Homework is, and has been for many decades, an integral part of the learning process. Homework is used, at least in theory, to accent the instruction that is given in the classroom. While homework can certainly become a source of frustration and anxiety, it also has an important roll to play in education.
The first way that homework affects learning is that it reinforces what is learned in the classroom. If you sit in a classroom lecture and learn that 2+2=4 and then go home and don’t do any sort of homework or studying, by the next day it is likely that you will have forgotten that 2+2=4. However, if you come home and do a worksheet where you practice 2+2=4 then you are more likely to retain that information. So, homework is designed to reinforce specific learning objectives from the classroom.
Homework doesn’t stop there, however. Homework is also used to expand on information gained in the classroom. For example, in the classroom you might read together a Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. For homework, you might have to describe the journey that Pip makes from being a lowly apprentice to working for Mrs. Haversham. In that regard, you are taking what you looked at in the classroom and expanding on it. You are increasing and deepening your knowledge in that area rather than just reinforcing what you have already learned.
Homework is also, in many ways, much like exercise for your brain. By doing homework you keep your brain functioning at an analytical level throughout the rest of the day. Homework helps you to develop critical thinking skills and build your intellectual muscles. Here again, what you do at home with your homework adds to and complements what it is that you do during the day in the classroom. In other words, it helps you to be a better thinker so that, when you are in class, you can better understand the material that the teacher is presenting.
Finally, homework also helps you to develop discipline. When you have homework to do you have to prioritize it over other activities. While you might want to go outside and play in the sun or spend all evening playing a video game, doing your homework prepares you for the fact that later in life you have to complete your work before you get to play.