Everyone, be those kids in the kindergarten, teens in high school or college students, know that homework is an inherent part of boring school routine and has to be done daily. The purpose of giving home assignments to students is to make sure that they review the new material learned in the classroom. Homework is supposed to improve their performance, enhance self-discipline, develop time management and problem-solving skills. It can be highly beneficial if organized wisely but leads to learners experiencing stress, anxiety, and other health issues when the amount of home tasks becomes excessive. In this article, we’ll talk about such negative consequences.

Is It True That Too Much Homework Causes Stress?

Several recent studies on the amount of students’ homework provide shocking statistics that was revealed in mass media articles and reports. According to them, students spend significantly more time doing homework than it is recommended by NPTA and NEA.

As an example, kindergarteners spend on the average 25 minutes per night doing their homework while, according to the National Education Association, they should not be given any tasks at all.

Same studies discovered that over 70% of students “often or always were stressed over home assignments.” 56% listed home tasks as the prime trigger of stress. Only 1% of schoolchildren do not consider homework to be a stressor.

Reasons Why Homework Causes Stress to School Pupils?

According to NPTA and NEA standards, schoolchildren should have as much as “10 minutes of homework daily per their grade level.” This means that first-graders should only spend 10 minutes every night with the home tasks, pupils in second grade – 20 minutes, and so on – up to two hours spent for homework by seniors in high school.

However, the above-mentioned study claims that on average kids in first and second grade have to spend respectively 28 and 29 minutes to prepare their homework every night, which is three times more than the set standards. With the same tendency noticed for the students in other grades, the amount of time spent for doing home assignments in high school rises dramatically. As a result, children of all ages have very little or no time for leisure, creative hobbies, spending time with friends and even their family; many of them don’t have enough sleep and rest. The heavy workload and running around the circle “school – home tasks – attending extracurricular activities – sleep – repeat” causes constant stress, fatigue, and sleep deprivations.

Even more so, in the families where parents are eager to help children with their homework, its amount and complicacy very often leads to a pressure between family members. This especially refers to parents who haven’t attended colleges – studies report that fights between them and children over home tasks are by 200% more likely to happen.

How Homework Causes Stress to Students?

It is obvious that college and university students lead even busier and more stressed life than schoolchildren. Many of them combine studies with part- or full-time jobs and family life which causes extra tension and demands ultimate responsibility and time management skills.

According to recent reports, 40% of students spend 4 to 7 hours a day preparing their homework, which otherwise is equal to 2 hours per each subject per week. With the workload being this intense, they generally experience even more stress and tiredness than schoolchildren. Here’s the picture showing how stress affects college students:

college students stress

What Are the Negative Effects of Assigning Too Much Homework?

Those who wonder what are the side effects of excessive school work on students’ health, may be surprised with quite a long and worrying list of such problems. Students who suffer stress or depression caused by workload may develop:

  • Anxiety;
  • Fatigue;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Changes in diet, and as a result – weight gain or loss;
  • Frequent headaches and stomachaches;
  • Not being able to relax;
  • Bursts of crying or anger;
  • Becoming irritable or withdrawn;
  • Changes in their academic performance – falling behind or failing tests;
  • Troubles with concentration and memory;
  • Constantly complaining about their homework, describing it as “mindless” and “pointless”;
  • Alcohol or/and drugs abuse.

80% and of children said that they felt at least one symptom related to stress within the recent month; 44% of students felt more than one such symptom.

Does Homework Cause Stress and Depression and How to Deal with the Issue?

The heavy workload may trigger high levels of stress, fatigue, anxiety and even depression in schoolchildren of all ages. Managing own time, developing healthy sleep and study habits, and staying positive may help to cope with the tension.

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