Quarterly Blogging: Should Homework Be Optional?

                  November 2nd, the fiftieth day of Fremd’s fiftieth year, or for others, better remembered as ‘No Homework Day.’ I can personally say that that specific day was one of the best school days yet, and I believe that’s true in others too. These days students are experiencing an overload of homework in addition to the 7 hours already spent at school and for the first time since I’d started high school, there was a feeling of complete ease as I rode the bus home knowing that no worksheets, bookwork or studying had to be done that night. My afternoon, which is usually a balance of schoolwork and sports, was open to whatever I wanted to do.

What is the point of homework? I believe that the teachers’ intentions are to better their students’ understanding of the subject. So if it is meant to help us learn, why are those who understand the material perfectly, forced to do it? Being an accelerated student, I can catch onto material fairly quickly and don’t need to spend what ranges from an hour to my entire evening working on it. But there are also things that I don’t understand so quickly and need the extra practice for help. So what should the consensus be?

If the school were to make homework optional, would you even consider doing it? If you had a test the next day, would you do the review packet or just take a long nap? I can guarantee that I wouldn’t always make the right choice. There would be times that I would just choose to blow it off and hope for the best on that test.

But despite this, I feel that the homework policy should be changed. The first option would be that homework is made completely optional, leaving the choice to the student as to whether or not they need the practice. The point of high school is learning, so giving students the choice will ensure a good lesson in responsibility. They’ll need to know when it comes down to needing help and doing the work or other times when they can just choose to not do it. Another alternative would to do as my chemistry teacher does. If your grade is below a certain benchmark, then you must do usually half of the worksheet that was optional for the rest of the class. This is a very minimal amount of work but still helps those needing it.

If you were on the school board and the choice was up to you, what would you choose to do? Do you believe that change is necessary? If so, as a student how could you bring change?

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

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Tags: blog, homework, optional, quarter

Comment by Neel Saunshi on December 23, 2011 at 3:28pm

I too believe that the school board should make homework optional. If the student fully understands the subject then your just wasting your time and their time by giving them homework. If the student doesn't get it well, the homework is there for them. Making homework optional would also allow the teachers to see which student needs more help and which doesn't.

Comment by Michael Chemello on December 24, 2011 at 4:12pm

i think homework should be optional because the people who don't want to or don't need to do it won't hav e to do it for a grade. If you don't understand a topic the homework should help you practice it and make you more confident than it being a grade and lowering your overall grade int he class.

Comment by Kelly Dudar on January 1, 2012 at 5:39pm

I think homework should be optional because if you already know the material, why waste an hour doing worksheets you already know how do to? I think if you know you need extra help, then you should do the homework. This will teach people how to be kind of self sufficient and do what's best for them.

Comment by Meredith Mottonen on January 2, 2012 at 10:19am
I'm glad I am not alone in this feeling. Let's start a petition or a riot and get some change...
Comment by Soumik Biswas on January 2, 2012 at 11:46am

Homework should definitely be optional. I'm sure there are kids who would do it if necessary, and would also provide a chance for students to prove their worth. Homework is mostly just busy work, because no teacher usually assigns anything that would help with the class. On the other hand, some teachers assign homework instead of teaching. They say, "Read this textbook and we'll take a test." That's not doing their job. Optional homework is something we should fight for.

Comment by Jacquelyn Watson on January 2, 2012 at 1:08pm

I completely agree with you.  It just seems pointless to spend an hour doing the same problems over and over when you already understand the material.

Comment by Ali Murauskis on January 2, 2012 at 2:08pm

I also agree that homework should be optional for the students that understand the material and that are getting a passing grade in the class.  Homework could be extra credit or simply for practice.  It's not fair to the students that comprehend the topics in class to have to go home and stare at a text book for an hour.  I know teachers have good intentions, but students who have good grades shouldn't have the choic of doing their homework. 

Comment by Caroline Prescott on January 2, 2012 at 8:03pm

I agree, Meredith! Homework should definitely optional. By the teacher forcing us to do homework every night, it does not give the student a sense of responsibility. If homework is optional, a student who understands the material doesn't have to go through the pain of doing more work, but a student who doesn't quite grasp the concept as well is able to better their understanding on their own time. Great post!

Comment by Connor H on January 2, 2012 at 11:29pm

Just scrolling through the recently added blogs column, this one happened to catch my eye.  With the pressure of getting into a good college, students these days are overworked, and much of that added stress comes with many countless hours of homework a night.  I will say, even on that "No Homework Day" I still spent about an hour doing homework.  This was for the teachers that gave a load of homework the day before knowing that there would be a "No Homework Day."   Overall, I agree with you Meredith!  Homework should be an option, especially for those who clearly know what they are doing.  I, too, am an accelerated student, and I am also in competitive sports.  Just about every night I am up until about 11, 12, and even 1 or 2 just doing homework.  Some of the homework includes long, pointless worksheets making me do different things that I already know or have easily grasped that day.  Homework should be optional! Great Blog!

Comment by Joanna Josten on January 2, 2012 at 11:36pm

I also agree on this! Optional homework would be so helpful.  I know a lot of people would make the wrong choice sometimes, but if you really care about getting good grades, you could decide for yourself whether or not you need the extra practice.  Another option could be having a certain amount of homework given in the beginning of the week, and then having it due the next monday.  That way students wouldn't be cramming all night to get things done for the next day. It would be easier to balance out the workload and you would also have the weekend to finish up.

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