Student Achievement

Motivated to do Homework

By Katie Ash — December 11, 2007 1 min read

Having been out of school for about a year and a half now, I have to admit that one of the things I enjoy most about the working world is that when I go home, I don’t have any homework. When I turn off my computer and put on my coat, that is officially the end of my working day, and I’m not required to think about it anymore. It is a luxury I always envied when I was a student.

But then again, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I did a lot of homework when I was in school, and I truly believe that those hours of reading, writing, and studying contributed to a much higher and more comprehensive understanding of what I was learning in class.

So I was pretty torn when I read this column in the Los Angeles Times. It links homework to childhood obesity and depression, decreased motivation, and even strained family relationships. While I identify with the author’s plea for a “Christmas miracle"--no homework over break--another part of me agrees with the eloquent sentiments of eighth-grade student Maggie Moreton: “GET OVER IT LADY.”

Maybe the question to be asked here is why aren’t kids motivated to do their homework? What makes them so opposed to it that homework, in some cases, is causing fights within their households? Is it a lack of responsibility? Are there just plenty of other things kids would rather be doing? Or is it something else entirely?

My parents never had to bug me to hit the books, and I think, in large part, it had to do with a very clear understanding of what a zero on an assignment could do to my overall average. As my teachers never failed to point out, a missed assignment could send my grade plummeting from an A to a C, or worse. That alone was enough to motivate me.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.