Do We Have Too Much Homework?

Do We Have Too Much Homework?

Lauren Gherman , Staff Writer

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.