The positives and negatives of too much homework

The positives and negatives of too much homework

Ms. Charat advises students on their homework load.

Celine Aubry-Dumand, Staff Writer

Many high school students juggle their homework and extracurricular activities on a daily basis. The balancing act is not always easy, and while the payoff can make it worthwhile, students often pay a price in the form of lost sleep and high stress. This all begs the question, is all of the juggling really worth it?

One school of thought is that excessive amounts of homework do not necessarily teach students good work habits and instill positive character traits such as self-discipline, responsibility, and independence. This has led many experts around the world to regard “too much” homework as potentially detrimental, leading some to advocate against it.

Literary expert Harvey Daniels says, “Most of what homework is doing is driving kids away from learning.” His theory asserts the idea that expecting students to stay up late every day to finish the vast amount of homework they are assigned turns students away rather than encouraging them to learn.

Others, such as Ms. Valerie Charat, Academic Advisor and Director of After School Tutoring, share a different viewpoint. “For high school-aged students, homework has been found to have a very positive impact on learning, especially when it is closely monitored and used by the teacher,” says Ms. Charat.

She admits, however, that “too much” homework can be a negative. Ms. Charat references one such example: inadequate sleep. “Teenagers should get 8-10 hours of sleep every night,” she says. “Without enough sleep, students can suffer health consequences.”

However, Ms. Charat also says, “Some students are wasting time during the day on choices that they can change, such as too much gaming, social media or socializing.” So can students get more sleep by organizing their schedules, balancing both homework and extracurricular activities? The answer, Ms. Charat believes, is yes.

As for teachers who assign the homework to students, Ms. Charat says that “students should be given assignments that allow for targeted practice and repetition of key material.” Ms. Charat claims that the repeating of assignments and the studying of material positively affects the learning process.

Likewise, taking breaks while doing homework benefits the learning process. Ms. Charat said, “Breaks can be helpful for processing what was just learned. They also allow students to come back and revisit lessons multiple times. Repeated exposure to material is a key factor that enhances recall.”

“Homework’s primary benefit is to enhance the learning process,” said Ms. Charat. “And, to get the most out of homework, students should work hard to deliver high quality assignments that demonstrate an understanding of the work at hand.”

Despite this, too much homework can often result in the loss of interest in learning. “If homework is not helping a student feel more competent and comfortable with course content, then it certainly can contribute to a loss of interest.” Ms. Charat believes that at the end of the day, students should be able to manage their homework and find the time to complete it, rearranging their schedules if necessary.

Finally, Ms. Charat recounts what homework was like during her high school years. “High school and college was the time of my life when I feel that I worked longest and hardest. I do believe that high school is a time to push oneself, explore academia as much as possible and be vastly productive. School is an opportunity given to young people in our country to challenge and improve themselves. “­