The Northern Light

Homework: harmful or helpful?

Liam Fagan, Staff Writer

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Homework: all students deal with it, but that may not be such a good thing after all. Many students find homework to be a source of stress in their lives. Lena Lukowski, (10th), agrees with that statement. She says she spends up to 4 hours a night on homework. “It’s definitely one of my sources of stress,” says Lukowski. Too much homework can lead to a multitude of health issues, and impact students’ development of life skills. However, there are advantages to homework, if in moderation, such as the ten minute rule.

A Stanford University study found that 56% of students consider homework a primary source of stress. Less than 1% of students said that homework didn’t cause stress. In fact, many students claimed homework caused them to suffer from sleep deprivation.  “I lost a lot of sleep.” says Lukowski.The study claims that due to too much homework, students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,”. It also stated students were less likely to see family or friends and pursue hobbies. “I rarely have time to hang out with my friends or my family.” says Lukowski. They were also more likely to drop activities. Kathryn Antares, (11) says: “I was doing swim and Midsummer (at the Civic) and I had to drop swimming because of my homework load.” According to the study, having too much homework can give students less time to “foster skills in the area of personal responsibility”.

A study by education scholar Denise Pope found that excessive homework can lead to ulcers, weight loss, headaches, and sleep deprivation, among other ailments. Also, more homework leads to less free time, which leads to less physical activity, which causes a buildup of stress in the body. An excessive homework load can also lead to a suffering social life, due to less time to hang out with friends and pursue hobbies.

However, there is an upside to homework. In a study by Duke University researchers, it was shown that homework can increase self-discipline, inquisitiveness, positive attitudes towards schooling, and independent problem solving skills. Lukowski agrees, saying that homework does have some plus sides, such as test preparation. Homework isn’t the problem, too much homework is.

Many studies have suggested a “ten minute rule,” in which a student should have no more than 10 minutes times their grade level. For example, a 1st grader would have no more than 10 minutes of homework, while a sophomore in high school would have no more than 100 minutes, or 1 hour and 40 minutes of homework. This sounds like a good plan, but, some students, like freshman Derek Halloran, hadn’t heard of the ten-minute rule before. “I think it’s a good idea because when you get into a higher grade, stuff gets more difficult, so you should have a little more time.” If schools follow this rule, they will hopefully have more alert, healthier students at school every day.

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Homework: harmful or helpful?