A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Student Life

Middle school now vs. then

“I had a huge packet for math and a few other pages along with it one night, and I was so tired from staying up late the night before. I ended up taking a nap and woke up at about 10:00 PM. I really wanted to stay on schedule, but since it takes me one to two hours to do homework, I couldn’t do it and had to tell my teacher that,” Said Ava Edalski, 6th grader at John F. Kennedy Middle school.

  In the last few years, the homework demand for 6th graders and middle schoolers alike has risen dramatically. Gradually, as time goes on, more and more homework is added to middle schoolers lives. The homework load some middle schoolers receive could be comparable to the amount that high schoolers obtain. “In middle school I remember getting like one page of homework from math probably, and now I see my little sister in 8th grade getting a lot more than I did,” said Soph. Dayton Valenzuela.

  Students in middle school that are taking high school level classes also have the stress of their grades contributing to their high school gpa, which eventually affects college acceptance. They may also have the fear of failing the class and having to do it again when they actually get to high school. This type of worrying at such a young age group could result in negative emotional effects such as increased anxiety or depression.

  Often, kids that take advanced classes in middle school are more likely to develop a fear of failing and this may affect them psychologically.  Now, middle schoolers face the problem of falling behind  if they miss only one homework assignment or possibly being placed in a self-help class when they don’t actually need it.  At a younger age, they may form the idea that grades determine their worth, which may lead to eventual heartbreak upon getting a bad grade.

   Middle school has not always been so stressful. “Usually in middle school, I got one or two assignments a night and I never remember being super stressed out about it because I’d pass either way,” Said WO security guard Eli Paquette. There was once a time where middle school was fun. People could hang out with friends, go to the movies, and go outside without having an underlying worry homework to finish when they get home. Middle school was once not as big of a worry as it is now.  “You pass middle school no matter what, so I was never worried,” said Dayton.

  “In one night, I get a page or two in science, two to four pages in math, and some reading for newsela, a website that has students analyze articles or a book.” Said Edalski. For just a kid in 6th grade, this amount is overwhelming. Often times, Ava can’t do the activities she wants to do because she has homework. “When you get so much homework a night, you aren’t socializing, there’s no break, and no movement,” Said Ava. For 11 year olds to go to school for on average 6 and a half hours and come home and still be working is exhausting and a lot more than their brains can handle. Healthline conducted a research where they surveyed more than 4,300 students. They asked if homework caused physical stress symptoms such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems. More than 80% said yes and 44% said they experienced three or more of the symptoms.

  Regardless,If there is a reason for all this homework, is it good? “I think homework can be good because you’re learning a little more at home rather than school but, the amount I get is too much,” Said Edalski. Different types of learning environments help a student learn better. But, in any environment, 4-5 pages of homework is not fun to most kids and most likely  students will work only to get it done, not to learn. “I think a reasonable amount of homework like one to two pages is good because it prepares you for high school while still being able to be a kid.” Said Dayton. Gradually increasing the load of homework from 6th to 8th grade may be a good way to get kids prepared for high school but, the demand should not start at 6th grade. “I think the school work should be done at school so kids can get the assistance that they need because sometimes parents can’t help.” Said Paquette.

  “Overall, there needs to be less homework because you end up going to school the next day copying answers from friends or asking for help. And by the end of the day, you don’t remember everything your teachers taught you.” said Ava.

  Kids at that young of an age are meant to enjoy themselves and have fun, not to come home with a large pile of homework which makes them unable to take part in other activities. As you get older, the work demand gets harder and harder. But, a 6th grader’s middle school experience should not include the same workload and stress level as those of high schoolers.

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