In recent years, there has been an ongoing debate among educators as to the degree to which homework can contribute to students’ academic success.
Amazingly, some go so far as to suggest that homework is counterproductive and shouldn’t be assigned at all. That runs squarely into the face of common sense, however, and most teachers still give their students daily and weekly homework assignments.
Of course, for homework to have its maximum beneficial impact on students, it has to be “done right.” Parents need to ensure their kids have a set homework time each day and a place free of distractions so they can focus on their assignments.
Here are the three most important ways homework helps students succeed in school and in life:
Homework Develops Self-discipline and Study Skills
Homework not only teaches kids to learn. It also teaches the how to learn. The truth is that, in life, you can’t learn everything in a classroom setting. You have to know how to study fruitfully on your own, and homework forces you to do that.
Completing daily homework assignments also teaches students effective time and task management. It helps them to set and meet goals, take initiative and personal responsibility, and develop the discipline to work independently.
Group learning and teamwork are important too, but you can’t neglect a child’s need to develop independent learning skills and think you are doing him/her a favor.
Homework Prepares for and Reinforces What’s Taught in Class
As to the content of the homework, it is designed to integrate with the overall learning program of the class.
Homework assignments do two basic things: they review what was learned in class that day and preview what’s coming up on the next day. They thus reinforce concepts already learned and prepare students to learn what’s ahead.
Homework also helps students do well on quizzes and tests that play a big role in determining their grades. “Cramming” is never the best way to prepare, but not studying at home for upcoming evaluations is inviting a poor performance.
Homework Gives Parents a Chance to Get Involved
A third key reason why homework is so important to student success is that it allows children the benefit of parental involvement.
Students whose parents take an active role in their education fare far better in school, and without homework, there’s very little opportunity for parents to be involved. Homework lets parents see what their kids are being taught in school and lets them evaluate their child’s progress.
Parents who help their children through their “homework struggles” also offer them encouragement and communicate to them, by their actions, that success in school is important in life. Older kids may not always like to admit it, but all kids naturally want to please their parents - and if their parents place great value on education and homework, the kids are much more likely to do so as well.
Developing good homework skills is key to every student’s success in school. Homework does much more for a child than simply adding to the bulk of content that he/she learns. It also helps students learn self-discipline and self-study skills and review and prepare for what is taught in the classroom. It gives kids the benefit and encouragement of having their own parents involved in their education.