Perspectives on homework from two Lambert students


Junior, Caroline Pham, is currently studying in five AP classes.
Junior, Abby Hammonds, is currently studying in two AP classes.

The nonsensical excuse, “my dog ate my homework” stopped working many years ago for many high-school students in Forsyth County. Today, with the pressure and competitiveness that abides in schools, students find themselves loading up on courses, classwork, and extracurricular activities. This is all in hopes to impress the college of their choice; a college that has promised them nothing without the blood, sweat, and tears that students put into their schoolwork and homework.

Students have been told from a young age that the only way to stand out to universities and excel at their school is to load up on the most strenuous courses. Lambert High School offers the choices of 30 AP classes, most of which are not available until their junior or senior year. Encouraged to challenge themselves, it is evident most students placed in a competitive atmosphere push themselves to their own limit. Every student is different; everybody has their own ‘limit’. That being said, not everybody works at the same pace. Apart from difficulty, the hours of homework each student endures every night, even just in on-level or honors classes, on top of afterschool activities, is enough to create a stressful environment.

Caroline Pham, a junior at Lambert, has taken three AP classes before the start of her junior year. She is currently in five AP classes, her most trying class being AP biology. Usually, Pham has a range of six to seven hours a night, hindering her outlook on her school.

“I think homework is a necessity for you to do well, especially in AP classes, but I do wish that there was less of a workload. AP classes are a commitment, so I find that many times I have to push other plans aside, from extracurricular activities to volunteer hours. I think homework is beneficial because it highlights the unit you are learning for that particular day, and you can really decipher whether or not you understand the material. Unless you are naturally, unbelievably smart, I think that homework is a must to keep up with the competitive atmosphere at Lambert.”

Keeping up with this workload does pay off, but not without a price. Pham states that she usually gets about five to six hours of sleep every night. She avoids distractions as much as she can; she has no social media accounts. “The more sleep you can get, the better!”

Abby Hammonds, also a junior at Lambert, is currently in two AP classes at school. Her junior year marks her first year taking AP courses, as she is currently enrolled in both AP English language and AP psychology. In her previous years at Lambert, she has taken both on-level and honors classes.

“I usually have a couple hours of homework each night, which is a reasonable amount for the classes I chose to take. Homework is beneficial in some aspects, but sometimes it’s just busy work. In order to keep up with the competitive atmosphere at Lambert, I do think that homework that is relevant to the learning material is necessary. If I do lose any hours of sleep each night, I lose about three hours. This is generally due to additional studying or extra busy work.”

Both students are juniors at Lambert. That being said, they both have the SAT and ACT to worry about this year. Although both are taking extremely different classes, each have their own challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to perform well in their classes.

According to a recent study by Healthline News, research shows that some students with an intense work load may bear a burdensome load of stress and negative health effects. The study shows that kids in kindergarten to their senior year of high-school are receiving excessive assignments. This launches a momentous amount of stress for both children and their parents. Investigators also report that parents with a limited education are not readily available to help their kids with the work.

Stanford University conducted a study as well in 2013. The survey included data from a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high-schools in upper middle class communities. Their findings resolved that students in high-achieving communities spend too much time on homework, and as a result, they encounter “More stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from society”. On average, kids that work more than three hours a night on coursework experience these health effects.

The National Education Association and the National PTA back the idea of ten minutes of homework per grade level to set a limit on afterschool studying. While this does seem useful in some aspects, it also restricts students from understanding their work better. What takes 10 minutes for one student to do, takes 30 minutes for another student.

While the debate between the volume of homework students should receive is still heated, there are also positive benefits of homework. Students are able to practice responsibility, manage their time more efficiently, and boost their self-esteem through a couple of hours of work each night. Homework has the capability to alter student’s perspective on school in a constructive way or destructive way.