Is Homework Helping?

Jordan Mendez, Staff Writer

Homework is work given to students to be done outside of school in their free time. The goal of homework is to reinforce information or to practice for an upcoming assessment. Homework is beneficial, but should it cut into as much of our free time as it does? Many teachers give homework over weekends, which takes away from the few days we are meant to have to ourselves.

Most students would agree homework is like a leech, sucking the fun out of any event or activity until you finish it off and get it out the way. While we would all love to get homework out of the way as soon as possible, some teachers assign work that could take you an hour or more, and with multiple classes giving you homework that could be an entire weekend filled with schoolwork. If you feel that homework stresses you out and takes up a lot of your time, you’re not alone; according to a survey taken by the Stanford Graduate School of Education, 56 percent of students agree that it is a main cause of their stress and that it results in sleep deprivation.

Stamford High School student Isabella Garcia agrees that homework has caused her to stress and lose sleep. She says, “ Because of my responsibilities at home like taking care of my brother, I find it hard to find time in all that to do homework, and when my parents come home late at night from work I end up starting late.”

The last thing Garcia should be worrying about is school work; it’s supposed to be her free time.

The amount of suggested homework goes up by ten minutes per grade level according to the National Education Association. By the end of high school in the 12th grade, students should receive a maximum of about two hours of homework. Yet with six classes a day in high school and varying schedules for students, how do we know we are not overworking students?

The answer is, we don’t – and more often than not, we are overworking them. According to an online survey by the University of Phoenix, many individual high school teachers assign between three and four hours of homework a week. This number represents the amount of homework each individual teacher assigns; with six teachers a day in a Stamford High schedule, that’s at least 18 hours a week (assuming they assign homework every day). These numbers can change based on many factors: some teachers assign less homework, and some students may take longer to do a homework assignment than others. While we could set strict amounts of homework per night, I think there are better alternatives.

There are many options for preventing the overworking of students. Such ideas could include dedicating weekends as days of the week where homework should not be assigned, limiting weekend assignments to the completion of work that was started in class, or simply extending the amount of time students have to do the work. If we were to allow weekends to be free, we would be guaranteeing students time to themselves and avoid overworking them. If we chose to limit weekend homework to work started in class, it would shorten the amount of time spent on homework and show that the student has some understanding of the work being done. If we chose to extend the due date on homework, we would allow students to better manage their time, using much more of it as they choose.

While homework is a strong tool for helping students improve, it can also be used too often. We should attempt to create time periods when students don’t have to stress over any assignments and can just get some sleep. Homework doesn’t need to go away completely; it just needs to stay within the school week.