Why There Should be Less Homework in Schools

Imagine this. 

You just got home from a long, seven-hour day at school and are so excited to finally relax. At last, you get to your comfy bed, lay down, and turn on the television. After laying down for a while, you realize something … you have homework. You spring out of bed and head over to your desk, where you pull out your assignment notebook. “Assignments in all my classes”, you think to yourself as you mentally prepare for the time you are going to have to put in. You begin your assignments, and after an hour of work, you have completed a quarter of it, and the rest you stare at blankly with confusion. You think hopelessly to yourself, “I will never finish on time.” Eventually, after spending your whole night trying to complete assignments by 11:59 PM, you press submit on some completed, some half completed, and some assignments that you completely don’t understand in the hopes that you got a few answers correct. You put all your school supplies away and head off to bed, hoping the next school day will result in a more promising outcome. 

This is the sad reality for many students in our society today. 

I am not saying that every student has the same experience with homework; however, I have heard from many students, first hand, about the overwhelming amount of homework they receive on a daily or weekly basis. 

Molly Willis, a sophomore from Prairie Ridge, shared her thoughts on schoolwork. “At this time, almost everyone’s mental health is declining. Having to spend eight hours either at school or on a Chromebook and then another three or more hours doing homework is a tall order for a teenager. It is no wonder that students are having trouble completing assignments and finding the motivation to do schoolwork. While it is unrealistic for students to cut out all homework, even a slight reduction could drastically improve the mental health of students.”

The overbearing amount of schoolwork that some students receive leaves them feeling stressed and overworked; however, it is an essential part of learning and mastering new topics. The amount of homework one receives should depend on age and the level of difficulty of the class. In my opinion, each class should take no more than twenty minutes for homework (not including studying for tests). 

Not only do students preach that they have too much homework on a daily basis, but it has also been proven that quantity is not the answer. According to University of San Diego education professor Joseph Lathan, too much homework isn’t helping students with their performance in school. “In a study conducted by the OECD it was found that ‘after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.’” 

It is no doubt that this pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in anxiety and stress on some students, especially with Zoom. Prairie Ridge has added an asynchronous day in the middle of the week to allow students to step away from their computers. This asynchronous day has caused some controversy among fellow students. While some find this day to be a “break” from school, others find that their workload has exceeded a regular school day. 

Vedika Shah, a sophomore at Prairie Ridge, emphasizes how asynchronous Wednesdays are beneficial for students and teachers, “They are a nice break and are great for both students and teachers. Teachers are able to plan and students have the option to get help and catch up on work.”

Mackenzie Resch, a student from Crystal Lake South High School, explains how some students don’t take the asynchronous day seriously. “While this day is a great idea for students who want to catch up with work but also relax, some don’t take advantage of the opportunity. Some students use this day to hang out with friends instead of getting help on homework or getting their work done.” Overall, the success of the asynchronous day depends on how the student takes advantage of it. 

While having homework is a staple to efficient learning, perhaps teachers should consider minimizing the amount per day.

For example, teachers could assign an assignment at the beginning of the week and break it up into manageable chunks that students can do per day. Another thing to experiment with is the actual time it takes students to do a single class worth of homework. Teachers could ask students how long it takes them to complete their homework for one class, and then base their future amount of homework off of that time. 

With some tweaks of the current homework system, students will feel more confident and less stressed about their homework. They can go back to enjoying life while also learning.