Homework or Health?

Students Should Not Have to Choose One Over the Other

Christina Anderson, Staff Writer

Three pages of math, an essay for English, a sketch for art, a chapter to read in history, a lab summary for science. All of this for homework tonight. The work just piles up.

However, have you ever wondered: “Does it even help and when is it too much?”

For years, the battle between students and teachers over the amount of homework assigned each night has droned on, yet students still return home from nearly seven hours of school with more work to complete. Students struggle through sleepless nights to complete homework assignments that only account for ten percent of their grade.

As a student, I can say I have struggled with the stress of homework. I have spent hours doing homework just to sit there asking myself, “Why am I hurting myself for an assignment that I should be working on and learning in class?” There have been multiple nights where I have only gotten a few hours of sleep because of homework and the stress it causes.

As a result of these sleepless nights, I was exhausted the following day at school, and it seemed useless to have drained myself over extra practice when it prevented me from learning new topics the next day. Students are expected to be a part of other activities outside of classes in order to make themselves appear more well-rounded to prospective colleges.

These activities can take up a lot of a student’s time, leaving even less time to complete homework. As a student athlete, I leave for school at around seven in the morning and don’t usually get home until almost six at night. That leaves only a few hours at night to do homework in order to get the proper amount of sleep that teenagers need.

According to pediatrician Micheal Crocetti, M.D., M.P.H, from John Hopkins University in an article from John Hopkins Medicine, teens need on average 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. This means that students waking up at six in the morning for school should be going to bed by nine every night, which is rarely the case. I wake up at six every morning, but I consider myself lucky if I am in bed by ten the night before.

Additionally, according to the National Education Association, the amount of homework a student should have is dependent on their grade level, and by multiplying the grade level by ten, you receive the time in minutes that a student should spend doing homework per night. This means that at most, a senior should have about two hours of homework each night, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for many students.

In a poll by StatisticBrain Research Institute, which gathers information to create accurate statistics on different topics, teenagers were reported to be spending on average up to three hours on homework every night. Balancing ten hours of school work between actual classroom time and homework, with sports, jobs, family time, and other extracurriculars, while getting enough sleep is nearly impossible in a twenty-four hour day.

Overall, by limiting homework to what is absolutely necessary to review we can improve the health of high school students. If each teacher only requires ten to twenty minutes of homework each night for students, then they should have more time to participate in other activities, and to take care of their mental and physical health properly by reducing stress and getting the proper amount of sleep.