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To Homework or Not to Homework?

To homework or not to homework? That is the question which invariably results in many different answers.

From absolute refusal to quivering acceptance, people can be divided in their opinions. Kids, as we know, spurn it and do everything in their power to avoid it – that’s just atypical kid behaviour. But why do the parents?

There are many legitimate reasons for parents justifying why they don’t enforce schoolwork at home. And when we see successful people promoted in the media espousing their unrestrictive, carefree school days, there is definitely a point to be made that homework does not always maketh the person. From a micro to macro level, the reasons for no homework can be summed up as thus:

  • It denies time spent on leisure, sport and family activities.

  • Kids need a break from the heavy demands of school.

  • It interferes with a child’s home and personal life too much.

  • There can be too much stress involved fighting with a child who refuses to do it.

  • There’s more to life than homework, especially if it is too hard and burdensome.

Homework has been around since the dawn of institutionalised schooling, set by those who wanted to help children expand their mind - irrespective if said child wanted it expanded or not. But whilst societies and times progress and change, sometimes keeping with the status quo should not always be considered a bad thing. Homework was invented for a reason, and for many participants it has served them well. It helps to:

  • Reinforce material learnt or forgotten earlier in class – brains only soak in a part of what is said, seen or heard at any one point in time.

  • Develop time management, study skills, and prioritising.

  • Provide a base in which teachers and parents can keep track of progress, or lack thereof.

  • Teaches students how to work independently.

But the most important thing that has been found to be true is that homework teaches an invaluable life skill: self-discipline. Irrespective of whether you are gifted or have a learning difficulty, homework will help develop the faculty of doing something that one does not want to, but has to. And self-discipline is one crucial factor in the survival and success of adult life. As even Hamlet says, “I must be cruel to be kind, thus bad begins and worse remains behind.”


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