Homework overload is doing more harm than good.

Homework is devouring our already limited time. It is doing more than prepare us for college, it’s preparing us to accept doing less than our best.


by Isabel Shorter, Staff Writer

We are all too familiar with the routine of waking up early, going to school for eight hours, then coming home only to have four more hours of homework. Most of us also have jobs, sports or extracurricular activities to attend. How are we expected to give our all to every subject, job, and hobby if we don’t even have enough time to focus on one of those things? Our yoke of homework overload is doing more than prepare us for college – it’s preparing us to accept doing less than our best.

Every night when we students sit down to do our daily homework, we choose where we are going to cut some corners. At least one subject may be neglected entirely, a couple other subjects may see some attention and the most effort is reserved for the assignments that most affect our grades like upcoming tests. I can assure you that time management isn’t the issue. We’ve all learned how to manage our time quite well with this practice of slimming down assignments. All of this “time management”, and still, most of us won’t make it to bed until midnight. Frankly, I don’t think it’s our time management that needs changing, I think it’s the amount of homework we’re assigned that does.

Not only is the amount of homework we receive devouring our time that we would like to have set aside for hobbies, or things we enjoy, but it’s also taking away from our sleeping time. Recent studies agree that teenagers need exactly nine and a quarter hours of sleep every night. It’s taking away time from the thing that gives us the energy to try our hardest in school, to do our absolute best on that test or even just to be happy. It can make us sleep deprived for most of the school year, and take away from our already limited time to explore who we are and what we love most.

This lack of sleep is proven to affect teens’ ability to function properly at school. According to CNN May Clinic, “sleep deprivation can affect mood, performance, attention, learning, behavior and biological functions.” Overall, the excessive amount of homework deprives us of sleep, making it difficult to concentrate or even stay awake in class, and making us less capable of functioning properly at school.

To “function properly” at school, or to put in our absolute best effort, we know that we have to get nine and a quarter hours of sleep, but the real question is what would our schedule look like if we really did follow this sleeping pattern? The only way to find out is by compiling an average schedule of an STA student while incorporating the specific hours of sleep. An average student at STA’s schedule would look like…

6:30 – Wake up!

6:30-7:15 – Eat and get ready for the day

7:15-7:40 – Make way to school

7:40-3:00 – School is in session

3:00-3:30 – Drive to practice/get ready for practice

3:30-5:00 – Practice or after school activity

5:30-7:00 – Eat, see family, pet dog

7:00-9:00 – Homework time

9:00-9:15 – Get ready for bed

9:15-6:30 – Nine and a quarter hours of sweet slumber

In order to get the right amount of sleep to put us in the correct mind set, only two hours of homework would be allowed. Instead, we’re assigned more than that, and are forced to cut down on some other, more enjoyable aspects of our daily lives.

I am more than aware that this is a college preparatory academy, and we’re assigned this homework so that we’re prepared. But this constant cycle of eat, sleep, go to school, do homework and repeat is affecting our mental and physical health and causing us to not live up to our full potential as students and people. Unfortunately, this unhealthy and repetitive schedule applies to most students at STA, no matter what grade. For us to maintain good grades, do well in sports and extracurriculars and get the nine and a quarter hours of sleep needed for our mental and physical health is an unreasonable expectation. If we were assigned less homework, we would have time to give our best effort to all of these things, preparing us for not just college, but also the real world, where only our best work is acceptable.