The Effect of Excess Homework on the High School Psyche

Emily Wolf, Guest Writer

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On a typical day after school for a student, they have homework that needs to be done. This homework includes thirty problems of math homework or more depending on the teacher and class, multiple worksheets and readings for science, textbook reading and notes for social studies, prepare for a vocab quiz and a grammar quiz in any foreign language, and read more of a book for English. According to the National Education Association, students should be doing 10 minutes of homework per grade level. For high school students, it should be 90-120 minutes (nea.org). However, students are spending double or-sometimes triple! the time doing homework. The crazy part is students think it is normal to stay up late into the night doing homework and to lose sleep. It will be a long night for this student to do all their homework. So, the main question is are students overworked and stressed? Well, in my opinion I would say yes.

Being a student is a full-time job. Students are at school for seven to eight hours a day at school learning and have an hour to five hours of homework daily. Do not forget that there also needs to be time to eat, sleep, be social, and rest. Being a student is putting in 50-60 hours a week into school work. That’s more than the average person with a full-time job when they work 40 hours a week. Since they put in so much work into school, of course they are going to be overworked. Students are putting in so much effort and pressure on themselves that they are going to be stressed.

When students are overworked, they get insanely stressed. I can speak from experience. I was in the process of writing a research paper for my English class. Meanwhile I had Pre-calculus homework that I did not understand. In the same week, I had tests and quizzes for multiple subjects. I was so tired from staying up and studying that I suffered from a mental breakdown. My body and brain were responding, saying, “I can’t do this. This is too much for me. You need to stop studying and chill out.” By that point I was overworked from school and homework and for students like myself that is not okay.

I am sure that everyone has had days where there is no way any homework or studying was going to get done. They get added to the pile of the stress to do well in school, homework needing to be accomplished, doing well in classes, and passing tests and quizzes. As the pile gets larger, the stress continues to build over time until everything tumbles down which causes stress on the student and causes major problems. In a study done by Stanford University that was taken at a school in California, researchers found that 56 percent of students were stressed by homework. Additionally, the stress of homework has caused sleep deprivation, headaches, stomach issues, weight loss, and other health problems (news.stanford.edu). This relates to the fact homework does give stress and cause issues for students.

It is true that homework is necessary to improve on skills or learn new material. However, homework may sometimes be redundant if given in extreme quantities. Students might just do homework just for points. In the Stanford study, Denise Pope, who is a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education explained how the purpose of homework can be if it is redundant. She states, “This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get the points” (news.stanford.edu). Based off of this, homework adds more stress to be done to the point that there is no reason to do it if the homework is not for a grade.

So how can people fix the problem of overworked and stressed students from doing at least four hours of homework a night? For starters, the best way is to assign more concise homework, so it is doable for students complete. Another good way is to not put all quizzes, tests, and projects within the same week. The stress level would go down for these students. This may be inevitable for due dates to not work out, but when the load of how much homework students are given is reduced, students would be more productive and less stressed. A way teachers could coordinate dates for quizzes, tests, and projects is to have an online calendar accessible to all students and teachers. Teachers could see which dates to put due dates for items on and students can prioritize their studying based on this calendar. This problem is not going to be fixed overnight, but if teachers and students worked together to solve the problem, then students would not be stressed and be in a calmer state of mind.

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