Opinion: Is homework really worth it?


Eyesha Sadiq

Many students get overwhelmed with the amount of homework they receive, which can cause mental health issues. Around 65% of high school students deal with severe anxiety and 52% are diagnosed with depression.

1:30 a.m.

That’s what the clock said. I was used to it by now. 

I only had one assignment left. I wrote my essays as my eyelids began to blink slower. I was so close to getting those two hours of sleep I knew I needed to survive the next day. I checked my grades: A’s. That was the motivation I needed to feel good. It didn’t matter that my body wasn’t getting the rest it truly needed and it didn’t matter that I didn’t get any social interaction outside of school. It didn’t matter to me to make those essential high school memories. What mattered was that my homework was done and I had my A’s. But was it really worth it?

Many students, such as myself, have after school activities that consist of sports, jobs, clubs and volunteering. Some of those same students also take AP and honors classes. The American education system has made it normal for students to go to school for eight hours, have extracurricular activities and do hours of homework afterward when it should be a time to relax from the day’s activities. On top of that, some students have to take care of their family members when they come home. When will we finally have some time for ourselves? 

“I assign about 30 minutes of homework a night,” AP human geography teacher Kelley Ferguson said. “Where students wind up having more than 30 minutes is if they procrastinate or have tons of extracurricular activities. They are unable to do work one night, [and] then that work gets doubled the next night.” 

I understand that homework is given to students to help them retain daily lessons, and is meant to be beneficial. However, in AP classes, the curriculum can be rigorous, and teachers aren’t able to teach the students everything they need to know before the test. This leads to students getting more homework to compensate for lost teaching time. 

Based on a survey given to approximately 60 Hebron students asking how long they spend on homework a day, 53% said that they spend one hour and 30 minutes or longer on homework. In addition, 53% of students also said that they lose two hours or more of sleep everyday from homework. 

Is this supposed to be the normal expectation for students? I understand students want to earn A’s and an impressive transcript so that they can get into Ivy League colleges, but to what extent should students go to get them? It shouldn’t be at the risk of not sleeping, eating or socializing because it can cause many mental and physical health issues. 

“I believe in homework because that is the opportunity for practice,” chemistry teacher Rachmad Tjachyadi said. “The reason I give homeworks with a lot of problems is because some students may need more and [homework is] trying to meet the different needs of students. Homework should take about 20 to 30 minutes for chemistry and, to me, that is actually what they are going to have to do in college for chemistry.” 

A lot of students struggle with having a social life when all they do is homework. The same survey showed 83% of Hebron students said they do homework on the weekend, and 78% said it stresses them out. Students can miss out on memorable school activities such as football games or dances because they have a test the next day or their homework is due that night. 

Only doing homework in students’ free time can lead to them becoming quickly burnt out and losing motivation for school. According to The Scholarship System, “Academic burnout is a surprisingly common problem, especially among high school seniors.” Having to go to school, write college applications and get ready for graduation makes those seniors burn out in the end.  

Not being able to make these high school memories or have a social life can lead to anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. In high school, around 65% of students deal with severe anxiety and 52% are diagnosed with depression as those students don’t get to have time to be a kid anymore before having to enter adulthood in college. 

Personally, I think homework should not be given on the weekends and be given in more limited amounts on the weekdays through offering more than enough time in class to complete it, simply because that is the time for students to relax and have their own time. They should be able to hangout with their friends, go to football games and do other activities. 

Students shouldn’t need to be worried about what homework is due that night or if they have enough time to study for their next test. Being a kid while you still can is more important than doing homework.