Homework: Harmful or Helpful?

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Homework: Harmful or Helpful?

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After a long day at school and a tough practice, the last thing I want to spend my time on homework. Despite the wolves in my mind howling at me to kick my shoes off and relax, I begrudgingly take out my pencils and paper to begin the arduous process.

An hour passes. Then two hours. Then three. I’m burning the midnight oil and pure coffee is running amok in my veins. I stare at my mountain of work in despair, but continue working. Another hour passes and yet I remain standing. I am terribly exhausted, emotionally drained, but I have determination in my eyes. I will not go down easily. Time passes slowly, but eventually I finish. I pack up my things and crawl into bed exhausted, stressed out, and already dreading the next day’s battle.

Again and again this process repeats. I wake up, go to school, go to practice, then hike up and down the rocky terrain of Homework Mountain. All for what? A good work ethic? I do not believe that to be true. By having endless amounts of work, the quality of it deteriorates because at a certain point I just want to get it over with and rush through the assignment, therefore I obtain no benefits from it.

My struggle with school is not unique. Everyone at Livermore High has homework of some sort and it seems nearly everyone has an extracurricular, job, or sport to attend to after school. How we manage to get everything done and stay somewhat sane, I do not know. However, I do know that homework is an inevitable fight that all students have to take down with a pencil in one hand and a textbook in the other.

The idea behind homework is not a malicious one. It is merely extra practice so students can better understandard a lesson. However, that does not excuse it from being a frivolous and annoying task that wastes a lot of our time. While there are many careers where employees must be on-all at all times and have many hours of work they must do independently, they are compensated for this extra work. For example, lawyers and doctors leave the office but are still expected to work from home on whatever tasks they need to complete. This is annoying and tedious for anyone but they agree to this situation through contracts and labor unions work with employers to make sure that there is a balance. Students however do not have this set balance. In my opinion, this situation makes little sense because if school is preparing us for “the real world,” why are we expected to do more work without earning anything out of it? We never signed any contract agreeing to be on call so why are we being treated as such?

Do I believe homework is completely useless? No, I believe that it can be useful, in moderation. Of course having an hour of homework for every class each night is outrageous but a small amount, fifteen to twenty minutes, is no big deal. I know that after a grueling history lesson, a few questions on the American Revolution do not annoy me too greatly and help me remember what topics were discussed in class.  

I have mixed feelings about homework. Sometimes, homework can be helpful. It can let a student fully grasp a topic taught it class and therefore, let them succeed. Sometimes, however, homework causes stress and a lack of sleep. For a perspective, typically I am lucky to sleep an average of five hours a night, but according to some studies*, teenagers need to get an average of ten hours of sleep per night. 

Regardless of my opinions on homework, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. It’s best we quit our complaints, get our work done, and try not to not stay up too late.

*the Guardian: ‘Sleep: how much do we really need?’