Two bills that propose a no-homework policy for students in kindergarten to senior high school have been submitted to the House of Representatives (HOR) in August 2019.
House Bill No. 3883 seeks to prohibit elementary and high school teachers from giving assignments on weekends, while House Bill No. 3611 proposes a total ban on homework for all students in kindergarten up to senior high.
Homework in itself is not harmful. What educators should consider is the quality and quantity of tasks being assigned to children.
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones expressed her support to the proposed law, saying that kids should be able to spend their time at home bonding with their parents or resting.
She also acknowledged that often, it’s the parents, tutor, or yaya who does the child’s homework.
If the “No Homework Policy” is passed into law, the Philippines wouldn’t be the first country to do so.
Students in Finland, Denmark, and Sweden already spend zero to just a few hours every week on homework.
Many teachers had also sent their students “unconventional homework,” which entails a more holistic approach like spending time with parents or trying out a new activity.
Most parents and kids from these schools and classes loved it—and for a valid reason: it produces academic achievers and healthier students who are more confident and more secure.
Other perks of having little to no homework include:
Young kids have more time to play and read
Preschoolers and early elementary students have yet to develop study skills, and they understand and remember better when they’re playing and having fun.
And if young learners should be given assignments, a 2013 study suggests it should be reading with their parents.
Children have more room to create and explore on their own
A teacher discovered that when she didn’t give her second-grade students mandatory homework, they started doing more independent learning at home.
“This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them,” Jaqueline Fiorentino writes in Edutopia.
She also encouraged reading and “optional” work to help children review lessons.
Giving kids more room to explore and be creative help develop a life-long learning attitude.
Kids learn about responsibility plus other social and practical life skills
In a U.K. school, elementary kids choose between two optional homework schemes depending on their interests and targets. Both programs aim to help kids take greater responsibility for what and how they learn.
An analysis of the school’s homework schemes showed that it helps develop independence, ensure that skills taught in school are followed-up at home, and promote kindness since some tasks involve family, the community, and charity.
It has also proven that spending time and having fun with the people they love make good memories, which can serve as kids’ happiness anchors and contribute to good mental health.
It can also give children opportunities to learn practical skills such as cooking and washing dishes.
Children have more time for rest and sleep
Studies have shown than when kids are tired, they can’t focus and perform tasks.
“Your brain has to relax every now and then. If you just constantly work, then you stop learning.
"And there’s no use in doing that for a longer period of time,” says Finnish school principal Leena Liusvaara.
All the above things considered, homework also has its benefits — and by homework, we don't mean only pen-and-paper tasks.
When students are given a reasonable number of appropriate tasks, provided that they actually work on them themselves, they develop good study habits, such as organizational skills and time management.
The key is always balance.