What If…. We Didn’t Have Homework

Emily Miga:

It seems as if we never do much else. We go to school, go to our sports practices, club meetings, and jobs, and then come home to face several hours of homework. Many of us consider it a dream to go to bed before midnight and finish all of our homework – because accomplishing both is extremely rare.

I began to think about just how much time I actually spend doing homework, and what exactly I would do with that time should homework be removed from my life. Thus, I decided to see if my  sleep-deprived classmates’ thoughts lined up with my own.

It was no surprise that students unanimously agreed that they would like to eliminate homework. Like myself, they all felt as though without homework, they would feel balanced and less overwhelmed.

This isn’t to say we don’t recognize the benefits of homework. It’s understood that practice is needed and homework provides necessary time management skills. But, in our constant struggle to balance  everything we do in our busy schedules, we can’t help but fantasize about a world without homework.

Yes, many students said they would like to use the time for hobbies and hanging out with their friends, but there was a much larger variety of responses than expected. One popular response was more time for sports and exercising. Students involved in sports said they would appreciate the ability to go to a practice or game without worrying about how late they would be up doing homework that night – or entirely skipping assignments because they got home too late. Many would add a workout schedule to their already existing sports schedule.

Perhaps what surprised me most was that, when prompted with the question “what would you do with that time?”,  many students almost immediately said they would use it to study. “When I’m doing homework, I’m forced to prioritize,” answered Sofia Ruggieri, “I have to get the smaller tasks, like the worksheets and reading notes, done first because they will be checked, but then it’s late and I don’t have time to study for my tests.” This idea recurred in many responses – students emphasizing that smaller tasks like essays and book-work impede their ability to study for bigger tasks. Nearly every student desired the ability to set aside time just to review for their exams.

Some students also brought up their belief that eliminating homework would be more beneficial for students than changing the school start times. “Changing the start times doesn’t change the amount of sleep we get, it just pushes off the problem. I know it’s unlikely, but I think taking out homework would be a better solution,” one student suggested.

Aside from how they would spend their time, I also asked about how students would feel. Of course, everybody was enthusiastic about the idea of no homework, but many were seriously intrigued by how their day to day life would be different. “I would feel more refreshed when I went to school the next day,” answered Sophie Barreto. Without homework, students would have a break from schoolwork. They might see their time at school as more valuable because they feel better prepared and relaxed going into the school day.

Along with this,
Whether they were planning on studying for exams or hanging with friends, nearly every student seemed to enjoy the conversation of “what if”s. The initial idea seemed to be that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves, but through talking with my peers, I found that everybody has their ideal plan for a homework-free world.

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