The Wildezine

Do We Have Too Much Homework?

Lauren Gherman, Staff Writer

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SSFS is a college preparatory school with an expectation that its students will attend a post-secondary school after graduation. Students are required to take sports, arts, languages, and serve their community, as well as maintain a strong academic record. While all of these activities may look good to colleges, they put a lot of pressure on the students. School prepares students for life beyond high school and teaches important lessons, however school programs often neglect the importance of letting students experience typical teenage activities.

Students are expected to finish all of their homework before class in order to be prepared to learn, but when each teacher assigns 30-40 minutes of homework a night, it builds up, especially when a student has seven classes. A study from U.S News says that students have about 17.5 hours of homework a week. While homework is a common complaint among students, not everyone feels the amount of homework given is forcing them to miss out on social opportunities. Two SSFS students, Allison Dixon and Sarah Fishman, were interviewed about the pressure of homework and its effect on their lives. When asked about the social impact of homework, Allison said, “I am not one to typically want to go to a lot of social events, but when I do, I definitely feel the strain … because I have a lot of work to do.” However, when posed the same questions, Sarah replied with, “Well, to contrast Allison’s opinion, I would say that while I agree with [her], I don’t really choose to go to many events. When I do, I feel like my teachers will be understanding because I have proven that I take the class seriously.” Both of these sides present an interesting contrast, especially concerning students’ views of teachers and their empathy towards a student’s work/life balance. Allison made the point that teachers expect students to get all of their work done before attending social events, and Sarah made the point that if you are a good student, your teachers will understand that you need a break every once in a while.

Students also spend most of their time at school in classes and mostly interact with the people in their classes. Even though SSFS is a diverse community, Allison and Sarah addressed the question about whether the classes they were taking determined who they would meet. This question holds particular relevance to Sarah and Allison because of their experience in 8th grade, when they didn’t have any classes together and barely saw each other in school. Sarah explained, “I do think that that’s definitely true…while they give us opportunities like lunch and break to hang out with friends, those activities are still dictated by what classes we have next, what activities we are doing, our topics of conversation…I didn’t share a single class with [Allison] last year, and while we have maintained a very strong friendship, it was very inconvenient.” Allison also continued on this thought, “Yeah, I agree. The structure of everyone’s social life is definitely based around who’s in your classes. Even if you’re not chatting to your friend in class, it definitely has that atmosphere of ‘your friend is there’ or ‘you can walk with them to class and stuff.’” Both Allison and Sarah implied that friendships depend on being able to see that person; little things like saying “hi” in the hallways can make a huge difference. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a friendship outside of school and with all the classes and extracurricular activities, this can sometimes be impossible.

While there is no clear answer to the question of homework’s influence on students’ social lives, one definite takeaway is that the effort one puts into relationships and experiences will exponentially enhance one’s high school experience. Simply put, you get what you give.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “Do We Have Too Much Homework?”

  1. Jasper on December 19th, 2018 10:13 am

    I agree that there are arguments for an against schools assigning more or less homework, but I think that it is clear that there is more than is idea. That statistic that students spend 17.5 hours a week on homework is concerning and reflects a fact that students, parents, teachers, and administrators alike, seem to seldom realize or consider; students spend more time on school and school related activities then a full time job. While the standard full time job is 40 hours a week, students at SSFS spend about 7.5 hours per day on the academic school day, plus for most students, an additional 2 hours per day for sports. While sports are not academics and many students (myself included) love doing them, it is unarguably a part of the school day as it is required by the school for graduation in addition to being a general expectation or high school students. But the time spent on school does not stop there as homework must be factored in as well. using the average 17.5 hours a week statistic, the total time a student as SSFS spends on school and school related activities is approximately 65 hours a week! Even without sports, it is 55 hours per week. This is an alarming given that rarely anyone seems to consider this fact that students spend about 15-25 hours per week more on school than an adult with an average full time job would. Homework certainly plays a large role in causing this unbalance is high school student’s lives and I think the hours speak for themselves that homework and the general workload of students in high school at SSFS should be reevaluated.

  2. Ariel Voorhees on December 19th, 2018 2:20 pm

    An average of 17.5 hours of homework a night sounds pretty brutal. It’s good to cite a national study, but I still wonder how our local community stacks up. I’m eager to know what the new course evaluations will reveal about the amount of time that SSFS students report spending on homework.

  3. Scout Crooke on December 24th, 2018 1:51 pm

    I really like this article because it examines many aspects of high-school life and the factors that contribute to the busy lives of high school students. This article also makes me think of the survey we have been taking in all of our classes and I am curious to see the results. As for myself, I am a very busy person because I participate in many extracurricular activities. For instance, I play soccer and do track and field in school, and play soccer on a club team outside of school all year except for in the fall high school soccer season. I know that I should probably be getting more sleep than I usually do throughout the school week. However, school work, sports, and other extracurriculars prevent me form doing so oftentimes. I have heard that if you do not get enough sleep then you can not learn, remember, or function very well. So even if teachers give students a lot of homework to do, the student might not be learning very well even if they do the homework, since they do not get enough sleep. Furthermore, sleep if vital to having good health. Nonetheless, I think our school is getting better at understanding that it is not good to give our students a ton of homework each night and not every class gives students too much homework either.

  4. Lara Conway on January 16th, 2019 9:38 am

    For this school I feel the work load is just the right amount. This school is a a college prep school so in the long run we will be more prepared. From talking to people at other public high schools on average we ave about the same amount of work and their advanced classes. Most of the teachers at this school are understanding about circumstances where the work ant be finished, and will accommodate. from my experience the sports and after school activities are considered if you cannot finish your work since they are required. I believe Sandy Spring is preparing us for our college experiences and this will effect our experience in positive ways in the future.

  5. Lara Conway on January 16th, 2019 9:40 am

    For this school I feel the work load is just the right amount. This school is a a college prep school so in the long run we will be more prepared. From talking to people at other public high schools on average we have about the same amount of work and their advanced classes. Most of the teachers at this school are understanding about circumstances where the work cant be finished, and will accommodate. from my experience the sports and after school activities are considered if you cannot finish your work. I believe Sandy Spring is preparing us for our future in college and this will effect our experience in positive ways.

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Do We Have Too Much Homework?