Homework made me pretty sedentary. I went from a softball playing teen to an on-my-butt teen in all AP courses, doing about five or six hours of homework a night. Most of this homework had nothing to do with what I do in my life today—nor does it have anything to do with what MOST people do in their lives, their work, their families, either. I gained 60 pounds the same year I started taking all AP courses, and I completely stopped playing sports. An already round kid, I was suddenly in need of new clothing, too.
That’s not the only reason I hate homework, though. As most studies can tell you, homework has not proven to have any positive results for children in the primary or elementary grades—and such minimal positive results in high school grades that it still doesn’t bear repeating. And yet we don’t just keep prescribing it like an ineffective medication; we demand more on our kids. And when they can’t sit still, or get tired, or get obese, or otherwise suffer from their lack of play and their lack of outdoor stimulation, we medicate them or demand government interaction—and, of course, more homework.
Does anyone else not see how messed up this is?!
Despite the links I posted in the previous paragraph, a new study (released by the Department of Education, which means it’s totally not biased at alllll) is claiming that a minimum of two hours of homework a night is now linked to supposed “benefits,” or “better school results.” After reading the article, I still don't know what they mean by "better school results." Behavior in class? Understanding of the subject material? Creativity and critical thinking with the subject? Or grades?
None of these, of course, directly relate to a person’s success—whether in career, love, life, or anything important to him or her—or general happiness or future at all.
School results themselves are not enough to support assigning homework. That’s like saying we are going to put you through military boot camp even though you aren’t going into the military because boot camp produces better military results. Your school career ends after your senior year (unless you go to college, which is considerably different); is being good at school for the first decade of your life or so really worth ten to twenty hours of your childhood being squandered on meaningless worksheets every week?
I’d like to see a study that shows how A. successful (by personal definition rather than one set by the Department of Education, the government, or the media) and B. happy people are ten years after they graduate and to compare that with not only how much homework they did or did not have, but also with how much playtime they had, how much outdoor play they were allowed, how they were encouraged to follow their own interests, and whether or no they were drugged as children. I couldn’t see a school taking on this study, but if it were miraculously financed and produced, I think the results would make us turn our backs on homework for good.