The Argument For Limiting The Curriculum
Last night, I came home after my fencing practice with 2 tests to study for, an essay to write, 3 different packets to finish, a script to write in French, and lab questions to finish. Not to mention that I have finals next week, and I also had rehearsal for the school musical about an hour and a half after I got home. What, out of this, is really going to help me?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the homework.
Recently, I have seen several articles where baffled educators, parents, and researchers scramble to come up with reasons why teens aren’t reading for fun. To that, I respond with my day to day schedule.
I have school for about 7 hours. Then I have about an hour between the sport I do and when school ends, most of which I will willingly admit I spend doing anything unrelated to the 7 hours of information that was just forcefully crammed into my brain. Then a 2 hour sports practice. After that, there’s about an hour between sports and musical rehearsal. I spend this time usually on my homework, which for the most part I can’t finish in an hour. Then I go to rehearsal until about 8 or 9 at night. I get home about 15 minutes after that, and spend the next hour, roughly, working on whatever other homework I have. Then I probably shower and go to bed.
Does it sound like I have time to even consider leisurely reading?
And I’m only a freshman. I don’t have SATs or AP classes. This is the base level of work for all students. One might say in response that I should “just quit” one of my extracurriculars. For my school, though, I am doing what could be minimalistic in my spare time. Plus, these are the things I love to do and want to learn more about.
Still, one might persevere and say that homework is way more important than sports, as is leisurely reading, and that I should focus on my schoolwork. Here, I say that I would focus on my schoolwork. That is, given that my schoolwork is something that is interesting and I’m passionate about learning about, which it is not.
Most of my homework comes in the form of overflow from classwork. I propose that if we didn’t try to cram so much work into the curriculum, we would have less homework. The benefit to less homework, of course, being students having the ability to learn about what they want to outside of school.
We can’t focus on every child’s specific interests in school with the current state our education system is in. That being said, we can provide them with the time and tools they can use to pursue their passions outside of school.
This will allow those who excel in a specific subject to have more time for that subject instead of one they might not be good at or enjoy. Forcing someone who’s great at running to sit and do busy work because they didn’t finish it in class is just idiotic.
This is especially applicable for younger children. My sister is nine years old and has to do almost 2 hours of homework a night. She could be spending this time increasing her literacy by reading, but her teacher thought it would be more productive for her to use multiplication flashcards for an hour.
In general, the amount of homework can and should be greatly reduced so that students can pursue what genuinely interests them.