Homework gets in the way of self-care

Everneesa Beech, Staff Writer

Too much homework.

After spending eight hours a day in school, students often have to go home and spend countless hours doing homework and projects, having no free time to spend with their family or friends or even getting time on improving their mental health.  A high school student who is not involved in activities outside of school spends close to 40 hours a week in school. After this, they are expected to go home and spend three or more hours doing homework. They are also expected to be involved in their school and community. They get no time to spend with their family and friends, and no time to take care of their mental health.

To make matters worse, some students get homework with which they can’t ask for help from their parents because some parents in our community might be immigrants or didn’t get the same level of education that their kids are getting right now. My own parents were not educated in this school system, so I often feel that I don’t have the additional support at home to get through all my assignments.

By tenth grade, I dedicated my life and time to doing homework and worrying about my grades, trying to keep them above at least a B+. I had the most painful headaches of my life after doing hours of homework and projects. I would get at most three hours of sleep a night. An average teen should get eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep does lead to major mental health disorders like depression. Not getting enough sleep or getting disrupted sleep by taking naps instead of a full night of sleep can lead to clinical depression and anxiety, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Finally, during October 2018, I put a stop to doing homework for hours at night. I started thinking about my health more and what I can and I can’t do. After having a conversation with one of my teachers, I decided to leave my homework alone and work on my mental health, When I just completed what I could and got eight hours of sleep, I felt less stressed and I had more energy. When I got to school the next day, I felt more motivated to go to classes and to do great on my assignments.

I saw positive changes, but not everyone will know how to help themselves in similar situations. I often walk into the ETHS building, and by the looks of it, most kids are lacking sleep and not energized for their classes.

When asked about about how homework contributes to her stress, ,Ltizi Garcia said, “[homework stresses me out] a lot…because I have to focus on projects, homework and my personal life.”  Some students have adopted certain behaviors in reaction to extreme stress, which can range from fighting and attempts to self-harm.

Stress from homework also impacts students’ choices to get involved in extracurricular activities. There are plenty of students who want to do after school activities but can’t because of the amount of homework they get each night. For students who do after school activities, it’s even harder for them to do homework after leaving late at night to return home.

Junior Nickeda Rosebolt said, “I would like to work but due to excess amount of homework  I am not able to do so, freshman year I tried girls track but I had to quick because I was falling behind in class because homework.”

For students like Rosebolt who used to or may currently be involved in time-consuming and rigorous sports like track, it’s even harder for them to do homework after leaving late-night practices and tournaments.

There are different ways that ETHS could modify their homework policy besides telling teachers to reduce or not assign homework over breaks. ETHS could also create a plan for reducing homework in classes by requiring teachers to reduce the number of assignments and to reconsider the schedule for due dates. For example, some classes and some teachers assign homework every night, but I could benefit from a homework schedule that is more spread out across the week so that I and other students can revisiting the content, revising assignments and preparing for quizzes and tests.

Homework has a constant impact on students’ lives when being a teenager in the 21st century is stressful enough. ETHS should allow students space to discuss their experiences with homework and to offer additional solutions.