The Homework Epidemic


Gaby Van winkle

Freshman Maddie Hoffmann looks downcast as she realizes she has a large amount of homework to complete

With the semester coming to an end, and finals right around the corner, students have more homework than ever, leaving stress levels at an all time high.

Elevated stress levels in teens over time leads to distress, and eventually larger and more serious medical complications later. Not only does it compromise teens’ physical and mental health, but it’s causing an unnecessary amount of panic over something that in the long run will not matter in adulthood.

A recent Pathfinder survey found 33.4 percent of students spend two to four hours on homework a night, while 8.3 percent don’t even do it because of stress. With that amount of homework and the added stress, students don’t have time to enjoy being kids and are being forced into some awkward state between being a teen and adult, almost forcing teens to grow up prematurely.

Homework is a way for students to strengthen their understanding of the classes they take. Not all homework is bad, however. When students don’t complete it because of how stressed they are, assigning homework is obsolete. If the homework is assigned to help, it’s doing the opposite when students fail to complete it because of various reasons. Not only does it bring their grades down, but it does not strengthen their understanding of the course.  

In addition, over 30 percent of students take some form of honors or AP course according to freshman principal Mario Pupillo, and 80 percent of those students don’t take a study hall, meaning more homework and less time to complete it. The social pressure to take an honors class, is immense, and the pressure to play a sport on top of that is just as high, and some students don’t have the option to take a study hall because of the number of credits required to graduate.

Students already spend a minimum of six required hours a day a day at school, and on top of that, 50 percent stay after school to play a sport, according to athletics director Brian Kessler. How can our students be expected to take care of themselves when they devote over half of their 24 hour day to school? The older that students get, the more teachers and parents try to prepare them for adulthood, making students feel more stifled and weighed down by homework.

Homework is supposed to prepare us for adulthood, but do you see your parents sitting down and pulling out an essay, or some math homework and doing it? The homework gives students a poor and inaccurate view of adulthood. Sure, sometimes as an adult you have to take work home but it’s not an essay where you’re desperately trying to make word count.

Most students just want one to two hours in total, not no homework at all. This seems like a reasonable demand, and honestly what most people would expect at a high school level, but realistically students have 45 minutes to an hour from each class when assigned a large project, and even with their regular amounts of homework. This homework is supposed to get us ready for college, but when it doesn’t give us the time to be kids, or experience anything but working until late at night on numerous essays. Some students just want teachers to understand they have other classes, and other non school obligations. When students don’t complete homework because of this, they are told that their schoolwork should come first, but why should students prioritize work over their mental well being?

With this alarming amount of homework, and little to no change over the years, students have begun to lose hope that the workload will ever lighten up, according to a Pathfinder survey. If all students are doing is worrying about is completing the next assignment, when do they have time for anything else? Assigning homework not only stresses out teens, but when they want to relax and hang out with friends they simply can’t because they’re too busy doing their homework.

However, this problem could be solved with a startlingly simple solution. Lessening the homework load. Not all of the homework teachers give is helpful, so if they only gave what was necessary to further student’s knowledge on the subject, the issue of too much homework being assigned wouldn’t be a problem. This not only benefits the students, but the teachers because it frees up more out of class time that is spent on grading the homework of students. For both teachers and students, this gives them time to de-stress and relax, and gives them time to be with their families on weeknights and weekends, not just the later.