Careers & Education

What is homework?

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Homework isn't very popular among students
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What is homework intended to teach is at the core of doing a good job on work

Homework consists of those (annoying) assignments that your teachers expects you to complete before you return to class the next day. Homework is work that you do at home rather than in school -- but it can also mean a lot more than that.

Even adults who left school behind years ago are expected to do their homework at certain times. If you are going to buy a car, first do your homework before signing on the dotted line. What is the vehicle's track record? Have there been any recalls? What are its safety features?

Homework can mean research. If you are applying for a job, do your homework/research about the company before going in for the interview. Having done your homework, you know more or less what you are getting into and aren't blindsided by questions that you can't answer because ... you didn't do your homework.

If you have a medical problem, you need to advocate for yourself and “do your homework.” How is this particular condition treated by other doctors? Are there options when it comes to treatment? The more you know, the more you can help yourself in the recovery process.

Why do teachers assign homework? Doing homework teaches a student how to find out answers to questions on his own. Students learn to investigate independently. Homework helps a person absorb what he has been taught in school and allows the child or adult to show some initiative without the guidance or prodding of a teacher.

Most students and their parents and even teachers will agree that an excessive amount of homework is not good. Homework overload is not going to benefit anyone and usually ends up stressing everyone in the household.

Too much homework can have negative consequences, leading to depression, anxiety and the feeling of being under a tremendous amount of pressure at a very young age. Too much homework is probably going to turn a child against learning, which becomes a burden rather than a pleasure. It also interferes with free time in which children need to play and pursue their interests and hobbies.

According to Oprah Radio host Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, some children are over-burdened with homework. This prevents the child from having down-time where he is free to pursue something other than schoolwork. Furthermore, it prevents the child from spending time with his family and it also lessens the likelihood that the parent is going to create a knowledge-based environment for their child and take them to the library or to museums because this is being left up to the school.

When a child becomes overwhelmed by tons of nightly homework this can result in lack of motivation and becoming disillusioned with school.

Homework can certainly be advantageous. It can teach a child how to work independently but when a child is bombarded with it day after day it takes away the joy of learning. Too much of anything, whether it's food, playing computer games or homework, is not good. Moderation is the key.

Ideally, rather than using what is called the "shotgun" approach and assigning each student the same homework, assigning specific homework to specific children based on their level of skill-building may work better and prove more advantageous. This method addresses the individual's particular academic problem and gives him time to work on it at home.

Really young children may not have the self-monitoring ability to get the most benefit out of homework, so age is another consideration when assigning homework. The older a child gets, the better able he is to self-monitor.

Homework can be a really good thing or, if assigned in excess, a bad thing.

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