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Homework: Is it Helpful or Harmful?

Homework: a concept that everyone knows about. When they hear it, some cringe while others stand tall. Homework is a life changer for all students. It can help them prosper, or it can hinder them from achieving academic success. Is homework worth it? Is it worth the stress and anxiety most students have to feel accomplished? No, no it’s not.

Students have lives outside of their school day and most of that life is being flooded by homework. Sports, friends, and other non-stressful activities are things that students look forward to, not academics. But when there’s too much homework, they are prevented from doing their extra-curricular activities. Life for high school students is now revolving around school with no relief. Also, many students stay up all hours of the night trying to finish their homework, only to fall asleep and not pay attention during the actual school day. They feel pressured to be the best and to eventually get into the top colleges. School and its workload are becoming extremely demanding. Students should not feel obligated to be perfectionists and should know that life will continue without that feeling of being perfect. Any way you look at it, homework is eating away at the lives of kids and is steering their thoughts down a mistaken path of perfectionism.

This school disturbance has been observed and documented by students and their families. A mother decided to produce a movie about it called Race to Nowhere. The director of the film, Vicki H. Abeles, is a mother and witnessed her own daughter having panic attacks over the stress of school and how to balance her life. A girl in their community committed suicide after getting a poor grade on her math test because she had the mindset that only perfectionism is acceptable. Michelle L. Ardizzoni, an elementary school teacher, has watched this documentary and participated in the follow-up discussion with educators, parents, and students. She says, “Much of the discussion supported the views and sentiments presented in the Race to Nowhere movie. Several members of the community shared their personal experiences with their children’s overwhelming feelings of the pressure to succeed. These parents called upon school administrators to start implementing change in the schools.” A change in how schools function and student’s thinking can be done, but must take time to achieve.

How are we going to fix the monster that has been created, destroying the lives of innocent students? The solution is to take the situation into our own hands. We cannot sit around and hope and pray that things will get better. It is time to act now while we still can. The Race to Nowhere documentary made many people aware of the situation occurring in schools, but now it’s up to the students to finish the job. As students, we have a right to speak to teachers and administrators. Like teachers, principals, and even the superintendent. If we can present the facts without much of our stressful emotions, they are sure to listen to our statement. We can time ourselves on how long we take to complete our homework and we can mention our interests about sports and hobbies that we enjoy. These extra-curricular activities are very educational, that cannot be measured by standardized tests. These activities teach us cooperation, responsibility, and effort. We have to learn how to get along with one another, take responsibility for our actions, and learn about the quality of effort when working as a team. The argument is there that these attributes are just as important when measuring success outside of the classroom. We can also tell them about our sleeping patterns and how unhealthy living stunts our growth as kids. We can tell them that because of our lack of sleep, grades are slipping. In conclusion, the last thing we can share is that homework is damaging our grades, sleep, and how we interact with others. This talk with the administration will definitely make them think about the quantity of homework teachers assign to students.

Answer this, is homework helpful or harmful? Students all over the country are beginning to realize that it’s more harmful than helpful. They are experiencing the demanding atmosphere of school and feeling overwhelmed to be consistently perfect. The Race To Nowhere documentary’s goal was to create change in America’s schools. As students, we can help initiate this great transformation in schools. We must refocus the goals of our educational system to more manageable, realistic outcomes as opposed to an anxiety filled student who has been taught perfection is the norm.