In 2012 French president François Hollande vowed to abolish homework as part of his education reforms. Many individual high schools in Germany and the United States are also experimenting with a ban on homework. And St. Jude’s Academy already has a “No Homework” policy in effect. This means that during class after the lesson, students are assigned follow-up questions to reinforce the understanding and learning of the concepts covered in class, which also allows teachers to evaluate which students require additional assistance. Students will not be assigned additional homework unless they did not use their time effectively during class.
So why is the international “No Homework” movement gaining momentum? Because administrators and educators are finally listening to science: studies frequently reveal that there are no academic benefits from homework for children. In fact, assigning homework can actually have negative implications. At best, homework wastes time for the high-achieving student who already understands the concepts being taught in class and is merely being assigned an additional redundant workload. At the worst, it frustrates and demoralizes struggling students who are condemned to spend hours alone at home fighting their way through problems they cannot receive assistance on until the next time they see their teacher. Homework is not productive, nor is it conducive to meaningful learning. Homework has been cited as an “energy zapper”, making children resentful towards learning, demoralized about their progress, and generally more stressed out. It can also burden parents, who are suddenly expected to take on the role of teacher when their children present them with an insurmountable set of math problems.
Abolishing homework frees up more time for children to de-stress and to engage in other noteworthy pursuits, like extracurriculars and sports outside of school. Reducing the length of a lesson and increasing time for in-class work provides students with the opportunity to ask their teachers instead of their parents or paid tutors for help, and effectively reinforces the learning of new concepts.