What Good Is Homework Anyway?

How useful is homework? Read on to learn about the different types of homework and how it can be applied most successfully to a student's education.

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Teachers and parents agree that homework helps develop a student's initiative and sense of responsibility for his or her education. Students who spend more time on homework tend to perform better academically than those who don't. This is more and more the case in upper grade levels, where homework assignments are more demanding. Students who keep up with their homework are developing a mastery of the subjects taught in school as well as a lifelong love of learning. As students mature and homework plays a more significant role in his studies, the habits developed as younger students will serve them well.

Homework comes in three general forms: practice, preparation and extension. Practice assignments reinforce newly acquired skills. If a class learns long division, they will be assigned long division problems for homework. Preparation assignments prepare students for upcoming class material or possibly a field trip. Extension assignments tend to take longer and expand on a subject being taught in the classroom. Assignments could be to complete a research paper on a topic taught in class or to read a related novel. Homework also helps students with self-directed learning by requiring them to use outside resources like libraries and reference materials.

Carefully planned and explained homework assignments with adequate follow up are an indispensable component to a child's education. A good homework assignment will be directly relevant to what the student is learning in school and will lead to a deeper understanding of the topics taught in class. If an assignment involves new information, it should expound upon information previously presented in class. Homework needs to be a positive experience that encourages children to learn. Assignments should never be used as punishment. Speaking generally, homework is important to a student's education in the following ways:

Mastery

Homework helps students master information by requiring practice and repetition of what they have learned.

Time management

Homework assignments require students to budget their time and make efficient use of deadlines.

Independence

Students develop their own approaches to completing assignments according to their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.

Responsibility

Through homework exercises, students gain a sense of connection to their education and of personal responsibility for learning.

Skills

Homework assignments require students to explore the world outside the confines of the classroom, resulting in a more well-rounded student and human being.

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