Do High Schools Give Too Much Homework?
Tammie, a teenager in high school, comes home from a long six hours of school, and is already overwhelmed. For homework today she has to solve twenty problems for geometry, read three chapters for English and answer study guide questions, complete a biology web quest, study for her history chapter test tomorrow, and write out ten sentences for Spanish that will be graded as a quiz tomorrow. At four o’clock she has to go to an hour long volleyball practice, and after dinner she will have to complete chores. She does not know how she is going to complete all her assignments before at least nine o’clock. Tammie is already exhausted from waking up early for school, staying up until ten o’clock each day completing her homework, volleyball practices and games, her part time job at Dunkin Donuts, house chores, and the occasional environmental club meeting and necessary volunteer work. Tammie is pressured to keep up good grades and do many after school activities that will look fantastic when applying to colleges next year, but does not have the time or energy to do everything at once.
Does this sound familiar? It should considering this type of scenario has become very normal for teenagers in high school and the results of being overworked are not good One Effect: Not Performing Well In School Due to the exhaustion and stress from the overload of homework and the long list of activities to do after school, teenagers have actually been performing worse in school. Gisela, a parent from Massachusetts, voiced her opinion with an example of her son; “He was at school from 8 to 3, and with soccer practice he wouldn’t be done until 5. If we all ate dinner together — and it’s important to me that we do — he wouldn’t even start cracking the books until 7…he missed out on sleep, and his anxiety stressed everybody else out. We’d rush through the meal knowing that he had hours of work ahead of him, and he’d start begging for help even before he left the table.” Although homework is given to students to practice concepts learned in school, too much homework will either cause the student to not do it well or rush through the homework, and the homework is actually not doing anything but causing students to perform worse in school. Also, if teachers assign a lot of homework they sometimes “spot check” answers due to the quantity of homework they have to grade, and students do not get any feedback on what they are doing wrong , which will lead to performing worse in school.
In countries such as Czech Republic, Japan, and Denmark, which have high-scoring students, teachers are known to give students very little homework whereas America is known to be the most homework-intensive country in the world, and students do not score as high as these countries. Too much homework is not helping students to practice concepts or perform well in school at all, but it is actually causing deterioration in the students’ knowledge and ability. Another Effect: Too Much Homework Can Cause Depression or Anxiety This pileup of homework is burning teenagers out and can cause anxiety or even depression. With little to no time to just relax, teenagers cannot possibly absorb and learn all this material. “Night after night, year after year, homework is swallowing up the things that are part of a good, healthy childhood — like playing, exercising, hanging out with friends, quality time with parents, even getting bored and maybe getting creative.
” says Nancy Kalish, coauthor of The Case Against Homework (Crown). The excessive amount of homework is just too much for teenagers to handle, especially with after school activities. Teenagers now have little time for relaxing, sleeping, socially interacting, and exercising, all of which is proven to trigger anxiety and depression. These components are essential for not only teenagers, but human beings in general. “Kids are developing more school-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems, and depression than ever before.
” says William Crain, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at City College of New York. Another psychologist, Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, says “A student who receives excessive homework will miss out on active playtime, essential for learning social skills, proper brain development, and warding off childhood obesity.” A key component that can lead to anxiety and depression is lack of sleep.
Lack of sleep is proven to cause anxiety and depression, especially in young adults. Sleep is especially critical at this age because brain development does not finish until age 21, and if kids are missing one to two hours of sleep each night, then it could potentially have an impact on the brain itself. Students who do more homework than they can handle each night are definitely going to be a lot more overwhelmed, which will lead to high stress levels, poor mental and physical health, and anxiety. My Solution I believe teachers in high school should only be allowed to assign about thirty minutes of homework for each class so that the student does not get stressed out from having to complete piles of homework each night. For example, if a student has homework in about five subjects the total amount of time it would take him or her to complete it would be about two and a half hours, which is a reasonable amount of time for a high school student who has to do many things other than homework. This is compared to the four or even five hours of homework students can sometimes get each day.
However this does include studying for a quiz or test because that amount of time will depend on the individual student. I believe this solution would allow students to complete their assignments, learn a lot more material than before, have time to do after school activities, and have time to relax from the long day. Also, during weekends and school vacations homework can be given, but it should be in limited amounts because after all these breaks were intended for students to relax from school not continue working. Giving a limited amount of homework would decrease stress levels and allow students more time to exercise and sleep, which is crucial for overall health. Students could even enjoy school and learning much more without all the stress and exhaustion they have to endure each and every day. Bibliography Barrientos, Jorge.
“What’s the Right Amount of Homework?” Stanford University School of Education. N.p., 27 Jan. 2010.
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21 Oct. 2012.