Rest assured, less homework is the answer

When was the last time a student said she finished all of her homework and got enough hours of sleep? No, you probably haven’t heard that in a while. Studies, surveys, documentaries and discussions have come up but no change has been brought to the fact that students are assigned too much homework each night with little to no time for completing it.

Six hours of the day are spent in school learning, and a few more hours are often spent after school in extracurricular activities. Some students go to work right after school, while others are in clubs or participate in sports or theater. Regardless of a student’s after-school situation, they still come home to more schoolwork. But where does the time go for family, friends, or relaxing. A junior at Watertown High School said, “Students put themselves through the tough times all for their education, to do well in school, and go to a good college.”

All of that makes sense, but the excessive amount of homework needs to stop.

School is the biggest reason for why teenagers aren’t getting enough hours of sleep. School starts early in the morning. Nancy Kalish, an award-winning journalist writing in the New York Times, sums up the situation well: “Stop focusing on testing and instead support changing the hours of the school day, starting it later for teenagers and ending it later for all children.”

The priorities are all wrong. Throughout the school day students are tired, they aren’t paying attention, and when they take tests in the morning after staying up late doing homework, it’s unlikely they’ll get a good grade.

Of course the majority of students don’t want schoolwork outside of the classroom, but why do teachers give it then? One Watertown High School teacher said, “Teachers look like enemies in this situation, but there is so much material that needs to be covered in every subject that giving homework becomes very important.”

It’s understandable that teachers don’t give homework just to give homework, they give it so students will get something out of it. But teachers can work together to make sure they’re not assigning too much work, especially when it is close to exams or schoolwide events.

There is a long list of reasons why students lack sleep; it may be their schoolwork, sports, or extracurricular activities. Besides school-related reasons, a lot of students have responsibilities at home. Students would be more effective in school if they had less homework.

Research conducted by Harris Cooper, a Duke University psychology professor, says more time to work on five problems for homework is better than speeding through 50 problems and not retaining anything. Less homework and more time to do it will give students more time to understand the concepts than just trying to get it done for a grade. Test scores can improve, GPAs will be raised, and more opportunities will open for students. This is a win-win situation.

–May 18, 2014–