Middle and high school students have been sending me essays they’ve written about homework. On occasion, I will be posting them here. (If you are a student and want me to consider your paper, email me.)
Today’s guest blog entry is by Courtney, an eighth grader who goes to a middle school in the Central Valley of California. Courtney told me that she and her friends “all complain to each other but are too afraid to say anything to the teacher.” When she had to write a persuasive essay for an English class, she decided that was the place to express her feelings about too much homework. Courtney told me that when she isn’t doing homework, I “love to play soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball, and tennis. With all of these sports I get hurt almost constantly (hahaha).” (I have posted Courtney’s essay exactly as she sent it to me.)
by Courtney, 8th grade student, Central Valley, California
Have you ever seen the amount of homework that students get each night? I think that there is too much homework each night, and it should be decreased. Having the amount of homework that is assigned each night creates too much stress. Also the amount of homework does not allow them time to be involved in extra curricular activities or spend time with friends. Family time is decreased because of the volume of assignments each night. Even with the amount of homework that students get, America has an interesting percentage of college students who cannot do the work or are not taking the classes that an average eighth grader is taking.
Homework overload just causes too much stress because the students worry more about quantity rather than quality. When a student sees that they have 2 pages in their math book, 1 essay to write, 2 workbook pages for science, 4 activities for Spanish, a project due in history, an assignment and study guide for P.E., they are not thinking about how to do it well, but how to get it done as fast as possible. The students do not care how well they do as long as they get it done. When the students realize that their math was harder than they expected, they end up staying up way later than planned. That leaves them restless and stressed out from not finishing everything. When they are tired and restless and still did not finish their homework, they may feel as if they have no choice but to cheat on it. According to a study in 2005, consisting of 18,000 students, more than 65% of the students said that they cheated in some way. Some students get so stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of homework they receive that they feel as if there is no way out other than to cheat.
Where is the time for spending time with friends, extra curricular activities, and family time? After students get home they may go sit in front of the television just to get a break after their 6-8 hour school day. When they start their homework it is still light and beautiful outside but by the time they are done it is late and dark. Students sometimes work through dinner depending on the amount of assigned work for the night. When is the family supposed to spend time together? Many parents who begin to feel that this is partially their responsibility may start to take over some of the work trying to lighten the load. Even if the student stays focused they will be working for hours. If the student participates in a sport, they need to plan around that activity while still leaving enough time for dinner and homework without staying up to late. The truth is that half of the time they are up till 11 oâ€™clock at night or later finishing the work for the next day just so their grade doesnâ€™t drop. The next day when students arrive at school many are restless and not willing or able to learn. This can be caused from the stress of just from needing to stay up late to finishing the assigned assignments from the night before.
However there are people who believe that the amount of homework is not a problem. However the time spent on homework has gone up 51% since 1981. When people say that this is just the right amount of homework, why is it that in the countries that scholastically outperform the U.S. (such as Japan, Denmark, and the Czech Republic) in achievement tests. The teachers in those countries are assigning less homework than the teachers in the U.S.? The homework that we have each night does reinforce the material learned in class. Homework helps you because the teachers have a limited time to work with the material in class. As homework reinforces lessons learned in class it can load so much extra work on the students. Many students can only learn so much each day and may need a slower pace to actually understand and remember the information presented. Some students have a problem with homework and may spend too much time on one area that is hard for them to comprehend. This causes students to get overwhelmed and stressed about what they are learning, studying, and reading. Lessons learned in school are designed to help you later in life. Although, if theses lessons are supposed to help you so much then why is it that about 40% of college students donâ€™t take courses in English or American literature, and 31% of students have never taken a math course. Also more than 56% of the students canâ€™t calculate the change from $3 after buying a pencil for 60 cents and a binder for $1.95. In addition, many college students are not able to read or understand a simple set of directions. I know that the teachers only have a limited amount of time, but I think that they should limit the amount of homework given. Doing so may assist the student in actually understanding the material.
In conclusion, I think that there is too much homework each night, and it should be decreased. The homework each night causes stress and does not give the student enough time for extra curricular activities. There is no time to spend with friends or family. I think the percentage of college students who can not do the work or are not taking the classes that an average eighth grader is taking speaks for itself. Could you deal with the ever-growing increase of homework every night?