By Kayla Adams
It’s Sunday night and your basketball team has just won the most important game of the year. Plans are quickly made with the team to go to dinner and celebrate the victory. You still feel jitters from when the buzzer went off cementing your victory. You listen to everyone’s parents and friends congratulating you on how well you played, and the crucial shot you made.
Then it hits you, you can’t go to the team dinner, in fact you needed to be home two hours ago starting all the homework you got assigned for the weekend. Your heart drops. Should you go celebrate all the hard work you put in this season, or go home to write answers to questions that will never come up again in your life.
According to the article “Wake Up Calls,” written by Sarah McKibben in “Education Update” from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 43 percent of United States public high schools start school before 8 a.m., and 87 percent of high school students are reportedly getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Students have to stay up late to finish all of their homework and keep up on their social lives. Then the next morning, students have to wake up early, go right back to school, and do it all over again.
Sleep deprivation affects students’ mood, causing them to become pessimistic about the whole outlook of school. This takes away from school’s intended purpose: learning.
According to the article “How Does Homework Actually Affect Students,” published by Oxford Learning Centre, “40 percent of high school students are chronically disengaged from school.” This could be due to the fact that scholars were pushed too hard and have reached the point where they’ve just stopped caring about school. Additionally, “one in five students reportedly suffer from rising levels of anxiety, stress, and depression when dealing with homework.”
When homework is generating this many issues for a student’s well being, the benefits can’t possibly be that important. Parents have even begun to notice the negative results of students getting homework. According to the same article from Oxford Learning Centre, “72 percent of parents feel homework is often a source of household stress.”
This means even at home, where teenagers are supposed to rest and live their lives, they can’t. They always have something they have to do nagging them in the back of their minds.
On the other hand, some believe that homework teaches students beneficial time management skills for their future. According to the article “Ten Benefits of Homework,” written by John Bishop for Hot Chalk, “Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.”
Time management is an important skill, but schools should find a way to teach it to students while they are at school, since they already spend so much time there in the first place. Students are given so much work to complete in the classroom while they are at school, they deserve freedom when they aren’t in school.
According to the Kalamazoo Public School homework guidelines approved by the KPS school board, the daily homework expectation for high schoolers is anywhere from 90- 120 minutes per night, with an additional 30 minutes of leisure reading.
That means a student is expected to be in school for 7 hours a day then go home with an average two and a half hours of homework to do. That is about ten hours of school related work a day, in addition to the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep recommended a night, that means about 20 hours of your day is gone. This leaves only 4 hours for important activities like: work, sports, exercise, eating, hobbies and time with friends and family.
Homework shouldn’t be necessary with the amount of time students spend in school per day. Teachers should start class as the bell rings and make sure time is spent productively all throughout the hour. If each teacher did this and stopped letting 5 minutes pass before starting the class or ending a class 5 minutes early, it would decrease the amount of time students have to spend time at home working almost completely.
The KPS homework guidelines should also be rewritten so that homework is not required for all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade, and should be assigned at the teacher’s discretion as is necessary to supplement the lesson. This will also help teachers who feel obligated to assign meaningless homework throughout the week to meet requirements, focus on the progression of the class.
According to “Swedish School Bans Homework,” written by Norm Drexel of Reach: Professional In-Home Tutoring, a high school in Sweden abolished homework and even tests because of how detrimental and harmful they are for a child’s mental health. The Swedish students reported feeling relieved after the burden of homework was eliminated.
This school in Sweden is one of the examples around the world that proves this type of system can work. It isn’t necessary to alter the school day, just to ban homework. Every school should adopt this solution and see how much change takes place in their school environment.