Weekend homework leads to student burnout

School is hard. New lessons, material, and concepts bombard students every day, and new assignments and new projects fill a student’s to-do list until the last day of school. Even with that, most students have homework over the summer with the infamous summer reading.

There gets to be a point where homework is too much. There has to be a point in time where so much work actually effects the quality of it and creates burnout. According to helpguide.org, burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Helpguide.org added that, “Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.” In a recent Milestone survey, 128 students were surveyed on their weekend homework load. Of the respondents, 127 said they typically find themselves having homework over the weekend with 45 saying they have about 1-2 hours of homework, 37 saying they have 2-3 hours, 23 having 3-4 hours, and 13 having 5 or more hours of homework each weekend.

Students go to school 5 days a week, and according to a 2014 U.S. News and World Report article, high school students have on average 17.5 hours of homework a week, breaking down to 2.5 hours per night, including weekends. With trying to stay ahead of assignments for 7 classes, students hardly get two days to themselves. To avoid burnout, students need to have a day or two to themselves and that clearly isn’t possible with such demanding academics.

It’s common sense that students should have at least one day to themselves where they do things they want to do. According to Psychologytoday.com, “Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem solve more effectively. It also gives you a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of yourself—what drives you, what inspires you, what excites you.”  

With such demanding academics causing work to spill over to the weekend, it’s no surprise that students are overly stressed — they never seem to get a break.

So what’s the solution? Do we get rid of homework altogether? Do we just get rid of homework on the weekend? Do we have longer classes so homework isn’t an option? In Japan, Microsoft adopted a 4-day work week resulting in a 3-day weekend, all while keeping a five-day paycheck. The company’s productivity increased by 40%. Do we incorporate a 4-day work week?

School is already hard enough, how can we have work even when we’re not there and expected to still have it be our best work?

Thumbnail image courtesy of https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/education-inequity-and-homework/

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