A small amount of homework, such as studying for a test, is reasonable, but an excessive amount of work can trigger physical, mental and emotional symptoms. According to Harris Cooper from The New York Times, after a certain amount of homework, the impact on the student turns negative.

Studies show that high school students, on average, tackle more than three hours of homework each night. Is there really any reason for those countless hours of homework to be inflicted on high school students?

There are many facts to support the opposition of excessive homework loads. One major reason why I support this position is the resulting physical detriment. The homework loads that high school students deal with on a daily basis are actually causing physical issues, as well as mental and emotional issues.

According to Amanda Enayati from CNN, research studies have found correlations between excessive amounts of homework and physical health problems. Those ailments could range from mild to severe, including things such as migraines, stomach problems, ulcers, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and weight loss.

According to Valerie Strauss from The Washington Post, a study has shown that 82 percent of the students in that study reported having experienced at least one physical symptom due to stress from school. Most of the students also reported that they get less sleep.

From a mental/emotional standpoint, excessive homework can cause high stress levels, severe anxiety and depression. In the study cited by Enayati, 56 percent of students listed homework as a primary stressor in their life. According to Strauss, 72 percent of the students in the study reported by The Washington Post said they were constantly stressed over school, with less than 1 percent of the students reporting that homework was not a stressor.

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Another factor to consider is time management. Students spend approximately seven hours at school and then come home to three to four hours of homework. That leaves little time for extracurricular activities. In the Strauss report, one student said he was forced to drop an activity he enjoyed just to have enough time for homework.

Most teenagers would like to have a job, play sports, participate in other activities and, most importantly, spend time with friends and family. In Enayati’s CNN report, one parent was quoted as saying, “I have always felt there should be a balance between homework and family time.”

If students go to school for seven hours, do homework for four hours and are still expected to get the recommended nine hours of sleep, that leaves them with about four hours for everything else.

The CNN report quoted another parent, “How about some homework that involves fresh air and exercise? When did schoolwork become the most important thing in life?

That same report pointed out that ” … many students described schoolwork and the pressure of high academic performance as a dominating force in their day.”

Also playing a role in my position against excessive homework are vacations and weekends. Aren’t those designated to be a break from school?

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Every teenager needs a break from school. Teens have such little time for anything other than school. Even on breaks and weekends, they are assigned homework. Teenagers need a balance in their life and time to be a kid. Excessive homework limits leisure time. It also limits the learning of actual important real life skills.

In the CNN report, one parent commented about weekends and vacations, “I say give the kids a break … let the kids enjoy life before life gets too tough.”

Some parents have even complained about not seeing their child over an entire weekend because they were in their room doing homework.

In conclusion, the amount of homework assigned to the average high school student is far too much. It compromises their actual physical health in many cases.

A reasonable amount to help study is understandable, but when students are going to bed at 3 a.m. just to finish their homework, that is when it becomes worrisome.

Valerie DeRoehn is a junior at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.


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