Homework should not be busywork

Work should either be optional or be meaningful enough to deserve attention outside of the classroom


Graphic Ethan Moyer

Staff Writer Colin Kerrigan explains that some of his homework is useful time being taken away from him. He believes that while homework is necessary, it should either be optional for students that need practice in that subject or a larger project.

Colin Kerrigan, Staff Writer

Most students have accepted the tiresome act of completing homework as a fact of life, doing hours of busywork every night. However, just because it is the normal routine does not mean it is helpful to students. It is time that we end the cycle where too much homework leads to not enough sleep.

Sometimes, teachers have to give homework. Projects, papers and reading assignments often need to be worked on at home and working on them in class would be inefficient. These assignments are typically more beneficial than traditional homework and often expand a student’s understanding of the class beyond what is said in a lecture, so if teachers need to give out homework sometimes, it is understandable.

Homework often can be used to practice skills; in classes that are difficult for me, such as Physics, I often find that if I skip the homework I feel less confident in my abilities during that unit. However, in my math classes, which are easier for me, I find that when I skip the homework I still do well on tests. This means that past a certain point, homework does not help every student. 

The 2014 Stanford study concluded that more than two hours of homework a night for high schoolers can be counterproductive. I often spend more than two hours per night on homework and I know many of my peers, especially those in AP classes, are in the same boat.

In a Harbinger survey of 304 students conducted from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1 through Google Forms, 88 percent of respondents said that homework is one of the reasons they miss sleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, not getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep every night “is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression.” This suggests that homework could be detrimental to our health since most students are staying up late to do homework.

To solve this issue, teachers should make the majority of homework optional. While my Physics homework helps me learn, it might be busy work for someone else who already understands what we’re doing in the class. If students never complete the optional homework and get a bad grade on assessments as a result, it is their own fault that they didn’t take advantage of opportunities teachers provided for them. 

And students, my proposal to you: If homework is causing you to lose sleep and miss out on opportunities, don’t do all of it. Pick and choose what is helpful. Explain to your teachers why you made the choice you did. Eventually, teachers will catch on and change how they give homework.