You come home from school, you just had two tests, three quizzes and a science project that day. You were already tired because you only got four hours of sleep last night after studying for your tests, quizzes and finishing your science project. Now you have to go to soccer practice for two hours, just to come home and do all of your homework that’s due tomorrow. You are wondering, “When am I ever going to get a break?” Students go to school on average about seven hours a day five days a week. Controlled by bells, that they have to sit down and cram as much knowledge that they can into their brain in 50-minute increments throughout the school day . Just to go home after a long day and spend another 3 to 4 hours working on more school work not to mention any extracurricular activities, or responsibilities. As sleep deprived as you are you again stay up three hours past when you were supposed to be in bed so you can satisfy the requirement that your teacher assigned you. Despite the history of assigning homework school districts should ban homework to support better health, time management and the sleep needs of today’s students.
The overload of homework assigned these days leaves students feeling stressed and anxious, which can negatively impact students’ mental and physical health. According to a study by Stanford University, “56% of students consider homework to be a primary source of stress.” You may be wondering, “How does this affect the physical health of students?” Having an overload of homework leads students to make unhealthy food choices, such as cup-o-noodles or fast food because they are a much faster option than cooking a healthy meal. Stress can also cause students to either skip meals altogether or overeat through multiple meals a day. According to American Psychological association, “67% of people report skipping meals due to stress attribute it to a lack of appetite. Twenty-six percent say they skipped a meal because they did not have time to eat.” This is negatively impacting students’ lives, whether it is defaulting to unhealthy option or just strictly not eating at all because of limited time due to excessive homework. Anxiety is a condition that students experience when they feel overwhelmed or very stressed about an upcoming assignment or test. Many students struggle with anxiety because they feel that are assigned to much homework, and they can not handle it. As Goetz et al.(2012) said, “Emotions of anxiety are directly linked to academic learning, classroom instruction and achievement” . When students do not perform at their best or get the grade they wanted it leaves them feeling even more anxious, and stressed about the next assignment. Some student have severe anxiety which can eventually lead to depression or worse, suicide.
Today students struggle with time management as if carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. These days students are not taught time management, they are expected to learn and figure it out themselves. Students need to have a good balance between homework, extracurricular activities, spending time with their families and free time. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Students spend on average 3.5 hours on homework per weeknight which adds up to about 17 hours per week.” Spending this much time on homework is extremely unnecessary and consumes kids’ free time. Students have very little time to do things like hang out with friends, go outdoors, relax or learn other necessary life skills.. Kids with an abundance of homework have a harder time sitting down with the family at dinner and feel too stressed and rushed to enjoy the meal and talk with their families. In a survey done by the New York Times, researchers asked 4,317 students from high-performing high school and middle schools in California. Students made comments like “There’s never a break. Never” and “ It takes me away from everything I used to do.” Most students have a negative view on homework and they feel like its taking away from their childhood. There are only 168 hours in one week. I spend 35 hours a week at school, and 10 hours of soccer a week, and up to 8 hours a week at work. That leaves only 115 hours in the week. I try to spend 60 hours a week sleeping, maintaining an average of 8.5 hours a sleep per night, and 15 to 20 hours a week on homework. Now I am left with about 30 ish hours left hours in the week,half of which probably fall on the weekend depending on the week. Leaving me with under or around 10 ish hours of freetime over a week and over 7 days which is equivalent to about 1 hour and 42 minutes a day. Only 1 hour and 42 minutes.Thats an hour and 42 minutes a day! Many students also have a very similar schedule to me. Some spend even more time on homework each week because they are taking multiple AP or honors courses that require an even heavier homework load. When are students going to get a break?
Bombarded with too many hours of homework and obligations to other extracurricular activities, students must find ‘extra time’ in their day, which unfortunately cuts into students sleep time. Lack of sleep adds even more stress and anxiety on top of struggling to compete homework assignment. Most students will put school assignment before sleep because everyone knows that school is the most important thing and should always be put as your first priority, right? Wrong. Students should not be spending time to do homework when they should be sleeping. Sleep is food for your brain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the effects of getting too little sleep are “aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling at your friends or being impatient with your teachers or family members.” This can cause students to ruin relationships with their close friends and family because they are always in a bad mood. Many underage students turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with little sleep or stress. . Yes, our bodies can make up for one or two nights of little sleep but when it becomes every night or every week, our bodies physically can not take it. According to research conducted by Denise Pope, senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, “homework today which can exceed from 3 to 4 hours can negatively affect a child’s sleep cycle. Instead of getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep which is recommended, children end up getting 4 to 6 hours of sleep which contributes to increase in stress.” On top of all the pressure students are already dealing with to perform to the best of their abilities, not sleeping enough causes your stress to increase even more.
Additionally, some may argue that homework help parents engage in students’ education, but with more dual career households this is just an added stress in some families. Perhaps some amount of homework or extra practice is needed for some students, but the quality should be prioritised over the quantity. Students also go to school on average seven hours a day, the teacher should have enough time to give their lessons and provide classwork that allows them to practice what they have learned.
In conclusion, school districts should ban homework from being assigned. The extreme amount of stress that homework puts on students is extremely unnecessary and needs to be changed. Students in today’s society are struggling very much with anxiety and depression due to the amount of stress that is put on them to do good in school, and perform well in their extracurricular activities, with the little amount of sleep that they get due to the little time they have after school. Students should not have to decide between homework or spending time with their families or how much sleep to get . The answer should be obvious to them in choosing family over school work, but today that is just not the case and we need to fix this now before students get to a point where they feel like they can not handle the stress anymore, and harm themselves. The homework load has gotten way out of hand and we need to work together to resolve this issue so that children and peers can have the childhood they once though they could.