A Teen’s World: Homework

The Damages of Homework: My Take

A Teens World: Homework

Maggie Phelps, Writer

Homework has been a general practice in K-12 learning.  In fact, I’m sure that most of you are beyond familiar with the routine of getting homework every night and finding a way to finish it before the next school day begins.

In our earlier years of education when we had little to no after school obligations, homework wasn’t an abstract concept that we opposed.  However, as we get older and we begin to have priorities that need attention, homework becomes more and more insignificant in our own lives, but that doesn’t stop teachers from assigning it.

The practice of homework adds unnecessary stress to the day to day lives of high school students, and educators should begin decreasing the amount of homework that they assign. 

When I first began high school, if you were to sit me down and have me write down a list of priorities from most important to least important, homework would rank highly on that list without a doubt.  Homework made me feel like I was succeeding as a student and I was receiving that academic validation that I craved so deeply. 

Now, If you were to sit me down and ask me to complete that same task, homework would be one of my least concerns, and that would make me feel like a failing student. 

As someone who has always cared about their academic standing, not having the time or motivation to devote to homework is something that makes me feel like my abilities as a student are not as good as what they used to be.  I feel like my quality as a student rests on the weight of my homework assignments, not the work ethic that I have or the good connections that I make with my teachers.  Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only student who feels this way. 

As students progress through their high school career, priorities change from when they were a freshman.  The reality of the situation is that the majority of older students have an after school job, after school activities or extracurriculars, or other obligations that they devote their time to.  There are simply not enough hours in the day to finish every task, and homework is often the task that falls short. 

When we put life into perspective, what we do now in high school doesn’t amount to much in the long run.  The AP classes we take, the credit we earn from dual credit classes, the rank we earn in our class, the assignments we did or did not turn in, all of it feels like something that matters, but when we enter the real world and begin our careers, those merits don’t equate. 

So why does homework matter so much in the eyes of an educator?  The common argument is that it is necessary and beneficial practice to understand the content and it teaches students a level of responsibility, “Regularly completing homework assignments before TV or chill time teaches kids the important skill of delayed self-gratification,” says Angus Whyte, a behavioral health writer with Evolve Treatment

This argument is old and has run its course.  With the rapidly changing times and the needs of students being altered, it is time to dismantle this argument once and for all. 

Students have stressors coming in from all angles of their lives.  Instilling the mindset that you must complete every task in your life before giving yourself a chance to breathe deliberately sets students up for failure.

With all the different stress factors in a student’s life, taking time for oneself is necessary to excelling as a student.  Allowing the home to be a place where a student can relax and not endure more stress due the hours they have to allot for homework is only going to produce better students.  Teaching students to not award themselves the alone time they desperately need is teaching them an unhealthy work/life balance which in return creates a breeding ground for burnout, something that far too many students suffer from.  

Self-gratification is not a reward, it is something that all humans, regardless of age, are entitled to.  We are fueled by our passions which make us feel proud of ourselves, homework should not come in the way of this. 

I am not calling out all educators for ever assigning homework during their career.  I am asking for a change.  I am asking that teachers start catering to the age of their students better.  I am asking that teachers begin to realize the personal needs of their students over the academic pressure that they put on them.  Together, we can do better to enhance the lives of students, and that begins with the removal of homework.