There’s a long-running debate on the benefits of homework. The purpose of homework is to bridge the gap between children’s learning at school and at home, but just how relevant is it to the modern generation? We cover the advantages and disadvantages of homework below.
- Children develop time management and study skills: Homework sets children up to manage their time and plan out study schedules, which are very useful skills to have when they enter senior high school years, tertiary study and eventually the workforce. Completing homework early in the schooling years ensures that it becomes a habit — not an inconvenience.
- Students can engage with their studies: Even with the whole day spent at school, allocated class time is not always sufficient when it comes to engaging students with their school work. Setting homework allows students to revise content learnt during the day with a fresh set of eyes and a clear head, away from their friends and other schoolyard distractions. This also provides parents with an opportunity to get involved in their child’s school work, providing assistance and additional insight when needed.
- Teachers can keep track of progress: Homework allows teachers to track students’ progress, meaning that they can spot when a child is struggling with content or falling behind the rest of the cohort. Submitting homework also provides a good lesson in responsibility and diligence, often with disciplinary consequences if homework is not returned or completed to the required standard. Homework can also be a good talking point during parent–teacher interviews.
- Homework eats up free time: This is one of the most common arguments against homework — it eats up the valuable time kids have to spend with their family, attend extracurricular activities and catch up with friends. For older children, school work may also compete with part-time and casual work. In Years 11 and 12, it can be difficult to manage homework with independent study.
- Excess homework causes children to feel ‘burnt out’: After a busy day at school and extracurricular activities thrown into the mix, sitting down to complete homework can seem like a monumental task, causing some children to feel burnt out well before they reach the tough final years of school. In some cases, homework may even be assigned over term breaks or the summer holidays. This causes severe stress for some children, leading to issues such as sleep deprivation.
- Homework is rarely valuable: Although teachers work hard to set homework tasks that will engage your child, it is sometimes difficult to see the value in the assignments your child brings home. It can also be tempting to help your child with their homework (sometimes a little too enthusiastically), meaning that the benefits of homework as a learning tool are lost entirely. The volume of homework may also mean that your child is not able to dedicate as much time to each task as would be ideal.
Most schools have a homework policy that dictates the type of homework tasks given to students and their frequency. State governments also publish guidelines on their respective department of education websites:
- NSW: Homework policy
- QLD: Homework policy
- VIC: Primary school homework
- VIC: Secondary school homework
If you are worried that your child’s homework schedule is taking its toll on their wellbeing (or that they’re not receiving enough homework), it is best to chat to their teacher or year-level coordinator.