‘“Homework is all pain and no gain,” - Alfie Kohn
Homework is supposed to improve study skills, encourage effective time management, teach students to work independently, and expand a student's thinking about the lessons he or she learned in school that day. After-school work was designed to keep a pupil thinking even after she leaves the designated "learning environment." However, homework hasn't really proven itself to affect study skills at all, and if anything, it's only wasting our time more than it is helping us to manage it. Yes, it might teach us to organize time for work and time for play, but at the same time it is taking away the free time that students value to a point where there's nothing left to organize. The seven hour days students spend trapped in classrooms and hallways combined with the 4 hours of homework a night can add up to fifty-five hour weeks spent doing jobs for which they surely did not apply.
Studies have shown that there is little to no correlation between homework completion and academic achievement in students, and that there may not even be any reason to have it at all. It is possible that the only thing homework effects is student behavior and a student's diminishing interest in completing assignments. According to William Crain, Ph.D. "Kids are developing more school-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems, and depression than ever before." Students are being pushed to or even past their breaking points for what appears to be no reason.
Not only is the homework outrageously copious, it's also very dull and generally ineffective. Teachers seem to assign homework for no reason other than to just get it assigned.
Despite all of its obvious flaws, homework doesn't seem to be going anywhere. anytime soon. The amount of time spent in a high school classroom is usually short and never really to the point, so there's normally a lot more left to learn before you come to school the next day. So instead of making homework disappear, maybe we should be making homework just more useful and more meaningful. Don't assign homework and check it for completion without providing any feedback or any way to learn from it. And definitely don't assign homework to make students learn for themselves. In fact, just don't assign homework.
At least, think before you assign homework. Ask yourself, "why am I assigning this?" and "what will my student learn from this?" Only after you know that will you know whether or not your student is getting anything from it.
Think after you assign it as well. Don't just check homework for completion. Check for accuracy. You don't need to grade for accuracy, but just make sure your students are on the right track. Provide insight and feedback. Your students need YOU, not a textbook.