This explains why homework does more than just improve learning, as the skills learned from homework apply to other realms of life.
Despite the fact that nearly every child protests against homework assignments, these same kids grow into adults that see homework as a positive influence on their children. Some grow into teachers who believe that homework is a necessary extension of classroom instruction.
Evidently complaining about homework remains in the domain of childhood. Unless a teacher becomes too burdensome with homework assignments, parents tend to put the onus on the child if the work is not completed. One is led to believe that the importance of homework becomes more obvious as people age. What is it about homework that makes it important?
Homework increases potential learning.
First, a reasonable amount of homework reinforces learning by either encouraging repetition of the information or by extending understanding through thought-provoking questions and activities. This still stands as the primary purpose quoted by parents and educators. People tend to forget about 80 to 90% of what they learn within hours of being exposed to new information. Homework restarts the curve and produces higher learning potential by causing the student to be exposed to the same material extra times. Each exposure increases the amount of retention.
Homework teaches the child to think.
Most of the time, homework will cover additional material that time will not allow to be covered in the classroom. This requires that the child be able to read and understand the material. Sometimes, parents must get involved for this type of learning to be effective. Children are expected to use what they have read and apply it to questions and problems presented in the homework. People need to learn at an early age that not all information will be spoon-fed to them. Homework helps this to happen.
Homework helps establish personal independence.
Effective use of homework guides young minds to realize that learning can happen with or without the teacher. As homework assignments are completed, students learn to solve their own problems. Most students need a little help now and then, but mastering homework is a way that children can learn to take care of themselves. The idea being that if the student can do his or her own work, it is likely the self-confidence gained will benefit them for the rest of their life.
Homework gives students a chance to learn more than the minimum.
Except in math, most homework gives room for additional learning and creativity. Short answers, long answers, and essays provide a way for students to learn material that interests them and not just the required minimum. Science and other projects can give the student a chance to dig deeper into a narrow field and have a better understanding. These things are rarely possible within the classroom setting. If the project is a group effort, the student will also learn compromise and cooperation.
Homework teaches study skills.
The same study skills learned in grammar school can be put to good use for the rest of the student’s educational efforts. This includes college. Beyond formal education, many jobs require employees to be able to master new information on a regular basis. Good study skills derived from homework and test preparation translate easily into most work environments.