Children and Homework

January 9, 2019

In recent years, a lot of people have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of assigning homework to children. Does assigning more homework increase the effectiveness of education? In this article, we explain the arguments both in favor and against assigning homework to children.

The latest World Health Organization statistics state that 7 out of 10 students are stressed. This statistic is related to the average of 6.5 hours per day that students spend doing homework.

Researchers are carrying out numerous investigations in this field. These studies focus on three fundamental questions: What purpose does homework have? Does more homework translate into higher quality education? Does an increase in parental involvement translate into improved child performance?

Why do teachers assign homework?

Understanding why teachers assign extra tasks is crucial for explaining the usefulness of homework. We can approach this from two perspectives: homework either solidifies what has already been learned or completes the day’s work.

A child doing homework.

The first perspective refers to the fact that children have to practice what they’ve learned. This allows them to consolidate their learning. Homework is the best way to exercise new skills. This individual effort is essential if the child is at a key stage in their linguistic development, such as acquiring literacy skills. In this case, practice is the only way to guarantee effective knowledge and continuous improvement.

The second perspective considers homework a continuation of what the children already worked on in class that day. In other words, they do the exercises they couldn’t finish in class at home.

The Spanish Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students (CEAPA) considers this second perspective an education system failure. In other words, since teachers don’t have enough resources, they have to overload students with tasks that they should have completed in school.

When to do homework

The most convenient thing would be for children to do their homework during school hours. This way, they could dedicate their afternoons to sports or cultural or recreational activities. These activities are just as important as academic work.

However, having to do homework after school requires children to learn to organize themselves and plan their work. This is also very beneficial. Little by little, the repetition of this routine encourages the internalization of values such as effort, perseverance, and personal involvement.

The CEAPA proposes that educational institutions should create a series of educational reinforcement programs. They’re called Educational Support Plans in primary education and PROA in secondary education. Students who have a harder time at school can resort to them.

Is it a good thing to dedicate more time to homework?

Time is relative. In general, it isn’t convenient to increase children’s homework to the point of overloading them. As beneficial as it may seem to us, overloading can be counterproductive.

Do we assign too much homework for children?

We must keep in mind that as children age, the time they dedicate to studying also increases. For the little ones, a maximum of half an hour a day is enough to review the knowledge they acquired during the day.

It’s also convenient to establish deadlines. This way, children don’t waste time getting distracted or making excuses, thus enhancing their attention span.

Does greater parental involvement translate into better performance?

Not necessarily. It’s convenient for parents to remain close by in case their children have questions or don’t know how to get organized. But it’s not beneficial for parents to sit at the table with their children while they do their homework.

Homework isn’t the parents’ responsibility. Children must learn to work autonomously and to commit to their responsibilities.

In conclusion, doing homework is beneficial for children in terms of acquiring responsibility. Therefore, it’s not only about doing the work well. It’s also about the discipline it helps them acquire little by little from a young age.

It’s important for them to get used to following instructions and learn to get organized while they’re little. Homework is the only way for children to learn to take charge of their obligations through experience and practice.