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A Senior’s Perspective on Homework

When it comes to stress from high school, behind tests, the first obvious answer is homework, the bane of many students’ existence. I would struggle to find  many students who say that they enjoy doing homework. Now let me be clear, this isn’t a knock to anyone who does enjoy homework, more power to you,  but I’m sure even they know it isn’t very popular. The main purpose of this article is to give my perspective, a senior’s perspective, on homework. How much is too much? Does it make a huge difference in a student’s performance? Finally, the big one, is homework even necessary? I hope that my 12 years in this school district can allow me to answer these questions.

Before we start off, I’ll be honest. Throughout my four years of high school, I probably didn’t have homework that took me over an hour to complete, and I do take relatively difficult classes. Just this year alone, I take two AP classes and four college level courses, so my lack of homework was not part of the classes. I don’t know if I just got lucky enough to get teachers who don’t give a lot of homework, but I’ve never had that issue. This of course isn’t to say that there aren’t students who get hours of homework; I do sympathize with them and agree that maybe several hours of homework each night is a bit much.

When it comes to my teachers in regards to homework, I’ve had several teachers flat out tell me that I will not get a lot of homework in their classes. Some say that it is to better prepare us for college, as they believe that college doesn’t give as much homework as high school students, while others don’t feel that it is beneficial. 

There is a big debate over whether or not homework actually benefits students. On paper it works out just fine; the students learn a concept in class, then apply that knowledge in an environment where they cannot get help from a teacher. The problem, in my opinion, is that the idea of working on something learned in class, possibly hours later, doesn’t work out. Obviously it can help, but isn’t that what classwork is for? If the work was optional, there for students who believed that they should have more practice with a subject, that would be fine, but it’s not optional, it’s mandatory, even for the students who will have no trouble and see it as a waste of time, and the students who don’t comprehend the material will just get frustrated.

Another argument for why a teacher may not give homework is that college won’t give as much homework as high school. This is a tricky subject because it’s partly true, but also partly wrong. It’s wrong in the idea that colleges don’t give homework, because that’s basically what college is, work. The difference, however, and this is what matters, is that some classes in college are vastly different to how classes are structured in high school. In college, some classes can seat hundreds of students, where you listen to a two-hour lecture and are given problems to do on your own that are due in a week. Homework works in this scenario because the class structure does not allow for a lot of independent class work that can be checked over by the teacher on an individual basis. High school, however, does have an environment where class work is necessary, and the teacher CAN help the students. So, while the idea that college doesn’t give homework is a wrong one, the concept of homework in college gives credence to the idea that homework, at least how it’s known in high school, is not the right way to be teaching students.

Another big issue that is more representative of school in general, but homework is definitely a part of it, is how students, especially high schoolers, seem to have less and less time after school to just relax at home or with friends. School is already six hours, add to that clubs and organizations, sporting events and homework on top of all of that, not including obligations students may have that are not school related such as work. With all of these obligations after school is over, many students are not given enough time to de-stress from school and simply relax. As I stated above, this is a bigger problem more representative of the school system, but I believe that homework takes up a considerable amount of many students’ time.

In the process of writing this article, I came to a realization. I do get a decent amount of homework. Just tonight, I have a math page and an ELA essay, but the reason that I don’t do it at home is because I do it during my lunch period. This realization really made me realize how much of my time homework actually takes up. Lunch is typically a free period where you de-stress and get ready for your next class. It should be a period of relative relaxation where your biggest concern should be what you’re going to eat that day. However, for me, homework has taken this free period and turned into yet another period of work, since I don’t want to do it at home.

I don’t know what the answer is for homework. Honestly, if you asked me on the spot, I’d say that it seems unnecessary, but I don’t know if that’s true. College level and AP classes are tough, and maybe some extra work could help. Homework has been presented as an idea that all students need it, but that is simply not true. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual teachers to choose if their classes have homework or not. They know their students better than others. Homework should be given out on an individual basis, for the students who want the extra work, maybe incentivized by giving extra credit. The students who don’t understand the work in class will not understand it at home, it’s a fact. Homework will likely continue to be a controversial subject for all involved, but at the end of the day, it’s not my decision, it’s just my perspective.

 

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license

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