Homework is a tool for reinforcing and expanding on concepts introduced in the classroom. It can help foster independence, self-discipline, and a love of learning in younger children and can improve an older child's performance on standardized tests. Critics of homework say that it overburdens children and can adversely affect a child's development by cutting in on leisure time and creating tension in the home. In addition, some children may be at a disadvantage if their parents are ill prepared to assist with homework because of their work schedules or their inability to comprehend the subject matter. Some education experts have also pointed out that studies have never conclusively proven that homework improves overall academic performance among grade-school children.
Despite these criticisms, many believe that homework has a place in a child's education. Homework is most effective when assignments are meaningful, have a clear purpose and instructions, and are well matched to a student's abilities.
See also: HOME SCHOOLING
''Helping with Homework: A Parent's Guide to Information Problem-Solving.'' ERIC Digest (November 1996). Kralovec, Etta, and John Buell. The End of Homework. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. ''How Do Children Spend Their Time? Children's Activities, School Achievement, and Well-Being.'' Research on Today's Issues 11 (August 2000).
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