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It’s a sad fact that high schoolers have multiple hours of homework per night, and this is a problem which can lead to mental health issues, stunted social skills, and physical issues. As a matter of fact, homework is an assignment for students to complete at home to practice a particular skill, and a lot of it at once causes many stresses on high schoolers specifically. Since the late 1990ś, the high schoolers did their homework which was generally less than an hour, now some get more than 2 hours per night, and stress from parents and students alike is arise. According to a Stanford survey, 56% of 4″,317 high schoolers experienced stress from hours of homework. For example, many teens claim to experience higher levels of stress than most adults. In one particular case, Nathaniel Hoder is a tenth grader in a rigorous high school with 3 to 4 hours of homework a night, and all the stress that came with it. Further research from a Stanford researcher states that more than 2 hours a night of homework is not okay, if not counterproductive. Due to many teens finding themselves stressing over their academic lives and assignments, more researchers continue to research the causes and effects of this major issue.

One big question asked by researchers, teachers, and parents on the topic of homework stress in teens concerns the curiosity of what about homework in large amounts causes this stress. It’s hard to fathom what would cause a lot of homework to be so bad. One major reason teens find hours of homework so bad is that it’s very time consuming and not very engaging. As a matter of fact, 40% of high schoolers admit to not being consistently engaged with their homework. Moreover, some students have 3 or more hours of homework in one night, and are very weary when they get home, so more work leads to burnout. A second cause of high homework stress is peer pressure to succeed in this society. In particular, parents often want their child to do well and sometimes that is a great pressure for teens to do their homework well. According to Suniya Luthar, a psychology professor at Arizona State University, “[pressure] includes family dynamics, peer norms, pressures at schools, and policies in higher education.” All things considered, the causes of stress over excessive homework leads to many mental and physical health effects.

Considering why teens stress over excessive homework, it’s important to understand the weight of the effects that teens face. One major effect that impacts teens is the mental health issues that can arise, such as anxiety. For example, some teens develop anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and depression, which can lead to thoughts of suicide. This was certainly the case for Kathryn DeWitt, who, although she did not kill herself, had bought razor blades and written goodbye letters to her family after classmates killed themselves. Another critical effect of this topic is the physical issues the amount of homework and pressure on these teens can cause. In particular, teens have reported getting migraines, stomach ulcers, and experience weight loss. In addition, they also experience much sleep deprivation staying up late completing homework, and the lack of sleep affects them even more. Without a doubt, the roots and effects of teens experiencing high stress over extreme amounts of homework can affect them into adulthood.

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Challenge Success

Teens around the United States experience academic and emotional stress. Due to the increase in problems of this nature, experts of teen well-being met at Stanford University and created the Stressed Out Students (SOS) Project. Later, an expansion known as Challenge Success was formed.

After the success of the SOS Project, Madeline Levine Ph. D, Jim Lobdell M.A., and Denise Pope Ph. D, created Challenge Success as an expansion. The organization was founded in 2007. It was made to help the education system line up with research of healthy child development. Using the resources of an important advisory board of integrative professionals, the founders made an organization based on their research. Challenge Success develops conferences, programs, and more practical curriculums. They do this for schools, parents, and kids. This organization is for families looking for a healthier method towards success in this century. Challenge Success is now a ´voice of reason´ for parents and schools on the topic of stressful schoolwork.

Schools must be willing to send entire teams of people to intense meetings to design plans for better school practices. These include schedules, homework, assessments, and healthy school climates. Their work involving families has much to offer. There are courses, videos, workshops, and more. These resources give tools and guidelines for parents to help their teens increase motivation, help their sense of self, and gain balance. Challenge Success makes scholarly articles, fact sheets, and white papers. This is to share their findings with the public. They also help the public make good choices when it comes to their children.

Challenge Success, as an organization, has engaged parents, teachers, and students in over 450 schools. They have reached all over the U.S. and a city in Canada. They’ve even been to places in South America, like Brazil. 39% of their work is towards high schools, and 60% of the schools they help are public. The schools they helped have reduced homework and busywork. They also implemented much more project-based education. As a result, students got more sleep, didn’t cheat, and worried about school less. They were more engaged, felt more supported by teachers, and performed as well or even better in school. Without a doubt, the stress of school is tough, and unfortunate. However, that fact made the founders of Challenge Success want to fix that, and they’ve done well.

Tutoring Organizations

Sometimes teens struggle so much with academic stress and their homework, that they need external help. Tutoring organizations exist for this very reason. Two examples are Kumon and Mathnasium, which specialize in reading and math respectively. Some kids only need help with reading, so they partake in Kumon. If they need math help, they could turn to Mathnasium, among others.

Historically, in 1954, a Japanese man named Toru Kumon gave his son short assignments to inspire his love of learning. This method had worked so well, that his son was doing calculus in sixth grade. Other parents took notice and made Kumon. ¨Each day, Toru gave Takeshi short, incremental assignments to complete, allowing his son to master each concept completely before learning a new skill.¨ according to the Kumon website. In the case of Mathnasium, it was founded in 2002 by Larry Martinek. Larry had noticed an odd trend of the disconnect between basic skills training and the given curriculum. He wanted to find a better way to teach kids math. He experimented for 3 decades with a blend of materials and techniques. In 2002, he was found by Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff, and they made Mathnasium.

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As a rule, Kumon makes worksheets that cover a broad range of subjects, ¨from counting to calculus, and phonemics to Shakespeare.¨ according to the Kumon website. Children spend about half an hour per subject on the assignment, and go to a center twice a week. Instructors will review progress often to fine tune lesson plans. Mathnasium makes the child take an assessment to see where they are. The assessment also determines what they need to learn. ¨Our assessment reveals each specific skill area that needs to be mastered so kids aren’t wasting time reviewing concepts they already know.¨ states the Mathnasium website. They then make a custom plan for the student. The plan identifies and carries out steps for the student to master a concept.

Surprisingly, Kumon´s effectiveness is debatable. Though it is educational, it’s a profit organization worth $650 million. Parents have to ´police´ their children on doing their work. The speed criteria for moving up can be hard to keep up with. Students can become stuck at hard stages for weeks. Mathnasium kids have 82% of parents reporting improvement in their kid´s math. ¨88% of students saw improvement in their school grades.¨ claims the Mathnasium website. Students really understand what they are learning. According to one parent, ¨Mathnasium is a great learning environment. More important than teaching math, they know how to deal with Jr. High and HS age students who are struggling for reasons that include math, but not limited to math.¨

Despite the debatable effectiveness of certain organizations, they prove to be helpful in taking some of the stress off of homework. Kids of all ages in school can be helped by them if they need it. Excessive homework can be managed more easily.

Argument Towards Successful Solution

Teens that experience high stress due to excessive homework is a big issue that must be resolved to improve the lives of future adults. Challenge Success helps schools make better curriculums and create programs to improve their students learning quality in a productive manner. Both schools and teens can benefit from the organization’s efforts to ease the lives of high schoolers. In fact, the organization has proven to be successful hundreds of times. Such as the case for Maddy´s school, that didn’t want to change from its traditional hectic schedule, however in 2012, made big changes after working with Challenge Success. The school adopted a much less hectic block schedule, and changed the grading scale to allow small errors and risks. Maddy claims to be less rushed and stressed due to these changes. Furthermore, ¨We have informed and engaged students, parents, and educators in over 450 school communities.¨ according to the Challenge Success website. Equally important, Challenge Success helps schools change in ways that improve various aspects of those school environments. As a result, teens have worried about school less, felt way more supported by teachers, and cheated less. As an example, Megan’s school had a big cheating problem. “They copied each others papers, wrote answers on their shoes…” according to the Challenge Success website. The school leaders noticed the problem, and asked CS for help. The school formed a group to see why students were cheating. Armed with this information, the school talked about the value of integrity. After these talks, teachers and students made an ‘honor code’ for all activities. Following the creation of this code, the school saw a huge drop in cheating, thanks to Challenge Successes assistance. Indeed, Challenge Success has been proven a successful solution that improves aspects of school environments.

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While it is true that Challenge Success can help high schoolers by changing schools, some people believe that tutoring organizations like Kumon and Mathnasium are better suited to an individual’s needs. Mathnasium and Kumon pair the student with an instructor who gives short worksheets and check to see what they need to learn and help them learn the skill that they need. The fact remains that school stress is something that schools and parents must address for the health of their high schoolers. Although tutoring is effective for individuals, the benefits of Challenge Success are more effective due to the fact that it changes whole schools, not just individuals. For instance, Kumon covers a wide range of subjects, including reading, and math. According to the Kumon website, they cover subjects “from counting to calculus, and phonemics to Shakespeare.” which shows that they cover the basics, and more complex subjects. They go over both math and reading, with many students being helped with both. Additionally, Mathnasium really fine-tunes on what the kid needs help with. The student takes an assessment to determine their learning needs with great accuracy. According to Mathnasium, “Our assessment reveals each specific skill area that needs to be mastered so kids aren’t wasting their time reviewing concepts they already know.” This shows their dedication to being helpful and not wasting kids’ time. Truly, tutoring organizations cover many different subjects, and pinpoint a teens needs to help them learn.

When looking at the high numbers of high schoolers who are stressed out over their homework and school life, many of them suffer health problems. In researching the severity of this problem, it’s obvious that the organization Challenge Success is a very strong solution to address the seriousness of this issue. By all means, if we don’t ease the stressful lives of high schoolers, then we place them at risk of developing mental health issues that can lead to thoughts of suicide. The story of Cameron Lee and his peers at school shows the severity of this problem. Cameron killed himself by stepping in front of a train. Between 2009 and 2014, 20 young adults on average commited suicide per year in Palo Alto. He and his peers showed signs of mental health issues due to high expectations and pressure to succeed from parents. Since the loss of life is traumatic, especially due to a thing like academic stress, it’s crucial that parents and schools take action to ease the load on teens lives for their protection and well being. Undeniably, lessening the workload is essential for solving the issue of teens and school stress. Challenge Success is an effective, sound method to support students and protect their physical and mental safety for future generations.

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