The Case Against Homework

Homework may be destroying students mental and physical health


A girl stressing while looking at her laptop

Melanie Pina, Illustrator

Ever since being in kindergarten every student knows what homework is. Although many teachers see homework as being useful for their students, science says otherwise. Even though students should get their education there is a reason for them to take a break and homework is one of the biggest stress factors about school.

“The survey of 1,000 K-12 teachers found, among other things, that high school teachers on average assign about 3.5 hours of homework each week. For high school students who typically have five classes with different teachers, that could mean as much as 17.5 hours each week,” commented U.S. News in one of their articles on this topic.

This survey shows how much homework students get on a weekly basis and with that amount of work most students are stressed and too sleep deprived to try to get everything done. Some of these students get so overwhelmed and many have anxiety problems as well as depression that is school-based.

I have also experienced my share of stress from homework. I have gotten anxious and even depressed because I could not finish my homework in time or could not complete it because of the amount I had gotten.

Stanford University conducted a study that surveyed more than 4,300 students at 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. More than 70% of the students said that they were often or always stressed over schoolwork, only 56 % listing homework as a primary stressor and less than one percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

Other studies were done in New York on private school students and how they coped with excessive homework and college applications.

“About half of the students said they received at least three hours of homework per night. They also faced pressure to take college-level classes and excel in activities outside of school. More than two-thirds of students said they used alcohol and drugs, primarily marijuana, to cope with stress,” says Healthline in their article titled “Is Too Much Homework Bad for Kids’ Health?”

Although I have never used drugs to cope with the stress of the amount of homework, I have used a coping mechanism that is as bad as those things being food and eating.

School, homework, extracurricular activities, sleep, repeat — that’s what it can be for some of these students,” said Noelle Leonard, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing when in a press release of the study.

Although some may say that homework helps improve the student’s academic achievement, a heavy homework load can affect a child’s mental health and overall productivity in school.

Since many student research hours of homework, some students take any risk to try to get these assignments done. Sleep deprivation is when someone does not sleep the full 8 hours or may only sleep for 2 to 5 hours a night. Most have this problem because of the increasing workload. This made students more sleepy during their class which didn’t help them to concentrate and learn.

I personally have been up for most days sometimes for a week just to finish homework. Staying up all night to finish something that should only take an hour but other homework assignments prevent that. It also messes up your sleeping schedule from staying awake in the morning and going to sleep at night to sleep in the morning and being awake up at night.

Sleep deprivation has been known to cause depression and anxiety and could contribute why students take needs such as not going to sleep or using drugs to calm their anxiety and or depression.

“I feel like if you have homework the purpose of it is supposed to make you understand the subject better, but if your brain is too tired to do it, you’re not learning anything, you’re simply completing a useless task,” commented Mia Carter who is a sophomore at Oak Hills High School.

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