While some parents complain that teenagers today are entitled and lazy, others are pointing out the increasingly demanding rigor of high school academics, and the corruption of college application preparation. High school students today have to work very hard to make it into a respectable university. In addition to making straight A’s, they are expected to have outside interests and activities to prove they are not the slackers of their generation. However, more and more studies are pointing out just how stressful this life can be for the not-yet-developed teenage brain.
Are High School Workloads too Much?
Hours of Homework Every Night
Recent studies have revealed that high school students now have more homework than ever before. According to University of Phoenix’s recent survey of high school teachers, students are assigned an average of 3.5 hours of homework per night. Homework dominates evenings, while every other activity and responsibility is pushed behind the priority of getting work done. High school students seem to be in school or doing schoolwork 24/7, and it leaves little time for extra activities or outside interests.
Expectations Extend Beyond the Homework
To many parents, this is bad news. Students who want to be successful are also expected to enroll in extracurricular activities that often include community service or athletics. Any student whose dreams extend beyond that of a generic state school knows how much resume padding is involved in the high school college prep game. Students are constantly reminded there is always someone better competing for a spot at their dream school. So when they sit down for their multiple hours of homework each night, they subject themselves to further physical and emotional stress for the sake of not messing up a promising future, or disappointing their families. In addition to this, they must fit other activities into the little free time that they have.
What Do the Experts Say?
A sizable percentage of experts are now saying that the average high school homework load is too much. Many of it involves busy work that relies more on trite memorization than actual critical thinking or understanding of important concepts. This is supported by a study that found new teachers assigning more homework than experienced teachers. The educators with experience know that throwing more busy work at students does not help, but the amateur teachers still have something to prove. Experts are recommending that essential readings and critical thinking exercises not be thrown away, but at the same time, they strongly suggest a reduction in long worksheets that promote nothing but memorization for multiple choice exams.
Whether a student wants to someday be a certified behavior analyst with a master’s degree or become a professional athlete, his or her education is of the utmost importance. This overload of homework badly impact students’ physical and mental health. It is time that those in charge of educational standards, and start paying attention to high school students who want a fair chance at a future.
Guest Post written by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She enjoys hiking, biking, running and blogging about many different subjects including family, home and fitness. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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