Homework should help, not harm

Published 7:08 pm Friday, January 15, 2016

Beaufort County is lucky to have high-quality educators in its schools. Not only that, but the county also has talented students.

But in every school district, it’s almost inevitable for some students to experience excessive homework assignments. This is the case in classrooms across America.

Many experts agree that homework is an important part of learning, as it reinforces the concepts of what the student has learned during class. A lot of times it’s much easier to follow along with a classroom full of students, but the real test of knowledge happens when a student is tackling an assignment alone at home.

Homework is a way for a student to gain confidence, and the mere repetition of a concept will make it harder to forget.

However, it can go too far.

Inundating a student with hours of assignments can do more harm than good. After a certain period of time, a child’s brain can shut down, so to speak, and learning comes to a halt. Frustration sets in and fatigue starts to block progress.

Child psychologist Tamara Stevens recommends giving students 10 minutes of homework per grade level, so first-graders would be assigned 10 minutes of work and 12th-graders could be given up to two hours.

This is generally a good rule of thumb, but the important thing is to remember to be mindful of each situation and consider how much is too much.

There is no across-the-board formula for how much homework to assign, as each classroom is different.

But there is one bottom line: Students need to have constructive assignments, not busy work or excessive amounts of homework. A student should step away from homework feeling more prepared, not overwhelmed.

Teachers need to be mindful of what they assign, and parents should be mindful of what their children are assigned.

After all, healthily fostering the minds of America’s future — Beaufort County’s future — is of the utmost importance.