Why I Think All Schools Should Abolish Homework

In the op-ed “Why I Think All Schools Should Abolish Homework”, author Vicki Abeles asserts that homework causes more problems due to the large amounts that students receive. The author uses several different points to explain to the reader how homework can actually negatively affect students and their lives as a whole. For example, Abeles references how she remembers how her son had a schedule that was “comparable to adults’ schedules […] even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars” (Abeles par. 1), showing how students work excessively as they work equivalent or even more hours than adults do. And although others say that the extra hours would be helpful, she found research that “concluded that ‘after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance’” (Abeles par. 4).

This implies that the hours of homework on top of going to school for 7 hours may be futile in the end, because as the research stated, the additional time eventually has a “negligible impact on performance” or in other words, is insignificant (Abeles par. 4). Abeles, like the audience, also doubts whether the removal of homework will stop the problems kids face. However, she puts the worries to rest when she gives the real-life example of a school who has implemented something like this, with the results being that the “students didn’t suddenly fail […] test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work” (Abeles par. 13). Abeles uses all these points along with ethos, logos, and pathos to support her argument against homework and to show the negative effects it has on students of all ages.

Abeles is correct in her claim that homework actually hurts the student more than helps them because the overwhelming amounts of homework take away the students’ time for extracurricular activities and even seems to be useless when large amounts of it are done. Other than her reasons stated, there are many other points that further display why homework should be banned. For example, one reason that supports her claim is that students that do homework on top of extracurricular activities will be forced into a corner when encountering ridiculous amounts of homework on top of the work they already do. It doesn’t help that student-athletes, who usually have to stay dedicated and practice a sport after school for 2-3 hours have homework on top of the time it takes to do homework.

Furthermore, the pressure of the large workload that students have to face daily from both extracurricular activities and homework will stress out the student. Without having free time to relax on top of going to school for 7 hours already, the student will lose motivation, sleep, and focus, and therefore will perform poorly in all of their activities, not just school. In summary, a large amount of work and time spent from school and homework combined will not only cause stress and ruin lives for students, but it will severely overwork those who already spend extra amounts of time working on extracurriculars.

A perspective that the article addresses but doesn’t go into detail with is the perspective from students who do extracurricular activities on top of homework, such as athletes or those dedicated to clubs. They go to school for about 7 hours, stay after school to practice for 3 hours, then come home to do homework. The author acknowledges this, making it clear that students still spend a lot of time doing homework “without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars [and] keeps many students on the clock as long as […] overworked adults” (Abeles par. 1).

The fact that the normal workload that a normal student receives is comparable or even the same as overworked adults truly show how difficult it might be to deal with this. There are many who struggle from dealing with homework alone, so people like athletes will be put under more pressure due to the work they have to do as an athlete and as a student. From experience as an athlete, I think it may eventually become difficult to juggle my routine especially when I come home tired, after a long, hard run. If a student manages to do their homework on top of the exhaustion, on top of the hours of extracurriculars, and on top of daily activities, they are lucky if they’re able to sleep by 11 or 12 PM. The exhaustion and tiredness from every day will stack.

Abeles, who had children, also related to this, as she had to pressure her kids to go to sleep, but would often come back to “find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight” (Abeles par. 2). The point here is that students are forced to stay up despite being tired in order to pursue homework, something that barely improves the student, and like was said earlier, only has a “negligible impact” (Abeles par. 4). So instead of doing homework to improve themselves, they eventually begin to wear themselves down. This may actually hurt their performance in school further if students become tired due to both sports and homework. And without rest or breaks in between in their daily routine, it may be too much to handle for the student. Which goes into the second point, which is that if students continue to overwork, they will actually underperform at school when the work truly matters, all because they’ve lost their motivation and lost sleep dealing with homework.

Another reason that goes hand in hand with the previous reason is that if children are overworked, then they will lose their motivation and become worn out, and thus will find it harder to do well in school. It is presumed that homework was made for students to improve and practice at home, not just at school. But today, it seems like the opposite, as homework takes away from the students’ effort they should be putting in school. They take away breaks and rest that the student may need to succeed in school for the next day. Many students, including Abeles’s son Zak question why homework is truly necessary, who said that he was “‘working towards my death […] like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living’” (Abeles par. 3).

All this just goes to show that while homework may have helpful effects that may teach kids to learn, it is a terrible trade-off because as a result of it, students must cope with a large amount of unbearable work. There are probably many students, like Zak, that feel like they too have “no time for living” due to the lack of time they have to relax and take a break from work. Abeles even states herself in the article that it’s no wonder that kids are plagued with disorders such as

“disengagement, anxiety and depression” (Abeles par. 1). Students are already under great pressure to do well in school, the extracurricular activities they have, and other tasks outside of school. The added homework which doesn’t truly help is a waste of time if it only ends up wearing students out and holding them back. And while some may argue that it’s good that students do this much homework because it can prepare them and will prepare them for what they’ll need to learn, research was found that “elite musicians, scientists, and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day” (Abeles par. 6). It’s strange that we give our students more work than professionals who only work four hours and do the best work. It just goes to show that in this case, it is truly quantity over quality.

Overwhelming students with hours and hours of homework will only tire them out, and we should instead let them balance the time they already have and put effort into what they do. If they’re given time to rest, relax, and truly enjoy what they do, it will come easier to them to produce better results and to work more efficiently at both schools, extracurricular activities, and at home. Homework may have not worked as it was planned to, but we need to remember what the goal always was; to help our students and allow them to thrive.

Like many, Abeles questioned the homework system and argued that it should be banned because of how it took time away from other experiences and even was shown to be useless after a certain amount of hours. Her experience with her children showed this, as her child, Zak, would often question whether homework was useful anymore, as it became an endless task that would always come back to haunt him. Homework had become the opposite of what it was intended to be, and instead became a roadblock that stopped students from achieving their goals.

Homework became more quantity over quality, as students would only be overwhelmed and worn down due to the large amount of work they received. It would equal out to a tremendous amount of work, and instead of improving students’ performances through practice, it would take away effort and motivation they needed to succeed. And while it could be agreed that we could ban homework as Abeles suggested, it should be noted she offered the idea that homework could work, as long as it was given in smaller amounts. While the way homework now should definitely be changed, there is no need to ban it completely. Homework still has the potential to help our students. Whether it should be banned is up to us to decide.

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