A homework-free future may be beneficial

A homework-free future may be beneficial

Students, How much homework do you do on the average night? Seriously think about it. Two hours? Three hours? If you take more higher-level classes, the numbers might reach four hours at the minimum. 

Schools in the U.S. love to pile on homework in a fruitless effort to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of academic ability. It gets to the point where students struggle to find a balance between their schoolwork and their personal lives. The overall usefulness, or lack thereof, of homework has been and continues to be debated, so let’s ask the question: is homework that necessary?

Defenders of homework argue that it gives time for students to practice what they learned during the day, which is true. A healthy amount of homework per day is beneficial. However, the excess of homework that is given to teens nightly might worsen academic performance. As the homework is piled onto student’s backs, all that’s being encouraged is an increase in cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty, not practice.

When gauging the healthiest amount of homework to be given, the National Education Association (NEA) cites something called the “10-minute rule” where “students should spend about 10 minutes per grade level on homework every night”. A first grader should spend around 10 minutes on homework, a seventh grader should spend around 70 minutes, and so on. The healthiest amount of homework for high schoolers, as detailed by the NEA, is about 90-120 minutes, or 1-2 hours. But obviously, many H-F students are assigned much more than recommended.

Homework is also known to damage students’ sleep schedules, resulting in students not getting the amount of rest needed to function at full capacity, and (surprise) perform well in school. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers should get around 8-10 hours of sleep, but that’s completely out the window when students have to keep up with their homework. Not to mention the number of jobs, clubs, sports and other responsibilities H-F students are constantly encouraged to have on the side. 

Then when that’s all said and done, where does that leave recreation? Life should not be a stream of constant work with a couple of hours of sleep. There needs to be some sort of relaxation to create that healthy balance. There’s a reason why stress and burnout have become such a common issue among students, and homework is one, if not the, biggest factor.

Am I advocating for a complete ban on homework? No. As stated before, a healthy amount of homework does have its academic benefits, but schools need to get rid of the idea that more homework will improve student success because it won’t. Instead, there needs to be a focus on making the most out of time in school, rather than stealing student’s time out of it.

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