Is homework beneficial or counterproductive?

An issue that has had a noticeably large impact on my life recently is the amount of homework I am assigned every night. Homework is given with the general intention of giving students extra practice outside of class and the opportunity to work on what they are learning. It seems to me that this “extra practice” can cause more harm than good. Typically, every night I have an hour of homework from each class I take.

If I have an hour a night from four classes, that is four hours of homework. Add on top of that time to eat and participate in extracurricular activities, like sports or clubs, leaves almost no time for relaxing, socializing or even sleeping. Research has shown that an extensive amount of homework can teach children that the competitiveness of US work and culture is more valued than one’s personal well being. Being assigned homework to the point where it feels like it is more important than your mental and physical health can promote the idea that work is more important than your health. This implements the idea that work is more important than you are and that an incredible amount of competitiveness in the work environment is okay, which it is not.I should never feel as though homework and school are more important than my mental and physical health, but sadly this is a feeling that I have quite often.

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For example, if Idecide to take a break from my homework and relax, it tends to have a negative effect on me.Rather than relaxing, it causes meto stress out about the homework that I’m not doing, which defeats the purpose of relaxing.To further explain my point, last weekend I had been doing school work for two hours and needed a break so I went to lunch with my mom.Instead ofenjoying my mother’s company,I spent the majority of the time worrying about the work I had to do. While one of the goals of homework is to help teach students about time management,what it is really doing isjust taking up all of their time.

It gets to a point where it feels as though I have to pick between doing well in school, having time for extracurricular activities and friends and sleeping, which is just unacceptable. For example, this Tuesday I have a DECA meeting right after school, followed by hockey from 4-5:30, then Parisi in Williston from 6-7:30. This leaves me unable to start my homework until after 7:30,which will have me finishing around 12:30. This is a packed schedule and while everyday doesn’t look like that, many people in sports seasons or in plays have similar days. The worst part of this is that in this culture, specifically at South Burlington High School, schedules likethese are both normal and expected.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the extra practice that homework provides and the time management that it requires can be very beneficial to students, but I believe that the amount of homework a student has should be limited. Excessive homework every night can cause a lot of stress on people. In the research piece How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do about It, evidence is provided that too much homework causes harm on health and family time. Too much homework can cause me to be so stressed out that when I am actually doing it I am so overwhelmed that I can’t focus. It also affects my ability to focus at school. On days that I know I willhave a lot to do that night, I spend so much time worrying about how i will allocate my time, that I won’t pay as much attention during class.

The majority of the students that I know have experienced this feeling of overwhelming stress and anxiety about the amount of homework they have to do in their academic career, and for many it is reoccurring. This amount of stress or having hours of homework can cause people to not sleep, which can make them feel sick orunable to focus as well in school the next day. Thisthen creates more stress that night and it can be an endless cycle of stress. Homework was meant to be a way to help students learn,if it has come to the point where it is hurting my education more than helping it something should be changed. If it has reached the point where people develop anxiety and are constantly stressed about the hours of homework they have that night, then we should reexamine the amount allotted for homework assignments. Some will argue that homework is helpful to students because of the extra practice it gives on new concepts learned in class andbecause teaches students to have a strong work ethic, discipline and time management.

All of these important life skills to have. I agree that all of these things are important, but I believe that they can be taught and that students can get the extra practice they need with shorter assignment periods. If students are assigned even just thirty minutes of homework from each class, that would cut down the amount of time they spend on homework by two hours. Two full hours. With these two hours they could catch up on sleep, get exercise or get to their extracurricular activities Limiting the amount of homework a student receives each night would take an incredible amount of stress out of students’ lives. To conclude, homework, while a necessary tool in helping students learn materials and acquire important life skills, is not something that needs to be assigned for hours.

It should not take up students’ lives and make them feel stressed and anxious all of the time. If its primary purpose is to help the student improve, then how is being in a constant state of stress helping to improve a student’s education. I strongly believe that homework should be assigned in shorter intervals of time in order for students to be able to have full and healthy lifestyles. I think a 30 minute cap for each class is an appropriate amount of homework to be assigned. Reducing assignments even that much could greatly improve students health and lifestyles. Homework is designed to help students, not to hurt them and the system of how it is assigned should be altered in order to do so.