May 8, 2019

Negative Effects of Homework

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Experts say that students should have no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade, starting in the 1st grade. Many students have much more homework than this, though, and it could be detrimental.

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Just what does too much homework do? Keep reading to find out more.

Too Much Homework Can be Harmful

What are the negative effects of too much homework?
Too much homework can cause students to experience stress, anxiety, depression, physical ailments, and even cause lower test scores.

How much homework is too much?
The National PTA and the National Education Association agree that homework that takes longer than 10 minutes per grade period is excessive. For example, a third-grader should have no more than 30 minutes of homework. Any homework beyond the 30 minutes is too much.

The problem lies in determining how long a homework assignment will take each child. As we all know, each child is different. One child may speed through the assignment while another may spend hours on it. At that point, it's up to the individual parents to discuss the issues with the teacher to come up with a plan appropriate for that child.

How much homework is appropriate for high schoolers?
High school aged students can handle more homework. Going with the 10-minute rule per grade, freshman should have no more than 90 minutes and seniors no more than 2 hours of homework.

Does homework affect family time?
Excessive homework can cut down on productive family time. This is especially true in families where the parents are incapable of assisting with the homework. As the stress levels increase, fights begin, which takes away from any quality family time students can spend on school nights.

Does homework affect test scores in high school?
Studies show that a certain amount of homework can help test scores increase, but the benefits begin to fall off after doing about an hour of homework on any given subject. According to the Journal of Educational Psychology, students who did more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per night actually performed worse on tests than those with less than 90 minutes of homework.

Does homework affect test scores in elementary school?
Studies show that increased homework at the elementary school level actually has a negative effect on students' test scores. Increased homework often means it's a remedial attempt to catch a child up on what the teacher couldn't teach in the classroom. Because of the lack of teaching, children often do worse on tests as a result.

The Health Effects of Homework

Are teens sleep deprived?
The Journal of Adolescent Health states that 8% of high schoolers in the US get the recommended 9 hours of sleep each night. They also state that 23% of high school students get 6 hours or less of sleep and 10% get 5 hours or less.

Does Homework Cause Anxiety?
A study conducted by Stanford University determined that students who feel that they spend "too much time" on homework experience stress and physical ailments that can be tied to anxiety. Students also cited having difficulty balancing everything in their life, including family time and extracurricular activities in addition to homework, which can contribute to the anxiety.

What health problems can homework cause?
Excessive homework, which exceeds the 10-minute per grade rule, has been known to cause digestive issues, sleeping problems, headaches, weight loss, and generalized stress.

Can homework cause depression?
Homework itself might not be the direct cause of depression, but it could have an indirect relationship. Students who feel overwhelmed with homework have a harder time balancing their family life, extracurricular activities, and social life. This can lead them to isolation and depression.

Does homework take away from a person's childhood?
If a child has excessive amounts of homework and they have trouble balancing their life outside of school, it may take away from their childhood. Not having time to go outside, play with friends, or just "chill" could take away from the milestone experiences of childhood.

Does Homework Ever Make Sense?

What is the point of homework?
According to the Review of Educational Research, homework should serve a purpose and that purpose is to practice, prepare, or extend a student's learning. The homework should be age appropriate and either engage a child's interest or help him/her learn good study habits.

Does homework help in any subject?
This is a question of quality versus quantity. We've established that an overabundance of homework is detrimental. A study in the Economics of Education Review determined that homework in subjects like English, history, and science didn't affect a student's test scores. The one subject that does show benefits from homework is math, though.

Does more homework mean better grades?
A Penn State and the Curry School of Education study claims that a relationship does not exist between homework and better grades. In fact, it can actually hurt a child if it causes unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Can homework be damaging to kids who don't understand a topic?
According to a study conducted by Lee Bartel, a University of Toronto professor, homework is useless for students who know the topic and anxiety-provoking for students who don't understand the topic. This anxiety can lead to breakdowns, a dislike for school, and even begin to damage a family's well-being.

Does excessive homework encourage cheating?
Students who find that they can't do the homework but know it's a large part of their grade often turn to cheating. Whether they cheat off peers or find other ways to do it, the point of the homework is lost.

According to NoCheating.org, 9 out of 10 middle schoolers copy someone else's homework, and 75% to 98% of college students admit to cheating at some point during their school career. The homework most copied is in math and science.

Does homework cause loneliness or social isolation?
Handling homework as well as life's demands outside of school can prove to be too much for many students. This can leave them feeling lonely or isolated as they do their homework as they were told, but have less time to cultivate relationships outside of school.

Does homework promote personal responsibility?
Some researchers do believe that homework helps students develop a sense of responsibility at a young age. It can also help them develop the ability to multi-task, which is another important life skill that is best taught through doing.

Can homework take away from the chance to learn about personal responsibilities?
Other researchers argue that homework takes away from the chance to learn about personal responsibilities. Because homework can be so daunting and take up so much time, it doesn't leave much time for learning about responsibilities outside of school.

Understanding How to Cope with Homework

Why is homework so stressful?
Homework isn't just stressful for the students—the stress can often carry over to the family as well. This is especially true in families where the parents don't feel capable of helping their child after being out of school themselves for a decade or two. This can increase family fights and stress throughout the family unit.

How can you stay calm during homework?
Homework can seem overwhelming and stressful, but there are ways to stay calm:

  • Choose a time when you are calm and able to focus.

  • Don't procrastinate.

  • Prioritize the assignments based on level of difficulty.

  • Ask for help from a parent, friend, or teacher.

  • Get adequate sleep.

  • Eat a healthy snack before starting your homework.

  • Limit your distractions.

How should you handle homework that is too hard?
It's inevitable that some homework will be harder than others. Rather than letting it stress you out, consider the following tips:

  • Ask as many questions of your teacher as you can.

  • Collaborate with your peers to see if they have other tips that may help.

  • Take breaks to avoid getting overwhelmed.

  • Avoid any distractions.

How should you cope with too much homework?
If you find that you just have too much homework, try talking to your teacher about it. If it's overwhelming you and making you stressed out, your teacher may have ways to help you.

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