Is Too Much Homework Bad for Kids’ Health
After arguing for over 20 years that homework is inherently bad for pupils, the world of education is beginning to agree. Many parents like homework as it ‘controls’ their children’s time and takes away the onus of doing things with the children. Many teachers like homework as it seems to them as part of being a teacher. Not many pupils like homework. As a father of two I used to hate homework for the simple reason that it stopped me from doing family things. There were so many occasions when I wanted to take the children out and they said ‘no we can’t go, we have homework to do’. Seriously? It is better to spend 2 hours on work you have been doing all day rather than to go the Sports Club, enjoy meeting people and doing athletics? I have personally witnessed keen and able pupils have real nervous breakdowns in their teenage years as the pressure to study and do homework builds up from Year 1. The following are extracts from an article written in 2019. The findings are all based on research and not feelings, instinct or past prejudices. They should be noted carefully. Mr George Bowery Is Too Much Homework Bad for Kids’ Health Research shows that some students regularly receive higher amounts of homework than experts recommend, which may cause stress and negative health effects. Research suggests that when students are pushed to handle a workload that’s out of sync with their development level, it can lead to significant stress — for children and their parents. Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) support a standard of “10 minutes of homework per grade level” and setting a general limit on after-school studying. Experts say there may be real downsides for young kids who are pushed to do more homework than the “10 minutes per grade” standard. “The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades, but there’s really a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills, and their quality of life,” Donaldson-Pressman told CNN. They report the no-homework policy has taken the stress out of their afternoons and evenings. In addition, it's been easier for their children to participate in after-school activities. Consequences for high school students In 2013, research conducted at Stanford University found that 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. The researchers also found that spending too much time on homework meant that students were not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills. Students were more likely to forgo activities, stop seeing friends or family, and not participate in hobbies. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills. "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," said Denise Pope, PhD, a senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education, and a co-author of a study. Pope described one teacher she worked with who taught Advanced Placement biology, and experimented by dramatically cutting down homework assignments. First the teacher cut homework by a third, and then cut the assignments in half. The students’ test scores didn’t change. “You can have a rigorous course and not have a crazy homework load,” Pope said. The full article can be found at https://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-more-homework-means-more-stress-031114#2
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How Homework Is Destroying Teens’ Health
Jessica Amabile '24 , Staff Writer March 25, 2022
“[Students] average about 3.1 hours of homework each night,” according to an article published by Stanford . Teens across the country come home from school, exhausted from a long day, only to do more schoolwork. They sit at their computers, working on homework assignments for hours on end. To say the relentless amount of work they have to do is overwhelming would be an understatement. The sheer amount of homework given has many negative impacts on teenagers.
Students have had homework for decades, but in more recent years it has become increasingly more demanding. Multiple studies have shown that students average about three hours of homework per night. The Atlantic mentioned that students now have twice as much homework as students did in the 1990s. This is extremely detrimental to teens’ mental health and levels of stress. Students have a lot to do after school, such as spending time with family, extracurricular activities, taking care of siblings or other family members, hanging out with friends, or all of the above. Having to juggle all of this as well as hours on end of homework is unreasonable because teenagers already have enough to think or worry about.
According to a student- run survey conducted in Cherry Hill West, students reported that they received the most homework in math, history, and language arts classes. They receive anywhere from 1 to 4 or more hours of homework every day, but only about 22.7% somewhat or strongly agree that it helps them learn. Of the students who participated, 63.6% think schools should continue to give out homework sometimes, while 27.3% said they should not give out homework at all. In an open-ended response section, students had a lot to say. One student wrote, “I think we should get homework to practice work if we are seen struggling, or didn’t finish work in class. But if we get homework, I think it just shows that the teacher needs more time to teach and instead of speeding up, gives us more work.” Another added, “Homework is important to learn the material. However, too much may lead to the student not learning that much, or it may become stressful to do homework everyday.” Others wrote, “The work I get in chemistry doesn’t help me learn at all if anything it confuses me more,” and “I think math is the only class I could use homework as that helps me learn while world language is supposed to help me learn but feels more like a time waste.” A student admitted, “I think homework is beneficial for students but the amount of homework teachers give us each day is very overwhelming and puts a lot of stress on kids. I always have my work done but all of the homework I have really changes my emotions and it effects me.” Another pointed out, “you are at school for most of your day waking up before the sun and still after all of that they send you home each day with work you need to do before the next day. Does that really make sense[?]”
As an article from Healthline mentioned, “Researchers asked students whether they experienced physical symptoms of stress… More than 80 percent of students reported having at least one stress-related symptom in the past month, and 44 percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms.” If school is causing students physical symptoms of stress, it needs to re-evaluate whether or not homework is beneficial to students, especially teenagers. Students aren’t learning anything if they have hours of “busy work” every night, so much so that it gives them symptoms of stress, such as headaches, weight loss, sleep deprivation, and so on. The continuous hours of work are doing nothing but harming students mentally and physically.
The mental effects of homework can be harmful as well. Mental health issues are often ignored, even when schools can be the root of the problem. An article from USA Today contained a quote from a licensed therapist and social worker named Cynthia Catchings, which reads, “ heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.” Mental health problems are not beneficial in any way to education. In fact, it makes it more difficult for students to focus and learn.
Some studies have suggested that students should receive less homework. To an extent, homework can help students in certain areas, such as math. However, too much has detrimental impacts on their mental and physical health. Emmy Kang, a mental health counselor, has a suggestion. She mentioned, “I don’t think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That’s something that needs to be scrapped entirely,” she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments,” according to USA Today . Students don’t have much control over the homework they receive, but if enough people could explain to teachers the negative impacts it has on them, they might be convinced. Teachers need to realize that their students have other classes and other assignments to do. While this may not work for everything, it would at least be a start, which would be beneficial to students.
The sole purpose of schools is to educate children and young adults to help them later on in life. However, school curriculums have gone too far if hours of homework for each class are seen as necessary and beneficial to learning. Many studies have shown that homework has harmful effects on students, so how does it make sense to keep assigning it? At this rate, the amount of time spent on homework will increase in years to come, along with the effects of poor mental and physical health. Currently, students do an average of 3 hours of homework, according to the Washington Post, and the estimated amount of teenagers suffering from at least one mental illness is 1 in 5, as Polaris Teen Center stated. This is already bad enough–it’s worrisome to think it could get much worse. Homework is not more important than physical or mental health, by any standards.
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Schools around the world hand homework out, but do the teachers really think about what kids have going on after school? Most kids have activities to attend to, teens are applying to colleges and working after school. Kids stay up late trying to accomplish all these tasks and in the process are losing sleep over stuff they could be spending time in class. Teachers seem to think giving homework for after school will allow them to pertain knowledge somewhat better, but in reality going over it in class the next day will allow them to remember more and being in the same atmosphere will allow them to be more open.
Research from Healthline, shows that some students regularly receive higher amounts of homework than experts recommend, which may cause stress and negative health effects.For kids in first grade, that means 10 minutes a night, while high school seniors could get two hours of work per night.homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA,this could affect them by their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills, and their quality of life
Extra assignments may lead to family stress, especially when parents with limited education aren’t confident in their ability to talk with the school about their child’s work.The researchers asked students whether they experienced physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.More than 80% percent of students reported having at least one stress-related symptoms in the past month, and 44% percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms.
Levy, Sandra. “Why Homework Is Bad: Stress and Consequences.” Healthline , Healthline Media, 22 Aug. 2019, www.healthline.com/health-news/children-more-homework-means-more-stress-031114#1.
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Students Have Too Much Homework, Too Much Stress
Freshman Madison Parola tries to juggle student life with athletics.
Madison Parola , Staff Reporter November 2, 2015
Homework is something that can be necessary and helpful, but it also can be hurtful.
Most classes a student has will usually require homework at some point. Maybe it’s two pages of Spanish homework for each night or two pages of math problems. While individually that might be manageable, what becomes difficult is when that has to be balanced with other homework and one’s commitments to clubs, sports or other out-of-school activities.
A March 2014 article titled “Is too much homework bad for kids’ health? ” by Sandra Levy, published on healthline.com, shows “that more than two hours of homework a night can be counterproductive. Students that complete more than two hours of homework a night experience more academic stress and a lack of balance in their lives.” For example, let’s say a student has a paper for English, an essay for history, a test for chemistry and a test for Spanish they need to study for and finish in the night. If they take an hour for the English homework and an hour for the history essay, they have already done homework for two hours. Students may have an extra two hours of homework to complete, which may lead to negative side effects. Some students find that homework is affecting their own moods as well as their friends. “My friends always tell me about how stressed they are because of all the homework they have. I think the amount of homework teachers are giving is unnecessary,” said Olivia Harbison, freshman. As a freshman A volleyball player with honors biology class, journalism, Spanish 2 and World Studies, I, too, have had difficulty balancing my homework with a sport. On any given day, practices end around 5:30 p.m. By the time I get home, eat and shower, it’s already 8 p.m. If I have a lot of homework that night, I usually don’t finish until around 11 p.m., which gives me around seven hours of sleep. However, I don’t usually go to bed immediately after homework because I must set out items needed for the next day, and I also must make my lunch. Therefore, I usually get less than seven hours a night. It’s even fewer hours if we have a game because games usually go later, which then means my evening routine starts later, my homework gets done later and I go to bed later. According to the article on healthline.com, if a student sacrifices sleep time to study or do homework longer than usual, he or she will have more trouble understanding material in class the next day. Students can’t simply just do academics and nothing else because in high school students are encouraged to be involved. Colleges look at how involved students are in high school along with students’ grades. Therefore, if a student is an athletic person, is college-bound, plays multiple sports while in many higher level classes, the homework and the athletic balance could become a disaster. A March 2014 article titled “Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework” by Clifton B. Parker and published on the website of Stanford University states that a Stanford professor found that homework is associated with greater stress, reductions in health, less time for family and friends and extracurricular activities. Stress is common among high school students, but with the amount of homework students could be receiving, the stress may just be unbearable.
Students could reduce their stress by taking less rigorous classes or by participating in fewer extracurricular activities, but students shouldn’t have to limit their interests and classes to be able to go to sleep at a reasonable time.
With stress there are two types, eustress and distress. According to Health Information and Resources on the website of Brock University located in Ontario, Canada, eustress is “the good stress that motivates you to continue working. ” Distress, which is more common, is when the good stress becomes unbearable.
One way distress can be avoided is by the type of homework teachers give.
Harbison said that if she is having a hard time with the topic she’s learning in class, then the homework practice is useful, but a lot of her homework isn’t really related to the topics she’s having problems with, so she finds it useless.
A May 2015 article titled “Do kids today have too much homework” by Lee Lawrence, published on cs.monitor.com, states that homework can be a cause of distress.
Homework can be just another thing to worry about doing and if it’s been already a stressful day, tons of homework is not what the student is going to want to come home to.
Many teachers expect students to put their full effort into the homework and to take their time on every question or study for hours after school. Living up to this expectation can be emotionally draining for the student.
In reality, too much homework can take too much time, and if this continues, in tons of schools, students may just be stressed and sleep-deprived all the time.
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Health Hazards of Homework
March 18, 2014 | Julie Greicius Pediatrics .
A new study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and colleagues found that students in high-performing schools who did excessive hours of homework “experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.”
Those health problems ranged from stress, headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems, to psycho-social effects like dropping activities, not seeing friends or family, and not pursuing hobbies they enjoy.
In the Stanford Report story about the research, Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Experimental Education , says, “Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good.”
The study was based on survey data from a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in California communities in which median household income exceeded $90,000. Of the students surveyed, homework volume averaged about 3.1 hours each night.
“It is time to re-evaluate how the school environment is preparing our high school student for today’s workplace,” says Neville Golden, MD , chief of adolescent medicine at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and a professor at the School of Medicine. “This landmark study shows that excessive homework is counterproductive, leading to sleep deprivation, school stress and other health problems. Parents can best support their children in these demanding academic environments by advocating for them through direct communication with teachers and school administrators about homework load.”
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