It is time to ban excessive homework

Grace Nichols

 3.5 hours every day. 

3.5 hours is the average time high school students spend on homework each day according to an LA Times report. This time does not include reviewing, studying, projects, and other class assignments. It is time to question whether homework is helping or hurting high school students. 

3.5 hours of homework is extremely excessive. The lives of students also include chores, sports, extracurricular activities, in addition to the eight hour school day. How is a student supposed to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep if they have to do over three hours of homework, sports and other extracurriculars, and then wake up early the next morning? How are students supposed to graduate with any mental stability?

 Yes, it is possible. But at what price?

Imagine this: you are an academically struggling high school student who has soccer practice, homework, tutoring, and chores to do around the house. You get your tutoring done after school, start on homework, but you have to leave for practice. Once you get back, you are tired but you still have to finish your homework.

After that, you are nearly drained. But perhaps you still have to make dinner for the family or take care of a sibling. This scenario may be difficult to imagine living in, but it is similar to many students’ lives. 

Another factor that can put stress on students is the fact that most homework assignments are graded. If a student is already struggling academically, hours worth of homework can potentially be damaging to their already strained grades. 

But let us check the facts. 

According to Atlas of Science, “Over 70% of students say that schoolwork makes them experience stress often with too much homework being the number one stressor.” The article also delves into the health issues that students can experience because of this stress, such as anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, weight loss, headache, and much more. Are we okay with students experiencing all this just for grades?

So a question remains: does homework actually help students academically? Well, the answer is yes, but up to a certain point. According to Duke Today, “For high school students, the positive line continues to climb until between 90 minutes and 2½ hours of homework a night, after which returns diminish.” 

This means that homework is beneficial for high school students, but past 90 minutes total, it actually begins to worsen. So are there even any benefits to giving 3.5 hours of homework? 

Well, according to Scholastic, “Homework teaches students to work independently and develop self-discipline.” Although true, homework alone should not be the ideal method of teaching these life skills, parents should. 

And although giving assignment after assignment might build self-discipline, it also builds stress, anxiety, and bad habits pertaining to education such as memorizing information, speeding through work, and slacking off due to lack of motivation, as explained by Knight Errant. 

And yes, homework does help with bringing grades up! But when students begin to drop interests and hobbies in order to conform to a rigorous schedule that their work requires, there are more than grades at stake. Also, colleges don’t just want good scores, they want to see what you are good at outside of school. 

 When excessive homework begins to carve away those interests and talents, you are left with only a sliver of what a student could be. 

 There are changes that need to be made, and individuals can help. Protesting, becoming involved with the school, and demanding changes be made can put a stop to damaging educational practices. Changes to school funding, teacher standards, and addressing overcrowding are some topics that can improve our education system. 

 Perhaps if our way of teaching students is changed, our society would have a more diverse population that is excited to learn and able to graduate high school with mental soundness.