Enough is Enough: Why There Should Be a Schoolwork Limit

The school day begins, and students are already burdened with it. First, a small Algebra worksheet to complete. Not bad, right? Well, what about the English project due on Monday and the five chapters of reading needing to get done tonight? Still pretty doable. Then Chemistry rolls around and a huge test is announced two days from now. Need to start studying! Oh, and do not forget to rehearse for that History presentation, rack up community service hours, and exercise!

This is the reality countless students from across the country face on a daily basis, sometimes even worse. On top of the staggering amounts of pressure most students experience during high school,  they come home to jobs demanding to be done, dogs needing to be walked, and sports games requiring attendance – in addition to their schoolwork. According to Healthline’s website (healthline.com), both the National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) support the healthy homework guideline of “10 minutes per grade level” and establishing a generalized limit on post-school studying. To put this in perspective, at the very most high school seniors should be assigned two hours of work nightly. However, when asked about her nightly workload, senior Kate Chiulli said completing her homework is usually double the two-hour standard. “I get around 4 hours of homework each night, not including studying, which takes another 3-4 hours.” she said “I usually don’t finish everything until midnight. On some days, it’s bearable, but on days when I have extracurricular activities until nine at night, it can be very overwhelming.” 

Excessive schoolwork has also been shown to reduce much of students’ free time, pushing many to spend less time doing the activities they love most and hanging out with friends. They also prevent many of-age students from pursuing job opportunities, which any guidance counselor would say looks impressive on a student’s college resume and builds character. Chiulli said, “I was going to apply for a job in the beginning of the school year, but a few weeks into my junior year, I realized I wouldn’t have time for it.” Sophomore Alayna Matern, who is employed and dances, also claims homework gets in the way of her pursuits. Sophomore Katie Sharkey says it is difficult for her to stay energized when playing sports after school or in the morning as she is “up a little later at night than I would like, doing schoolwork.” 

A solution to this very real problem for students across the board can come in the form of a nightly schoolwork limit. Perhaps teachers can communicate more often with each other to mitigate double, triple, or sometimes quadruple test days or setting a standard for the amount of homework assigned per subject, with educators of each department making the deciding factors. Chiulli believes having such a system in place would improve her well-being. “I think a limit on schoolwork would be beneficial to my mental health. I would be able to go to sleep earlier, and maybe I wouldn’t be so stressed out all the time!” she said. 

All in all, as the stressed and overworked student becomes more than an archetype applicable to a few, placing schoolwork limits should be considered. Not only would having a schoolwork limit improve the overall health of students, but free up much of their time to pursue activities or spend time with people they feel joy with. For the well-being of current and future students, this limit might pull the education system in a better direction.