• Harini Sethuraman

The Effect of Homework on High School Student’s Mental Health

Updated: Nov 4


Written by Harini Sethuraman

Why is Homework a Stress to Students?

Homework is a very stressful thing for high school students. It creates stress because there is so much of it. High school students have so much homework that they have to sacrifice their sleep to do activities in school like sports or clubs. While teachers encourage students to join clubs, join sports, and be active in school activities, they don’t realize that a student has so much on top of that to worry about. Most students end up sacrificing their sleep in order to finish all their homework and participate in clubs or sports. This is very dangerous to a student’s mental health. High school students have around an average of 4 hours of homework, but more can be added based on each of their class’s difficulty level. A teen around the ages of 13-18 needs to have an average of 7-9 hours of sleep, which in most cases isn’t possible for high school students. To make the situation worse, high schools start early in the morning requiring students to wake up at around 5:30 AM. Students have to wake up early, go to school, participate in clubs or sports, do homework, and then sleep late. This schedule depresses high school students causing mental health depressions.


Quotes from Students Depressed with Homework

  • School, I never truly got the knack of. I could never focus on things I didn't want to learn. Math is just the worst. To this day, I can't concentrate on it. People always say, 'You should have tried harder.' But actually, I cheated a lot because I could not sit and do homework. - Leonardo DiCaprio

  • I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about other than homework. - Lily Tomlin

  • We just need to figure out what the right dosage for homework is. Currently, it is much too high. - Erik Entrikin

  • My online learning experience as a student has been very stressful and irritating. - Ka’La Lawson

  • Homework has always been a stressful thing in my life. I could never focus on my personal life because I was always busy. I feel like I never enjoyed my teenage years. - Unknown


What do Experts Say About This?

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health." "More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep.


Ross W. Green, an American psychologist, says, “No kid should be getting three or four hours of homework a night. There's no breathing time, there's no family time, there are just extracurriculars and homework and then go to bed.”


Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace, says taxing workloads can also cause mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.


Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center, says, ”For all the distress homework can cause, it's not as useful as many may think.”


What does Research Show?

A senior lecturer at Stanford Graduate school of Education and co-author of this research, Denise Pope, says, “Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good.” This research was done by collecting open-ended answers about opinions on homework from about 4,000 high school students in California. They found that more than half of the students viewed homework as stress, had less time to spend on extracurriculars and less time with family. Many students also said they didn’t have time to balance homework, school and extracurriculars.


This research shows that homework can be very disturbing to mental health and won’t let a student find their interests.


My Perspective

From my own experience, I have realized that high school can be very stressful to students my age. I have lots of homework in the evenings as well as extracurriculars like clubs. I already feel as if I don’t have enough time to spend with my family and I still have 3 years of high school to go. This gives me a depressing feeling because I’m not able to do the things I love anymore. Every teenage student wants to enjoy their teenage years, but this is not possible because of the homework load. School already takes up half of your day and homework takes up the other half. I feel like I have no time for myself.


How to Manage a Stressful Homework Load

A rule that many professionals believe is the “10-munite” rule. They all believe that each academic class should have up to 10 minutes of homework per day. This way students would only have up to 1 hour of homework which would reduce their amount of stress. Since we can’t possibly make this happen, we have to find ways to protect our mental health. Some ways include:

  • Get organized: Have a planner/notebook to write down your homework assignments so you don’t lose track.

  • Have a schedule: Know when your extracurriculars are meeting, plan your homework ahead of time so you don’t fall behind.

  • Get started right after you come home, do not wait until the last minute. If an assignment is assigned a week before, start doing it little by little so you don’t have to worry about it later.

  • If you are stuck on an assignment don’t keep staring at it, instead, walk away, do something else and then come back to it.

  • After being done with an assignment, take a 5-minute break. In that time, do something to relax yourself like listening to music, reading, drawing, etc. Do not look at your phone during that time.

  • Put your phone or any other device in a different room so it doesn’t make you go off track.

  • If you have signs of mental depression, go talk to your school counselor, a parent, an older sibling, a friend, a psychologist, etc. It’s not wrong to be depressed from homework overloads, so don’t be ashamed to find someone to help you!


Sources

https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/homework.html https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/homework-quotes

Moniuszko, Sara M. "Heavy Homework Load May Be Detrimental to Health." USA TODAY, 08/23 2021. ProQuest; SIRS Issues Researcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2564234859?accountid=3287.

Johnson, Geoff. "Piling Homework on Kids Is a Mistake That Undermines Work/Life Balance." Times-Colonist, 09/05 2021. ProQuest; SIRS Issues Researcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2578243016?accountid=3287.

Chraif, Mihaela, and Mihai Anitei. "Overload learning, attachment and coping styles predictors of mental and physical health of teenage high school students in Romania." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 69 (2012): 1842-1846.

https://news.stanford.edu/2014/03/10/too-much-homework-031014/

https://www.oxfordlearning.com/how-to-reduce-homework-stress/

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