Homework: How Much is Too Much?

(Photo Source: www.pixabay.com)

(Photo Source: www.pixabay.com)


As students we do not have to go through life’s larger burdens, such as working full time, paying bills, or maintaining a house; however, we do have our own struggles. There’s school, extra-curriculars, work, driving lessons. We have our fair share of stress. Then, of course, on top of everything else, we have homework.

Some people might not get as much daily homework as others, but almost every high schooler can say that they have had at least one night when they spent more time doing homework than sleeping. Of course, this is not always the case, but homework can consume the majority of one’s free time.

The amount a student receives depends on the school and teacher, so it varies for every student. The National PTA recommends that a student should do an average of 10-20 minutes of homework per night when in first grade, and then add ten minutes every year. This is referred to as the “ten minute rule.” According to these guidelines, freshman should have about an hour and a half, sophomores an hour and forty minutes, juniors an hour and fifty minutes, and seniors two hours.

Homework is a way for teachers to give their students mental exercise when not at school, but it can have a more negative effect than positive. Most kids have sports and other commitments to attend to after school, and homework can sometimes be difficult to fit into their already busy schedules.

It has been proven to be a lead stress inducer. Stanford graduate Denise Pope did her own study to examine the influence of homework on students, and found that 56 percent of the surveyed participants reported it to be their main source of stress.  

In 2013, studies by Metlife found that an average of 21 percent of students spend more than two hours doing homework. Considering that 38 percent of the surveyed students said to spend 1-2 hours of homework every night, I decided to find out how much homework students at Pentucket do on average.

Out of the surveyed students, Pentucket students have, on average, 2.6 hours of homework every night, 93.3% percent agreeing that they get the most in English class. An anonymous student said, “I often get the most homework from English class, although I find that the work is simply just time consuming. The work I get from History is often pointless, busy work. The homework I get from Chemistry I often have multiple days to do and it relates to what we do in class. Spanish is the most time consuming and seems excessive, I have to write two paragraphs a week in Spanish, often about things we haven’t really learned.”

Another Pentucket student agreed that “a good portion of the homework assigned seems to be busy work.” What this student means by “busy work” is that they believe it is assigned just for the purpose of having an assignment. When asked to rate how purposeful their homework is and how much it relates to what they did in class that day on a scale of one to ten (one being no purpose, ten being very purposeful) 26.7% percent answered 6.

Spending hours on homework also takes away time with friends and family. Simply put, more homework equals less free time. If a student has hours of homework to complete on the weekend, it contradicts the purpose of having the two days off from school.

One Pentucket student commented, “I and many people I know often stress about homework, and sometimes it can get to even a mental breaking point.” Students benefit from what they learn in class, but the survey has told me that many are feeling slightly too stressed about homework.

Along with comments about homework, another student gave a recommendation that could make managing homework easier. This student suggested that teachers should “give us all of our homework at the beginning of the week so we could plan out what we have to do every night and work around our schedules.” Some teachers already do this for their classes, in which the students have responded positively.