Homework Should Have a Limit


Jake Short

Students can be assigned hours and hours of homework every night on top of their already busy schedule, leading to late nights and unneeded stress.

For many students, homework is the most dreaded part of their daily lives. Staying on top of each class’s assignments — ranging from reading, note-taking, labs, projects and reports to studying for tests and quizzes — can be all-consuming and leave students with little to no free time in their day. While each person is built differently and can handle different amounts of homework, class expectations outside of the classroom can and often do add stress and anxiety to the daily lives of students. When students experience homework as an unrelenting daily demand on their time, their mental health can become impacted. 

Due to the stress, pressure and lack of balance in students’ lives induced by excessive homework, the amount of work assigned outside of class should be limited or at least cut down from the size it is now.

Managing stress and maintaining a level of balance between school work and free time is  difficult to achieve, especially considering the high volume of homework in high school. But maintaining this balance helps us to manage stress more effectively, which leads to better mental health. 

That brings up these questions: How much homework is enough and what is too much? How much time should you spend on homework and how much time should you save for yourself to do things that enrich and bring balance to your life, such as participating in sports, spending time with friends (these days that usually means with FaceTime) and family, having some downtime and making time for things that re-energize you? . Homework is a major stressor in a student’s life and large amounts of it can negatively impact a student’s wellbeing. 

Some teachers like Christopher Bronke, an English teacher at North High School just outside of Chicago, recently decided to stop assigning homework to his 9th grade class and justified it this way, “It just made sense. I got sick of a wide range of factors: overly stressed students, poor-quality homework.” He added, “They didn’t have time for it, and very little actual learning was happening. I made a very simple decision: I would rather get through less material at a higher quality with less stress than keep giving homework.”

The truth is, homework takes up the majority of time for most students after school. We all have different time management skills as well as different thresholds for how much is too much when it comes to homework. Oftentimes, especially at schools like LHS, students will load up their schedule with difficult classes because there seems to be an unspoken expectation and pressure to take many difficult classes to impress colleges. The workload of a rigorous academic schedule can push the amount of homework that a student has up to three, four or more hours per night. 

In an article titled “Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools,” published in The Journal of Experimental Education, the authors explained the findings of their research study, which surveyed 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper middle-class communities. The survey looked at the relationship between homework, student well-being and student engagement in school. They found that the average amount of homework the students did each day was over three hours and, “Students who did more hours of homework experienced… more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.” 

If teachers chose to scale back on homework or eliminate it completely, more of students’ focus could be turned to in-class learning. Minimizing the amount of homework-related stress in a student’s life would have a positive impact on their overall mental health and would allow for more of a balance between their many interests and obligations. Each of us needs and deserves some time away from a desk and time to unwind. With less homework, learning in school would be elevated because students would be able to give their full attention to their schoolwork in school without having to deal with the stress of excessive after-school homework.