Art by Emma Phillips
We all learned the cliche excuse of “my dog ate my homework” back in elementary school. Very early on in our school careers, we were introduced to the concept of not completing our homework. It’s one of the first things you might make small talk about with your peers before class starts: “did you do the homework?” and, “no, I didn’t finish mine,” are two phrases commonly exchanged just before the bell.
I get it. I am no more of a fan of homework than the next kid. This being said, I also recognize the importance of homework and how negatively we might be impacted should teachers cease to assign it. Of course, by writing this argument I consent to shouldering the burden of being the one with an unpopular opinion, but it should be said: as much as we might not wish to admit it, we need homework.
Firstly and most obviously, homework helps students to build good habits. Yes, this is quite the general statement, but it’s true. Having deadlines to meet and responsibilities to uphold helps students build healthy work ethic and habits for the future. If we weren’t assigned homework at least every once in a while, and all work was completed in class, many students would be in for a surprise down the line when they are expected to complete work related tasks on their own time.
Even certain “adulting” situations require careful time management. If you fail to pay a bill on time, or find yourself late to important events, there will be consequences. Time management skills are crucial in arguably most careers along with life in general, and school is the time to strengthen these skills.
Furthermore, homework is an important tool for educators. I’m sure that you sometimes feel your teachers have it out for you, especially when you’re receiving several homework assignments a day, but it’s for good reason. Homework helps educators gauge how efficiently their teaching methods are getting through to students. Extra work might be given so that teachers can understand the progress of their students and adjust lessons accordingly.
Of course, as upsetting as hours of homework can be, it has been observed that individuals learn by repetition and practice, and this is a purpose homework serves. Of course, it can be argued that all necessary material can and should be covered in the classroom, but the level of learning and understanding of the material would be far more surface-level should teachers hold back on the occasional reiterating assignment. Classroom lectures and worksheets alone are not enough to develop a deep understanding of topics covered across various subjects; thus, homework is assigned.
I certainly understand that homework–how it is administered, how much time it can take, and the sheer volume many students receive–can be a true pain. Saying that homework is essential to effective learning does not mean that I believe the current standards surrounding homework are fair or at some times, even ethical.
Teachers should continue to consider that many high school age students work part-time, have family responsibilities, and need the eight hours of sleep that adults so readily preach to us that we should be getting. Nonetheless, homework, quite plainly, works and should continue to be included in places of education.