FARMINGTON — Ninety-six percent of 85 students who took a survey at the Mt. Blue Middle School believe they are getting too much homework, student Jack Cushman said Tuesday night.
Four percent of the students said they hardly ever have homework.
Cushman, Isabelle Fifield and Hunter Donald, all of New Sharon, and seventh-graders in the Katahdin Community at the school, worked together on this mental health project.
Cushman and Fifield made a presentation to the school board entitled, “What are the benefits of homework and why do we need it?”
Donald was unable to attend the meeting.
While waiting to go into the boardroom, Cushman and Fifield said they get too much homework.
“Homework just stresses us out,” Fifield said.
“It’s a burden,” Cushman added.
Both participate in sports and have long practices and games after school. On top of that, they both have to do hours of homework, Cushman said.
“I feel I get enough schoolwork done in school,” Fifield said.
The students presented a Keynote presentation on their research regarding the positives and negatives of homework.
They touched on the question, “Should we have to do homework?”
“We lose sleep to homework, so homework is a cause of unhealthiness from lack of sleep,” Fifield read.
“Yes, homework may not be very fun, but it provides useful practice in working alone and with no teacher to take you step by step,” she read. “Homework can also be a way of making sure that the student can learn as much as possible.”
They concluded that the reasons teachers should stop giving homework is because it does not do anything but stress the students out and take away time that they could utilize for other things, such as outdoor activities, sports, clubs, family events, hobbies, self time and relaxation.
They also asked how students are supposed to live creative, social and well-rounded lives with hours and hours of homework stacked upon their already crazy and busy lives.
“Homework should be banned,” according to students.
The upside to homework, Cushman read, is that according to some people, it teaches responsibility, time management, perseverance and self-esteem. They say that by thinking independently, you learn all that stuff, he said.
The students defined homework as the “eternal struggle of us, our parents and our teachers,” Cushman said.
They went on to talk about research they found that stated a growing number of parents, teachers and researchers have argued that kids are being assigned too much homework.
After six hours in school, they wondered if studying and doing homework for hours at home is really necessary.
“Our opinion is, — and many others agree — that homework is horrible,” Cushman said. “But we have reasoning to back it up. Teachers say they care for their students’ well-being — if so, then why do they cause students stress and panic of failing? Homework is a burden because kids like us need sleep, fun and time to socialize — and the hours of homework we get doesn’t only keep us from getting that, we lose sleep to it.”
Students answered questions from the board.
Director Betsey Hyde of Temple said she agreed with the students that they get too much homework. It cuts into any free time she might have with her children and family time.
She also agreed that people need to be lifelong learners and learn outside of the classroom.
“I think there needs to be more of a balance,” Hyde said.
Teacher Maureen Oswald said it was really an eye-opener to see that students think they get too much homework.
“I’ve seen the stress myself,” she said.
There is outside pressure requiring the need for students to do more homework to achieve what is required in education, she said.
Teachers have tried everything they can to pack more learning into students’ class time, Oswald said. Then teachers give students homework, and it’s stressing them out, Oswald said.