Should school homework deprive families of the quality time and prevent young people from being what they are on school holidays?
Is Homework on School Holidays Necessary?
The primary purpose of homework is to build or improve study skills, self-control and discipline, and responsible behavior among students. Therefore, extending the learning environment outside school setting is necessary.
There is no doubt that basis for homework is realistic, informed, and with a noble in intention that would surely benefit students. However, extending the learning environment from classroom to each student’s home with no clearly defined boundaries may result in some unwanted effects. These include reduced family time, social isolation, stress, health problems, reduced motivation, and loss of interest in learning due to long hours spent on daily homework and those that consumed their school holidays.
This school-home partnership for students’ development must, therefore, draw a line between educational and personal needs. The reasons are regardless of life benefits, education is not the only thing that matters to people and as government, religion, economics, and other rule-governed social institutions, schools have limited influence on people. Schools should realize the fact that students, as members of the most important institution in our society can “Say No To School” or #DigaNãoAEscolaPq on matters affecting the quality of their lives.
Homework in Reality
School homework is generally students’ out of the class task that normally requires research, problem-solving, reading, or writing. It is normally prepared and completed after class hours and submitted on next class meeting. The purpose (initially) is to help students learn or acquire some more information about the subject matter. Another purpose of homework is to keep students busy while away from home.
A study conducted in 2007 found 45% of grade 3-12 in the United States is spending one hour while 6% spend 3 hours a night on their homework. On average, young and older students spend about 7 hours of a week. In contrast, the 2014 Stanford University research team found that high school students spend an average of 3.1 hours of homework per night. More than 50% of these students experienced greater stress, suffered health problems, and spend less time with their family, friends, and not enjoying their hobbies. Overall, spending more than 2 hours of homework is counterproductive, stressful, health hazard, and negatively affects students’ personal and social life.
The call #DigaNãoAEscolaPq or “Say No To School” by a disgusted Brazilian student exposed the enduring school practice of assigning students homework that they need to work on during school holidays. The student actually missed all the fun and excitement because she spent almost half of her two months summer vacation doing homework.
This kind of cruel and distressful homework can easily affect young people who by nature are outgoing creatures. They already spent so much time in school, thus being with their family and friends during the holiday are so important to them. There is nothing wrong with homework as it can help develop students’ knowledge, skills, and behavior. The real problem actually is the misuse of the learning tool that until now has a weak link to achievement, but scientifically proven counterproductive when abused, depriving families of the quality time, and preventing young people from being what they are on school holidays.