For me, a normal week consists of an average of about four hours of sleep a night, ten cups of coffee, six hours of soccer, three hours of volunteering, 25 hours of homework, and an embarrassingly low amount of time for a social life.
At the beginning of second semester junior year––recognized by many as the most stressful semester of one’s entire high school career––I had my first wellness class. Exceedingly upset at its replacement as my free hour, I entered grudgingly and in bad spirits, that is, until wellness teacher Ms. Connie Fourre started to share some of her ideas on homework.
I understand that this school is meant to prepare us for the future, but the overwhelming amount of homework we receive does not foster a healthy environment. Each night I spend an average of around five hours on homework, and about half of these assignments really don’t help me whatsoever.
Let me make clear that although I do occasionally check Facebook, and I have my must-see weekly shows on Thursday nights, the majority of my time is not spent procrastinating. In fact, I often tell people that my most time-consuming distraction comes in the form of sleep.
Exhausted, I’ll be sitting in bed or even at the kitchen table and fall asleep while doing my homework. Not even my abnormal level of coffee intake can keep me awake at times. Then, when awaking at two in the morning (still extremely burnt out), I stress out and try to finish the rest of my homework without falling asleep yet again.
The school day itself wears down the mind and the body significantly, and combined with hours of sports, activities, and volunteering, no time is left for relaxing. School not only takes up 6 and a half hours of my day, but it consumes my entire life. I go to school, get home, go to soccer, eat dinner, do homework, go to bed (usually), and then repeat. Even the weekends are mainly spent doing homework.
During wellness class, Ms. Fourre showed us a list of suggestions regarding homework put together by Kathleen Cushman in her book “Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery.”
Some of Cushman’s suggestions which I believe should be considered are grading homework solely on completion and effort, as it is our practice for tests, and not counting late assignments if we couldn’t get them done. If we cannot finish our homework on time due to stress and busy schedules, we should be allowed extra days to finish instead of rushing through it the period before.
In short, something should be done to alleviate the load on students, for we work tirelessly and still end up crushed beneath a great deal of work.