Homework: How Much is too Much?

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Senior Adam Thibodeau spends time on a homework assignment.

Students have to juggle many responsibilities. School, sports, work, family, and other extra-curricular activities. Many students complain about receiving too much homework. And many make their arguments for what amount of homework is the right amount. So, how much homework is too much?

    Ms. Lasante says, “ a couple reasons I assign homework, one is for readiness, and another is for practice. I assign the reading so we can move forward with class.” Students read at different paces, so it is hard to read during class. Ms. Lasante says it should take on average about 30 minutes a night to complete her reading work. She also admits that 3-4 hours a night is too much, saying, “Our attention span is shorter, we have gotten busier we are involved in other things, it’s not realistic to do homework after midnight.”

    In today’s world students have access to technology that lowers their attentions spans. In school it is not uncommon to see students walking the halls with earbuds in, and looking down at their phones. In class you can hear the text tones going off and students feel the buzzing wherever their phones are. This contributes to distractions and a lowered attention span, “Phones absolutely distract students,” Lasante said, “I would remove the use of a cell phone during academic hours.”

    Homework starts at an early age. Of course younger, elementary students will receive less. The Los Angeles Times suggests that elementary students receive about 10 minutes of homework a night, and then increase the homework about 10 minutes a year. “What’s the “10-minute rule”?
    For years, teachers have been using the so-called “10-minute rule” to figure out homework targets. It’s the idea that with each grade of elementary school, a child’s average homework per night should increase about 10 minutes every year. “For its part, NEA supports “the 10minute rule,” developed by a Duke University professor. The rule suggests homework should increase ten minutes every year by grade level. A third grader would have 30 minutes a night, and senior would get 2 hours a night.

In a survey done by the Washington Post students said, “I have no life other than school; that is my life.” And “Homework… Is all I have time for; there’s never a time where you’re not thinking about [it].” Many students say the required homework is detrimental to their overall life. “Students recognized that spending so much time on homework meant that they were not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills. One questioned, ‘Most people have no social life because of all the homework they do; how is that helping them in the real world?’  Another explained, ‘I’m struggling between trying to maintain [my grades, but] more to maintain my identity, soul, and sanity!  Teachers don’t seem to teach students that there’s more to life than…hours of homework a night.’”

    Giving out too much homework hurts students overall feelings about school. Students don’t want to go to school for 6 hours a day, then come home just to repeat all or half that in homework a night.

    “Makes me feel stressed out, or like disappointed.” Sophomore Jakob Thibodeau says, “makes me want to go to school less.” Senior Travis Sanborn says, “Personally I don’t understand why teachers put so much stress on kids to do homework. They stress enough with what they have to do in school.”

    On top of homework students have other activities, like sports, or work, and their social lives. Some sports have practices that last 2-3 hours. And on top of that three hour practice you have to complete 4 hours of homework, and some dedicated individuals even work while they do sports and homework. Imagine waking up at 6 in the morning, going to school for 8:30, then going to practice until 5 or 6, and then having 3-4 hours of work to complete upon getting home. We can break it down into a 24 hour day, you spend 6 in school 2 at practice, and 4 doing homework, that leaves just enough room to sleep a healthy 8 hours.

    Now of course not everybody plays sports or does an activity and not everyone gets 4 hours a night. But some students do. Having too much homework causes students to suffer from things like, anxiety, stress, and depression. Many students deal with the stress that hours upon hours upon hours of homework brings.

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Educating students for more than 200 years.