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Math Homework Isn’t the Only Homework with Negatives
Imagine you are a grade-school student. After six hours of classes in school, you have drama. This takes about two hours. You get home around five, take your dog for a jog, take a shower, do chores, and eat by seven. Already sleepy, you have nearly an hour of math homework, an essay to work on for English, a few questions for health, and a test to study for in history. You are tired but you finish everything, getting to bed by 9:30. You get only 7.5 hours of sleep, and no break. Consequently, you are tired the next school day. One of the things that can be cut down on to give us more time is homework. Each teacher should give no more than twenty minutes of homework per day.
There comes a point where homework does not really help students learn. Most teachers who give homework do so because they think it is good practice, reinforces the lessons, builds good study habits, and teaches students to be responsible. On the contrary, did you know that in middle and elementary schools’ standardized test scores the students who had more homework generally did not test better? In high school the difference is too small to be considered (Kohn, 5). There is no study proving that homework helps improve study habits or responsibility, and according to the Third International Math and Science Survey - analyzed by a professor of education and policy studies - there was a negative relationship with elementary school students’ homework and achievement levels ("Benefits Of More Homework Vary Across Nations, Grades," 5). Therefore, the more homework elementary students have, the less they generally achieve. Middle school students who had moderate amounts of homework, around 30-90 minutes each night, had the highest levels, while the ones with a lot of homework had lower levels!
I believe I know why that might be. Do you know the feeling of being exhausted and ready to go to sleep, but instead having to force yourself to focus on something you do not want to to? I’m sure you have, just as many teenagers do everyday. I speak from experience when I say that some teens even feel tired in the mid hours of the afternoon due to our circadian rhythms being off, causing sleep deprivation. Also, is the homework we did while half asleep a good gauge on our understanding of the concept, or is it sure to be riddled with careless mistakes and errors? I would say the latter. Plus, as kids and teenagers, we are not the most emotionally stable, and it is not our fault. Smaller things stress us out more. They say some stress is good, but too much is a big factor to increase the risk of depression and other issues. Around 20 percent of teens will experience depression (“Teenage Depression Statistics,” 3). As one parent said, homework “overwhelms struggling kids and removes joy for high achievers” (Kohn, 11).
Lastly, many students do after school activities, chores, or take care of pets or little siblings. All students have to eat, take care of their personal hygiene, and the worst part, do homework. How do we fit all this in while still getting enough sleep and exercise? Often times, students do not. Most kids need nine or ten hours of sleep, and we need 30-60 minutes of exercise. It is not always possible. Around 85% of kids ages 11-17 don’t get enough sleep (“Teens and Sleep,” 2). If we could at least reduce homework, it would be much easier to do this. More sleep and physical activity would mean better focus and concentration in class.
In conclusion, homework is often unnecessary, creates less time for exercise and sleep, and more stress (for students and teachers). Homework increases students’ negative view on school, and can decrease focus and concentration in class. This is why I believe teachers should minimize homework assignments to 20 minutes or less.
"Homework." Wikipedia.org. 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. <http://
Kohn, Alfie. "Arguments Against Homework." Scholastic.com. Sept. 2006. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.
Penn State. "Benefits Of More Homework Vary Across Nations, Grades." ScienceDaily.com. 2
Mar. 2007. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/
"Teens and Sleep." National Sleep Foundation. Web. 08 Apr. 2011. <http://
"Teenage Depression Statistics." Teen Depression. Web. 08 Apr. 2011. <http://