Why I Dislike Homework and How the Research Backs Me Up
Seriously, I’d much rather that my kids get much needed down-time to: play, nap, read, run, swing, dance, twirl, build, create, draw, invent, or design.
Yet I sit inside with them, trying to pretend that I’m enthusiastic and supportive, helping them to stay focused, answering questions that come up. Ugh. (And don’t get me started trying to describe the melt-downs when you have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. Homework is that much more of a nightmare.)
Remember when I asked you on Facebook about homework? Most of you didn’t support homework either.
And to be clear, I didn’t care for homework as a fifth grade teacher either. My students rarely had homework unless they didn’t finish something in class. (Lesson to use your time wisely.) No homework meant that they could read, play, do sports, have family time . . .
The majority of research supports no homework. (So does common sense, one could argue, . . . at least, I’d argue anyway.)
1. There is no evidence showing that early elementary homework is beneficial (Cooper, 1989 a; Cooper, Robinson & Patall, 2006) ASCD with the exception of some studies showing correlation on math tests. (NCTM, 2008)
2. Too much homework affects a child’s sleep. Lack of sleep negatively impacts brain function. (Wolfson, 1998)
3. Homework is detrimental to student achievement and makes children depressed. (Australian Institute of Family Studies following 10,000 students)
4. Too much homework is not helpful to student achievement. (Cooper, Civey, and Patall, 2006.)
5. Mixed research showing homework developing good study habits – some research shows yes, some no. (Cooper, 1989a, Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006) ASCD (Kohn, 2006 The Homework Myth.)
6. Time spent on homework for secondary students sometimes correlates to achievement but not with elementary students and not consistently for secondary. (Plude, Enns, and Broudeur 1994) NCTM and (Maltese, and Fan, 2012)
7. Many countries (Japan, Denmark and Czech Republic) with high test scores have instructors who assign no or little homework. (Mullis, Martin, Gonzalez, Kelly and Smith, 1998.)
You’ll find more research on two articles from which I learned the most and synthesize the homework research: Jane Bluestein’s blog and on ASCD.
Recommendations for Homework (if given)
While I’ll always believe that homework should be little to none, IF homework is assigned here are my recommendations.
– be able to be completed independently, without the help of an adult
– have been well-covered in class and is an opportunity to deepen knowledge
– promote mastery of a skill the student hasn’t yet mastered with an engaging task
– be clear and purposeful to the learner
– give students autonomy to learn a topic interesting to them
– be coordinated with other teachers so there isn’t an overwhelming amount
– be differentiated (considering different abilities of the learners, different modalities of learning, etc.)
I think less homework just makes sense.
But there’s the rub. What’s up with all the homework our kids are assigned?
What do you think?
Have you advocated for less homework in your child’s life? Or would you do so now that you know the research and know you’re not alone? Please elaborate in the comments.
What to Do if You Don’t Like School
Have you ever had that thought? Lots of kids do. Usually this feeling doesn’t last long. But what happens if you feel this way too much? School is a fact of life, and getting an education can help you build the kind of future life you want.
So let’s talk about school and what to do when you don’t like it.
Signs of School Stress
When you worry about school, it can affect your body. A kid who feels stressed about school might have headaches or stomachaches. You might feel “butterflies” or like you have to throw up.
Having trouble sleeping is also a sign of stress. And if you’re not getting enough sleep, you probably feel grouchy and tired during the day. Feeling tired can make your school day seem even worse.
If you’re stressed out, you might have a hard time making decisions. In the morning, you can’t decide what to eat, what to wear, or what to pack for lunch. You don’t want to go to school, so you put off getting your stuff together. And now you’re not prepared to go to school, and you’ve just missed the bus — again! Staying home may seem like a good choice, but it just makes it harder to go to school the next day.
Why Do Some Kids Dislike School?
If you don’t like school, the first step is finding out why. You might not like school because a bully is bothering you, or because a kid you don’t like wants to hang around with you. Or maybe you don’t get along with your teacher. You might feel different or worry that you don’t have enough friends.
Sometimes it’s a problem with your classes and schoolwork. Maybe the work is too easy and you get bored. Or maybe the work is too hard, or you don’t feel as smart as the other kids. Reading or math may be difficult for you, but you’re expected to do a lot of it. You may be getting farther and farther behind, and it may seem like you’ll never catch up. Maybe you’re dealing with worries, stress, or problems that make it hard to concentrate on schoolwork.
When you stop to think about why you don’t like school, you can start taking steps to make things better.
It’s a good idea to talk to someone about your problems with school. Your mom, dad, relative, teacher, or school counselor will be able to help you. It’s especially important to tell an adult if the problem is that you’re being bullied or someone hurts you physically.
Another good idea is to write down your feelings about school in a journal. You can use a journal or diary or just write in an ordinary notebook. It’s a great way to let out emotions that may be stuck inside you. And you don’t have to share what you’ve written with others.
If you feel disorganized or like you can’t keep up with your schoolwork, your teachers and school counselors want to help. Teachers want and expect you to ask for help when you have trouble learning. If all of your subjects seem really hard, a school counselor can help you sort things out. Special help with schoolwork is available if you need it.
Try not to let the problems go on too long. It’s easier to catch up on one chapter than the whole book!
Feeling Better About School
The next time you find yourself disliking school, try this:
- First, write down everything you don’t like about school.
- Then make a list of the good things you enjoy (even if it’s only recess and lunch, that’s a start!).
Now, what can you change on the “don’t like” list? Would remembering to do your homework help you feel more confident if you’re called on in class? Can you get help with schoolwork that’s hard? Who can you talk to about a worry or problem you’re dealing with? Could you find a way to show off your special interests and talents? If you made just one new friend, would you feel less alone? If you helped someone else feel less alone, would you feel even better? Which activities could you try that would help you meet new friends?
Of course, you might not be able to change everything on your “don’t like” list. A bully may not simply disappear. Reading may always be a challenge. But that’s OK. Focus on what you can change and you might be able to put the cool back in school!
How can I get myself to not hate doing my homework?
Every time I sit down and try to do my homework, I just think of what else I could be doing and not do it. How can I get excited about doing my homework?
” I just think of what else I could be doing and not do it.”
This is the sentence that gives us clues as to what’s going on.
Anything that is a threat to your desire to look good, feel good or be good, is a thing you want to distance yourself from.
Conversely, if it supports your desire to look good, feel good and be good, you will gravitate toward that.
You asked how to get excited(a feel good) about homework. Specifically, I don’t know. Generally, when you realize that the pain of looking bad, or feeling bad, our being bad when you get out of school is an unwanted event, we will be able to change your outlook.
A bit of preparation now, will serve you well the rest of your life. You have nothing else to do but get ready for the rest of your life.
A little feel bad for a ton of be good is a worthwhile trade.
Life is about doing shit you don’t want to in order to get to where you wanna be. Think of future you as another person that you want to make happy. Likewise think of past you as a person. Has past you treated you well? Learn from your mistakes.
How can I get excited about doing my homework?
You can’t. You can’t force yourself to be excited about subjects that don’t interest you.
Life, unfortunately, is not always about attitude. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. Sucking it up and doing it is what constitutes self-discipline.
What you should be doing is looking to the future. Doing your work and studying opens doors for you. You can go to better schools for less or no money if you do your work and succeed. Doing your work there can get you better jobs.
I’m sitting here, taking a break, because I’m spending Superbowl Sunday doing coding work for my job that I’d rather not do. But, if I get it done, it will get me lots of good will with people in positions of power that I can leverage later.