Contributing Writer Sadie Withers, ’25
Freshman student-athlete, Yeva Balayan, comes home after a long day of school and a stressful volleyball game. It’s 8 o’clock and the last thing she wants to do is spend three hours doing homework. Her parents are expecting her to keep her grades up, but feel like they haven’t spent time with her in a while. Yeva is overwhelmed and tired, and she decides to simply finish the assignment, but not to the best of her ability. By the time she showers and eats dinner, it’s 11 o’clock and she is going to bed.
Yeva and many other students’ mental health are deteriorating from this ongoing cycle which is coming from teachers and the educational systems. The lack of management that they hold and the number of stressors that they put on their students relating to homework are unbelievable. Students are told to join clubs, play sports, and get involved in their community — but then are constantly challenged by the amount of homework they are required to do daily.
Students are assigned too much homework from their teachers. Students are spending six-plus hours at school and still coming home with three hours of homework.
The educational system, as a whole, likes to assign homework assignments every day. In an article from Education Week Teacher, where fifth-grade teacher Samantha Hulsman says, “I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it’s what we’ve always done.” Homework has become the norm, but is too much of it really effective for students?
According to Duke Professor Harris Cooper, it is important for students to have homework, but there should be a limit on the amount based on grade level. Cooper suggests the “10-minute rule.” This is where students starting in the first grade have 10 minutes of homework per night and add an additional 10 minutes to each year resulting in 120 minutes of homework per night by twelfth grade.
This rule would help keep students organized and limit the time that they have to spend on homework each night and can result in less stress on students and an improvement in physical and emotional health.
Limiting the time spent on homework can also result in better time management for both students and teachers. This is because the homework will be higher quality, over sheer quantity of work. A study led by Stanford University in 2013 found that high school students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from society.
That study, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, suggested that any more than two hours of homework per night is counterproductive. Students included in the study were, on average, spending three hours on homework per night. This study proved that the health of students who were spending too much time on their homework was negatively affected.
Many students who had more than two hours of homework a night were also more likely to stop seeing their friends and family, and not participate in hobbies or activities. They were also not meeting their developmental or certain life skills because of all the time that was wasted on ineffective homework.
Homework is interfering with family time, free time, and time for relaxation. In addition to this, it is also straining to the eyes and minds of students. Instead of students doing quality work, they are often just getting the assignment done as quickly as possible to hope to gain some spare time in their busy days. Students are losing their creativity and spark to go out and explore what is around them. One of the best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn, says that homework is “the greatest single extinguisher of children’s curiosity that we have yet invented.”
This much homework can not be the future of our educational system, and we as a society can not keep going in that direction. We need to limit the amount of homework for all grade levels — and that means that we have to start thinking about quality over quantity.