Opinion: Too Much Homework Leaves No Time to Be A Kid
Bayside sixth-grader completes his own study on why students have so much homework and the negative impacts of such a heavy load.
Student: “Why do teachers give out homework?”
Teacher: “Well, that is obvious: to try to prepare you for your future.”
Student: “But, why do teachers give out so much homework?”
Teacher: “Well, that is because of the, um… We need to… in order to… Ah, we need to simply, ah, challenge you, um, in order to make you a better student.”
In order for teachers to prepare us for our future, we have homework nightly. But, why we have so much of this homework is a totally different matter, for which the answer: “We need to challenge you more,” is not an acceptable answer from a teacher.
As sixth-graders, we are simply children; we are not even teenagers. And yet, we sometimes sit at our desks until 11 p.m. to finish the often enormous amounts of homework that we received only hours earlier.
What I hope to persuade you into recognizing is what this amount of work does to us, not only mentally, but also physically, and that teachers ultimately reduce the amount of work they assign every night.
I am not only speaking for me, or the entire sixth grade, but for the hundreds and thousands of Wisconsin kids that also struggle with the intense physical and mental labor of the amount of homework that we receive at such an early age.
First and foremost, one reason why teachers should give out less homework is because homework, itself, is environmentally damaging to our planet. Homework uses paper, paper comes from trees, and trees are used for oxygen. Lower amounts of oxygen leads to less life on Earth; so, in other words, homework kills our planet. Every year, 61.5 million trees are killed and used for paper. And that same paper is used for children’s homework. That is essentially cutting down 61.5 million sources of oxygen every year. Unnecessary extra amounts of school work that we do at our houses are not worth the toll it takes on our Earth.
Consider, too, that kids have lives beyond school and schoolwork. About 65 percent of kids, ages of 6-13, play competitive sports. But, unfortunately, some of those kids quit playing the sport they love due to the fact that they have too much schoolwork to tackle during their evening.
If a kid has three baseball practices a week, which consumes 2.5 hours of his Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, how do you think he or she feels? He or she would obviously feel very tired, right? But, now imagine if that same kid had two hours of homework three of the five days that he or she has school. He or she would feel exhausted, stressed, and maybe depressed after weeks of this. Now, too much of this school work, along with hours of sports activities, can start to consume a child’s late afternoons, weekends, and even nights. Pursuing this further, now the same kid is having trouble with homework, feeling stressed with the amount given, and is not having the time to be a kid anymore. He or she now feels that the real problem is the sport(s) activity that is consuming an extra amount of work time, of which he or she could use to do his schoolwork. So, the kid begins to hate his or her school and school work, along with his or her sports activities. In the end, kids sometimes either quit the sports activities that they are doing, or even extra-curricular activities that he/she does at school. Or, in turn, they suffer through it.
An example of this would be Michael. As an advanced fifth-grade student, he pushes himself, but due to the amount of homework he had at the end of the school year last year, he had to quit tennis. Was this really Michael’s fault? No.
Too much homework means kids are sleeping less than they should. Studies show that children need an average of 10 hours of sleep each night. But, lots of schoolwork along with sports and extra-circular activities mean kids work late into the night to finish their work, affecting them mentally and physically. Mental effects due to lack of sleep can be: irritability, memory loss, and drowsiness. Continued sleep deprivation can result in trouble concentrating, blurry vision, impaired judgment, and even more severe mental effects. Physical effects can also be memory loss, aching muscles, and something that no parent wants to see their child go through: depression. So, it is very important that we get the right amount of sleep we need by reducing the amount of homework, so…well…we can stay healthy.
Researchers at Duke University support the ten minute rule. This is where each grade level gets 10 minutes of homework per day per grade level (20 minutes for second grade, 40 minutes for fourth, 60 minutes for sixth, etc.).
Finally, one more reason why teachers should give out less homework is that they are are unaware of the havoc in the home that too much homework creates. Over 43 percent of children’s parents do their homework for them, and over 85 percent help them with, if not do parts of their homework!
Lastly, my final examples of how more homework is more counterproductive than productive is that students like me, along with parents, are beginning to notice this matter throughout the United States, and are becoming more concerned and worried for their children. More and more kids each day are starting to notice how unnecessary and stressful this extra work is on their selves, and they are starting to find school a chore rather than an enjoyment and a place to learn. What disturbs me most though about this problem is that it all relates back to one problem, and we still do not fix it. So, what do we do to solve these three problems, we go to the source.
In conclusion, struggling schoolmanship, sleeping problems, quitting sports and extra-curricular activities, health problems, kids not turning in their homework, worried parents, angry parents, stressed-out children, all relate to one single thing that teachers and teaching staffs around the United States have failed to notice and failed to take action on: There is too much homework. Will you take action and stand up for what is right?