Home > Homework > All Work and No Play Makes Johnny A Dull Boy (And Makes Me Hate School)

All Work and No Play Makes Johnny A Dull Boy (And Makes Me Hate School)

One of the biggest problems teachers have with students all over the country is getting them to turn in their homework.  After careful deliberation and consultation with other students I have found the perfect solution to this problem.  Abolish homework.  That’s right. You read that correctly.  Abolish homework.  Get rid of it altogether.  You are probably thinking that this is just my way of trying to get out of writing this paper.  However, this issue is being seriously debated in United States.  If you won’t take my word for it then just read on and listen to the experts.

There are many people who believe that abolishing homework would be in the best interest of students (and no, those people are not the students themselves).  One person who supports this idea is a teacher himself, Brian Crosby, and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America’s Future. The biggest problem Crosby has with homework is that it’s preventing kids from actually being kids.  If each nullteacher gave 30 minutes of homework, students would have three hours of homework to complete by the end of the day.  In his book, Crosby quoted a student as saying “Ever since school started I have had no more than five to six hours of sleep. I have been living off caffeine and sugar just so I can make it until sixth period.”  Teachers demand students’ full attention in the classroom, they give multiple homework assignments, and they also encourage students to participate in extra-curricular activities. When do kids get time to actually be kids? Children need to have stress-free time where they don’t have to worry about school or homework. They need time to relax and unwind from the school day before having to worry about what work the next day brings. Students shouldn’t be expected to perform at the utmost level when they barely have enough time to get a good night’s sleep. Crosby had it right when he said, “It’s time to put the child back into the hood…his own childhood.”

Another supporter of abolishing homework is educational researcher Etta Kralovec. Kralovec presents her opinion of homework in public schools by calling it the “black hole of learning.” “Homework simply doesn’t make sense in this brave new constructivist world of teaching and learning,” Kralovec stated.  In her argument, she quoted a statistic indicating that only 15% of America’s schoolchildren are happy in the classroom, and everyone else “suffers a little bit.” One of the problems she gave with homework is the fact that when students take schoolwork home, teachers cannot control who actually does the assignment.  This is one of the problems I have with homework as well.  I have had parents telephone me and ask me to help them do their child’s online test that was assigned.  I also went to school with students who admitted that their parents did their homework for them.  What good is this doing? Who is really benefitting from this? Definitely not the students.  Duke University’s Harris Cooper, the nation’s top homework scholar, concluded from one of his reviews that homework does not measurably improve academic achievement for kids in grade school.  It also hurts students if too much of it is done.  Cooper’s analysis of dozens of studies found that doing more than 60 to 90 minutes of homework a night in middle school and more than 2 hours in high school is associated with lower scores.

Even after all of this information has been presented, there are still many people who will argue that homework is needed.  The main reason for this may be the fact that if students didn’t take time outside of school to complete their work, more class time would have to be allotted for it which would take away instructional time.  This would mean that teachers would have less time to cover new material and students would be learning fewer important concepts. However, abolishing homework would free up all the time that teachers have to spend collecting the homework in class and scolding those who claimed their dog ate their homework.  Besides, if students are not doing their homework anyway, what good is assigning it going to do?

You have heard what the experts (and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the students) have to say about homework.  Even though there are some positive aspects to homework, the negatives outweigh the positives.  Even if homework helps save time in the classroom, that won’t make a difference if students are burnt out on school and learning altogether. We can’t expect students to do well in school if they loathe going to it in the first place.  Sometimes you have to sacrifice something in order to get something better in return.  In this case, sacrificing a time saver in order to improve the way kids feel about school is definitely worthwhile. If students enjoyed school more, we could expect to see better results and more graduates, which happens to be the actual point of education.

Categories: Homework
  1. jessica waters
    December 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I know how you feel about homework. I remember a time when I would get into fights with my parents when they tried to help me with my homework, and I did try to stay up as late as I possibly could to make sure that I got it done (or as much of it done as I could). I also remember how I would ask my dad to help me with my class projects, but I would not make it look like he did it all by himself. I cannot see how someone would think that it would be okay for their parents to do their homework; they have already gone to school and earned their diplomas themselves, they do not need to be relearning what they already know just so their child could hang out with their friends or play games on the computer.

  2. Miranda
    December 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    When you bring up parents doing the students homework I remember those days. My parents never did my homework because they believed that if you do not learn with homework what you are going to do for tests. Then you bring up a point about too much homework plus extra activities do not leave enough time for kids to be kids. Well I am going to answer your question. Kids have to be organized and plan things out. I remember in high school how I was involved in sports plus school. You learn that you take time during the school day to do homework that way after practice you just relax and enjoy being a kid. I am on the fence post about agreeing or disagreeing with abolishing homework. Less homework would be nice but how are you suppose to practice math problems. Then this leads to a point. If we take out homework how is this going to prepare the future kids for college. The kids will not have the fundamentals of juggling multiple things at once and will fail.

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      I was involved in extra-curricular activities during high school as well so I know what you mean about having to plan it out. I was always involved in at least 5 things a year and sometimes more than that and also took AP classes as well. I realize at this level of school (high school) it is easier for students to keep track of multiple things but in grades K-3 kids really don’t have time management down very well. Also when you are a teenager you don’t actually need “play” time like you did when you were a child. When you are between the ages 5-7 though, much of your social skills are being developed be getting out there with other children and interacting and its hard for kids to do that when teachers send home packets of homework each day, especially since at that age it can take children longer to complete assignments because they are just learning simple math and reading skills. So yes homework does have its benefits like I said in my blog, but it can have its disadvantages if too much is required at such a young age.

  3. Robbie Craycraft
    December 7, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I agree with you. Teachers assign too much homework to students who participate in other activities. I ran cross-country in high school and we had practice right after school at 3:30 to 5:00. When I got home I had an hour or two to do homework then eat dinner then finish homework. It usually took me an hour to do math homework and depending on amount of reading history and English took between thirty minutes to hour. I find it wrong that parent’s do their kids work. Students need to do their own work turn it on time. Teachers need to do a better job at teaching new material so students can successfully complete the homework. I remember math problems where all I would do is go to the back of the book look for the problem and write down the answer because I would give up. I believe homework is useful by the fact its practice but at the same time it’s just a hassle to do and for teachers to grade.
    I think if we abolish homework teachers can spend more time teaching the important or difficult subjects. Personally I didn’t care much about high school I just wanted to get by Bs and Cs few A’s, nothing spectacular. I took the AP courses which had more homework, tougher exams, and a lot more writing. These were the only classes I learned the most in and tried my hardest at. In the classroom I was not that happy most of the time unless I was in the AP European History class or AP US History. I remember when I got home the first I would get was a soda from the fridge. I had to have my caffeine boost and snack or I would be too drained to do homework. I totally agree with the teacher Brian Crosby when he said that we need to put the child back into the hood…his own childhood”. I remember that in high school you look forward Fridays so much that kids would nearly wreck trying to drive out of the high school parking lot. Friday and the weekends were our retreat back to our childhood that we wanted back so badly.
    I feel like homework is not as big of a deal when it is not worth as much as test is. You do the homework for minimal percentage that you barely understand and then a take a test later on which you either pass or fail. If you fail then it drops your grade probably a whole letter grade. I also can remember kids in my class that would never do their homework even try it. They would just sit there at the desk or go to sleep and not pay any attention to the teacher or the subject. Kids need a break from homework and the best way to give them a break is to abolish homework and see if grades and test scores go up or down.

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      I agree with you totally. If you look at homework grades from the time a child starts school until he/she is in high school I think you will see a huge drop when they enter high school. Students just get tired of doing it when they know it won’t make that big of a difference in their overall grade. It is especially difficult to try and get those students who don’t want to go to college to try extra hard on assignments that are meant to prepare them for college. If they don’t plan on furthering their education and they know it won’t fail them, why do it? I remember teachers taking 15-20 minutes of class time to scold those who were not trying hard enough on assignments and it didn’t make a bit of difference except it took time away from those who actually wanted to learn the material.

  4. Bay
    December 10, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I totally agree with abolishing homework. I believe that homework should be done before you go home; nobody wants to take school home with them. I was always dropped with tons of homework each night, sometimes it was so bad all I could do was cry. I really hated it when a teacher would give out huge projects that were due the next day; when the teacher personal knew that the wholes school was going o at the big game I wasn’t in any extra-curricular activity at school. But I was at home sort of, if you call barn work, and working the horse an extra-curricular activity. I admit to my parents doing my homework, epically in English.

  5. josh marshall
    May 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I can see both sides to this argument. Kids need their time away from school and homework. Taking away homework would relieve stress from students and i feel it would make them like school more. Abolishing homework and just making students do assignments in class, i feel, would raise the attendants because students would have to go to school to keep their grades up. But I could never see teachers eliminating homework all together. I would understand if they limited it to maybe 5 or 6 problems a class just to just keep the minds fresh. But if you got rid of homework all together I feel as if that would just be bad for the students in the long run. It wouldn’t help them learn as much as it would if students kept doing homework they would now. So if they lust limited it I think that would be the best option.

  1. December 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

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