Homework: Is it really necessary?

Abby Christensen, news writer

Most days after nearly seven hours of school, Rea Bedalli arrives home with two to three hours of homework, sometimes staying up until 1 or 2 a.m. just to finish. Although this is not always the case for Bedalli, she says it happens especially when she has other after-school activities such as volunteering for Peer Helpers or tennis practice.
Bedalli, sophomore, said she doesn’t hate all homework, but she does dislike having an excessive amount of homework because it becomes repetitive and inefficient.
“When [homework] turns into busywork it’s unnecessary, and it just weighs down on students that have other things to do,” Bedalli said.
Bedalli thinks when students have to stay up until midnight or later the homework is too much and can lead to sleep deprivation. She said there should be enough homework to review what students learn and practice but she doesn’t need an excessive amount.
According to kirkwood.patch.com, both China and France agree homework can have a negative impact on students, and are attempting to ban homework. Kirkwood Patch said many Kirkwood parents agree with this idea, and some experts said the only area homework really helps is standardized testing.
Robert Becker, chemistry teacher, disagrees, saying homework can help students master concepts and stretch them to learn more than they would in class. He likes how he can use homework not only to review, but also to introduce material. According to Becker, homework is necessary in order to cover everything he wants to teach.
With that said, Becker believes homework can be counterproductive when students focus on it just for getting good grades. He thinks homework should only be for mastering concepts and introducing new ideas, more for learning than grades.
“The perfectionist, I think, could get a bit bogged down by homework, because they want to be perfect,” Becker said. “I would rather students just give it a good try.”
Jenny Willenborg, biology teacher, also thinks homework has its place but not necessarily all the time. She said homework is necessary when it repeats and practices things you learn during class but in some subjects, such as biology, homework isn’t always the best option. She agrees with Bedali, saying the biggest problem with homework is when it cuts into the amount of sleep students receive.
“Even if they only get a half hour of homework in each class, that’s three hours, and if they do any sort of activity, sport or job when they get home at nine they could be going to bed at midnight, and that’s too late in my opinion,” Willenborg said.
Willenborg said there should not be a limit or time restraint on homework, but teachers need to be cognizant of the fact students have more than one class and participate in other activities outside of school. She thinks teachers need to be wary and not assign too much homework on a daily basis.
Bennett Pruitt, senior, said sometimes there is too much homework, and it takes away from other things he wants to accomplish in his day. Like Willenborg, he thinks teachers should collaborate about how much homework they give each day so that students do not get an excessive amount of homework in every class, especially the day before a test. Dr. Michael Havener, principle said this does not happen due to a lack of time, but the idea of collaboration between teachers is starting to be discussed.
“If you’re trying to accomplish a lot during the day, homework doesn’t let you do everything you want to do,” Pruitt said.
With five AP classes and at least two hours of homework a day, Pruitt thinks homework can be stressful, but he also feels he needs homework sometimes to practice.
“In [AP Calculus], I was completely confused one day about the chain rule until I did a bunch of problems in a row, and then I just knew all about it after that,” Pruitt said. “I just think [homework] helps cement the ideas you learn in class.”
Pruitt said homework should not be banned because students would fall behind if they did not understand things.
“I would enjoy [homework being banned] but at the same time I feel like I would start falling behind,” Pruitt said. “I need to do homework.”