Students across the nation are crying out in hopes of someone hearing. They are fed up with the workload passed out on a regular basis. For example, in an article pulled from the US News, they estimate, “students nowadays are spending significantly more time on homework assignments – sometimes up to 17.5 hours each week” This number is staggering, and more importantly, affecting their physical and mental health.
It seems as though schools nowadays is much different than in the late 50’s and 60’s. For example, students then were asked to focus in school, complete their work and go home for the night. Homework was far less stressful and rarely dished out.
According to greatschools.org, “In the wake of No Child Left Behind, some U.S. schools are putting more emphasis on homework. But the push for higher academic standards has left many parents wondering about the value of their children's assignments — especially if the grownups are the ones who end up frantically finishing reports or art projects. Just how much homework should kids be doing anyway?” This information proves that students are not the only ones who are affected by the issue of too much homework. One father even states, after trying to do his daughter’s homework for a week, in efforts of finding out just how stressful it truly is, “Now I understand about how Americans are falling behind. Doing my child’s homework is like putting a full day in at the office and on top of that another 4 hours when you get home”. This issue is tiring. It simply is exhausting to continue to be given hours of homework a night with little to know return in the classroom. After doing a bit of my own research, and surveying around 100 high school students, ages 15-18, 96% said that they would be performing better in the classroom if they did not have the homework load each night. They would work harder to achieve the grade desired if they were not spending upwards of three hours a night working on practice problems to studying for upcoming tests. This issue is amplified if a student has a job, or plays a sport and don’t get home until 9 or 10 at night.
The cause of this issue is simply the work load. Teachers who force hours of homework a night down the throats of busy teens. On average students should have should have 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night to rest the brain. Typically, 2 out of 3 students sleep less than 6 hours of sleep a night. According to a study done at Louisville University, where they tested a number of athletes on their campus for 1 week, looking at sleep patterns. In the first week they got less than 6 hours of sleep every night, whereas the second week they got 8 and 1/2 hours of sleep. They noticed a huge difference in academic ability and performance. The students were more alert, and willing to learn in the classroom. This evidence makes me think that if students had less homework and were able to obtain more sleep at night, they would achieve more success in the classroom.
On the other hand some people assume that homework is beneficial and the more, the better.According to an article from US News, titled, Students Spend More Time on Homework, but Teachers Say It’s Worth It, teachers assume that homework, regardless of the length helps contribute to a student's success in the classroom. Some teachers are also trying out a “flipped model” classroom, where the bulk of the learning takes place at home. This article goes on to say, “Moving forward, as more schools dive into more time-consuming – but Norris says more meaningful – assignments, there may be a greater shift in the number of schools utilizing the "flipped classroom" method, in which students watch a lesson or lecture at home online, and bring their questions to the classroom to work with their peers while the teacher is present to help facilitate any problems that arise.” This idea has somewhat spread across the US and even into other countries, but at what cost? Are we doing our students a favor or setting them up for mental breakdowns?
Another issue to consider, as mentioned above, is just the sheer lack of time. Now think about this you're a student athlete and you take 1 advanced class. As soon as school is done you go straight to practice and you usually get done about 5:30pm. Now you have to drive home now it's almost 6 o'clock you have homework from all your classes and extra in any advanced classes. Now youre at 7:30- 8 o'clock to have it done successfully, however your night isn't over. You want to be clean right? So you take a shower and clean up now it's 8:30 to 9 o'clock at night. Most people go to sleep by then, but you have to eat something because you haven't yet, and you’ve gone about 5 hours without a nutritious meal, due to your schedule. Finally, you're able to sleep. Students everywhere do this,on a daily basis, and eventually something has got to give. Do students give up something they're passionate about, like basketball or hockey, to get better grades? Or do they stick with something that truly makes them happy, and sacrifice sleep, proper nutrition or grades?
There are a few things that can be done to solve this ongoing issue, first reduce the workload. Yes, it's understood that work needs to be done to learn the content, but know when enough is enough and homework almost every night is ridiculous.
This issue needs to stop before it gets even worse. Let us make students successful in ways that are beyond our wildest beliefs. Let them have time to be themselves, and dive into their true passions.
James Hogg, Michigan