Homework: What is the Point?
Imagine you arrive home from school. You have just spent seven hours working diligently at school, but your backpack is jammed-packed with books from every subject. Math. History. Financial literacy. You have three tests, two projects, and a five paragraph essay due tomorrow.
Oh, did I mention you have your sibling’s birthday dinner to go to? You stare at a computer and millions of books until your eyes hurt. You are so stressed you feel like screaming. When you are done, your parent tells you it is time for bed. You lie in bed and prepare for the cycle to begin again. By this time, you hate everything about school. Every single student has gone through this.
They do not have time to learn from experience because they are cooped up at home, struggling to complete their seemingly endless pile of assignments. Homework should be abolished from the school system because it denies students of much needed spare time, causes negative health results, and generates unnecessary stress. To begin, homework gives students no time for anything other than completing assignments. Outside of school, many students wish to pursue a passion. With homework, students do not have enough time for this: “Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills” (Parker).A future Oscar-winner may never win that award because they are too preoccupied doing mindless busy work to practice their passion.
An aspiring soccer player may have to quit the team to keep up with all their assignments. Homework is eating away at students’ lives until they have none. Not only does it give students no opportunity for passions, but also more homework means less time with family (Parker). Communication with family members is critical for a joyful childhood. Moreover, students need fewer assignments to have a chance to relax: “There [is] less chance [with homework] to read for pleasure, make friends, play games, get some exercise, get some rest, or just be a child” (Kohn).Relaxing has so many benefits including reducing stress, lowering one’s heart rate, and improving concentration (Mayo Clinic).
Because of homework, there is no time left for students to relax. Many people believe that even though homework gives pupils no spare time, it still encourages responsibility and independence, which would be more useful later in life (Abramian). However, there is absolutely no research to suggest that homework improves students’ responsibility or independence (Kohn). To summarize, homework not only denies students of free time, but it also does not improve one’s skills. Furthermore, homework also creates serious health issues.
One of the health problems is sleep deprivation, for, “the more homework [students] do, the fewer hours they sleep” (Abeles). Sleep in adolescents is vital, for it supports growth and learning (NIH). Losing sleep is just one health result of a massive amount of assignments. More and more students are now suffering from depression and anxiety as a result of homework. In a survey of a high school in Fremont, California, “54 percent of students showed moderate to severe symptoms of depression. More alarming, 80 percent suffered moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety” (Abeles).
In the past, few pupils had these issues. As homework increased, so did the levels of depression and anxiety. To continue, younger children are also enduring these issues. According to the New York Times, “..
.doctors increasingly see children in early elementary school suffering from migraine headaches and ulcers. Many physicians see a clear connection to performance pressure” (Abeles). Even children in the age range of five years old and seven years old are undergoing these typical adult health issues. In fact, a “Migraine is most common..
. between the ages of 25 and 55″ (Migraine Research Foundation). Despite the severe consequences of these assignments, a large number of people argue that schools in India and China have lots of homework, and they have some of the best educational systems in the world (Jeevan). However, what is the cost? China’s students also have high levels of stress and anxiety (Klein). Also, “In India about 20 students kill themselves every day due to the stress related to exams, wanting to secure seats in prestigious schools, according to the National Crime Records Bureau” (Durisch).
The suicide rates are out of control as a result of homework. Clearly, homework has negative effects including serious health problems, whether it is in China, India, or the United States. Likewise, a great deal of homework leads to unneeded stress. Statistics prove that homework is a prime cause of stress: “56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data… Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor” (Parker). This survey was done in a school of 4,317 high school students.
So, at most, only 43 students out of 4,317 thought school was not a stressor. In addition, students have enough stress from a long school day. But when hours of assignments is added to that, stress goes overboard. As one mother explains it, “‘School for [my son] is work… and by the end of a seven-hour workday, he [is] exhausted. But like a worker on a double shift, he has to keep going”‘ (Kohn). Countless students go through this same experience everyday, and it is becoming much more common than it has in the past.
Time for young students has doubled according to “[a] long-term national survey [that] discovered that the proportion of six- to eight-year-old children who reported having homework on a given day had climbed from 34 percent in 1981 to 64 percent in 2002” (Kohn). Giving children more homework than they can handle increases their level of stress. Popular belief dictates that assignments improve grades (Jeevan). In reality, homework does not improve grades in the slightest. According to Alfie Kohn, an author and advocator of less homework, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age… In high school, some studies do find a relationship between homework and test scores, but it tends to be small.
More important, there [is] no reason to think that higher achievement is caused by the homework.”Obviously, the stress of homework has no point since it does not even improve grades. As aforementioned, school systems should eliminate homework from their curriculum. By assigning homework, schools are denying students of spare time, destroying students’ wellness, and causing an unmanageable amount of stress. Students can no longer have a life outside of school because they are bringing school home with them. Since homework has only increased in the past few years, the amount will only continue to increase until future generations are staying up all night.
If we do not abolish homework, students will eventually come home daily from a seven hour school day with dark circles under their eyes and backpacks that weigh fifteen pounds. Suicide rates will skyrocket. Schools by definition are a place to learn. When students dread school, they do not feel encouraged to learn. We need to eliminate homework now to create a future with children who are ambitious, confident, and have a thirst for knowledge.