Most K-12 teachers assign their students homework assignments. By homework assignments, I do not mean reading assignments. Homework assignments include problems, short essays, worksheets, and projects. Some teachers assign homework assignments on a daily basis while others may only assign it once in a while. In general, college instructors tend to assign homework more rarely. There are both advantages and disadvantages to assigning homework assignments.
The main advantage of assigning homework is that homework assignments help a student review the material covered in class. There is an old saying that "practice makes perfect." Also, homework assignments allow the teacher to cover some additional material that he or she did not have time to cover in class. In order for the homework assignment to be effective, it has to be well crafted. For example, writing an essay would be far more effective than doing a crossword puzzle. Some students often learn best by doing; these students would benefit a lot from homework assignments such as research projects on a specific topic.
On the other hand, homework assignments are often viewed as "busy work". The issue is that homework can be very time consuming and stressful for some students. Teachers often assign an excessive amount of homework to their students. Also, many teachers can assign homework assignments in the same time period. Homework can also interfere with students' test preparation time. Homework tends to be disadvantageous to students who have a good understanding of the classroom material and to students with poor organization skills.
Often, the problem is not the homework assignment itself but the excessive length of the homework assignment. Students may benefit from completing 1-10 conceptually different math problems each night; however, a problem set of 100 quadratic equations may be excessive and counterproductive.
If you are a parent who thinks that your child's teacher is assign poor homework assignments or excessive homework, talk to the teacher and try to address the issue. Many parents have raised concerned on the issue. The article, "Summer homework may burn out honors students", provides a good example.
A homework help tutor can help students build a homework schedule and improve his or her organization skills.