Op/Ed: Homework Is a Form of Child Slavery


Homework is arguably the worst punishment inflicted upon the student body. It affects many age groups, and is the number one killer of a good time in America. While it holds some actual value in earlier age groups for fundamentals like reading and math, it becomes a nuisance for those who have already developed these skills.

“Practice makes perfect” sounds great, until a student notices that it may not be necessary.

In my experience, homework is just tedious, implementing the repetition of tasks to establish memory of the material. In some studies, this tedious repetition has only been proven beneficial for math and reading. I personally found truth in this because my best subjects were Earth Science and Biology in high school.

Neither teacher gave homework until they had students in later years that performed poorly due to a lack of attention paid during class. The belief that “practice makes perfect” was thwarted by my lack of efforts still leading to success.

My problem was actually homework being a hindrance. I didn’t want to do homework, but in subjects as simple as English, it wasn’t difficult to pass the tests without outside assignments. Homework could, however, hold between ten and twenty percent of your grade depending on the teacher, so this could cause a large drop in grades regardless of actual mastery of the subject matter.

Homework takes away from free time that could be used for entertainment, work, or family time, but these are not the only negatives provided by this after school punishment.

In some cases, excessive homework can lead to heightened anxiety and depression, including all groups that are exposed to it, such as children. If children were raised in a manner that was somewhat more hands on, the homework struggle may not be required.

For example, I was taught to read aloud one night when my mother gave me a book, had me start on a random page and begin reading. If I messed up a sentence, I would start it over. If I messed up three times on one page, I would start the page over.

I was about six years old, and it taught me early on how to read aloud efficiently. Homework could be abolished if parents took some time to help students develop.

When the facts are considered, children experience nearly year-round work. They are in school from September to June, and even during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break, they are given work packets that are giant.

These packets are plenty of work, and honestly disrespectful of free time during the holidays, and yet teachers would likely feel disrespected if the students didn’t do the work.

What is even funnier is when a teacher won’t grade tests because they claim they are busy with “grading the holiday work,” but it is holiday work that they went out of their way to assign.

And once a long year in school has come to a close, students get to look forward to a summer break as a reward for their hard work- after they do their summer reading assignment, that is. Then it’s back to school in September for the cycle to begin again, until they graduate or drop out.

High school and college are a bit different in time frames. Even here at Mercy, the standard class lecture is about two hours and fifty minutes, and meets once a week. One high school class alone spans forty five minutes, and typically meets all five days of the school week, with multiple subjects meeting per day.

These classes are better designed for learning in the high school set up, as the human mind is designed for 42 – 45 minutes of learning before a needed break, not almost three hours. That and meeting multiple times a week in short increments leads to better retention of information.

Meeting five times a week for 45 minutes results in three hours and forty five minutes of learning, and again, a college class has three total hours of learning once a week. Either way I look at it, I have trouble arguing in favor of homework. If a teacher has three hours or more to get their point across, how am I the problem for not wanting to spend more time on it when I get home?

I personally don’t think it’s my problem anymore.

Homework is a vile, blatant disregard for the social lives, or lack thereof in America. It is the legal form of child labor, and should be stopped. While beneficial in some cases, like developing fundamentals such as math and reading, in later life, it is a constricting element on the everyday lives of students everywhere.