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Students and Stress: Why Homework Needs to Be Limited

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If we were to make a schedule for a high-school student, a schedule full of ‘averages,’ ‘shoulds,’ and ‘ideals,’ we would need a 26 hour day to fit in every activity. However, we don’t have 26 hours in the day, which is why schools should give less homework, which in return would better the mental health of their students and overall lead to a better community. Students will stop looking for reasons to “why can’t I study” and start paying more attention to the learning process itself and enjoying it more.

As stated, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to do the average three hours of homework students are given a night. This can be shown using the simplest of math. “The recommended amount of shut-eye for children ages 14 to 17 is eight to ten [hours] a night,” the people of say. So if you take 24 hours in the day and subtract 10 hours for sleeping, there is only 14 hours for all the awake-activities. A student would ideally only take about 10 minutes to eat breakfast and 30 minutes to take a shower and get ready, which leaves us with 13 hours and 20 minutes left, and then people typically go to high-school for about 7 hours a day, but there’s also (ideally) only half hour of travel time each way, making for a total of 8 more hours gone. That leaves the day with 5 hours and 20 minutes, so if said student is in a sport, other extra curricular activity, or at least gets the recommended amount of exercise outside of gym, we have to tack on another hour and a half for that, consequently leaving 3 hours and 50 minutes for the rest of the schedule. Eat a 30 minute dinner, take 20 minutes to get ready before bed, do the average three & a half hours of assigned homework, study an extra half hour for tests and quizzes, and suddenly the student is an hour over the twenty-four hours they had to use, which can’t happen. So then one must think to their-self, “okay, does a high school student actually get a full ten hours of sleep?” And so one must answer: No. One doesn’t get a full ten hours. So say the student goes with the lower end of the ‘recommendation-scale’ of sleep, sleeping for eight hours instead of ten. That gives them an hour and left to use. “Cool, they made it, right?” No. An hour left in the day is not nearly enough time for doing everything else one might do in a day, like talking to friends and participating in hobbies and leisure activities. Even the hour of free time is generous time, as most students have other extra responsibilities: Perhaps they have to take care of pets, cook dinner, work, or do chores around the house; some students who take the bus might not get home for a whole hour instead of thirty minutes. When all that extra stuff is added on, there is even less time to just relax, unwind, and de-stress.

Furthermore, students don’t even need three+ hours of homework a night. The amount of homework given doesn´t matter as much as the quality of the homework, and yet majority of students are being given an unnecessary amount of homework. “The researchers found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night”. The more homework the student gets, the less they actually learn from it. “Too much homework can result in less active learning, a type of learning that occurs in context and encourages participation. Active learning promotes the analysis and application of class content in real world settings. Homework does not always provide these opportunities, leading to boredom and a lack of problem-solving skills”. A study done by researchers at Stanford University proves that the amount of homework doesn’t matter as much as the quality. “A Researcher described one teacher she worked with who taught advanced placement biology, and experimented by dramatically cutting down homework assignments. First the teacher cut homework by a third, and then cut the assignments in half. The students’ test scores didn’t change”. If a student is given a single math assignment consisting of 50 problems that takes two hours, it is likely that only the first half hour or so will help them and the rest will just be just boring and time consuming busy work. If the student still doesn’t understand the concept in the first 10 problems, it is likely they won’t understand the next 40 and they are going to need to be helped and worked with so that they actually know how to do the homework. And yet when teachers assign assignments that they expect the students to take a minimum of 45 minutes on, it appears almost if either the teacher isn’t doing enough actual teaching or that they are just giving busy work that is unnecessary.

Akin to the fact that students have practically no time release their stress, according to a study by Stanford University testing 4,317 students from 10 high schools in upper-middle-class communities, 56% of students considered homework a primary source of stress. (Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category). Not only can too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and poor eating habits, but homework being the biggest stressor in a high school student’s life is also affecting the amount of students who turn to drugs and alcohol to manage that stress. More than 80 percent of students in the Stanford study reported having at least one stress-related symptom in the past month, while 44 percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms ( It is proven that stress is a factor that increases the likelihood of drug abuse. “When people are under stress, the brain releases cortisol, the stress hormone. Over time and under chronic stress, parts of the brain that are related to memory or learning are negatively affected by the presence of cortisol. Interestingly, some of these areas of the brain are the same parts impacted by drug use and addiction”. People who are stressed are more prone to give in to their impulses (example: drugs) as a way of coping with daily stress than people who are not stressed. Just as stress can contribute to depression, anxiety, and insomnia, drug abuse can cause (or increase effects of) depression, anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia. Depending on severity, people who have these mental illnesses or use drugs are more likely to be unemployed than people who don’t use drugs or have a mental illness. People who use drugs or have a mental illness and do have a job typically have more absences and are less productive.

All in all, teachers should assign less homework to their students. A chain reaction occurs in many students: from stress, to mental health problems or drug use, to bigger problems such as problems with their physical health or with getting a job, all of which negatively impacts the community, and it is all because High-School students have too much unnecessary homework and not enough time to relax. We can’t extend the number of hours in a day to give students more time to relax, so the biggest stressor in their lives has to be contained.

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Students And Stress: Why Homework Needs To Be Limited. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
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