Homework > sleep

Student’s workload is too much


Kyle Gehman

One problem with an excessive workload is that students can lose sleep. This can affect their academic performance.

by Kyle Gehman, Editor-In-Chief

120 hours in a school week. 35 hours at least spent in school. 50 hours spent sleeping if you sleep 10 hours a day, a healthy amount. 5 hours total in the school week in the morning getting ready for school. If you do the math, that leaves approximately 30 hours of ‘free time’ from Monday to Friday which then translates into 6 hours a day. But what you ask do many high schoolers do during this free time? Homework, and they have too much of it.

Before I get into this topic I want to say that I may be an exception to the homework crisis felt by some high schoolers due to the fact that I am in the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program at school, and play soccer at the highest club level, both of which mean I must spend a lot of time on them. However, despite this, I still believe that the amount of homework given to students is just too much to ask for.

The largest problem that arises from the massive amount of homework assigned is lack of sleep. For an IB student, the average time they go to sleep is around 1 a.m. just to get up six hours later. The National Sleep Foundation finds that eight to ten hours of sleep is the healthy amount for teenagers. This is a problem because there are multiple studies linking success academically, professionally and athletically to sleeping patterns. One of these studies conducted by UCLA found that sacrificing sleep for studying actually increased risk for poor school performance. This means that assigning huge amounts of homework when students don’t have enough hours in the day actually doesn’t help them learn as much.

One place that can be pointed to suggesting that homework should be decreased in high school is the amount given in college. Most college students have only 3-5 classes a week with the actual time in class usually not exceeding 3 hours. However, even despite this lack of sitting time in class, college students do not have much homework. Most universities are now trying to let students take responsibility by giving them the option of doing actual work outside of class or not. After about four years with this schedule, students graduate with a professional degree. Compare this to high school where students spend 35 hours a week in school with eight different classes while having almost four hours of homework a night. Even after all of this, I think it’s safe to say you can’t become a professional at something with only a high school diploma. So why then are high school students bombarded with homework if the highest levels of education don’t require it?

One source of this problem is not necessarily the teachers themselves, but the curriculum they are teaching. Teachers in AP World History must literally teach about the whole history of the entire world in one school year. Obviously this can’t be achieved by students only learning during the allotted hour and 20 minutes every other day so, homework must be given. This is a problem because if a class can’t be taught in school, then why is the curriculum the way it is? School should be for school and the time afterwards should be with minimal work because if not, what’s the point in even going home at 3:45?

One argument is that high schoolers don’t manage their time well and that’s the reason for the late night homework sessions. However, this is just not true because even if someone manages their time well, most have other things they have to do besides homework. For me I have soccer practice every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and games on the weekends that are in Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, Houston and Sarasota half the time. I also have college applications, physical therapy, school clubs and my family. People must understand that kids have lives outside of school and can’t put one hundred percent of their time into homework.

One solution is changing the curriculum but this is difficult so maybe the answer is making more effective ways of teaching students what they need to know. Either way, kids shouldn’t be falling asleep in class, skipping out on time with friends or having mental breakdowns because of the workload they are under as high schoolers. This needs to change.