improve academic outcomes.

However, one might argue that homework can teach students about time management, organization, and how to handle pressure. These are important life skills that could potentially prepare them for future responsibilities. But it's essential to strike a balance. The pressure to complete homework should not come at the cost of a student's mental wellbeing.

Limited family time

student missing their family

Homework often infringes upon the time students can spend with their families. After spending the entire day in school, children come home to yet more academic work, leaving little room for quality family interactions. This limited family time can hinder the development of important interpersonal skills and familial bonds.

Moreover, family time isn't just about fun and relaxation. It also plays a crucial role in the social and emotional development of children. Opportunities for unstructured play, family conversations, and shared activities can contribute to children's well-being and character building.

Nonetheless, advocates of homework might argue that it can be a platform for parental involvement in a child's education. While this may be true, the involvement should not transform into parental control or cause friction due to differing expectations and pressures.

Reduced physical activity

student doing homework looking outside

Homework can often lead to reduced physical activity by eating into the time students have for sports, recreation, and simply being outdoors. Physical activity is essential for children's health, well-being, and even their academic performance. Research suggests that physical activity can enhance cognitive abilities, improve concentration, and reduce symptoms of ADHD .

Homework, especially when it's boring and repetitive, can deter students from engaging in physical activities, leading to a sedentary lifestyle. This lack of balance between work and play can contribute to physical health problems such as obesity, poor posture, and related health concerns.

Homework proponents might point out that disciplined time management could allow students to balance both work and play. However, given the demanding nature of many homework assignments, achieving this balance is often easier said than done.

Negative impact on sleep

lack of sleep

A significant concern about homework is its impact on students' sleep patterns. Numerous studies have linked excessive homework to sleep deprivation in students. Children often stay up late to complete assignments, reducing the amount of sleep they get. Lack of sleep can result in a host of issues, from poor academic performance and difficulty concentrating to physical health problems like weakened immunity.

Even the quality of sleep can be affected. The stress and anxiety from a heavy workload can lead to difficulty falling asleep or restless nights. And let's not forget that students often need to wake up early for school, compounding the negative effects of late-night homework sessions.

On the other hand, some argue that homework can teach children time management skills, suggesting that effective organization could help prevent late-night work. However, when schools assign excessive amounts of homework, even the best time management might not prevent encroachment on sleep time.

Homework can exacerbate existing educational inequalities. Not all students have access to a conducive learning environment at home, necessary resources, or support from educated family members. For these students, homework can become a source of stress and disadvantage rather than an opportunity to reinforce learning.

Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds might need to contribute to household chores or part-time work, limiting the time they have for homework. This can create a gap in academic performance and grades, reflecting not on the students' abilities but their circumstances.

While homework is meant to level the playing field by providing additional learning time outside school, it often does the opposite. It's worth noting that students from privileged backgrounds can often access additional help like tutoring, further widening the gap.

Reduced creativity and independent thinking

Homework, particularly when it involves rote learning or repetitive tasks, can stifle creativity and independent thinking. Students often focus on getting the "right" answers to please teachers rather than exploring different ideas and solutions. This can hinder their ability to think creatively and solve problems independently, skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern world.

Homework defenders might claim that it can also promote independent learning. True, when thoughtfully designed, homework can encourage this. But, voluminous or repetitive tasks tend to promote compliance over creativity.

Diminished interest in learning

Overburdening students with homework can diminish their interest in learning. After long hours in school followed by more academic tasks at home, learning can begin to feel like a chore. This can lead to a decline in intrinsic motivation and an unhealthy association of learning with stress and exhaustion.

In theory, homework can deepen interest in a subject, especially when it involves projects or research. Yet, an excess of homework, particularly routine tasks, might achieve the opposite, turning learning into a source of stress rather than enjoyment.

Inability to pursue personal interests

Homework can limit students' ability to pursue personal interests. Hobbies, personal projects, and leisure activities are crucial for personal development and well-being. With heavy homework loads, students may struggle to find time for these activities, missing out on opportunities to discover new interests and talents.

Supporters of homework might argue that it teaches students to manage their time effectively. However, even with good time management, an overload of homework can crowd out time for personal interests.

Excessive workload

The issue of excessive workload is a common complaint among students. Spending several hours on homework after a full school day can be mentally and physically draining. This workload can lead to burnout, decreased motivation, and negative attitudes toward school and learning.

While homework can help consolidate classroom learning, too much can be counterproductive. It's important to consider the overall workload of students, including school, extracurricular activities, and personal time, when assigning homework.

Limited time for reflection

Homework can limit the time students have for reflection. Reflection is a critical part of learning, allowing students to digest and integrate new information. With the constant flow of assignments, there's often little time left for this crucial process. Consequently, the learning becomes superficial, and the true understanding of subjects can be compromised.

Although homework is meant to reinforce what's taught in class, the lack of downtime for reflection might hinder deep learning. It's important to remember that learning is not just about doing, but also about thinking.

Increased pressure on young children

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of homework. At an age where play and exploration are vital for cognitive and emotional development, too much homework can create undue pressure and stress. This pressure can instigate a negative relationship with learning from an early age, potentially impacting their future attitude towards education.

Advocates of homework often argue that it prepares children for the rigors of their future academic journey. However, placing too much academic pressure on young children might overshadow the importance of learning through play and exploration.

Lack of alignment with real-world skills

Traditional homework often lacks alignment with real-world skills. Assignments typically focus on academic abilities at the expense of skills like creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. These are crucial for success in the modern workplace and are often under-emphasized in homework tasks.

Homework can be an opportunity to develop these skills when properly structured. However, tasks often focus on memorization and repetition, rather than cultivating skills relevant to the real world.

Loss of motivation

Excessive homework can lead to a loss of motivation. The constant pressure to complete assignments and meet deadlines can diminish a student's intrinsic motivation to learn. This loss of motivation might not only affect their academic performance but also their love of learning, potentially having long-term effects on their educational journey.

Some believe homework instills discipline and responsibility. But, it's important to balance these benefits against the potential for homework to undermine motivation and engagement.

Disruption of work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is as important for students as it is for adults. Overloading students with homework can disrupt this balance, leaving little time for relaxation, socializing, and extracurricular activities. All of these are vital for a student's overall development and well-being.

Homework supporters might argue that it prepares students for the workloads they'll face in college and beyond. But it's also crucial to ensure students have time to relax, recharge, and engage in non-academic activities for a well-rounded development.

Impact on mental health

There's a growing body of evidence showing the negative impact of excessive homework on students' mental health. The stress and anxiety from heavy homework loads can contribute to issues like depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Student well-being should be a top priority in education, and the impact of homework on mental health cannot be ignored.

While some might argue that homework helps students develop resilience and coping skills, it's important to ensure these potential benefits don't come at the expense of students' mental health.

Limited time for self-care

With excessive homework, students often find little time for essential self-care activities. These can include physical exercise, proper rest, healthy eating, mindfulness, or even simple leisure activities. These activities are critical for maintaining physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive function.

Some might argue that managing homework alongside self-care responsibilities teaches students valuable life skills. However, it's important that these skills don't come at the cost of students' health and well-being.

Decreased family involvement

Homework can inadvertently lead to decreased family involvement in a child's learning. Parents often feel unqualified or too busy to help with homework, leading to missed opportunities for family learning interactions. This can also create stress and conflict within the family, especially when parents have high expectations or are unable to assist.

Some believe homework can facilitate parental involvement in education. But, when it becomes a source of stress or conflict, it can discourage parents from engaging in their child's learning.

Reinforcement of inequalities

Homework can unintentionally reinforce inequalities. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds might lack access to resources like private tutors or a quiet study space, placing them at a disadvantage compared to their more privileged peers. Additionally, these students might have additional responsibilities at home, further limiting their time to complete homework.

While the purpose of homework is often to provide additional learning opportunities, it can inadvertently reinforce existing disparities. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that homework doesn't favor students who have more resources at home.

Reduced time for play and creativity

Homework can take away from time for play and creative activities. These activities are not only enjoyable but also crucial for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. Play allows children to explore, imagine, and create, fostering innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Some may argue that homework teaches discipline and responsibility. Yet, it's vital to remember that play also has significant learning benefits and should be a part of every child's daily routine.

Increased cheating and academic dishonesty

The pressure to complete homework can sometimes lead to increased cheating and academic dishonesty. When faced with a large volume of homework, students might resort to copying from friends or searching for answers online. This undermines the educational value of homework and fosters unhealthy academic practices.

While homework is intended to consolidate learning, the risk of promoting dishonest behaviors is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Strained teacher-student relationships

Excessive homework can strain teacher-student relationships. If students begin to associate teachers with stress or anxiety from homework, it can hinder the development of a positive learning relationship. Furthermore, if teachers are perceived as being unfair or insensitive with their homework demands, it can impact the overall classroom dynamic.

While homework can provide an opportunity for teachers to monitor student progress, it's important to ensure that it doesn't negatively affect the teacher-student relationship.

Negative impact on family dynamics

Homework can impact family dynamics. Parents might feel compelled to enforce homework completion, leading to potential conflict, stress, and tension within the family. These situations can disrupt the harmony in the household and strain relationships.

Homework is sometimes seen as a tool to engage parents in their child's education. However, it's crucial to ensure that this involvement doesn't turn into a source of conflict or pressure.

Cultural and individual differences

Homework might not take into account cultural and individual differences. Education is not a one-size-fits-all process, and what works for one student might not work for another. Some students might thrive on hands-on learning, while others prefer auditory or visual learning methods. By standardizing homework, we might ignore these individual learning styles and preferences.

Homework can also overlook cultural differences. For students from diverse cultural backgrounds, certain types of homework might seem irrelevant or difficult to relate to, leading to disengagement or confusion.

Encouragement of surface-level learning

Homework often encourages surface-level learning instead of deep understanding. When students are swamped with homework, they're likely to rush through assignments to get them done, rather than taking the time to understand the concepts. This can result in superficial learning where students memorize information to regurgitate it on assignments and tests, instead of truly understanding and internalizing the knowledge.

While homework is meant to reinforce classroom learning, the quality of learning is more important than the quantity. It's important to design homework in a way that encourages deep, meaningful learning instead of mere rote memorization.

Related posts:

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  • General Adaptation Syndrome Theory
  • Careers in Psychology
  • The Stress Response (General Adaptation Syndome)

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21 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

21 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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homework pros and cons

The homework debate has strong arguments on both sides. Commonly-cited reasons why homework should be banned include the idea that it is often counterproductive, stifles students’ creativity, and limits their freedom outside the classroom.

Students already have up to 7 hours of schoolwork to complete 5 days a week; adding more contributes to increased anxiety, burnout, and overall poor performance.

But arguments for homework include the fact it does increase student grades (Cooper, Robinson & Patall, 2006), it instils discipline, and it helps to reinforce what was learned into long-term memory.

The following are common arguments for banning homework – note that this is an article written to stimulate debate points on the topic, so it only presents one perspective. For the other side of the argument, it’s worth checking out my article on the 27 pros and cons of homework .

Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. it contributes to increased anxiety.

If there’s one word that describes middle-school and high-school students, it’s anxiety. In my homework statistics article , I cite research showing that 74% of students cite homework as a source of stress.

They have so much to juggle, from the novelty of adolescence to the realization that they must soon start preparing for college and their life after (Pressman et al., 2015).

It’s a lot to manage, and adding homework that reduces their free time and makes them even more restricted is downright harmful. The natural outcome of this dogpile of pressure is anxiety, and many students often feel overwhelmed, both by the hours and hours of coursework in a day and the extensive homework they are assigned (Galloway, Conner & Pope, 2013).

Because teachers often don’t communicate with one another over curricula, major assignments can overlap such that students have to tackle numerous large projects at once, which contributes to severe anxiety over good grades.

In response to this, some students check out of school entirely, letting their academic future go to waste. While, of course, it’s not fair to strawman and say that homework is to blame for all these cases, it may indeed by a contributing factor.

2. It Offers Less Social Time

Homework cuts out free time. Children already spend the better part of their day learning in a school environment, and when they come home, they need to socialize.

Whether it’s family or friends, a social balance is important. Depending on the coursework they’re assigned, homework can detrimentally affect students’ social life, which feed back into more of our first gripe about homework: its anxiety-inducing nature.

Furthermore, social time is extremely important for children to grow up well-balanced and confident. If a child is highly intelligent (book smart) but lacks to social skills we might call street smarts , they may struggle in adulthood.

3. It Detracts from Play Time

Play is extremely important for children’s physical, social, and cognitive development . In fact, children naturally learn through play .

So, when children get home from school, they need a few hours to play. They’re actually learning when playing! If playing with friends, they’re learning social skills; but playing alone also stimulates creative and analytical thinking skills.

Play is also a different type of learning than the learning that commonly happens at school. So, allowing children to play at home gives their brain a break from ‘school learning’ and lets them learn through active and even relaxing methods.

4. It Discourages Physical Exercise and Contributes to Obesity

Exercise is an important part of life for everyone, but especially for children. Developing a positive self-image and disciplining oneself is an important skill to learn, one that becomes much more difficult when homework is in the picture.

Homework can demand a lot of attention that kids could be spending exercising or socializing. These two important life pursuits can be left by the wayside, leaving students feeling confused, depressed, and anxious about the future.

Physical exercise should be considered a key feature of a child’s holistic development. It helps keep children healthy, can reduce anxiety, and support healthy immune systems. It also helps with physical development such as supporting fine and gross motor skills .

In fact, some scholars (Ren et al., 2017) have even identified excessive homework as a contributing factor for childhood obesity.

5. It Disrupts Sleep Patterns

Everyone knows the trope of a college student staying up late to finish their homework or cram for a test.

While it would be unfair to credit homework exclusively for an unhealthy sleep schedule, the constant pressure to finish assignments on time often yields one of two results.

Students can either burn the midnight oil to make sure their homework is done, or they can check out of school entirely and ignore their academic interests. Neither is an acceptable way to live.

This point is particularly pertinent to teenagers. They are not lazy; teens need 12-13 hours of sleep every day because their bodies are changing so dramatically.

To pile additional homework on them that interferes with the circadian rhythm is not just unhelpful—it may be downright harmful (Yeo et al., 2020).

6. It Involves Less Guidance

If there’s one thing that’s beneficial about the in-person learning experience, it’s the ability to raise one’s hand and let the teacher know when something is unclear or difficult to understand.

That handheld process isn’t available for homework; in fact, homework matters little in the grand scheme of learning. It’s just busywork that’s supposed to help students consolidate their knowledge.

In reality, homework becomes something that students resent and can fill them with feelings of frustration—something that would be much more readily addressed if the same content was covered in-person with a teacher to guide the student through the assignment.

7. It’s Regularly Rote Learning

In most subjects, homework isn’t reflective of the skills students need to learn to thrive in the workforce. Instead, it often simply involves rote learning (repetition of tasks) that is not seen as the best way to learn.

A main goal of education is to train up vocational professionals with defined skills. But more often than not, homework winds up as a bland set of word problems that have no basis in the real world.

Walking through real-world examples under the guidance of a teacher is much more beneficial to student learning.

8. It Can Detract from a Love of Learning

If you know what it’s like to doze off during a boring class or meeting, then you can relate to the difficulty students have paying attention in class.

That motivation starts to dwindle when students must complete assignments on their own time, often under immense pressure.

It’s not a healthy way to inspire kids to learn about different subjects and develop a love of learning.

Students already need to sit through hours and hours of class on end in-person. This learning time should be used more effectively to eliminate the need for home.

When children finally get out of class at the end of the day, they need to socialize and exercise, not spend even longer staring at a book to complete a bunch of unhelpful practice questions.

9. It Convolutes the Subject

Another important consideration about homework is that it can often be counterproductive.

That’s because teachers don’t always use the full curriculum material for their teaching, and they may choose to develop their own homework rather than to use the resources offered by the curriculum provider.

This homework can often be off-subject, extremely niche, or unhelpful in explaining a subject that students are studying.

Students who don’t understand a subject and don’t have resources to rely on will eventually give up. That risk becomes even more prevalent when you factor in the scope, complexity, and type of assignment.

Students need to be taught in a safe environment where they can feel free to ask questions and learn at their own pace. Of course, there’s no fairytale way to perfect this ideal, but what is clear is that homework is not beneficial to the learning environment for many students.

10. It’s Not What Kids Want

Lastly, homework should be banned because it’s generally not what students want. From elementary to college level, most students harbor some sort of resentment towards homework.

It might be easy to dismiss this to say that the students “aren’t living in the real world.” The truth of the matter is that the real world is a lot more nuanced, creative, and diverse than the repetitive, broad, and often stagnant homework.

It’s easy to understand why most students wish that more time in school had been spent on learning how to live rather than trying to figure out how many apples Johnny had. Subjects like car maintenance, entrepreneurship, computer skills, socialization, networking, tax filing, finances, and survival are touched on at best and ignored at worst.

It’s not enough for students to be able to regurgitate information on a piece of paper; in the end, the education system should teach them how to be self-sufficient, something that might be much easier to do if resources were divested from homework and poured into more beneficial subject material.

Consider these 11 Additional Reasons

  • Decreases time with parents – Homework may prevent parents and children from spending quality time together.
  • Hidden costs – Families often feel pressure to purchase internet and other resources to help their children to complete their homework.
  • Is inequitable – some children have parents to help them while others don’t. Similarly, some children have internet access to help while others don’t (see: Kralovec & Buell, 2001).
  • Easy to cheat – Unsupervised homework time makes it easy for children to simply cheat on their work so they can get on with play time!
  • Lack of downtime – Children need time where they aren’t doing anything. Time that is unstructured helps them to develop hobbies and interests .
  • Detracts from reading – Children could be spending their time reading books and developing their imaginations rather than working on repetitive homework tasks.
  • Take up parental time – Parents, who have just spent all day working, are increasingly expected to spend their time doing ‘teaching’ with their children at home.
  • Discourages club membership – If children are too busy with homework, they may not be able to join clubs and sporting groups that can help them make friends and develop extracurricular skills.
  • Makes it hard for college students to make a living – In college, where homework is extensive, students often can’t juggle homework with their weekend and night-time jobs. As a result, it pushes them further into student poverty.
  • Contributes to poor work-life culture – From early ages, we’re sending a message to children that they should take their work home with them. This can spill over into the workplace, where they’ll be expected to continue working for their company even after the workday ends.
  • Can reinforce faulty learning – When children learn in isolation during homework time, they may end up practicing their work completely wrong! They need intermittent support to make sure their practice is taking them down the right path.

Students may need to demonstrate their understanding of a topic to progress; that, at least, is a reflection of the real world. What’s not helpful is when students are peppered day and night with information that they need to regurgitate on a piece of paper.

For positive outcomes to come from homework, parents and teachers need to work together. It depends a lot on the type of homework provided as well as the age of the student and the need to balance homework with time to do other things in your life.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003.  Review of educational research ,  76 (1), 1-62.

Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools.  The journal of experimental education ,  81 (4), 490-510. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.745469

Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001).  The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Beacon Press.

Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and family stress: With consideration of parents’ self confidence, educational level, and cultural background.  The American Journal of Family Therapy ,  43 (4), 297-313. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407

Ren, H., Zhou, Z., Liu, W., Wang, X., & Yin, Z. (2017). Excessive homework, inadequate sleep, physical inactivity and screen viewing time are major contributors to high paediatric obesity.  Acta Paediatrica ,  106 (1), 120-127. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13640

Yeo, S. C., Tan, J., Lo, J. C., Chee, M. W., & Gooley, J. J. (2020). Associations of time spent on homework or studying with nocturnal sleep behavior and depression symptoms in adolescents from Singapore.  Sleep Health ,  6 (6), 758-766. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2020.04.011

Chris

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homework being banned

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

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Should homework be banned?

Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

We’ve all done it: pretended to leave an essay at home, or stayed up until 2am to finish a piece of coursework we’ve been ignoring for weeks. Homework, for some people, is seen as a chore that’s ‘wrecking kids’ or ‘killing parents’, while others think it is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The problem is far from new: public debates about homework have been raging since at least the early-1900s, and recently spilled over into a Twitter feud between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.

Ironically, the conversation surrounding homework often ignores the scientific ‘homework’ that researchers have carried out. Many detailed studies have been conducted, and can guide parents, teachers and administrators to make sensible decisions about how much work should be completed by students outside of the classroom.

So why does homework stir up such strong emotions? One reason is that, by its very nature, it is an intrusion of schoolwork into family life. I carried out a study in 2005, and found that the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, from nursery right up to the end of compulsory education, has greatly increased over the last century . This means that more of a child’s time is taken up with education, so family time is reduced. This increases pressure on the boundary between the family and the school.

Plus, the amount of homework that students receive appears to be increasing, especially in the early years when parents are keen for their children to play with friends and spend time with the family.

Finally, success in school has become increasingly important to success in life. Parents can use homework to promote, or exercise control over, their child’s academic trajectory, and hopefully ensure their future educational success. But this often leaves parents conflicted – they want their children to be successful in school, but they don’t want them to be stressed or upset because of an unmanageable workload.

François Hollande says homework is unfair, as it penalises children who have a difficult home environment © Getty Images

However, the issue isn’t simply down to the opinions of parents, children and their teachers – governments also like to get involved. In the autumn of 2012, French president François Hollande hit world headlines after making a comment about banning homework, ostensibly because it promoted inequality. The Chinese government has also toyed with a ban, because of concerns about excessive academic pressure being put on children.

The problem is, some politicians and national administrators regard regulatory policy in education as a solution for a wide array of social, economic and political issues, perhaps without considering the consequences for students and parents.

Does homework work?

Homework seems to generally have a positive effect for high school students, according to an extensive range of empirical literature. For example, Duke University’s Prof Harris Cooper carried out a meta-analysis using data from US schools, covering a period from 1987 to 2003. He found that homework offered a general beneficial impact on test scores and improvements in attitude, with a greater effect seen in older students. But dig deeper into the issue and a complex set of factors quickly emerges, related to how much homework students do, and exactly how they feel about it.

In 2009, Prof Ulrich Trautwein and his team at the University of Tübingen found that in order to establish whether homework is having any effect, researchers must take into account the differences both between and within classes . For example, a teacher may assign a good deal of homework to a lower-level class, producing an association between more homework and lower levels of achievement. Yet, within the same class, individual students may vary significantly in how much homework improves their baseline performance. Plus, there is the fact that some students are simply more efficient at completing their homework than others, and it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint just what type of homework, and how much of it, will affect overall academic performance.

Over the last century, the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school has greatly increased

Gender is also a major factor. For example, a study of US high school students carried out by Prof Gary Natriello in the 1980s revealed that girls devote more time to homework than boys, while a follow-up study found that US girls tend to spend more time on mathematics homework than boys. Another study, this time of African-American students in the US, found that eighth grade (ages 13-14) girls were more likely to successfully manage both their tasks and emotions around schoolwork, and were more likely to finish homework.

So why do girls seem to respond more positively to homework? One possible answer proposed by Eunsook Hong of the University of Nevada in 2011 is that teachers tend to rate girls’ habits and attitudes towards work more favourably than boys’. This perception could potentially set up a positive feedback loop between teacher expectations and the children’s capacity for academic work based on gender, resulting in girls outperforming boys. All of this makes it particularly difficult to determine the extent to which homework is helping, though it is clear that simply increasing the time spent on assignments does not directly correspond to a universal increase in learning.

Can homework cause damage?

The lack of empirical data supporting homework in the early years of education, along with an emerging trend to assign more work to this age range, appears to be fuelling parental concerns about potential negative effects. But, aside from anecdotes of increased tension in the household, is there any evidence of this? Can doing too much homework actually damage children?

Evidence suggests extreme amounts of homework can indeed have serious effects on students’ health and well-being. A Chinese study carried out in 2010 found a link between excessive homework and sleep disruption: children who had less homework had better routines and more stable sleep schedules. A Canadian study carried out in 2015 by Isabelle Michaud found that high levels of homework were associated with a greater risk of obesity among boys, if they were already feeling stressed about school in general.

For useful revision guides and video clips to assist with learning, visit BBC Bitesize . This is a free online study resource for UK students from early years up to GCSEs and Scottish Highers.

It is also worth noting that too much homework can create negative effects that may undermine any positives. These negative consequences may not only affect the child, but also could also pile on the stress for the whole family, according to a recent study by Robert Pressman of the New England Centre for Pediatric Psychology. Parents were particularly affected when their perception of their own capacity to assist their children decreased.

What then, is the tipping point, and when does homework simply become too much for parents and children? Guidelines typically suggest that children in the first grade (six years old) should have no more that 10 minutes per night, and that this amount should increase by 10 minutes per school year. However, cultural norms may greatly affect what constitutes too much.

A study of children aged between 8 and 10 in Quebec defined high levels of homework as more than 30 minutes a night, but a study in China of children aged 5 to 11 deemed that two or more hours per night was excessive. It is therefore difficult to create a clear standard for what constitutes as too much homework, because cultural differences, school-related stress, and negative emotions within the family all appear to interact with how homework affects children.

Should we stop setting homework?

In my opinion, even though there are potential risks of negative effects, homework should not be banned. Small amounts, assigned with specific learning goals in mind and with proper parental support, can help to improve students’ performance. While some studies have generally found little evidence that homework has a positive effect on young children overall, a 2008 study by Norwegian researcher Marte Rønning found that even some very young children do receive some benefit. So simply banning homework would mean that any particularly gifted or motivated pupils would not be able to benefit from increased study. However, at the earliest ages, very little homework should be assigned. The decisions about how much and what type are best left to teachers and parents.

As a parent, it is important to clarify what goals your child’s teacher has for homework assignments. Teachers can assign work for different reasons – as an academic drill to foster better study habits, and unfortunately, as a punishment. The goals for each assignment should be made clear, and should encourage positive engagement with academic routines.

Parents who play an active role in homework routines can help give their kids a more positive experience of learning © Getty Images

Parents should inform the teachers of how long the homework is taking, as teachers often incorrectly estimate the amount of time needed to complete an assignment, and how it is affecting household routines. For young children, positive teacher support and feedback is critical in establishing a student’s positive perception of homework and other academic routines. Teachers and parents need to be vigilant and ensure that homework routines do not start to generate patterns of negative interaction that erode students’ motivation.

Likewise, any positive effects of homework are dependent on several complex interactive factors, including the child’s personal motivation, the type of assignment, parental support and teacher goals. Creating an overarching policy to address every single situation is not realistic, and so homework policies tend to be fixated on the time the homework takes to complete. But rather than focusing on this, everyone would be better off if schools worked on fostering stronger communication between parents, teachers and students, allowing them to respond more sensitively to the child’s emotional and academic needs.

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Homework could have an impact on kids’ health. Should schools ban it?

homework being banned

Professor of Education, Penn State

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Gerald K. LeTendre has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation.

Penn State provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

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homework being banned

Reformers in the Progressive Era (from the 1890s to 1920s) depicted homework as a “sin” that deprived children of their playtime . Many critics voice similar concerns today.

Yet there are many parents who feel that from early on, children need to do homework if they are to succeed in an increasingly competitive academic culture. School administrators and policy makers have also weighed in, proposing various policies on homework .

So, does homework help or hinder kids?

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have been investigating international patterns in homework using databases like the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) . If we step back from the heated debates about homework and look at how homework is used around the world, we find the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher social inequality.

Does homework result in academic success?

Let’s first look at the global trends on homework.

Undoubtedly, homework is a global phenomenon ; students from all 59 countries that participated in the 2007 Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS) reported getting homework. Worldwide, only less than 7% of fourth graders said they did no homework.

TIMSS is one of the few data sets that allow us to compare many nations on how much homework is given (and done). And the data show extreme variation.

For example, in some nations, like Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco, more than one in five fourth graders reported high levels of homework. In Japan, less than 3% of students indicated they did more than four hours of homework on a normal school night.

TIMSS data can also help to dispel some common stereotypes. For instance, in East Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan – countries that had the top rankings on TIMSS average math achievement – reported rates of heavy homework that were below the international mean.

In the Netherlands, nearly one out of five fourth graders reported doing no homework on an average school night, even though Dutch fourth graders put their country in the top 10 in terms of average math scores in 2007.

Going by TIMSS data, the US is neither “ A Nation at Rest” as some have claimed, nor a nation straining under excessive homework load . Fourth and eighth grade US students fall in the middle of the 59 countries in the TIMSS data set, although only 12% of US fourth graders reported high math homework loads compared to an international average of 21%.

So, is homework related to high academic success?

At a national level, the answer is clearly no. Worldwide, homework is not associated with high national levels of academic achievement .

But, the TIMSS can’t be used to determine if homework is actually helping or hurting academic performance overall , it can help us see how much homework students are doing, and what conditions are associated with higher national levels of homework.

We have typically found that the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher levels of social inequality – not hallmarks that most countries would want to emulate.

Impact of homework on kids

TIMSS data also show us how even elementary school kids are being burdened with large amounts of homework.

Almost 10% of fourth graders worldwide (one in 10 children) reported spending multiple hours on homework each night. Globally, one in five fourth graders report 30 minutes or more of homework in math three to four times a week.

These reports of large homework loads should worry parents, teachers and policymakers alike.

Empirical studies have linked excessive homework to sleep disruption , indicating a negative relationship between the amount of homework, perceived stress and physical health.

homework being banned

What constitutes excessive amounts of homework varies by age, and may also be affected by cultural or family expectations. Young adolescents in middle school, or teenagers in high school, can study for longer duration than elementary school children.

But for elementary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact . Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption .

Even though some cultures may normalize long periods of studying for elementary age children, there is no evidence to support that this level of homework has clear academic benefits . Also, when parents and children conflict over homework, and strong negative emotions are created, homework can actually have a negative association with academic achievement.

Should there be “no homework” policies?

Administrators and policymakers have not been reluctant to wade into the debates on homework and to formulate policies . France’s president, Francois Hollande, even proposed that homework be banned because it may have inegaliatarian effects.

However, “zero-tolerance” homework policies for schools, or nations, are likely to create as many problems as they solve because of the wide variation of homework effects. Contrary to what Hollande said, research suggests that homework is not a likely source of social class differences in academic achievement .

Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.

Policymakers and researchers should look more closely at the connection between poverty, inequality and higher levels of homework. Rather than seeing homework as a “solution,” policymakers should question what facets of their educational system might impel students, teachers and parents to increase homework loads.

At the classroom level, in setting homework, teachers need to communicate with their peers and with parents to assure that the homework assigned overall for a grade is not burdensome, and that it is indeed having a positive effect.

Perhaps, teachers can opt for a more individualized approach to homework. If teachers are careful in selecting their assignments – weighing the student’s age, family situation and need for skill development – then homework can be tailored in ways that improve the chance of maximum positive impact for any given student.

I strongly suspect that when teachers face conditions such as pressure to meet arbitrary achievement goals, lack of planning time or little autonomy over curriculum, homework becomes an easy option to make up what could not be covered in class.

Whatever the reason, the fact is a significant percentage of elementary school children around the world are struggling with large homework loads. That alone could have long-term negative consequences for their academic success.

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Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

Homework was a staple of the public and private schooling experience for many of us growing up. There were long nights spent on book reports, science projects, and all of those repetitive math sheets. In many ways, it felt like an inevitable part of the educational experience. Unless you could power through all of your assignments during your free time in class, then there was going to be time spent at home working on specific subjects.

More schools are looking at the idea of banning homework from the modern educational experience. Instead of sending work home with students each night, they are finding alternative ways to ensure that each student can understand the curriculum without involving the uncertainty of parental involvement.

Although banning homework might seem like an unorthodox process, there are legitimate advantages to consider with this effort. There are some disadvantages which some families may encounter as well.

These are the updated lists of the pros and cons of banning homework to review.

List of the Pros of Banning Homework

1. Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes. The reality of homework for the modern student is that we do not know if it is helpful to have extra work assigned to them outside of the classroom. Every study that has looked at the subject has had design flaws which causes the data collected to be questionable at best. Although there is some information to suggest that students in seventh grade and higher can benefit from limited homework, banning it for students younger than that seems to be beneficial for their learning experience.

2. Banning homework can reduce burnout issues with students. Teachers are seeing homework stress occur in the classroom more frequently today than ever before. Almost half of all high school teachers in North America have seen this issue with their students at some point during the year. About 25% of grade school teachers say that they have seen the same thing.

When students are dealing with the impact of homework on their lives, it can have a tremendously adverse impact. One of the most cited reasons for students dropping out of school is that they cannot complete their homework on time.

3. Banning homework would increase the amount of family time available to students. Homework creates a significant disruption to family relationships. Over half of all parents in North America say that they have had a significant argument with their children over homework in the past month. 1/3 of families say that homework is their primary source of struggle in the home. Not only does it reduce the amount of time that everyone has to spend together, it reduces the chances that parents have to teach their own skills and belief systems to their kids.

4. It reduces the negative impact of homework on the health of a student. Many students suffer academically when they cannot finish a homework assignment on time. Although assumptions are often made about the time management skills of the individual when this outcome occurs, the reasons why it happens is usually more complex. It may be too difficult, too boring, or there may not be enough time in the day to complete the work.

When students experience failure in this area, it can lead to severe mental health issues. Some perceive themselves as a scholarly failure, which translates to an inability to live life successfully. It can disrupt a desire to learn. There is even an increased risk of suicide for some youth because of this issue. Banning it would reduce these risks immediately.

5. Eliminating homework would allow for an established sleep cycle. The average high school student requires between 8-10 hours of sleep to function at their best the next day. Grade-school students may require an extra hour or two beyond that figure. When teachers assign homework, then it increases the risk for each individual that they will not receive the amount that they require each night.

When children do not get enough sleep, a significant rest deficit occurs which can impact their ability to pay attention in school. It can cause unintended weight gain. There may even be issues with emotional control. Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well.

6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation. When these emotions are present, then a student is more likely to feel “down and out” mentally and physically. They lack meaningful connections with other people. These feelings are the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. If students are spending time on homework, then they are not spending time connecting with their family and friends.

7. It reduces the repetition that students face in the modern learning process. Most of the tasks that homework requires of students is repetitive and uninteresting. Kids love to resolve challenges on tasks that they are passionate about at that moment in their lives. Forcing them to complete the same problems repetitively as a way to “learn” core concepts can create issues with knowledge retention later in life. When you add in the fact that most lessons sent for homework must be done by themselves, banning homework will reduce the repetition that students face, allowing for a better overall outcome.

8. Home environments can be chaotic. Although some students can do homework in a quiet room without distractions, that is not the case for most kids. There are numerous events that happen at home which can pull a child’s attention away from the work that their teacher wants them to do. It isn’t just the Internet, video games, and television which are problematic either. Household chores, family issues, employment, and athletic requirements can make it a challenge to get the assigned work finished on time.

List of the Cons of Banning Homework

1. Homework allows parents to be involved with the educational process. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their children about what they are learning, the answers tend to be in generalities instead of specifics. By sending home work from the classroom, it allows parents to see and experience the work that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then moms and dads can get involved with the learning process to reinforce the core concepts that were discovered by their children each day.

2. It can help parents and teachers identify learning disabilities. Many children develop a self-defense mechanism which allows them to appear like any other kid that is in their classroom. This process allows them to hide learning disabilities which may be hindering their educational progress. The presence of homework makes it possible for parents and teachers to identify this issue because kids can’t hide their struggles when they must work 1-on-1 with their parents on specific subjects. Banning homework would eliminate 50% of the opportunities to identify potential issues immediately.

3. Homework allows teachers to observe how their students understand the material. Teachers often use homework as a way to gauge how well a student is understanding the materials they are learning. Although some might point out that assignments and exams in the classroom can do the same thing, testing often requires preparation at home. It creates more anxiety and stress sometimes then even homework does. That is why banning it can be problematic for some students. Some students experience more pressure than they would during this assessment process when quizzes and tests are the only measurement of their success.

4. It teaches students how to manage their time wisely. As people grow older, they realize that time is a finite commodity. We must manage it wisely to maximize our productivity. Homework assignments are a way to encourage the development of this skill at an early age. The trick is to keep the amount of time required for the work down to a manageable level. As a general rule, students should spend about 10 minutes each school day doing homework, organizing their schedule around this need. If there are scheduling conflicts, then this process offers families a chance to create priorities.

5. Homework encourages students to be accountable for their role. Teachers are present in the classroom to offer access to information and skill-building opportunities that can improve the quality of life for each student. Administrators work to find a curriculum that will benefit the most people in an efficient way. Parents work hard to ensure their kids make it to school on time, follow healthy routines, and communicate with their school district to ensure the most effective learning opportunities possible. None of that matters if the student is not invested in the work in the first place. Homework assignments not only teach children how to work independently, but they also show them how to take responsibility for their part of the overall educational process.

6. It helps to teach important life lessons. Homework is an essential tool in the development of life lessons, such as communicating with others or comprehending something they have just read. It teaches kids how to think, solve problems, and even build an understanding for the issues that occur in our society right now. Many of the issues that lead to the idea to ban homework occur because someone in the life of a student communicated to them that this work was a waste of time. There are times in life when people need to do things that they don’t like or want to do. Homework helps a student begin to find the coping skills needed to be successful in that situation.

7. Homework allows for further research into class materials. Most classrooms offer less than 1 hour of instruction per subject during the day. For many students, that is not enough time to obtain a firm grasp on the materials being taught. Having homework assignments allows a student to perform more research, using their at-home tools to take a deeper look into the materials that would otherwise be impossible if homework was banned. That process can lead to a more significant understanding of the concepts involved, reducing anxiety levels because they have a complete grasp on the materials.

The pros and cons of banning homework is a decision that ultimately lies with each school district. Parents always have the option to pursue homeschooling or online learning if they disagree with the decisions that are made in this area. Whether you’re for more homework or want to see less of it, we can all agree on the fact that the absence of any reliable data about its usefulness makes it a challenge to know for certain which option is the best one to choose in this debate.

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Should Homework Be Banned? Here’s What Real Educators Think

Plus, what research on the subject really tells us.

Should Schools Ban Homework

Every kid dreams of it: “Homework banned forevermore!” For as long as anyone can remember, homework has just been one of those things kids have to do because it’s good for them, like eating their vegetables. But is it really as important to do hours of homework every night as it is to eat broccoli and carrots? New research suggests homework might not have a whole lot of value. This leads to a big question: Should we ban homework?

“I think parents already have enough stress just in providing for their families!” says one Arizona first grade teacher. “I can imagine one more chore of having to sit down and do homework with their child would add that much more stress. Kids don’t like doing homework, so it frustrates them which in turn frustrates parents. They spend time fighting about homework that they could be spending quality time over a board game or family meal!”

We wanted to know more, as every educator should. So, we combed through recent research to see what experts say, and explored the news to see what schools in the US and abroad have tried. Plus, we asked 40+ active K-12 educators to share their thoughts. Here’s what we found out.

Does homework actually work?

This is one of the biggest questions people have around homework bans. Is it worth the time students are spending on it? How many kids actually do it consistently? How involved do parents need to be? In short: does homework have value?

What the Research Says

Educators first started asking serious questions about homework more than 20 years ago, when an article that evaluated decades of research on homework suggested that it might not be as effective as we thought, at least in the lower grades . But other studies on homework indicate that students who do homework as assigned have higher academic outcomes overall, especially in grades 7 through 12.

What Real Educators Say

Most of the teachers that responded to our survey felt homework (especially for upper grades) does have at least some value. Many, though, were less concerned with academic benefits and more with developing general life skills like time management and responsibility.

  • “For older students, reasonable homework that is preparation for class the next day helps students learn how to manage their time, meet deadlines, and take responsibility for their learning. I am a fan of flipped learning—students watch the lesson for homework and then use class time to ask questions, work together, work with their teacher, and do the work.” -Julie Mason, MS/HS English Teacher
  • “In middle school and high school, homework is important because it helps build stamina and potential study habits for college/trade schools.” -Desiree T., Elementary Teacher
  • “Homework is good practice for subjects like math. In other subjects, it is good for reviewing subject matter.” -Ohio 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • “The proper amount of homework that is relevant to the daily lessons will help reinforce the skill and allow parents to see what their child is learning.” -Joanie B., Texas 4th/6th Grade Teacher
  • “It’s not beneficial; parents today have not been taught how to help with new strategies. They are also often so busy that they can not be bothered to help so they just give the answers. I saw a lot of this during the pandemic and even after when I would have 1st graders tell me they knew the answer ‘because they just know it.’ Not to mention the students who would actually benefit from having the extra practice of homework often times do not have the support at home.” -Georgia Third Grade Teacher
  • “In my 8 years of teaching, homework has never been successful for families or me. For majority of parents and kids it’s overwhelming. It is also additional work for teachers to manage. This is another extension and overreach of the expectations of the teacher.” -Lauren Anderson, Ohio Fourth Grade Teacher
  • “Homework isn’t busy work. How will today’s youth become tomorrow’s leaders (or survive college/trades classes) if they aren’t practicing skills to the next level?” -Arizona First Grade Teacher

Should we ban homework in elementary school?

Most adults today didn’t have homework in kindergarten, so they’re surprised when their child arrives home with a backpack full of worksheets. Older elementary students frequently bring home big projects like making a diorama or creating a family tree, something that usually means a lot of parent involvement. Is homework at this age reasonable and meaningful?

Supporters of a homework ban often cite research from John Hattie, who concluded that elementary school homework has no effect on academic progress. In a podcast he said, “Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero … It’s one of those lower hanging fruits that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, ‘Is it really making a difference?'”

The general wisdom these days seems to point to less homework overall at the elementary level, with one huge exception: reading. The research agrees: kids need to read at home as well as at school. Most educators recommend kids spend at least 20 minutes reading at home, every single day.

More than half of our survey respondents (56%) are in favor of banning homework for the elementary grades. They worried about kids not having support or resources at home, and taking away their time for creative play or family activities. But some teachers still find value in elementary homework, especially for math and reading, as long as it’s minimal.

  • “The common push for homework in elementary schools is ‘to prepare them for high school.’ That’s overreach. The elementary child’s job is to be an elementary child. We need to teach children where they are.” -Lauren Anderson
  • “In elementary school, there should be a mixture of homework and unhomework activities. For example, a homework menu with a list of activities to complete for the month or for the week: read in pajamas for 20 minutes, complete 3 math sheets, help cook dinner, have a family movie night, write your first and last name 10 times, help pack your snack, etc.” -Desiree T.
  • “No homework should be part of the teacher motto—work smarter, not harder. Teachers spend too much time grading homework. I believe teachers and students should commit to making every minute count in the classroom so everyone can go home and just be with family.” -Jennifer N., Fifth Grade Teacher
  • “Students are learning new concepts. There is not a guarantee that someone will be able to help them with these tasks. Practicing incorrectly is worse than no practice at all.” -High School Resource Specialist
  • “Kids should be encouraged to read [at home] and spend time with families and friends.” -Elementary English Language Development Teacher

How much homework is enough (or too much)?

If we agree that that answer to “should we ban homework altogether” is “no,” then how much homework is reasonable? The answer seems to vary by grade level, as you would expect. But many point out the need to focus on the quality of homework over the quantity. And there have been increasing calls to let kids enjoy their longer school breaks without homework hanging over their heads .

A 2019 study showed that teenagers have doubled the amount of time they spend on homework since the 1990s. This study found that teens spend about an hour a day doing homework on average, which many would argue isn’t unreasonable. But in another study , kids self-reported doing an average of three hours of homework a night, which seems a lot more significant.

The National PTA and the NEA recommend kids do about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. In other words, a third grader should do 30 minutes of homework. A 12th grader would do 120 minutes, or two full hours.

Perhaps more important than, “How much homework?” is, “What kind of homework?” Meaningful practice of what kids learned in class that day can be helpful. Busywork is not. And assigning really difficult work for kids to tackle at home, without any help from a teacher or other expert voice, is likely to simply frustrate them. Unfortunately, most teachers don’t receive training on how to assign homework that is meaningful and relevant to students. This is another area where we really need to consider a major culture shift.

While 75% of those surveyed say homework has some value in the upper grades at least, most feel it shouldn’t be excessive. Teachers stressed that it should never be used as punishment. Plus, it’s important to remember not all kids have the same access to help and resources outside the classroom.

  • “Homework is important but I also believe it shouldn’t exceed 30-60 minutes a night.” -Desiree T.
  • “I do think elementary students should practice their reading, and maybe 10 minutes of math [at home]. That may look different for each child due to how long it may take them to complete something.” -Wisconsin Elementary Special Education Teacher
  • “Elementary students are not too young to have homework once or twice a week. More than that would be too much.” -Tanya T., HS ELA Teacher
  • “In order to prepare students for high school I feel 20-30 minutes of homework is okay [in elementary school].” -Florida Fifth Grade Teacher
  • “A ton of homework in every subject is ridiculous. But having to read parts of a book or an article and do several math problems should not be burdensome. And the benefit of those two things is documented.” -Teresa Rennie, Pennsylvania Eighth Grade Teacher
  • “I encourage my elementary students to read a little every day to develop a love of reading.” -Meenal Parikh, Ohio First Grade Teacher
  • “I think some homework is reasonable. Should it be a hindrance to other other activities or a major inconvenience? No. Some is good, but it doesn’t need to be an every night thing.” -Patrick Danz, Michigan High School ELA Teacher

Are there benefits to less (or no) homework?

Some schools have already banned homework, in the US and around the world. In April 2024, Poland enacted a homework ban for students in grades 1 through 3. In grades 4-8, homework must be optional, and can’t count toward a student’s grade. Finnish schools are famous for assigning less homework at all ages , yet continuing to score highly in international rankings. So what are the benefits of freeing kids from homework?

Prioritizing mental health is at the forefront of the homework ban movement. Leaders say they want to give students time to develop other hobbies, relationships, and balance in their lives. When two Utah elementary schools officially banned homework , they found psychologist referrals for anxiety decreased by 50 percent.

In some cases, less or no homework can even have a positive effect on academic outcomes. One high school math teacher dramatically reduced the number of practice problems he asked his students to tackle at home. He also decreased impact of homework on grades (from 25% to 1%). Now kids had more time to spend on just a few practice problems, and weren’t stressed about getting them wrong. The result of changes like these? Higher standardized test scores on average.

Some schools have experimented with extending the school day in exchange for eliminating homework. This ensures that kids have more time to do independent work while also ensuring access to expert assistance. After all, not all parents have the time or ability to help with homework. And internet access isn’t a given in every household. Keeping schoolwork at school means giving all kids equal access to the resources they need.

Teachers worry that kids who spend too much time doing homework are losing out in other areas. They want younger students to have more time to play. Older kids should be able to decompress after spending hours in the classroom. And everyone deserves more opportunities for family time and extra-curriculars.

  • “The stress and time surrounding homework is unnecessary. Jobs don’t require you take work home so school shouldn’t either. If a kid needs to work more school could reach out with extra help but homework is a waste of time. Home is for family time.” -Stephanie G., Maryland First Grade Teacher
  • “Homework creates an equity problem. Not all learners have access to the same environment or supports at home as they do in school. The students who have supportive parents and resources (tutors, etc.) will succeed, while others will be penalized.” -Illinois High School Teacher
  • “If they work at school, they don’t need to work at home. We’re teaching them that it’s okay for someone to tell them how to spend their off-time. School is their job. I don’t like working for free; why should they think that it’s okay?” -North Carolina First Grade Teacher
  • “After school programs, sports, and unstructured play is MUCH more meaningful and impactful for these generations of students.” -Lauren Anderson
  • “There are other ways to teach children responsibility and time management then completing homework that will most likely be ungraded.” -Fourth Grade Social Studies Teacher

One Teacher’s Take on the Value of Homework: More Cons Than Pros

One fourth grade social studies teacher from North Carolina shared their thoughts with us in detail. We felt they were worth sharing to a wider audience. (Note: We’ve edited and condensed their words for space and clarity.)

Homework Hurts Families

“There are multiple factors that work together that make homework detrimental to students and their families. Children need to spend time with their parents building relationships of trust and respect. It is difficult as the limited time families have together, they are forced by the schools to give that up to deal with homework.

“Many parents are unable to answer homework questions to help their children as methodology has changed and evolved. Homework becomes a stressful battlefield. Children with ADHD, autism and other challenges have such a difficult time keeping focus at school. When they have to do additional work at home, there are increased meltdowns and battles putting further strains on families.”

Homework’s Time Cost

“Children also have less time to complete work at home due to how overscheduled families have become. Children as young as 3rd grade arrive home from their games as late as 10:00 at night. That is often their first opportunity to sit down to complete their work. When they come to school the next day, they become irritable, unfocused, frustrated and unable to quickly grasp new material.

“In older grades, teachers don’t plan together and don’t understand how much is required of the student to complete each night. If a high school student has 6 classes and each teacher assigns only 30 minutes of homework each night, that adds up to 3 hours. I hear of many teachers that each give an hour each night. I don’t see how it is possible for a high school student to complete 6 hours of homework every night.

“The additional stress of homework for the teacher, students, and families are not worth it. Give families time to spend together, and free up teacher time by not having to hunt down missing work and reviewing what they are not grading. Allow children to have a better bedtime, and avoid melt downs at home which lead to additional stress, anxiety, and depression.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts—should homework be banned? Join the discussion in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

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Is homework a necessary evil?

After decades of debate, researchers are still sorting out the truth about homework’s pros and cons. One point they can agree on: Quality assignments matter.

By Kirsten Weir

March 2016, Vol 47, No. 3

Print version: page 36

After decades of debate, researchers are still sorting out the truth about homework’s pros and cons. One point they can agree on: Quality assignments matter.

  • Schools and Classrooms

Homework battles have raged for decades. For as long as kids have been whining about doing their homework, parents and education reformers have complained that homework's benefits are dubious. Meanwhile many teachers argue that take-home lessons are key to helping students learn. Now, as schools are shifting to the new (and hotly debated) Common Core curriculum standards, educators, administrators and researchers are turning a fresh eye toward the question of homework's value.

But when it comes to deciphering the research literature on the subject, homework is anything but an open book.

The 10-minute rule

In many ways, homework seems like common sense. Spend more time practicing multiplication or studying Spanish vocabulary and you should get better at math or Spanish. But it may not be that simple.

Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit. In a review of studies published from 1987 to 2003, Cooper and his colleagues found that homework was linked to better test scores in high school and, to a lesser degree, in middle school. Yet they found only faint evidence that homework provided academic benefit in elementary school ( Review of Educational Research , 2006).

Then again, test scores aren't everything. Homework proponents also cite the nonacademic advantages it might confer, such as the development of personal responsibility, good study habits and time-management skills. But as to hard evidence of those benefits, "the jury is still out," says Mollie Galloway, PhD, associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. "I think there's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."

Even when homework is helpful, there can be too much of a good thing. "There is a limit to how much kids can benefit from home study," Cooper says. He agrees with an oft-cited rule of thumb that students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.

Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.

In a recent study of Spanish students, Rubén Fernández-Alonso, PhD, and colleagues found that students who were regularly assigned math and science homework scored higher on standardized tests. But when kids reported having more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per day, scores declined ( Journal of Educational Psychology , 2015).

"At all grade levels, doing other things after school can have positive effects," Cooper says. "To the extent that homework denies access to other leisure and community activities, it's not serving the child's best interest."

Children of all ages need down time in order to thrive, says Denise Pope, PhD, a professor of education at Stanford University and a co-founder of Challenge Success, a program that partners with secondary schools to implement policies that improve students' academic engagement and well-being.

"Little kids and big kids need unstructured time for play each day," she says. Certainly, time for physical activity is important for kids' health and well-being. But even time spent on social media can help give busy kids' brains a break, she says.

All over the map

But are teachers sticking to the 10-minute rule? Studies attempting to quantify time spent on homework are all over the map, in part because of wide variations in methodology, Pope says.

A 2014 report by the Brookings Institution examined the question of homework, comparing data from a variety of sources. That report cited findings from a 2012 survey of first-year college students in which 38.4 percent reported spending six hours or more per week on homework during their last year of high school. That was down from 49.5 percent in 1986 ( The Brown Center Report on American Education , 2014).

The Brookings report also explored survey data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which asked 9-, 13- and 17-year-old students how much homework they'd done the previous night. They found that between 1984 and 2012, there was a slight increase in homework for 9-year-olds, but homework amounts for 13- and 17-year-olds stayed roughly the same, or even decreased slightly.

Yet other evidence suggests that some kids might be taking home much more work than they can handle. Robert Pressman, PhD, and colleagues recently investigated the 10-minute rule among more than 1,100 students, and found that elementary-school kids were receiving up to three times as much homework as recommended. As homework load increased, so did family stress, the researchers found ( American Journal of Family Therapy , 2015).

Many high school students also seem to be exceeding the recommended amounts of homework. Pope and Galloway recently surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-achieving high schools. Students reported bringing home an average of just over three hours of homework nightly ( Journal of Experiential Education , 2013).

On the positive side, students who spent more time on homework in that study did report being more behaviorally engaged in school — for instance, giving more effort and paying more attention in class, Galloway says. But they were not more invested in the homework itself. They also reported greater academic stress and less time to balance family, friends and extracurricular activities. They experienced more physical health problems as well, such as headaches, stomach troubles and sleep deprivation. "Three hours per night is too much," Galloway says.

In the high-achieving schools Pope and Galloway studied, more than 90 percent of the students go on to college. There's often intense pressure to succeed academically, from both parents and peers. On top of that, kids in these communities are often overloaded with extracurricular activities, including sports and clubs. "They're very busy," Pope says. "Some kids have up to 40 hours a week — a full-time job's worth — of extracurricular activities." And homework is yet one more commitment on top of all the others.

"Homework has perennially acted as a source of stress for students, so that piece of it is not new," Galloway says. "But especially in upper-middle-class communities, where the focus is on getting ahead, I think the pressure on students has been ratcheted up."

Yet homework can be a problem at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum as well. Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, Internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs, says Lea Theodore, PhD, a professor of school psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are less likely to have computers or a quiet place to do homework in peace.

"Homework can highlight those inequities," she says.

Quantity vs. quality

One point researchers agree on is that for all students, homework quality matters. But too many kids are feeling a lack of engagement with their take-home assignments, many experts say. In Pope and Galloway's research, only 20 percent to 30 percent of students said they felt their homework was useful or meaningful.

"Students are assigned a lot of busywork. They're naming it as a primary stressor, but they don't feel it's supporting their learning," Galloway says.

"Homework that's busywork is not good for anyone," Cooper agrees. Still, he says, different subjects call for different kinds of assignments. "Things like vocabulary and spelling are learned through practice. Other kinds of courses require more integration of material and drawing on different skills."

But critics say those skills can be developed with many fewer hours of homework each week. Why assign 50 math problems, Pope asks, when 10 would be just as constructive? One Advanced Placement biology teacher she worked with through Challenge Success experimented with cutting his homework assignments by a third, and then by half. "Test scores didn't go down," she says. "You can have a rigorous course and not have a crazy homework load."

Still, changing the culture of homework won't be easy. Teachers-to-be get little instruction in homework during their training, Pope says. And despite some vocal parents arguing that kids bring home too much homework, many others get nervous if they think their child doesn't have enough. "Teachers feel pressured to give homework because parents expect it to come home," says Galloway. "When it doesn't, there's this idea that the school might not be doing its job."

Galloway argues teachers and school administrators need to set clear goals when it comes to homework — and parents and students should be in on the discussion, too. "It should be a broader conversation within the community, asking what's the purpose of homework? Why are we giving it? Who is it serving? Who is it not serving?"

Until schools and communities agree to take a hard look at those questions, those backpacks full of take-home assignments will probably keep stirring up more feelings than facts.

Further reading

  • Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1–62. doi: 10.3102/00346543076001001
  • Galloway, M., Connor, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81 (4), 490–510. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2012.745469
  • Pope, D., Brown, M., & Miles, S. (2015). Overloaded and underprepared: Strategies for stronger schools and healthy, successful kids . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

* Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

* Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

* Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Media Contacts

Denise Pope, Stanford Graduate School of Education: (650) 725-7412, [email protected] Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: (650) 725-0224, [email protected]

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Should Homework Really Be Banned? It’s Complicated

By Leon Wilczek Categories: People & Society June 3, 2023, 8:42 AM

should homework be banned

Should homework be banned? Every student has asked themselves this question. Is homework actually just annoying or does it also provide some benefits?

Should homework be banned? Once you’ve been out of school for some time, this question doesn’t even seem relevant until you have children of your own. That said, some believe that homework serves a number of important purposes, such as:

  • Practice: Doing your homework allows you to put what you learned in class into practice and improve. To make sure you comprehend the information, it works like extra practice.
  • Independent learning: Doing your homework helps you to be in charge of your own education. You gain the crucial ability of time management and independent learning.
  • Preparation for class: Occasionally, homework helps you get ready for the upcoming lesson. Before a topic is covered in class, you might read up on it or conduct some research to find out more information. You’ll be able to participate in conversations in class better as a result.
  • Feedback and evaluation: Teachers use homework to determine your level of comprehension of the subject. They can offer you comments on your work and support you if you are having problems.
  • Involvement of parents: Parents have the opportunity to have a glimpse into their learning and academic performance. Homework can give them the chance to participate in their child’s education and can assist them if they need it.

There are many differing opinions about homework. While some think having too much homework can be detrimental, others think that it’s crucial for learning. Let’s have a closer look at the positive and negative aspects of homework while we consider if homework should be banned. 

Benefits of Homework

Homework lets you explore concepts at home

Next to the number of purposes listed above there are some more benefits of homework that speak for keeping homework as a part of the learning process:

  • Learning skills: Homework can help in the development of vital abilities. It enhances your ability of analysis, critical thought, and problem-solving. You gain knowledge on how to apply what you’ve studied to actual circumstances.
  • Time management and responsibility: Doing your homework teaches you how to be responsible and manage your time. You develop the time management skills necessary for academic and personal success by completing assignments on time.
  • Independent learning: Homework inspires independent learning. You can look into many subjects, conduct research, and learn more. This encourages your curiosity, motivation, and independence as a learner.
  • Exam preparation: Homework helps you get ready for exams. It provides you with practice and helps you understand concepts better. It may enhance your performance on tests as a result.
  • Extension of learning: Homework lets you explore topics more deeply. You can do extra research and learn more about the things that interest you. This helps you understand the subject better.
  • Improved memory: Homework helps with the retention of classroom material. Doing extra practice at home makes the information stick in your brain longer.
  • Connecting school and home:  Homework enables you to discover how the lessons you learn in class connect to your daily life. It enables you to put what you’ve learned into practice and discuss it with your family.

In general, there are many benefits of homework that speak against the question “Should homework be banned?”. But let us have a look at the opposing sides of homework before drawing any conclusions.

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Negative Effects of Homework

Homework can be overwhelming sometimes

While there are certainly many advantages, it’s important to consider some of the potential negative effects of homework as well. Here are some aspects to consider when wondering if homework should be banned:

  • Mental health: An excessive amount of schoolwork might leave students feeling worn out and frustrated. It might be exhausting and leave you with little time for leisure or other enjoyable pursuits.
  • Lack of balance: Homework takes up a lot of time, meaning students have less time for hobbies, sports, and time with family and friends. It might be challenging to achieve a balanced lifestyle.
  • Unequal access:  Not every student can access the same materials at home. Some people might not have access to computers, the internet or a peaceful space to study. This may make it more difficult to finish assignments.
  • Achievement gaps: Different schools and teachers may have different expectations for homework, which can affect how well students learn. Students who have less support or fewer resources may struggle to keep up, widening the gap between privileged and marginalized students.
  • Physical health: Too much time spent on schoolwork might result in long periods of sitting. This can affect mental and physical health and lead to problems like elevated stress levels or sleep deprivation.
  • Loss of interest and creativity: If students have too much schoolwork, they may not have time for hobbies or creative interests. It might diminish their love of learning new things and make it seem like work.

As one can see, homework has a substantial impact on learners, especially when they are children. Let’s draw a conclusion based on the positive and negative aspects we just explored.

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Should Homework Be Banned? A Conclusion

There are some simple guidelines for how homework should be given and done

All in all, perhaps homework shouldn’t be banned completely, but it needs to be considered in a fair and balanced way. Here are some important points to remember that take the individual needs and resources of students into account:

  • Everyone is different: Every person is unique, and each student learns differently. Homework should be personalized to meet each student’s needs and abilities.
  • Homework should have a purpose: The goal of homework should be to reinforce the lessons learned in class. It should be meaningful. Students should have the chance to put their knowledge to use and gain a deeper understanding of the situation.
  • The workload should be reasonable: Students shouldn’t be given so much homework that it becomes overwhelming. It’s crucial to have a balance so that they have time for other activities and don’t get too stressed.
  • Fairness for everyone: Not every student’s family has the same resources. All students should be able to access and finish their assignments, and teachers should take this into account. Those that require it should receive additional assistance.
  • Different learning styles: Homework should be adaptable so that students show their understanding in various ways. Additionally, it’s essential for teachers and professors to provide students with feedback and support when they require it.
  • Physical and mental health is important: Students shouldn’t feel overburdened or that their time is completely consumed with homework. Make time for enjoyable activities and build in self-care days . 

Homework should be given with the intention of assisting in your growth and learning. It needs to be reasonable, fair, and adjusted to individual requirements. While doing homework, keep in mind to take breaks and take care of yourself as well.

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homework being banned

Why homework should be banned?

homework being banned

Banning homework could significantly reduce stress and pressure on students while promoting a more equitable and effective educational system. Homework exacerbates educational inequalities, lacks consistent effectiveness, encourages academic dishonesty, and hinders the promotion of lifelong learning.

There are many reasons why homework should be banned. Students claim they don’t have enough time for it. Nevertheless, professors give more and more assignments for self-education. As a result, the stress of deadlines adds up, diminishing students’ motivation to learn. 

Many people argue that the modern curriculum leaves too much for self-study. Students don’t get enough explanation on the topic and end up with surface-level knowledge across many fields rather than an in-depth understanding of one.

Banning or at least reducing the amount of homework could be the answer to these concerns. Yet, many educational institutions are reluctant to change their curricula or don’t see the need for it.

8 Reasons why homework should be banned

When looking for arguments to support our stance, we stopped at eight. They are as follows: 

Increased stress

  • Less time for family
  • Lack of equality among students

Poor sleep schedules

  • No time for after-school development

Questionable academic benefit

  • Worsened student-teacher relationships
  • Risk of burnout

All these are real implications that homework has on students. In the later sections, we will expand on each in more detail.

When it comes to the reasons why should homework be banned, stress is the first one that comes to mind. With each year, academic demands only grow. It gets harder and harder to get into educational institutions, hence, it is also hard to stay. Students are expected to perform at an extraordinary level only to secure their spot. 

At the same time, they hardly ever get any financial support, so some have to combine studying with work. With such a schedule, it’s very hard to find time for homework. Learners are forced to do it at night, in between classes or at work, running the risk of making their manager or professor mad. This is why students are under insurmountable pressure from their school, family, and themselves. 

No time for family

The continuing debate on homework should be banned leads us to the next point. Students who are always busy with homework, hardly have time for themselves, not to mention their family. Reduced family visits or even conversation can lead to the feelings of loneliness and isolation.  

Banning homework, or at least reducing its amount, could help students reconnect with their loved ones. For many students, especially freshers, loneliness is one of the biggest concerns. Many people struggle with making friends or even striking up a casual conversation with a stranger. Even a small encounter can make one feel less lonely, yet how do you find time for it if you’re always in your room doing homework?

Lack of equality

While the demands on students are approximately the same, some peoples’ resources are more limited than others’. Students from wealthier backgrounds have access to more modern technology, and, as a result, may even have more time on their hands.

At the same time, students with less resources are stuck with outdated library computers that take 20 minutes only to turn on. This inequality can lead to unfair judgment, resentment and even more inequality among students.

At the same time, in class, everyone has the same resources - the same amount of time, pen and paper. Doing assignments in class could ensure that everyone gets the same treatments based on their knowledge.

As we’ve already mentioned, some students have to work after school. And even if they don’t work, they may have multiple assignments due on the same day. Everybody needs some time to themselves, student or not. Relaxing is also vital for comprehension and memory. If you don’t sleep well, all that cramming just goes to waste, because it doesn’t make the trip from short-term memory to long-term storage. 

Luckily, there is a solution. Using a do my homework service can provide students with more time for themselves or other important assignments. Getting help with homework will not only ensure that you are well-rested before class, it can also help you see a different perspective on a topic you may be struggling with. Because when a paper is completed by a professional writer, it can be an amazing learning resource. 

No time for extracurriculars

Extracurricular classes, clubs and societies play a vital role in students’ holistic development. Participating in debates, math, or drama clubs can help you learn in practice, develop leadership skills, and gain real experience that can later help you excel in your profession. 

Cutting all those things out for the sake of homework will leave you with theoretical knowledge only. Which is why homework should be banned. 

College should give you a well-rounded education and prepare you for the real world. If you don’t engage in after-school development, don’t socialize with other students and don’t develop leadership skills, you’re going to have to learn those skills from scratch in the workplace. That makes you a less eligible candidate compared to those with practical skills.

With all the drawbacks presented above, it’s hard to argue for homework. When a student is stressed, lonely, isolated, and hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in months, writing another essay won’t do them much good.

Some research suggests that there is little to no correlation between homework and academic success, especially for younger students. That should push educators to reassess the current teaching methods and come up with better strategies for education. 

When it comes to academic success, educators should focus on what can be achieved in class rather than at home. After classes, students should have time to rest, socialize and recharge.

But who invented homework and why ? Read our article to find out all about homework and its inventor!

Poor relationships between students and teachers

When teachers ask a lot from students, it can lead to resentment. Without properly explaining the task or the benefit behind it, teachers load students with an assignment every week. But when a student doesn’t understand why it’s important, they may end up doing the task haphazardly. 

On the other hand, when a student who performs well in class comes back with an assignment done carelessly, the teacher may apply even more pressure on that student.

So, why should homework be abolished? Because it leads to a lot of miscommunication between teachers and students. Teachers tend to put a lot of expectations on students without considering that they have many other commitments and classes.

Academic burnout

Burnout has become increasingly more common among students. It can be characterized by the following symptoms: 

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Distraction
  • Loss of motivation
  • Reduced performance.

It is usually caused by high expectations placed on a student by themselves, their teachers or parents. High workload can also lead a student to burn out. Perfectionism, lack of support and poor time management are among other contributors to burning out.

The easiest way to deal with burnout would, of course, be to ban homework. But, when it’s not possible, you could also try the following: 

  • Self-care . Take a day off or implement small habits into every day that would remind you that you are your own priority. It can be a nice meal, sports, or meditation.
  • Setting goals . Determining your priorities and writing them down can be an efficient tool for those who lack motivation.
  • Seeking support . Counseling services, therapy, or just talking to a friend can make a world of difference for people struggling with burnout.

Taking a break . Sometimes, it’s hard to think straight when you’re so close to the fire. Taking a vacation, a gap year or a week off can really help you evaluate your priorities and see what’s causing you stress.

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Why homework should not be required?

Homework should not be required because it can cause significant stress for children. Research indicates that extra assignments, especially for younger students, can lead to unhealthy levels of stress. When students are bombarded with numerous lessons both at school and at home, they may experience stress and anxiety if they cannot complete the assignments on time.

Many studies have confirmed that homework negatively affects students’ performance, mood, motivation and even health. Those who have access to quality homework help can consider themselves lucky. But the rest may feel isolated, struggling on their own. 

What educators must understand is that homework is already a full-time job. Those teachers do not come back from work and do more work, but students do, all the while paying insane amounts of money for that education. This inevitably poses the question of whether higher education is even worth it anymore.

It can lead to burnout, cause severe mental and physical health problems while draining your family of its life’s savings. 

Banning homework for students with different learning styles

It’s no secret that people have different learning styles. However, homework is not adapted to that difference, which is another r eason why homework should be banned. The four commonly defined styles are:

  • Read/Write,
  • Kinaesthetic.

That means that for someone who derives most benefit from Kinaesthetic-styled learning, reading a book may not be efficient. In the same way, a visual learner will hardly benefit from writing an essay. 

Yet, when it comes to homework, a teacher can’t give everyone a different task. They will normally assign the same project to everyone. That means that only ¼ of the group will benefit from that task.

Socialization should be prioritized

So, why homework should be banned? Because it takes away the time that could otherwise be spent socializing. Students that don’t have a social life do worse with their studies. When you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can feel isolated, lonely, and even depressed. 

On the contrary, when you have a few friends or simply are in contact with your classmates, you have someone who can share your struggles with you. College can be a great time to bond, even if over a tyrant teacher. 

Extracurriculars, study groups, and clubs can give you valuable experience that you can apply in class or even in the workplace. 

Having a few extra minutes to call your family can help you reduce anxiety, feelings of separation and loneliness.

Stress doesn’t have to be an integral part of the college experience

Students are under a lot of pressure. Many of them report wanting to quit because the demands are so high. People who are the first generation from their family to attend college report even higher levels of pressure due to the feeling of responsibility before their family. 

Yet, at the same time, the resources to help these students are quite scarce. Counselors’ offices are always booked weeks in advance, and therapy is not affordable to an average student with zero income.

Depression is very common among college students, while those are supposed to be the happiest years of one’s life. Could homework be the reason for that? We say yes. So, why homework should be abolished is not even a question anymore.

Final thoughts

Even though in this article, we argue against homework, we also have a few arguments on why is homework important : 

It can help students dive deeper into the concepts explained in class. Lectures are limited in time, but a student may need longer to grasp a concept. While studying at home, they may use different resources and gain a deeper understanding of the topic in their own time.

Homework is also vital for teachers to be able to assess students’ understanding. There’s, unfortunately, no better way for teachers to know if you’ve understood a topic other than homework.

Overall, even though it has many drawbacks, homework doesn’t yet have an alternative. And while causing stress, it also has benefits, like deeper understanding and ease of assessment.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Why should we ban homework.

Homework doesn’t make much sense in the modern world. Most students have to work to support themselves or their families. This leaves them with little to no time for self-education. While it used to be customary for young people to live with their parents throughout college, it’s no longer the case. 

Most students have to fend for themselves - pay rent, buy groceries, and pay bills, starting at about 18 years old. Doing all that while also writing endless essays and projects for school is hardly impossible. Yet, people who combine all those things often end up stressed, burnt out and unmotivated. This may lead to frustration with the educational system and even dropping out. 

On top of the stress of test scores, more homework can slow down school learning for elementary students and make them lose their motivation for further studying and academic performance. So, how can they find the motivation to go through it?

Where to find motivation for doing homework?

How to motivate yourself to do homework is a big and loaded question, but we’ll try to give you an easy answer. First of all, you should try to remember what you’re here for. Did you enter college to become a highly qualified professional? Do you want to make your parents proud? Are you internally curious and want to know everything about everything? Think of other reasons that made you go to college in the first place.

Planning out your assignments will also help. Break bigger tasks into smaller ones, plan breaks in between and come up with a course of action. This way, these assignments will seem more approachable.

You can view this from the perspective of educators who are preparing students and encouraging students for more difficult academic responsibilities later on. On the other side, it's perfectly normal for your motivation to waver when met with too much homework. Too much homework, long school hours, and a lot of time spent on even more homework can explain why banning homework can be an option.

How do I find time for leisure when homework exists?

So, why should homework be banned? Because students don’t have any time for their personal lives and end up stuck doing homework for hours on end.

If you feel it influences your mental health, it’s detrimental to take a break and find some time for yourself. It may be difficult when homework has no end. 

Luckily, services like Studyfy can offer a helping hand in the time of need. Outsourcing your homework to a professional writer will not only give you a few hours to spare, but also a perfect paper sample you can use to educate yourself. 

Alternatively, you can: 

  • Ask your professor for an extension
  • Combine efforts with your friends to finish the task faster
  • Get smaller tasks out of the way, your schedule will clear up, and you might find time for a walk in the park.

How to improve my performance in class?

All the way from elementary school to middle school and beyond, academic achievement and academic performance have been tied to test scores and assigning homework. You may have struggled with answering can homework improve academic achievement, especially with such repetitive homework tasks. The best thing you can do for your future education is to complete assignments on time, increase your academic performance, and use the education system for essential life skills.

It’s no secret that being active and communicating with the professor can get you some cookie points. If they notice you are trying hard, and you make a good impression, they may let some of your homework mistakes slide. This is why it’s important to address other aspects of your school performance since banning homework is not an option.

To get better in your teacher’s eyes is not that hard, really. You just have to be active. Try to sit closer to them, and maybe even further away from your friends so that you don;t get distracted. Take notes, write everything down and ask questions.

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No More Homework: 12 Reasons We Should Get Rid of It Completely

Last Updated: May 4, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Finn Kobler . Finn Kobler graduated from USC in 2022 with a BFA in Writing for Screen/Television. He is a two-time California State Champion and record holder in Original Prose/Poetry, a 2018 finalist for the Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and he's written micro-budget films that have been screened in over 150 theaters nationwide. Growing up, Finn spent every summer helping his family's nonprofit arts program, Showdown Stage Company, empower people through accessible media. He hopes to continue that mission with his writing at wikiHow. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 142,735 times. Learn more...

The amount of homework students are given has increased dramatically in the 21st century, which has sparked countless debates over homework’s overall value. While some have been adamant that homework is an essential part of a good education, it’s been proven that too much homework negatively affects students’ mood, classroom performance, and overall well-being. In addition, a heavy homework load can stress families and teachers. Here are 12 reasons why homework should be banned (or at least heavily reduced).

School is already a full-time job.

Students already spend approximately seven hours a day at school.

  • For years, teachers have followed the “10-minute rule” giving students roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. However, recent studies have shown students are completing 3+ hours of homework a night well before their senior years even begin. [2] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Homework negatively affects students’ health.

Homework takes a toll physically.

Homework interferes with student’s opportunities to socialize.

Childhood and adolescence are extraordinary times for making friends.

Homework hinders students’ chances to learn new things.

Students need time to self-actualize.

Homework lowers students’ enthusiasm for school.

Homework makes the school feel like a chore.

Homework can lower academic performance.

Homework is unnecessary and counterproductive for high-performing students.

Homework cuts into family time.

Too much homework can cause family structures to collapse.

Homework is stressful for teachers.

Homework can also lead to burnout for teachers.

Homework is often irrelevant and punitive.

Students who don’t understand the lesson get no value from homework.

  • There are even studies that have shown homework in primary school has no correlation with classroom performance whatsoever. [9] X Research source

Homework encourages cheating.

Mandatory homework makes cheating feel like students’ only option.

Homework is inequitable.

Homework highlights the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Other countries have banned homework with great results.

Countries like Finland have minimal homework and perform well academically.

  • There are even some U.S. schools that have adopted this approach with success. [13] X Research source

Community Q&A

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  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/no-proven-benefits
  • ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/homework
  • ↑ https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/health-hazards-homework/
  • ↑ https://teensneedsleep.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galloway-nonacademic-effects-of-homework-in-privileged-high-performing-high-schools.pdf
  • ↑ https://time.com/4466390/homework-debate-research/
  • ↑ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220485.2022.2075506?role=tab&scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=vece20
  • ↑ https://kappanonline.org/teacher-stress-balancing-demands-resources-mccarthy/
  • ↑ https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-homework-pros-cons-20180807-story.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6294446/
  • ↑ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/homework-inequality-parents-schedules-grades/485174/
  • ↑ https://www.bbc.com/news/education-37716005
  • ↑ https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-homework-its-the-new-thing-in-u-s-schools-11544610600

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18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned

Homework has been a part of the schooling experience for multiple generations. There are some lessons that are perfect for the classroom environment, but there are also some things that children can learn better at home. As a general rule, the maximum amount of time that a student should spend each day on lessons outside of school is 10 minutes per each grade level.

That means a first grader should spend about 10 minutes each night on homework. If you are a senior in high school, then the maximum limit would be two hours. For some students, that might still be too much extra time doing work. There are some calls to limit the amount of time spent on extra limits to 30 minutes per day at all of the older K-12 grades – and some are saying that homework should be banned outright.

Can teachers get all of the lessons taught in an appropriate way during the 1-2 hours per subject that they might get each day? Do parents have an opportunity to review what their children learn at school if none of the work ever gets brought back home?

There are several advantages and disadvantages of why homework should be banned from the current school structure.

List of the Advantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Homework creates a longer day for students than what parents work. There are times when parents need to bring work home with them after a long day of productivity, but this time is usually part of a compensation package. Students do not receive the same luxury. After spending 6-8 hours at school, there might be two more hours of homework to complete before getting through all of the assignments that are due. That means some kids are putting in a longer working day than their parents. This disadvantage means there are fewer moments for going outside, spending time with friends, or pursuing a hobby.

2. There is no guarantee of an improved academic outcome. Research studies provide conflicting results when looking at the impact of homework on a student’s life. Younger students may benefit from a complete ban so that they can separate their home and classroom experiences. Even older students who perform projects outside of the school benefit from time restrictions on this responsibility. Design flaws exist on both sides of the clinical work that looks at this topic, so there is no definitive scientific conclusion that points to a specific result. It may be better to err on the side of caution.

3. Homework restrictions reduce issues with classroom burnout for students. Homework stress is a significant problem in the modern classroom for K-12 students. Even kids in grade school are finding it a challenge to maintain their performance because of the pressure that daily assignments cause. About 1 in 4 teachers in North America say that there are direct adverse impacts that happen because of the amount of learning required of students today. It can also cause older students to drop out of school because they can’t stay caught up on the work that they need to do.

When students have a chance to have time to pursue interests outside of the classroom, then it can create healthier learning opportunities in the future for them.

4. Banning homework would give families more time to spend together. One in three American households with children say that the homework assignments that teachers give are the primary source of stress in their home. When kids must complete their work by a specific deadline, then there is less time for families to do activities together. Instead of scheduling their time around their free hours, they must balance homework requirements in their plans. There are even fewer moments for parents to be involved in the learning process because of the specific instructions that students must follow to stay in compliance with the assignment.

5. Student health is adversely impacted by too many homework assignments. Kids of any age struggle academically when they do not have opportunities to finish their homework by a specific deadline. It is not unusual for school administrators and some teachers to judge children based on their ability to turn work in on time. If a child has a robust work ethic and still cannot complete the work, the negative approach that they might encounter in the classroom could cause them to abandon their learning goals.

This issue can even lead to the development of mental health problems. It can reduce a child’s self-esteem, prevent them from learning essential learning skills, and disrupt their ability to learn new skills in other areas of life outside of the classroom. Even the risk of self-harm and suicide increase because of excessive homework. That’s why banning it could be a healthy choice for some people.

6. Banning homework would help students get more sleep. Teens need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to maximize their productivity. Students in grade school can need up to 12 hours nightly as well. When homework assignments are necessary and time consuming, then this issue can eat into the amount of rest that kids get each night. Every assignment given to a K-12 student increases their risks of losing at least one hour of sleep per night. This issue can eventually lead to sleep deficits that can create chronic learning issues. It may even lead to problems with emotional control, obesity, and attention problems. Banning homework would remove the issue entirely.

7. It would encourage dynamic learning opportunities. There are some homework projects that students find to be engaging, such as a science fair project or another hands-on assignment. Many of the tasks that students must complete for their teachers involves repetition instead. You might see grade school students coming home with math sheets with 100 or more problems for them to solve. Reading assignments are common at all grades. Instead of learning the “why” behind the information they learn, the goal with homework is usually closer to memorization that it is to self-discovery. That’s why it can be challenging to retain the data that homework provides.

8. Banning homework would provide more time for peer socialization. Students who are only spending time in school before going home to do homework for the rest of the evening are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. When these sentiments are present in the life of a child, then they are more likely to experience physical and mental health concerns that lead to shyness and avoidance.

These students lack essential connections with other people because of their need to complete homework. The adverse impact on the well being of a child is the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes each day. If kids are spending time all of their time on homework, then they are not connecting with their family and friends.

9. Some students do not have a home environment that’s conducive to homework. Although some kids can do their homework in a tranquil room without distress, that is not the case for most children. Numerous events happen at home that can shift a child’s attention away from the homework that their teacher wants them to complete. It isn’t just the TV, video games, and the Internet which are problematic either. Family problems, chores, an after-school job, and team sports can make it problematic to get the assignments finished on time.

Banning homework equalizes the playing field because teachers can control the classroom environment. They do not have control over when, where, or how their students complete assignments away from school.

10. It would eliminate the assignment of irrelevant work. Homework can be a useful tool when teachers use it in targeted ways. There are times when these assignments are handed out for the sake of giving out busy work. If the content of the work is irrelevant to the lessons in the classroom, then it should not be handed out. It is unreasonable to expect that a student can generate excellent grades on work that is barely covered in the classroom.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that given students just four hours of take-home assignments per week has a detrimental impact on individual productivity. The average U.S. high school already pushes that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week.

List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can provide this information as well, but not in the same way. If the data sticks outside of the educational setting, then this is an excellent indication that the process was effective for that individual. If there are gaps in knowledge that occur in the homework, then the learning process can become individualized to ensure the best possible results for each child.

2. Homework can reduce the stress and anxiety of test-taking. Students often study for tests at home to ensure that they can pass with an acceptable grade. Walking into a classroom only prepared with the notes and memories of previous lessons can create high levels of fear that could impact that child’s final result. Banning homework could place more pressure on kids to succeed than what they currently experience today. This disadvantage would also create more labels in the classroom based on the performance of each child in unfair ways. Some students excel in a lecture-based environment, but others do better at home where there are fewer distractions.

3. Assignments can be an effective way to discover learning disabilities. Kids do an excellent job of hiding their struggles in the classroom from adults. They use their disguises as a coping mechanism to help them blend in when they feel different. That behavior can make it a challenge to identify students who many benefit from a different learning approach in specific subjects. By assigning homework to each child periodically, there are more opportunities to identify the issues that can hold some people back. Then the teachers can work with the families to develop alternative learning plans that can make the educational process better for each student because individual assignments eliminate the ability to hide.

4. Parents are more involved in the learning process because of homework. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their kids about what they are learning, the answers tend to be given in generalities. Without specific examples from the classroom, it is challenging to stay involved in a student’s educational process.

By sending homework from the school, it allows the entire family to encounter the assignments that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then there is more adult involvement with the learning process, reinforcing the core ideas that were discovered by their kids each day.

5. Homework provides opportunities for students to use deeper research. The average classroom in the United States provides less than 60 minutes of instruction for each subject daily. Generalist teachers in grade school might skip certain subjects on some days as well. When there are homework assignments going home, then it creates more chances to use the tools at home to learn more about what is happening at school. Taking a deeper look at specific subjects or lessons through independent study can lead to new thoughts or ideas that may not occur in the classroom environment. This process can eventually lead to a better understanding of the material.

6. The homework process requires time management and persistence to be successful. Students must learn core life skills as part of the educational process. Time management skills are one of the most useful tools that can be in a child’s life toolbox. When you know how to complete work by a deadline consistently, then this skill can translate to an eventual career. Homework can also teach students how to solve complex problems, understand current events, or tap into what they are passionate about in life. By learning from an early age that there are jobs that we sometimes need to do even if we don’t want to them, the persistence lessons can translate into real successes later in life.

7. Assignments make students accountable for their role in the educational process. Teachers cannot force a student to learn anything. There must be a desire present in the child to know more for information retention to occur. An education can dramatically improve the life of a child in multiple ways. It can lead to more income opportunities, a greater understanding of the world, and how to establish a healthy routine. By offering homework to students, teachers are encouraging today’s kids how to be accountable for their role in their own education. It creates opportunities to demonstrate responsibility by proving that the work can be done on time and to a specific quality.

8. It creates opportunities to practice time management. There can be problems with homework for some students when they are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. If you give a child two hours of homework after school and they have two hours of commitments to manage at the same time, then there are some significant challenges to their time management to solve. Time really is a finite commodity. If we are unable to manage it in wise ways, then our productivity levels are going to be limited in multiple ways. Creating a calendar with every responsibility and commitment helps kids and their families figure out ways to manage everything while pushing the learning process forward.

Verdict of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Banning Homework

Some students thrive on the homework they receive from their teachers each day. There are also some kids that struggle to complete even basic assignments on time because of their home environment. How can we find a balance between the two extremes so that every child can receive the best possible chance to succeed?

One solution is to ban homework entirely. Although taking this action would require teachers and parents to be proactive in their communication, it could help to equalize the educational opportunities in the classroom.

Until more research occurs in this area, the advantages and disadvantages of banning homework are subjective. If you feel that your child would benefit from a reduced workload, then speak with the teacher to see if this is an option. For teens and older students, there is always the option to pursue a different form of education, such as a vocational school or an apprenticeship, if the traditional classroom doesn’t seem to be working.

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Should Students Have Homework?

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homework being banned

By Suzanne Capek Tingley, Veteran Educator, M.A. Degree

It used to be that students were the only ones complaining about the practice of assigning homework. For years, teachers and parents thought that homework was a necessary tool when educating children. But studies about the effectiveness of homework have been conflicting and inconclusive, leading some adults to argue that homework should become a thing of the past.

What Research Says about Homework

According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a  "10 minute rule" : students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

But his analysis didn't prove that students did better because they did homework; it simply  showed a correlation . This could simply mean that kids who do homework are more committed to doing well in school. Cooper also found that some research showed that homework caused physical and emotional stress, and created negative attitudes about learning. He suggested that more research needed to be done on homework's effect on kids.

Some researchers say that the question isn't whether kids should have homework. It's more about what kind of homework students have and how much. To be effective, homework has to meet students' needs. For example, some  middle school teachers have found success with online math homework  that's adapted to each student's level of understanding. But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their  math and science test scores went down .

Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they  found no difference in course grades  between students who did homework and those who didn't. These researchers theorize that homework doesn't result in more content mastery, but in greater familiarity with the kinds of questions that appear on standardized tests. According to Professor Adam Maltese, one of the study's authors, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be."

So while many teachers and parents support daily homework, it's hard to find strong evidence that the long-held practice produces positive results.

Problems with Homework

In an article in  Education Week Teacher , teacher Samantha Hulsman said she's frequently heard parents complain that a 30-minute homework assignment turns into a three-hour battle with their kids. Now, she's facing the same problem with her own kids, which has her rethinking her former beliefs about homework. "I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it's what we've always done," she explained. Today, Hulsman said, it's more important to know how to collaborate and solve problems than it is to know specific facts.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish wrote in  Psychology Today  that  battles over homework rarely result in a child's improvement in school . Children who don't do their homework are not lazy, he said, but they may be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious. And for kids with learning disabilities, homework is like "running with a sprained ankle. It's doable, but painful."

Barish suggests that parents and kids have a "homework plan" that limits the time spent on homework. The plan should include turning off all devices—not just the student's, but those belonging to all family members.

One of the  best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn , says that some people wrongly believe "kids are like vending machines—put in an assignment, get out learning." Kohn points to the lack of evidence that homework is an effective learning tool; in fact, he calls it "the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

Homework Bans

Last year, the public schools in Marion County, Florida,  decided on a no-homework policy for all of their elementary students . Instead,  kids read nightly  for 20 minutes. Superintendent Heidi Maier said the decision was based on Cooper's research showing that elementary students gain little from homework, but a lot from reading.

Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont, followed the same path, substituting reading for homework. The  homework policy has four parts : read nightly, go outside and play, have dinner with your family, and get a good night's sleep. Principal Mark Trifilio says that his staff and parents support the idea.

But while many elementary schools are considering no-homework policies, middle schools and high schools have been reluctant to abandon homework. Schools say parents support homework and teachers know it can be helpful when it is specific and follows certain guidelines. For example, practicing solving word problems can be helpful, but there's no reason to assign 50 problems when 10 will do. Recognizing that not all kids have the time, space, and home support to do homework is important, so it shouldn't be counted as part of a student's grade.

So Should Students Have Homework?

Should you ban homework in your classroom? If you teach lower grades, it's possible. If you teach middle or high school, probably not. But all teachers should think carefully about their homework policies. By limiting the amount of homework and improving the quality of assignments, you can improve learning outcomes for your students.

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Why are US states, school districts banning smartphones in schools?

Many experts around the world say smartphones pose a danger to children’s mental health but does banning phones help?

homework being banned

Los Angeles has joined a growing list of United States school districts, states and cities restricting the use of smartphones in public schools amid a debate over the effects of social media and technology on children and young people.

Last month, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, which is responsible for about 1,000 schools, approved a resolution to develop a policy to ban student use of cellphones and social media platforms within 120 days. The policy itself would not be implemented until 2025, however. California passed legislation in 2019 that allows school districts to restrict smartphone usage during school hours with the exception of emergencies.

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Israel bombs school as gaza war crosses nine-month mark, how life goes on after an earthquake: the ‘lego schools’ of lombok, how serious is india’s exam cheating scandal, millions of students at risk: india’s elite exams hit by corruption ‘scam’.

“When children and teens are in school, they should be focused on their studies, not their screens,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said on June 19.

Last week, US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy called for warning labels to be added to social media platforms, similar to the health warnings that appear on tobacco and alcohol products.

“Social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe,” Murthy wrote in The New York Times.

Where else have smartphones been banned in US schools?

The states of Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma and Florida have already imposed statewide restrictions on the use of smartphones in public schools.

The Indiana Senate Bill 185, which bans students from using a device during school teaching hours, was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb in March and took effect on July 1.

Last month, Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio signed House Bill 250, requiring school districts to limit smartphone use in classrooms to reduce distractions. The bill leaves it up to local school administrators to create their own smartphone bans. Exceptions will be made for health or medical emergencies.

“By limiting these distractions, we will reestablish the opportunity for students across Ohio to immerse themselves in their classwork, learn from their teachers, and create lifelong memories with their closest friends,” DeWine said in a statement.

In February, the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee also decided to impose a ban restricting the use of smartphones in schools. Under Senate Bill 1314 , students are banned from using smartphones while on public school campuses.

“Being normal kids, like kids were prior to social media, is important. The social media (causes) more problems than it solves, and I think it causes more harm than good,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in May last year after passing a law banning smartphones and other wireless devices in schools during teaching hours. Similar to the Ohio smartphone ban, local school districts can decide how they want to implement it.

“So, let’s have our education system be as much about traditional education as we can,” DeSantis stated at the time. The Florida law also blocks students’ access to Wi-Fi and requires that social media literacy be taught in schools.

Although there is no statewide ban in Michigan, some school districts have prohibited smartphone use in schools. In January, the Flint Board of Education implemented a phone ban in school buildings and on school buses.

Last month, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said she intends to pursue a statewide ban on phones in schools from 2025 to protect young people’s mental health. New York City previously imposed a ban but dropped it in 2015, leaving it up to schools to decide for themselves.

In a recent interview with a local news station, David Banks, the chancellor of New York City Public Schools, stated: “They’re not just a distraction, kids are fully addicted now to phones … We’re going to ban the use of phones in schools.”

Why are smartphones in schools a problem?

Nearly three-quarters of US high school teachers say smartphones are a major distraction in the classroom, according to a Pew Research poll conducted last November.

“High school teachers are especially likely to see cellphones as problematic. About seven in 10 (72 percent) say that students being distracted by cellphones is a major problem in their classroom, compared with 33 percent of middle school teachers and six percent of elementary school teachers,” the Pew survey reported.

“If you talk to safety experts, they will tell you that it’s actually better for the kid if they are not all on their cellphones,” said Oklahoma State Representative Chad Caldwell, the sponsor of that state’s bill banning smartphones in school in February this year.

“One, they are quieter, but number two they can pay attention to the teacher or adult in the room to help give them directions.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in an interview with The Guardian last month: “I have seen these addictive algorithms pull in young people, literally capture them and make them prisoners in a space where they are cut off from human connection, social interaction and normal classroom activity.”

What do experts on children’s mental health say?

Some experts have noted that the growth in popularity of smartphones in the early 2010s was the inflection point at which administrators and health experts started to see a difference in the mental health of young people.

“We’re trying to explain why in many countries between the years of 2010 and 2015, there was a sudden and sharp drop in a bunch of different measures of wellbeing and mental health among adolescents, and in particular adolescent girls,” Zach Rausch, associate research scientist at the NYU-Stern School of Business, told Al Jazeera.

“But what we’re trying to show is that the primary driver of the sudden change that happened during that period, we think, is tied to the rapid movement of social life among teenagers onto smartphones and social media.”

Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and author of The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, said his research has identified a strong link between smartphone use and declining mental health.

“To the teachers and administrators I spoke with, this wasn’t merely a coincidence. They saw clear links between rising phone addiction and declining mental health, to say nothing of declining academic performance,” Haidt, has written on his Substack, After Babel.

“A common theme in my conversations with them was: We all hate the phones. Keeping students off of them during class was a constant struggle. Getting students’ attention was harder because they seemed permanently distracted and congenitally distractible.”

Does banning smartphones in schools work?

Little research has been done on this and many experts argue that the data is inconclusive on the impact of these bans.

Marilyn Campbell, professor of early childhood and inclusive education in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology, and Elizabeth Edwards, associate professor in education at the University of Queensland, Australia, carried out a “scoping review” of published and unpublished global evidence for and against banning mobile phones in schools. The findings were published in March.

A scoping review is carried out on a topic for which there are not many studies. The review covered 1,317 articles and reports including dissertations from masters and PhD students, written between 2007 when the smartphone was first introduced, until May 2023.

In addition, they identified 22 studies that examined schools before and after phone bans. The studies covered schools in Bermuda, China, the Czech Republic, Ghana, Malawi, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

From their initial research, Campbell and Edwards said they found only weak evidence for the benefits of banning smartphones in school.

However, Policy Exchange, a British educational think tank, published a study in May – The Case for a Smartphone Ban in Schools – that it said “shows a clear correlation between an effective phone ban and better school performance”.

Rausch said: “Anecdotally, from the schools that we know that have gone phone-free – sometimes it’s hard initially, the first week or so, partly because it’s like cutting off your caffeine habit. You’re going to be pretty miserable for a little bit. But then as time goes on, kids start to focus more in class.

“We’ve never met a school that has gone phone-free and has regretted that decision.”

So, is it a good idea to ban phones in schools?

Opinions on how to address the impact of smartphones and social media vary considerably. Some oppose an outright ban on using smartphones in schools, saying removing critical communication devices from schools will not address the root of the problem.

“I don’t think bans solve the thing that we’re trying to solve, which is trying to get our kids to understand when it’s appropriate to use phones and when it’s not,” Keri Rodrigues, president of the US-based National Parents Union, told Al Jazeera.

However, Daisy Greenwell, co-founder of Smartphone Free Childhood in the United Kingdom, a parent-led organisation that focuses on the responsible use of smartphones with children, said she backs curbs on smartphone use.

“We feel like childhood is being colonised by Big Tech in a way that we’ve not, as a society, spoken about with each other enough,” Greenwell told Al Jazeera. “Teachers are telling us the biggest problems that they face in school come from the smartphones and the social side and social problems that it causes amongst the pupils.”

Some argue that banning smartphones in schools can mitigate distractions and enhance focus, but it may also deprive students of valuable learning resources and essential communication tools.

“School’s the same for 120 years, where kids go nine to three, have long holidays, sit at desks and have to regurgitate what the adults tell them to learn, basically all over the world. We’re blaming kids for falling academic standards, we’re blaming the rise in mental ill health, we’re blaming the rise of cyberbullying. Oh, well, it all must be the fault of the mobile phone,” Marilyn Campbell told Al Jazeera.

“I mean, what a simplistic view of how we are educating our children in a different world and taking away that main tool that we’re all using in society and saying, ‘No, the kids can’t have it now’.”

A balanced approach, involving regulated use and clear guidelines, may be the most effective way to harness the benefits of smartphones while minimising their drawbacks, experts say.

The general recommendation of Campbell and Edwards, who carried out the scoping review in Australia, was to leave it to individual schools to determine smartphone use and to focus on helping children to use smartphones positively.

Students scoff at a school cellphone ban. Until they really begin to think about it

A teenage boy leans back holding his cellphone.

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Since William Schnider got his first iPhone in sixth grade, it’s become an extension of his very being. By day it’s nestled in his right pants pocket; by night it’s within arm’s reach. He rarely talks to people on his phone, instead communicating via Instagram groups, TikTok memes and texts. He syncs his calendar to his parents’ phones.

So when William, a 17-year-old rising senior at Van Nuys High School, learned that cellphones would be banned across L.A. public schools, he instantly scoffed — like so many others.

“I don’t see how it will work,” he said. “I don’t see how it’s fair. Is this necessary?”

Yet after the initial shock and an absolute “no” is voiced by many teenage students, more nuanced thoughts emerge: Maybe we are falling into social media and cellphone addiction. Maybe all the distractions and the obsession with “likes” are bad for us. Maybe we need some relief.

A teen boy leans against a wall, holding his cellphone

The Board of Education’s 5-2 decision to ban cellphones by January 2025 aims to change the behavior of a generation of students and will be one of the most consequential and closely watched shifts in schooling since students were forced to go to class online — many by phone — more than four years ago at the onset of the pandemic.

Details, such as how the rule will be enforced and where the phones will be stored during the schoolday, will be worked out in the coming months. But the goals are clear. School leaders say they want to combat classroom distractions that are impeding learning and to reduce the dangers of social media addiction. At this point, the leaders say, a strict phone ban is the only way to get students to talk to one another and their teachers and come to value face-to-face conversations over digital connections.

Los Angeles, CA - June 18: LAUSD executive officer Michael McLean, left, listens as board member Nick Melvoin, right, comments prior to the board's vote on a Melvoin sponsored resolution to create truly phone-free school days across the district on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

LAUSD approves cellphone ban as Newsom calls for statewide action

Student cellphone use at L.A. public schools will be banned starting in January to improve learning, limit distractions and decrease cyberbullying.

June 18, 2024

“I understand the intention of the ban,” said Schnider, who is in a medical careers magnet program and wants to become a physical therapist or physician’s assistant. “I definitely think phones can be addicting or distracting. It can be really easy to just hyper-analyze what you are putting out on social media. People — I — fall into that trap really easily. They start to base their self-worth on how many likes they get on their stories, how much their friends are commenting, things that aren’t that consequential.”

He’s caught himself endlessly scrolling on Instagram or repeatedly checking how many people liked a story he posted recently of him and a friend on an outing to see “Inside Out 2.” He’s seen students in class turning to their phones when math instruction gets challenging.

He’s also enjoyed finishing his assignments early during English and then playing the word game Connections with friends — with no teacher objection. Students with good grades like him, he said, don’t need a phone ban. When two students were stabbed on campus in November and the school went on lockdown, William texted his mom to say he was safe. He wonders how emergencies will work without that option.

“For people with problems, this won’t stop any addiction,” Schnider said. “If you want to be addicted to your phone, you will be.”

Los Angeles will join a growing movement in K-12 education to ban phones and has won the support of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has endorsed a bill to make such a rule to go statewide. Last year, Florida passed a policy to bar student cellphones from all K-12 classrooms. A similar law will go into effect in Indiana next year. In Ohio, new legislation will force schools to devise policies to “minimize students’ use” of cellphones. New York City, the nation’s largest school district, is poised to introduce a student cellphone ban this month that’s similar to the one in Los Angeles, after dropping a prior ban in 2015.

For Angélica Zamora-Reyes, 17, a rising senior at Downtown Magnets High School, the ban can’t come soon enough. She was among the dozens of L.A students who were interviewed by The Times — and expressed relief.

When her parents gave her an iPhone as a birthday gift three years ago, Angélica was excited because she was one of the last in her group of friends to get one. Over time, she came to see the pros and cons of digital devices.

A teen girl stands on a staircase looking at her cellphone and smiling

When Angélica took the public bus to an internship this summer, she texted her parents along the route to let them know she was safe. She has an Instagram account to connect with friends and watches YouTube videos, including campus tours and vlogs of students at USC and Harvard, her dream colleges. She also views online math video tutorials on Khan Academy.

Through her phone, Angélica, who lives near Historic Filipinotown and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, found new ways to learn and expand her world beyond her corner of urban Los Angeles.

But she also saw the pitfalls of cellphones. Girls in her school can be “obsessed” with social media, comparing their clothes, weight and followings to other teens’, she said. She recently looked at her screen time monitor — 2.5 hours by the afternoon on a late Thursday in June — and felt accomplished, contrasting herself to a cousin whose daily use was several times that number.

Angélica tries to keep her phone in her backpack side pocket during the schoolday. But even if she avoids using it, she gets distracted by other students on theirs.

She remembers an incident last year when an Advanced Placement class teacher gave instructions for an assignment but she could barely hear it over loud, ongoing laughter from two classmates engrossed in their phones.

“It was not just distracting but it felt disrespectful to the teacher and to any other student,” Angélica said. She recalls wishing that all classes were like AP English, where her teacher banned phone use during class.

By the last semester of her senior year, she’ll get that wish.

photo illustration of a child with a phone illuminating his face at a close distance

Too much screen time harms children, experts agree. So why do parents ignore them?

Many parents allow children more than double the TV and tablet time experts suggest. Families are turning to screens for learning and distraction, clashing with advice.

June 26, 2024

But thinking it over, she also has questions. Could she take out her phone to take photos of friends at lunch, as she often did last school year? Could she still use her phone occasionally in class to snap shots of the whiteboard instead of taking notes?

Under the approved ban, the answer is no. However, L.A. school officials said students will be included in the rule making and enforcement policies that will come before the school board in the fall.

“As much as it would be good if phones were banned, I see the positives of having them,” Angélica said.

When another student at her school, Noreen Baig, first found out about the ban — from an Instagram post her mom sent via cellphone — she thought it was a hoax.

“A widespread ban is not OK,” the 11th grader said. Some of her classes already ban phones.

She also worries about emergencies. Her school had several lockdowns last year; each time, she texted her mom to check in.

“Are all of us from one class supposed to now rush to the office to make a phone call?” Baig said. She also uses social media to find out when and where school clubs are meeting. During lunch, she finds her friends in the cafeteria through Instagram messaging.

“My phone is a part of me,” Baig said. “LAUSD is trying to solve a small issue by taking away technology for everyone.”

To many students, the reality of what a cellphone ban will mean is hard to grasp.

But not for A Quindel Peral, a rising eighth grader at Mark Twain Middle School.

Her mother, an algebra and data science teacher at Venice High School, was part of a team of teachers that initiated a school-wide phone-free program in March. A wears a Gabb watch to school, a simpler version of an Apple Watch that’s designed to have limited functions — GPS and texting among them — so parents can keep in touch with kids. At home, A has access to a Wi-Fi-enabled iPad that she uses to text friends and play chess and Wordle.

A teenager looks at a cellphone while lying on a couch

She’s just one of two people in her group of middle-school friends without a phone. At first, A felt left out, even angry. Her parents say she’ll get a phone when she starts high school, by which point the schoolday ban policy will be in place.

But going to school without a phone, A noticed she acted differently than other students. She was able to focus better and longer on assignments and reading. She noticed some classmates would hide their phones behind books during class, pretending to read while actually texting and scrolling. With the encouragement of her mom, she began learning more about teens and technology.

“Kids right now are in their critical growth era, basically. They’re in a time in their lives when their brain is growing a lot. They’re more susceptible to peer pressure,” she said. “It’s really important that we not abuse the power phones give us. It really just depends on how you are using it.”

Still, she’s looking forward to having a cellphone when the time comes. She’s just not counting down to it the way she used to.

More to Read

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Abcarian: Los Angeles public schools will ban cellphones. What’s not to like?

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LAUSD, fed up with kids distracted by social media, to consider cellphone ban

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homework being banned

Jaweed Kaleem is an education reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where he covers news and features on K-12 and higher education. He specializes in reporting on campus activism and culture, including issues on free speech, religion, race and politics. Kaleem previously worked for The Times as a Los Angeles-based national correspondent and a London-based foreign correspondent.

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IMAGES

  1. Top 17 reason Why Homework Should Be Banned

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  2. Why homework should be banned

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  3. 15 Major Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

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  4. Should Homework Be Banned to Improve Student’s Life & Health?

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  6. Major 20 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

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COMMENTS

  1. 25 Reasons Homework Should Be Banned (Busywork Arguments)

    Excessive workload. The issue of excessive workload is a common complaint among students. Spending several hours on homework after a full school day can be mentally and physically draining. This workload can lead to burnout, decreased motivation, and negative attitudes toward school and learning.

  2. Homework Pros and Cons

    In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies' Home Journal, decried homework's negative impact on children's physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but ...

  3. Why Homework Should Be Banned From Schools

    American high school students, in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found. It's time for an uprising. Already, small rebellions ...

  4. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    It's one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if ...

  5. 21 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned (2024)

    Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned. 1. It Contributes to Increased Anxiety. If there's one word that describes middle-school and high-school students, it's anxiety. In my homework statistics article, I cite research showing that 74% of students cite homework as a source of stress. They have so much to juggle, from the novelty of ...

  6. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. "Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's ...

  7. Should homework be banned?

    Homework is a controversial topic in education, but what does the science say? Explore the pros and cons of homework and its impact on students' well-being in this article from BBC Science Focus Magazine.

  8. Homework could have an impact on kids' health. Should schools ban it?

    Elementary school kids are dealing with large amounts of homework. Howard County Library System, CC BY-NC-ND. One in 10 children report spending multiple hours on homework. There are no benefits ...

  9. Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

    Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.)

  10. Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says

    A TIME cover in 1999 read: "Too much homework! How it's hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.". The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push ...

  11. 15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

    Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well. 6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation.

  12. Should Homework Be Banned? Here's What Real Educators Think

    Bans proposed and implemented in the U.S. and abroad. The struggle of whether or not to assign homework is not a new one. In 2017, a Florida superintendent banned homework for elementary schools in the entire district, with one very important exception: reading at home. The United States isn't the only country to question the benefits of ...

  13. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Students reported bringing home an average of just over three hours of homework nightly (Journal of Experiential Education, 2013). On the positive side, students who spent more time on homework in that study did report being more behaviorally engaged in school — for instance, giving more effort and paying more attention in class, Galloway says.

  14. Should homework be banned? The big debate

    The process of being corrected helps us to retain information. It contributes to a deep learning process that helps us store new content in our long term memory. But if you look up the answer online and then simply write it down, chances are you won't actually remember the answer - and won't be able to reproduce it under exam conditions.

  15. The Pros & Cons of Homework Bans

    Pros of Homework Bans. 1. Homework May Not Improve Academic Outcomes. Unfortunately, as highly debated as homework is, there has been little conclusive or scientific research indicating its ...

  16. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

    The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper ...

  17. Should Homework Really Be Banned? It's Complicated

    All in all, perhaps homework shouldn't be banned completely, but it needs to be considered in a fair and balanced way. Here are some important points to remember that take the individual needs and resources of students into account: Everyone is different: Every person is unique, and each student learns differently.

  18. Why homework should be banned?

    8 Reasons why homework should be banned. When looking for arguments to support our stance, we stopped at eight. They are as follows: Increased stress. Less time for family. Lack of equality among students. Poor sleep schedules. No time for after-school development. Questionable academic benefit.

  19. 12 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

    Homework negatively affects students' health. Download Article. Homework takes a toll physically. Recent studies have demonstrated that too much homework can disrupt a student's sleep cycle, and cause stress headaches, stomach problems, and depression. [3] 3.

  20. 18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned

    List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned. 1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can provide this information as well, but not in the same way.

  21. Should Students Have Homework?

    According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a "10 minute rule": students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 ...

  22. Should Homework Be Banned?

    Yes. Generally, the link between homework and achievement scores is stronger for math compared to subjects like English and history. For middle school students especially, math homework can strengthen school performance. There is not a lot of research into the quality of homework. Most experts agree that homework should be reinforcing what kids ...

  23. Get involved: Should homework be banned?

    Well primary school children in Poland don't have to do it anymore after the government banned it. Under the new rules, teachers can't give out compulsory homework - that's homework you have to do ...

  24. Local High Schoolers Criticize Cell Phone Ban: 'LAUSD Lacks ...

    The ban will take effect in January 2025, and the resolution called for the district to update its smartphone and social media policies within 120 days.. In a 2022 study, 61% of the nearly 11,000 ...

  25. Why are US states, school districts banning smartphones in schools

    About seven in 10 (72 percent) say that students being distracted by cellphones is a major problem in their classroom, compared with 33 percent of middle school teachers and six percent of ...

  26. Schools ban phones, but do the policies work?

    Cities, states and school districts are passing sweeping bans on cellphones in schools, aiming to get kids to pay attention during class and socialize with their peers IRL.. Why it matters: School cellphones policies are a difficult flashpoint: On one hand, the phones can be a useful learning tool and essential parent lifeline; on the other — well, they're a pretty obvious distraction.

  27. School cellphone ban prompts surprising student opinions

    William Schnider, a 17-year-old rising senior at Van Nuys High School, is against the upcoming cellphone ban in Los Angeles schools but says he understands why it is going to be enacted.