Homework or Personal Lives?

Many students get home and the first thing they do is homework. They’re pressured by their parents to do their homework while simultaneously being encouraged to spend time with family, eat, spend time with friends, go outside, participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, and sleep for 7+ hours. Rather than motivating students to master material and learn efficiently, homework negatively impacts students by taking away from personal time that is necessary for them to lead balanced lives.

In an article published by The Washington Post by Gerald K LeTendre, a professor of education in education policy studies at Penn State, states that, “Worldwide, homework is not associated with high national levels of academic achievement.” This means that there is no direct correlation between homework and test grades, and very few studies have been able to prove this, and the ones that have were more of a reach. At Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia,  16 out of 19 of the students in Fire Stream agreed that homework adds extra stress onto them or takes time away from other things that they’re encouraged to do, such as sports, extra classes, extracurricular activities, family time, etc. This means that just over 84% of students in Fire Stream have agreed that homework is added stress and takes time away from things that they’re encouraged to do outside of school. Many students participate in these activities because they’re passionate about them and it makes them happy. Sports and exercise is proven to relieve stress, homework adds stress and if time for this stress reliever is taken away that just means more stress, this can cause more problems in many aspects of their lives.

In an article written by CNN about how homework has been banned in some cities and not others, “What is clear is that parents and kids don't live in the world of academic research; they live in the real world where there are piles of homework on the kitchen table.” Meaning that students don’t have the luxury of just easily saying that homework helps their academic performance or not, and they don’t have the luxury of just not doing homework. That is especially true to highschool students who have to regularly chose between sleep and doing work, especially when they get homework from every class every night and homework can be up to 30% of their grade. Students in every grade get piles of homework and a lot of the time they don’t have resources on hand to see if they’re right or to get help, meaning they might do it wrong and not learn anything at all.  Even if students do try and do their homework it might take a while, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital adolescents should be getting 9 to 9 ½ hours of sleep per night. Due to homework and trying to fit other after school activities in many adolescents don’t get the necessary amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation in teens has many negative effects such as mood changes, being more inclined to engage in risky behavior such as driving fast, drinking, etc, doing worse in school, and declined cognitive abilities.

In an article published by the New York Times, a mother explained how… , “The stress homework places on families starts early.” The article also talks about how homework takes away from family time and family activities. The author also says that her kids “are fighting not just over the homework, but also over their share of my coveted attention and my unique ability to download and print images.” This shows how homework adds extra pressure and can cause tension in families. It takes away from family time and causes more stress on students and parents. It’s almost as if once children start school and the homework starts that it never stops, and that more family time is taken away while more stress is added.

In a study concluded in 2003 by Dr. Harris Cooper he tries to argue that homework has a positive effect on students, but his studies also found no direct correlation between increased homework for students and improved test scores. Cooper himself said that “The analysis also showed that too much homework can be counter-productive for students at all levels.” Meaning that excessive amounts of homework can cause negative effects on students, but who is judging what excessive amounts of homework means? He talks about the “10 minute rule” meaning that every grade that a student increases they should get 10 more minutes of homework, meaning that a second grader should get 20 minutes, and a twelfth grader should get around 2 hours of homework. That would seem ideal, but in most high school settings teachers don’t interact with each other to see how much homework each of them give to equal it out to around 2 hours. This means that one class’s homework could take a student 2 hours alone and that would be what the ideal amount of homework is, so if it takes 2 hours for one class’s homework then how are students supposed to have positive benefits from doing all of their homework? Cooper’s research was also limited because very little research was done to see if student’s race, socioeconomic status, or even their ability levels has an affect on how much homework is “good” for said age range. This means that other aspects than just that they’re students in a certain grade weren’t taken into consideration. These things could cause major changes to the data that was collected.

Rather than encouraging students to master material and learn efficiently, homework negatively impacts students and families by causing more stress and taking away from family time. This is a problem not just for the overworked students, but also for students who have more complex personal lives. Many students work or have family obligations that they have to deal with, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable talking to a teacher about them. Although teachers might not think that the amount of homework that they give matters much,its influence goes beyond giving students work to do at home to how they interact in other important personal aspects of their life.

Works Cited:

LeTendre, Gerald K. “Homework Could Have an Effect on Kids’ Health. Should Schools Ban It?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Sept. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/09/02/homework-could-have-an-effect-on-kids-health-should-schools-ban-it/?utm_term=.3ed6d0fa2c72.

Kralovec, Etta. “Should Schools Ban Homework?” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Sept. 2014, www.cnn.com/2014/09/05/opinion/kralovec-ban-homework/index.html.

Dell'Antonia, Kj. “Homework's Emotional Toll on Students and Families.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Mar. 2014, parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/homeworks-emotional-toll-on-students-and-families/.

“Duke Study: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, As Long as There Isn't Too Much.” Duke Today, Duke Today, 7 Mar. 2006, today.duke.edu/2006/03/homework.html.

“Sleep in Adolescents (13-18 Years).” Sleep in Adolescents :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, www.nationwidechildrens.org/sleep-in-adolescents


Comments (1)

Mindy Saw (Student 2019)
Mindy Saw

A question that I have after reading this is in what other ways can we as students improve our learning without homework?

This 2fer has changed my opinion about how much homework affects a student's life in a bad way more than a good way.