Homework: what are they for?

Updated on October 2, 2019

While written assignments have been banned in some countries, few teachers are complying with this circular. But then, what are their arguments for keeping homework at home? What is homework for? What to say to your child when he says that homework is useless? 


While homework is often criticized, it would not be completely useless. Indeed, while there are many arguments in favor of the removal of homework, these exercises still seem to bring a number of positive elements to children but also to parents.

Before anything else: homework, quantity or quality?

“Better a well-made head than a full head,” says the proverb. Indeed, if there is no “ideal” time to do homework, two criteria are important for homework help is best.

First of all, the conditions under which they are realized: reading alone at one’s desk is not the same as reading one’s pages with an adult who can turn it into a pleasant moment of sharing. In the first case, it is useless to force the child to stay for hours in front of his reading page. In the second, you can, however, take a little more time without it being heavy for him.

The second criterion to take into account is regularity. Better to work a little each day than to group all the homework of the week on one day. If you see that your child is having trouble doing homework, perhaps because he is tired, do not increase his homework time but try to prolong this time with fun activities.

What do they bring to children?

In addition to the directed study in primary and support courses at the college, the school does not offer real time slots where the child can thoroughly review the knowledge in the classroom. Result, he is obliged to stick to it by returning home in the evening, despite a busy day. And even if it is sometimes difficult for parents and children to conceive of the real usefulness of this overwork, there is one: without this phase of exclusive appropriation of knowledge, specific to each child and which must go through a moment of isolation, the theoretical notion explained in class is unlikely to be “digested”.

The homework assignments allow him to deepen the knowledge in class

Thanks to the exercises he has to perform, the child finds himself alone in the face of a given problem. It is up to him to solve it and it is precisely in this active phase that he will appropriate what has been said in class. While he is often content to listen in class, it is not always easy to know what the child has recorded. By becoming directly involved, several solutions are available to him: the notion is acquired, so he is able to solve the problem. The notion is not acquired, the exercise may be a good way to appropriate it. Despite the exercise, he still does not understand but can ask for help from a mediator (parent, teacher, classmate, tutor, etc.). Today, with internet presence in almost all fields, a student can get help with assignment in just a few clicks.

Homework makes him learn how to manage his time

At school, the child does not really need to organize his day: whether he is in primary school, college or high school, it is his mistress and the general organization of the school that give him markers of space and time. Outside the school, he is forced to impose time slots so as not to impinge too much on the organization of family life or on his leisure time. He must also learn to organize the management of his homework in the medium or long term, when his teacher gives them enough in advance.


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