If there is one thing that almost every child despises, it would certainly be homework. However, there has been a good amount of debate over how much homework students should really be getting. Most people believe that students are getting too much homework and that they should be spending their free time doing other things that are not homework. Other people claim that when students have too much homework that it doesn’t actually help the students learn better. Simply put, once students get the practice they need, any more homework on top of that doesn’t help the student learn any better. Also, it has been found that too much homework can have negative health effects such as high-stress levels and sleep deprivation. So, for these reasons, it is obvious that students should get less homework. Opposing sides say that homework has not increased by much recently. If that is so, then maybe we’ve had it wrong the whole time.
Firstly, it has been found that too much homework doesn’t actually help, it can actually demotivate students and rob them of their passion for learning. One parent shares her experiences, “My daughter, Maya, who is entering second grade, was asked to complete homework six days a week during the summer. For a while, we tried gamely to keep up. But one day she turned to me and said, ‘I hate reading’.” (Gonchar 1) If we give so much homework to students that they begin to despise school, how can we ever expect for them to get a good education? Also, it has been found that too much homework does not improve grades. “The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA, but there’s a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life.” (Wallace 2) So, if it isn’t helping, then why are we wasting our time doing something that won’t help us excel and will hurt several other things about us.
The opposing side of this argument claims that student homework hasn’t really increased in the past few years. Brian Gill, senior social scientist at the Rand Corporation says, “If you look at high school kids in the late ‘90s, they’re not doing substantially more homework than kids did in the ‘80s, ‘70s, ‘60s or the 40’s.” (Marian 3) So maybe homework hasn’t increased, but then why do we have so much in the first place? One area that parents feel is the worst for getting more homework is the younger elementary school grades. “Parents are correct in saying that they didn’t get the homework in the early grades and that their kids do,” says Harris Cooper. (Marian 3) But my question is, why do they need homework in younger grades? For a kindergartener to get homework could be quite overwhelming for them. Not only are they having to learn all day long but now you’re telling them that when they get home that they have to continue to work on more assignments that weren’t done in school.
Also, it has been found that too much homework can have negative health benefits. “A study last year showed that the impact of excessive homework on high schoolers included high-stress levels, a lack of balance in children’s lives and physical health problems such as ulcers, migraines, sleep deprivation and weight loss.” (Kelly 2) If homework causes these problems, then why are children these days loaded up on it? Perhaps many teachers are worried about their class not having good test scores and they believe that more homework will fix this. But, instead of more homework, wouldn’t it make sense just to have less homework that is better at accomplishing learning. Much of the homework that students get comes straight from a book, however, it has been found that homework pulled out of books doesn’t actually help as much than other types of homework assignments. “What typically happens is people give what we call ‘shotgun homework’: blanket drills, questions, and problems from the book. On a national level that’s associated with less well-functioning school systems.” (Marian 3) So all those worksheets that you probably did when you were in high school have been found to not actually help as much as your teacher may have thought.
Finally, there are more important things that students should be spending their time on besides homework. One teacher put this into action in her classroom. The teacher said, “’There will be no formally assigned homework this year,’ Ms. Young wrote in a note that was widely shared on Facebook. ‘Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early’.” (Gonchar 1) Homework not only takes away from time to do other activities but can also stress students out, “In theory, homework seems like a good idea, just a little bit of looking over what was learned in class and answering a few questions to feel more comfortable with the material. In practice, it’s entirely different. Now I’m up till 11:30 p.m. some nights desperately trying to finish three colossal essays,” said one student. (Gonchar 1) So, do we want the only thing our students do to be homework? Or do we want them to have the chance to find activities they love and have time to do them without staying up late trying to finish homework?
In conclusion, there is generally too much homework for the average school student. Rather, students should get less homework giving them more time to easily enjoy activities that they love to do, such as music or sports. It can also avoid negative health effects that have been found to be related to having too much homework. Critics of having less homework that say that it hasn’t increased, they may be correct, but there should still be less regardless of whether or not it has increased. So, it is obvious for these reasons that students these days should get less homework across all grade levels than what they currently get.