The problems with homework


Logan Surber

Overwhelming amount of homework strewn on a desk.

DP students are at school for an average of 7 hours and 5 minutes per day. When we get home we then have to sit down and finish anywhere from 10 minutes to countless hours of homework, leaving us little to no time for self care and rest. Education is important, but it shouldn’t take up so many of our waking hours.
Studies done by Stanford and Duke University, as well as surveys in many public and private schools, have found multiple negative side effects regarding homework. A prominent one was that a heavy workload that continues after school has negative effects on mental health.
A large workload leads to excess stress. Measured and healthy amounts of it can help with motivation, productivity, as well as building resilience; however, when faced with continuous stress the results are troublesome. Side effects such as difficulty controlling emotions, concentrating and even remembering things create an environment that breeds mental health issues. The precise ways it affects mental health are still being uncovered.
The article “What’s Preventing Adequate Teen Sleep,” published by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, states that, “Homework is possibly the biggest factor that keeps teens from getting enough sleep… the sheer quantity of homework absorbs hours that should be dedicated to sleep.” They recommend that people ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep every night. When a lot of our down time is spent rushing to turn in assignments, a student’s time flies past and we end up getting an unhealthily low amount of sleep. Repeated days without enough sleep cause sleep deprivation which increases the risk that teens will run into a myriad of problems: an inability to concentrate, drowsy driving, forgetfulness, and increased stress responsiveness.
Digging deeper into the negative effect of homework brings to light another issue: how a students’ home life affects their ability to produce quality work. Students from wealthier families often have more resources and support, whereas students from less advantaged backgrounds have a much harder time finding help, time, or even a quiet place to work. Students may be working a job, caring for others, and/or dealing with an unstable home life. All students may groan about homework, but it can be more than just a nuisance for some people, instead turning into another responsibility and burden to contend with.
Teachers should be aware of how much work they are handing out. If the majority of students find it overwhelming, they should rethink their plan. One route is giving students class time to do homework and any that’s leftover gets taken home. This makes it so their personal time management affects how much homework they have. Another way to provide more balance would be simply talking with individual students about what will work best for them. This is not saying that teachers should stop giving out homework entirely, however they should fully understand students’ physical and mental needs as well as everything they are going through to decide the right balance.

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