Homework: How Much is Too Much?

Sam Noonan, Staff Writer

It’s pretty much a fact that students hate homework. Most kids would say that homework is their least favorite part of school, and that they feel homework serves almost no purpose. Students are also often swamped with homework, spending hours on it every night and stressing out if they can’t finish it. Homework can be useful for students struggling on material or who want more practice, but is loading kids with homework the best way for them to learn?

In the country of Finland, there is little to no homework. Children do not go to school until age 7, and the country has a graduation rate of 93%. Their test scores are soaring above everyone else, and their teacher to student ratio is 1/12 whereas the U.S. has about 1/24. There is superb interaction between the students and teachers, and instead of giving more homework, the teachers give special help and attention to individuals.

Standardized testing is another reason why there is so much homework for American students. It’s not uncommon for teens to study for hours before a big test, raising stress levels massively. This homework time may also include work for other classes, and imagine how bad it is if the student has extracurricular activities! No teenager should be under this much stress to finish their work, study for tests, be prepared in class, and also do well in activities outside of school. Kids deserve to be kids, and frankly, copious amounts of homework don’t allow for that. Even during my days at Thornapple Elementary I can remember worrying about homework, and hating it with every fiber of my being. Even as a fairly laid back person, excessive homework can stress me out and even ruin my day, and I’m only a freshman who can only imagine how much homework the future holds.

Finland’s education system works for a reason; everyone (normally) gets along. The principle of trust also plays a large role. Only the best teachers are selected, and they’re trusted by students and parents to do the best job they can. The teachers trust the students to pay attention and do their work, and the parents trust their children to do their best in school.

Although homework may be necessary in the American education system, there’s no reason for it to be as extreme as it is now. Teachers do need to make sure they compete what they’re supposed to teach their students, and there’s no sudden solution. It would take a lot of work for us to adopt Finland’s mantra of “less is more” and make some changes to our education system and how students are treated.

The balance must be found between work and home, and currently work seems to outweigh the latter. Even though there is no immediate solution, measures are already being made to change how homework is treated in American public schools, something that is most likely for the better. Let’s all take a note from the Finnish, and maybe more kids will “finish” their homework.