How Too Much Homework Undermines Learning

Homework is given as follow-up to see if a child has fully understood the lessons for the day.  However, too much homework is overwhelming for the student.  Contrary to popular belief, too much homework can actually ruin the learning process as it can be counter-productive.  Instead of relaxing and focusing on learning strategies, the child is focused on completing assignments, no matter whether they are completed well or not, which also cuts into the child's time for recreational activities. The result could be an unhappy, lazy pupil.

  • Energy Spent  Too much homework gives students a great deal of stress. Instead of encouraging the child to study, too many assignments may make him hate school work altogether. Also, the need to get homework completed would be the focus of the student, rather than practicing and reinforcing skills taught that day.  He can study deliberately, but it is out of frustration that he might do whatever needs to be done, not giving his best effort, resulting in poor homework grades. Some may even ask another person to do the homework for him, or copy from a classmate.  Now that is even worse.
  • Time for Rest or Recreation  Students need more time for themselves outside of school.  Giving them too many assignments takes their time away from any other substantial hobbies as well as time spent with friends.  It is a lot worse if homework is too challenging, a result of the student having difficulty with the assignment or perhaps not paying attention to the teacher in class that day. As a consequence, it does not reinforce learning as much as it creates frustration for the students and parents alike.  The moment a student sees the loads of homework to be done, he slacks off, loses the drive to work on it, and will eventually look for a way out.  The quality of the work would often not be as good as it is when they are in school.
  • Study Habits  Teachers give homework as an extension of the ongoing lessons, or as a brief introduction to the next.  This is alright, but if homework already takes hours to work on, you can expect students to do it half-heartedly.  It is actually not the kind of studying habits that teachers would encourage for their students. Take for instance a student who loathes even a single piece of homework.  If you task her with four assignments, chances are she would ask a parent to do the homework, under the pretense of not understanding the instructions.  Obviously, it isn't the student who will gain in the process.
  • Holistic learning  Lastly, school is not the only place where students learn. Children more easily learn from their environment, where theoretical ideas are put into practice. Therefore, asking children to focus on too much homework would take their time from learning through doing, in which play and hobbies are an important part.

Teachers must realize that the child's level of concentration decreases as the day comes to an end.  Once they get out of school and return home, their minds are programmed to take rest and enjoy the rest of the day with their family and friends.  If you give them too much homework, you do not only take away that privilege, but you also contribute to making them feel stressed.  The key is to do everything in moderation.  Anything in excess is not good, however positive it may seem.


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