Instructional Practices

What Are the Benefits of No Homework? It May Produce Better Results

As a teacher, you want to make sure that you find a healthy balance of homework —if you give too little, students may lose interest, but if you give too much, they may get overwhelmed.

In my years of teaching, I’ve found a sweet spot with homework, that actually involves lessening my students’ homework load. I’ve seen great results and encourage you to reconsider how much homework your currently assigning. Here are a four reasons why students should have less homework. 

4 Reasons Why Students Should Have Less Homework

1. Students are encouraged to learn

You don’t just want to hand your students a fish; You want to teach them how to fish. Lectures, discussions, and readings should all engage students and encourage them to get involved in the material. Homework should then be used to practice what’s been covered in class or to give a very brief introduction to new material.

Try to find assignments that your students might enjoy, like creating a Facebook profile or blog for a character from a Shakespeare play you’re reading. I’ve found that when students have a more manageable homework load, they’re more excited about school and learning in general.

2. They are better rested and focused

School days can end up being long for students, especially high schoolers. Students may normally arrive at school between 7 and 8 a.m., stay in school until 3 p.m., might have after-school activities until 5 or 6 p.m., and may not be able to start on homework until 7 or 8 p.m. after eating dinner. Even if your students have a homework load of just 1–2 hours, that means they won’t be able to get to bed until 9–10 p.m.

Sleep is incredibly important for growing children and teenagers. Teachers can minimize the impact that homework and school have on their students’ sleep. One of the benefits of not having as much homework is that your students will have the opportunity to get more sleep, which means they’ll be more awake and engaged in class the next day. 

3. Free time makes them well-rounded

It’s important for students to have a life outside of school, and homework means that more time for extra-curricular activities that students enjoy. Encourage students to engage in activities outside of school so they can develop into well-rounded individuals.

4. Family time is valuable to wellbeing

Spending quality time with family is another reason why kids should have less homework. If they did one less hour of homework and had one more hour of time with their families to play a game, watch movies, or just talk, it would contribute greatly not only to the health of the family but also to the wellbeing of the student. It also minimizes discipline issues as parents would be more involved in their children’s lives.

The Verdict: Kids Should Have Less Homework

Some of the benefits of less homework is that you’ll find out that your students love learning, are getting more sleep, enjoying themselves more with outside activities, and have more time to spend with family. 

If you want to give this a shot, you should think about practical ways that you can reduce your students’ homework load. For homework, I originally assigned five discussion questions that my students had to answer and three that they had to write short responses to. Later, I decided to change that to two discussion questions and two written-response questions. I found that the results were significantly better because the students were much more inclined to do the homework!

For you, maybe it’s reducing the number of questions like I did. Maybe it’s assigning fewer pages of reading. Whatever it is, know that giving less homework to your students will likely produce better results in class!

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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