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Homework – Harmful or Helpful?

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“No more homework.” Sounds like a mad chant from Year 12 students on muck-up day, but it could be the future of Australian education. There is a strong view from field experts saying that homework ruins family time, contributes to obese children and has little educational value. Finland was the first country to stop homework, and is producing some of the world’s best results in science while other countries like France and Singapore are preparing to follow in their footsteps. Lets face it – no-one likes homework. It makes students stressed, ruins family time for parents and teachers waste time marking homework when they could be planning brilliant lessons for students. So why is Australia continuing to stay behind in education when they could join a group of no-homework countries leading the world in global test scores?

Homework stops kids from being kids. Kids are stopped from having fun as they waste away at their desks stressing maniacally about homework. A recent survey found that parents think that their children have “ too much” homework and what they are given is “too difficult” leading to nearly a quarter (23%) of parents completing homework with absolutely no input from their child. This is a ridiculous statistic. Not only is homework taking up kid’s time, but it is wasting their parents’ time too. Children need to spend time with family. Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, agree with this; “Homework is frequently the source of frustration, exhaustion, family conflicts and a lack of time for kids to pursue other interests. It may be the greatest single extinguisher of children’s curiosity.”

Australians need a good education. We are a small country and therefore need intelligent, informed and cultured people to keep up with Asian countries leading the world in science and math. Finland is the only countries that keeps close to countries like China, Singapore and Korea dominating the world in math and science. You may be wondering, how is it that such a small country like Finland has such consistently excellent education scores? The answer – no homework. According to the 2012 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) tests, Finland scored 12th in Math, 5th in Science and 6th in Reading. These results were the best of any non-Asian country out of the 65 that were tested. An average US 5th Grader receives about 50 minutes of homework a night, whereas Finnish students rarely do homework till their teens, and then very little. Their high school graduation rate is 93% compared to a dismal 78% Australia displays (2010). Australia could learn a lot from you Finland.

In conclusion, homework is an unnecessary part of education. Not only does it waste important family time and increase stress among parents and children but it also has no proven benefits to a child’s schooling. Is it a coincidence that Finland, a consistent high achiever in world maths, reading and science scores, has no or very little homework? I challenge you, as a parent, teacher or student, to push your school for revised homework plans. Doing this could be the most challenging class of all.


A quarter of parents ‘do their children’s homework’ – Telegraph. 2015. A quarter of parents ‘do their children’s homework’ – Telegraph. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11089357/A-quarter-of-parents-do-their-childrens-homework.html. [Accessed 09 March 2015].

Is Homework Harmful or Helpful? – MetroKids – November 2014 – Philadelphia, PA. 2015. Is Homework Harmful or Helpful? – MetroKids – November 2014 – Philadelphia, PA. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.metrokids.com/MetroKids/November-2014/Is-Homework-Harmful-or-Helpful/. [Accessed 09 March 2015].

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? | Innovation | Smithsonian. 2015. Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? | Innovation | Smithsonian.

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