Homework inflation leads to negative impact on students

Homework+inflation+leads+to+negative+impact+on+students

Abby Kempf

Inflation is an inevitable part of all economic systems. While on the surface, inflation seems purely negative, decreasing the buying power of a single dollar, there are some benefits that come from inflation. It encourages consumers to invest in things that do not cost money but help to keep the economy going and just the right amount of inflation can help prevent recessions from occurring.
Inflation, however, is not just present on the economic scene but also in school buildings all across America. The time I have spent on homework has dramatically increased in the past few years as I transitioned from junior high school to high school.
An AP student with a completely full schedule, I feel the mounting pressure.
It is certainly normal to be assigned more homework in your freshman year than in third grade, but a person can only, sanely, handle so much.
I have always been the kind of student who puts a lot of energy into school and I had never had to stay up much past 11 p.m. to do so, until my sophomore year began.
All of the sudden my backpack weighed 60 pounds and the amount of homework I was given skyrocketed. And it wasn’t like my classes became significantly harder than the classes I had taken my freshman year. My teachers just began assigning copious amounts of homework. It was the worst kind, too: busy work.
Every single student knows what I am talking about when I say busy work. Whether it be a worksheet with the same redundant questions listed 20 times or a reading that does not connect with the class; it is utterly frustrating.
I went from getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night to struggling to get more than three hours. My friends and I would talk on the phone while working on projects at 3 a.m. just to keep each other awake. I nodded off every day in school at least once per class. I was tired all the time and had to start setting 10 alarms in the morning to make sure I actually woke up.
What I learned in my sophomore year was not actual content or new information but, instead, how to scramble to complete the countless stacks of papers. There have been several instances where a friend asks me for help in a class that I took last year as a sophomore, and I cannot help them because I have no recollection of any content learned from that year.
I have always loved learning for the sake of learning, but when the amount of homework became so intense, I didn’t have time to learn. I only had time to mindlessly fill out a worksheet so my grade wouldn’t be docked.

“I finally realized my health is much more important than turning in a worksheet that does not even prove my mastery of the concept.””

Unfortunately, this year has not been much different. However, one thing has changed. I stopped doing homework so late into the night that I only had time to get a 45 minute nap before the next day of school.
I went from getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night to struggling to get more than three hours. My friends and I would talk on the phone while working on projects at 3 a.m. just to keep each other awake. I nodded off every day in school at least once per class. I was tired all the time and had to start setting 10 alarms in the morning to make sure I actually woke up.
Also, I have refocused my goals. Yes, I am still a crazy, grade-obsessed, over-achiever, but I have tried to step outside of myself and my compulsive inclinations and have honed in on the actual learning part of school that I used to love so much as a child.
I have opened my eyes to the world of biology and all the intricate and infinitely small blocks of life that work together to make the human body function. I have learned trigonometry identities, which will absolutely never help me in my life, but are actually really fascinating.
The thing that I am finally discovering that I was lacking so badly before when I was solely focused on completing all my homework thoroughly, is completely new information. I can truly say that I have learned brand new concepts this year, which I’m not sure I could really say about my sophomore year.
Schools need to curb extreme homework inflation. One thing I learned this year in AP Biology is that if a molecule is trying to bind with an enzyme that will change it to its desired shape it cannot do so if some type of inhibitor is blocking the entrance to the enzyme. Homework is my inhibitor when it should be just the opposite. It should be my enzyme, helping me to understand and learn new things. Without enzymes the body, and in turn the mind, cannot accomplish the tasks necessary to maintain life.
I’m not saying homework needs to disappear, it is an integral and vital part of school. I am just saying it should have a point and have a limit, just like the functions I learned about in my math class.
By Abby Kempf
Photo by Caylea Erickson
What do you think? Does your grade reflect what you learned this semester?