Does homework actually help?

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In 2011, Gaithersburg Elementary School, in Maryland, abolished homework by replacing the meaningless worksheets with free reading time. Although the assigned reading time is technically still homework, the staff of Gaithersburg Elementary agree that it is more beneficial than giving students something just because they felt they had to give them something as Principal Stephanie Brant told Fox 5 News.

“We really started evaluating the work that we sent students home with,” Principal Brant said. “We started looking, and really, it was a lot of worksheets. And the worksheets didn’t match what we were doing instructionally in the classroom.”

The students will learn and practice other subjects during class time, and do their 30 minutes of reading at home. Most parents of these elementary students support the abolishment of traditional homework because it isn’t as stressful and isn’t busy work.

“When [my son] comes home, he has relaxing time. And I think kids need that relaxing time,” Luz Gomez, a parent of a third-grader at the school, told Fox 5 News.

The real question is, would this untraditional style of homework be effective at a middle school level or even a high school level?

As students get older, classes get harder and that usually means more homework – or more independent study. In fact, a lot of students feel that showing up to school has become pointless, because they could be spending that time at school finishing their homework or studying for future tests.

“Most people in high school aren’t paying full attention in class,” senior Avery Kwong said. “So I think homework is the only way teachers can make sure students are understanding what happened in class.”

Perhaps, abolishing homework at an elementary school level can be effective. However, over the years, high schoolers have learned that doing homework every day actually does help. Especially, at Monte Vista, where there are certain teachers who won’t collect homework every day or at all.

“In classes where homework isn’t collected every day, I’ve learned that I’m responsible for my own success in a class,” Kwong said.

Some students struggle with this, because they know they don’t have to turn it in the very next day, so it is easier to put off until the due date – or they end up not doing it at all.

Nonetheless, this system of homework can also give students the freedom to do the homework when they want as well as teach them how to responsibly manage their time.

“I really like doing homework at my own pace,” senior Charlie Liao said. “It’s nice when teachers give a window to complete a bunch of assignments because my schedule can be really busy on certain days.”