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Keep Work Out of Our Weekends

To solve this problem, doing away with homework on weekends is the simplest and most effective solution.
Emily Atrokhov
With many assignments due over the weekend and on Monday at 11:59, students are obligated to do hours of work on the weekends, because getting all their tasks done in one day is just not manageable.

It’s finally Friday! Every week, students around the globe celebrate the upcoming two days of freedom from school; for many students, however, the weekend is no relaxing break– it is no less stressful than when school is in session. According to a study from Challenge Success in 2020, students spend an average of 2.7 hours on homework each school night. On weekends, they averaged three hours.

Excessive homework threatens students’ mental health. According to social worker and therapist Cynthia Catchings, “Heavy workloads can [cause] serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.” A study by a Stanford researcher in 2014 found that 56% of students considered homework to be their primary stressor; less than 1% of students said it wasn’t a stressor. 

An issue of importance for teenagers across the country, B-CC students are not immune from heavy homework loads. Sophomore Amilkar Walsh-Cruz said, “I think some homework assignments can be overwhelming and make you [feel] pressured.” Homework on the weekends is even worse. Allowing academic pressure to leech into a student’s days off takes away what little free time they have and condemns them to a life of stress and overwhelm. 

To address this issue, there have been calls, like those made in a 2017 Time magazine issue, to abolish homework. While I agree that homework needs reform, a total abolition of homework is an extreme solution. Fortunately, we’ve already seen a more reasonable alternative implemented here at B-CC: homework-free weekends. Adding these weekends was a great decision by the administration and is favored by students. Walsh-Cruz said, “I think they’re great, because we shouldn’t have to do homework over the weekend. That’s our time to enjoy with our family.” Yet, overworking students outside of school persists, and it will continue to as long as homework-free weekends remain sporadic. B-CC has only ten such weekends this year. The current system puts a Band-aid on a broken leg. More needs to change. Making every weekend a homework-free weekend is the logical next step to ensure and protect the mental health of students. 

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Weekends are the best place to start. Weekend homework eats away at a student’s free time, limits how long they can spend with their family and friends, and devastates their mental health. Most B-CC staff understand this, which is why many teachers, like Señora Buitrago, avoid assigning homework on weekends. She shared, “Most of the time, [my Spanish III students] do not have homework on the weekends.” Unfortunately, this is not a ubiquitously held position; many teachers still assign their students hours of homework over the weekend — every week.

Of course, this issue is far from one-sided. Many would argue that homework, even on weekends, is invaluable. Señora Del Olmo-Fiddleman, who teaches Spanish II and III at B-CC, said, “You have to study every day a little bit… you have to practice, or you’re going to forget.” While this claim might seem logical, the data actually fails to support it. According to the Washington Post, the impact homework has on test scores is marginal. And even when it is effective, it is best in moderation. Harris Cooper of the University of Missouri Psychology Department reports, “Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness or even become counterproductive.” Cramming hours of work into the few days off that students have is the wrong approach. 

In summary, excessive homework does far more harm than good. We are making a grim trade, sacrificing student mental health and well-being for academic benefits that are slim to none. While no-homework weekends are a solid place to start, B-CC needs to make additional strides toward restoring and protecting students’ free time. That starts with limiting homework to Monday through Friday every week. All weekends should be homework-free.

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About the Contributors
Seth Gehl, Staff Reporter
Seth Gehl is a sophomore at BCC, and a first time Tattler writer. He loves debate, travel, and two of his three siblings.
Emily Atrokhov, Staff Photographer

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