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Do Kids Need Homework?

AFTER SCHOOL Homework gives kids time to practice what they learned in class. Or does it just take time away from other worthwhile activities? GETTY IMAGES

We knew this question would spark lively debate among readers. School is a big part of life, not just for kids but for their families and for educators, too. Everyone has an opinion about what’s best for students. And they don’t always agree.

Do kids need homework? The answer is . . . (drumroll): It depends. Some of our readers insist that the extra work reinforces what they learn in class. And it helps teachers identify where students need more help. Others say homework adds to students’ stress and takes time away from exercise or learning something new. Readers also wondered what kind of homework kids should do. And how much kids need. Here’s what they said.


Pradyun Senthilkumar, 9

Los Angeles, California

Kids need homework. When they learn something new in school, reviewing it at home helps them remember it. At my school, teachers give math and language arts homework. That’s because there’s a lot we need to learn. In math, we’re learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In language arts, we’re learning spelling, reading, and writing. And we’re also learning how to speak. Our homework gives our teachers valuable information. It tells them how much students are paying attention in class and who needs extra help. Homework is important at every stage of learning.


Olivia Lin, 9

Minnetonka, Minnesota

In my opinion, giving students homework is a bad idea. Kids need time after school for experiences that build a healthy mind and body. Homework is not supposed to stress kids out. It’s meant to help them grow. But when homework heaps up, students get stressed. And the quality of homework that a stressed-out mind produces is low. Doing homework poorly is worse than doing no homework. As long as students are working hard in class, it’s best not to give them extra work. That’s for the sake of their mental and physical health. And their happiness.


Isla Dhaliwal-Grizzell, 8

Spokane, Washington

Kids need homework. But the amount should vary by age. Middle and high school students are ready for added responsibility. So they can do much more homework. At my school, elementary students get homework, but not too much. My teacher might assign us spelling words to learn at home, and each week we’ll be given a test. But other assignments can require families to work with kids at home, if they need extra help. That’s why we do most of our learning in class. Sometimes, elementary students at my school will have an optional homework assignment to do for a special prize.


Isaac McKee, 11

Durham, North Carolina

Kids don’t need homework. They’re learning for six hours a day at school, focusing on subjects from math and science to history and reading. Adding another hour of work for kids to do at home is just having them repeat what they’ve been doing all day. Plus, homework takes time away from activities like team sports, hobbies, exercise, and playing. These are just as important as schoolwork, because they keep kids active. Kids don’t need more time staring at a piece of paper or a computer screen. Homework just covers what they already learned in class. It’s pointless.


Jolynn Xiao, 9

Corpus Christi, Texas

Here’s why I think kids should have homework. If you can’t solve a math problem, or if you answer a question incorrectly on a homework assignment, your teacher knows exactly what to help you with. Parents also have a chance to help. They can work you through a math problem or clarify a question. I’m not arguing for homework because I want kids to feel a lot of pressure at school. I just think it’s a way to let teachers, parents, and even you know where you might need some improvement or extra help. It’s that simple. Considering the benefits, why wouldn’t we want kids to have homework?


Nathaniel Kim, 11

South Pasadena, California

Many people believe that homework is essential. They say it can teach kids how to complete tasks on a deadline. I don’t deny that homework teaches students positive work habits. But it takes time away from learning material that wasn’t covered in class. And there’s no guarantee that time spent on homework will be more effective than time spent in the classroom, if students are paying attention and taking notes. Homework should not be done away with completely. But it should be reduced so students have more time for creative activities.

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