Homework assignments surrounded by holiday lights.
Homework assignments surrounded by holiday lights.
Mayrin Romero Hernandez

OPINION: Manual’s work load diminishes student celebrations

With the end of the semester coming up, Manual students have piles of homework and projects to do, as well as exams to study for. With all this work, many students spend their school breaks catching up on what can be an overwhelming workload. Most breaks are meant to be spent enjoying different holidays, or having time to catch up with friends. The rigor of Manual academics, however, affects the time students have during their breaks to celebrate holidays.

In “Our Unseen Epidemic”, University of Oxford and University of Louisville graduate Forest Clevenger analyzes the vast amount of homework students receive. One of his suggestions is getting rid of the homework. 

“…no healthy time exists when homework could be done. The time crunch of homework creates undue stress and anxiety,” Clevenger said in “Our Unseen Epidemic”. Clevenger is discussing the homework students get assigned on a daily basis. Not to mention, students also get homework assigned during breaks. 

However, weekends and breaks are not the only holidays where students must spend their time working. In the JCPS calendar, there are countless holidays where students do not receive time off. 

Halloween, for example, landed on a Tuesday this year, and not all Manual students were not looking forward to it.

 “It’s kind of a bummer because then it’s hard to do stuff,” said Bela Gatton (11, HSU), a student who struggled to make Halloween plans with friends on a school night, not to mention the work she had waiting for her at home. Gatton still made plans to hang out with friends, but knew that she couldn’t be out too late, since she had homework. This is the case for many students. 

In 2018, The Better Sleep Council surveyed students to see their average workload. The survey concluded that most students receive about 2 hours of homework on a regular school night. This estimate, however, did not take after school activities like sports into account. In the same report, a significant amount of students spent 1-3 hours a day participating in clubs and organizations. This is time that could be spent completing homework, socializing or having necessary downtime. 

On top of busy schedules, many  students observe holidays that aren’t on a regular calendar, and are therefore ignored when planning out the school year. In a previous RedEye article, Manual students discuss their concerns about their religious celebrations taking place during school and how they have to choose between missing their celebration or missing valuable instruction time. Students who decide to attend their religious celebrations must complete make up work on top of the work they are getting assigned. This takes away from students weekends, where they should be taking a break.

As mentioned in “Our Unseen Epidemic”, teachers assign homework, and sometimes projects to be due after long breaks. Priya Midha (10, HSU) said she usually receives more projects during holidays but also includes that she has more time to do them. However, spending time during her school breaks, especially those that include holiday breaks, takes away from the time she spends with her family.

 “A lot of the time when I want to spend time with family or friends I’d have to do my homework first,” Midha said.

Manual works with block schedules, where students have a Red Day with four classes and a White Day with another four classes, with a total of eight classes, including a study skills for some students. These days alternate every other day, each week. With the usage of this schedule many teachers assign homework on Thursdays and set the deadline for Monday, when they see students again.  Teachers also assign work on Friday and set the deadline as Tuesday, giving students time to work on Friday and Monday. That way students don’t spend their weekends doing school work. Not to mention many students have extracurricular activities that limit the amount of time they have to do homework when they get home.

Students shouldn’t be focusing on completing work so they can be caught up in class or be ahead in order to not fall behind during their school breaks. They should be able to recharge, have time to enjoy holidays they celebrate, and spend time with family and friends.

About the Contributor
Mayrin Romero Hernandez is a staffer for Manual RedEye. You can contact her at [email protected].
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