Help Cut Down On Homework
Help Cut Down On Homework
Have you ever wondered how hard your children work to complete the loads of homework they receive each night, just to get some more the very next day? Kids are assigned daily homework from the time they start kindergarten at the young age of five. Is it really necessary? Does it even help with better learning or earning higher test scores? Homework causes children’s and especially teen’s frustration, tiredness, little time for out of school activities and possibly even a loss of interest in their education. It also keeps everyone awake; it has kids and teens staying up late until they finish it, the parents trying to help them, and the teachers grading it. Throughout the school year, student’s live by a strict schedule that consists of school, extracurricular activities, and homework. The amount of homework has intensified, students are getting less sleep during school nights, and the level of stress is at its highest peak. I believe that giving students excessive homework is actually more harmful than beneficial.
First of all, it can lead to unhealthy levels of stress. Though I wouldn’t consider any amount of stress healthy, a survey of high-performing high schools by the Stanford Graduate School of Education on more than 4,300 students found that more than 70% of students said they were “often or always stressed over schoolwork,” with 56% of students considered homework a primary source of stress. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor. Though this might seem normal as almost anyone would complain about work, the researchers asked students whether they experienced physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems. More than 80 percent of students reported having at least one stress-related symptom in the past month, and 44 percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms. Some might argue, homework improves academic ability; doing more work will make children learn more than they could within school hours. In reality, to date, no research has supported a correlation between amounts of homework and increased achievement in elementary school. This was also largely true of middle school. Even in high school, where some benefits were evident, these disappeared when too much work was assigned. In fact, too much homework in high school can actually reduce academic achievement.
Secondly, it can lead to students being deprived of the required amount of sleep and being distracted in class. I myself have gotten into trouble a few times for falling asleep in class: the perfect way to start off your day after staying awake all night finishing homework. According to the National Sleep Foundation children from 5 to 12 years old need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night. Teenagers need from 8.5 to 9.25 hours. But when teens get overwhelmed with schoolwork, sleep is one of the first things to be compromised. Studies show that only 20 percent of adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 get the recommended amount of sleep. On school nights, nearly half of them sleep fewer than eight hours.
So why do we do something where the cons (stress, frustration, sleep deprivation, loss of time for other activities, and a possible loss of interest in learning) so clearly outweigh the pros? Possible reasons include a lack of respect for research, a lack of respect for children (implicitly showing a determination to keep them busy after school), or a reluctance to question existing practices. And as the saying goes, “Change is the only constant,” the time for change is here. To help reduce or even get rid of homework, start petitions to school boards on websites like www.change.org or contact your local congressman and demand change.