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Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced
Research suggests that while homework can be an effective learning tool, assigning too much can lower student performance and interfere with other important activities.
Homework: effective learning tool or waste of time?
Since the average high school student spends almost seven hours each week doing homework, it’s surprising that there’s no clear answer. Homework is generally recognized as an effective way to reinforce what students learn in class, but claims that it may cause more harm than good, especially for younger students, are common.
Here’s what the research says:
- In general, homework has substantial benefits at the high school level, with decreased benefits for middle school students and few benefits for elementary students (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006).
- While assigning homework may have academic benefits, it can also cut into important personal and family time (Cooper et al., 2006).
- Assigning too much homework can result in poor performance (Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015).
- A student’s ability to complete homework may depend on factors that are outside their control (Cooper et al., 2006; OECD, 2014; Eren & Henderson, 2011).
- The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate homework, but to make it authentic, meaningful, and engaging (Darling-Hammond & Ifill-Lynch, 2006).
Why Homework Should Be Balanced
Homework can boost learning, but doing too much can be detrimental. The National PTA and National Education Association support the “10-minute homework rule,” which recommends 10 minutes of homework per grade level, per night (10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on, up to two hours for 12th grade) (Cooper, 2010). A recent study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90–100 minutes of homework per day, their math and science scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015). Giving students too much homework can lead to fatigue, stress, and a loss of interest in academics—something that we all want to avoid.
Homework Pros and Cons
Homework has many benefits, ranging from higher academic performance to improved study skills and stronger school-parent connections. However, it can also result in a loss of interest in academics, fatigue, and a loss of important personal and family time.
Grade Level Makes a Difference
Although the debate about homework generally falls in the “it works” vs. “it doesn’t work” camps, research shows that grade level makes a difference. High school students generally get the biggest benefits from homework, with middle school students getting about half the benefits, and elementary school students getting few benefits (Cooper et al., 2006). Since young students are still developing study habits like concentration and self-regulation, assigning a lot of homework isn’t all that helpful.
Parents Should Be Supportive, Not Intrusive
Well-designed homework not only strengthens student learning, it also provides ways to create connections between a student’s family and school. Homework offers parents insight into what their children are learning, provides opportunities to talk with children about their learning, and helps create conversations with school communities about ways to support student learning (Walker et al., 2004).
However, parent involvement can also hurt student learning. Patall, Cooper, and Robinson (2008) found that students did worse when their parents were perceived as intrusive or controlling. Motivation plays a key role in learning, and parents can cause unintentional harm by not giving their children enough space and autonomy to do their homework.
Homework Across the Globe
OECD , the developers of the international PISA test, published a 2014 report looking at homework around the world. They found that 15-year-olds worldwide spend an average of five hours per week doing homework (the U.S. average is about six hours). Surprisingly, countries like Finland and Singapore spend less time on homework (two to three hours per week) but still have high PISA rankings. These countries, the report explains, have support systems in place that allow students to rely less on homework to succeed. If a country like the U.S. were to decrease the amount of homework assigned to high school students, test scores would likely decrease unless additional supports were added.
Homework Is About Quality, Not Quantity
Whether you’re pro- or anti-homework, keep in mind that research gives a big-picture idea of what works and what doesn’t, and a capable teacher can make almost anything work. The question isn’t homework vs. no homework ; instead, we should be asking ourselves, “How can we transform homework so that it’s engaging and relevant and supports learning?”
Cooper, H. (1989). Synthesis of research on homework . Educational leadership, 47 (3), 85-91.
Cooper, H. (2010). Homework’s Diminishing Returns . The New York Times .
Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003 . Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1-62.
Darling-Hammond, L., & Ifill-Lynch, O. (2006). If They'd Only Do Their Work! Educational Leadership, 63 (5), 8-13.
Eren, O., & Henderson, D. J. (2011). Are we wasting our children's time by giving them more homework? Economics of Education Review, 30 (5), 950-961.
Fernández-Alonso, R., Suárez-Álvarez, J., & Muñiz, J. (2015, March 16). Adolescents’ Homework Performance in Mathematics and Science: Personal Factors and Teaching Practices . Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.
OECD (2014). Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education? PISA in Focus , No. 46, OECD Publishing, Paris.
Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Robinson, J. C. (2008). Parent involvement in homework: A research synthesis . Review of Educational Research, 78 (4), 1039-1101.
Van Voorhis, F. L. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvement and science achievement . The Journal of Educational Research, 96 (6), 323-338.
Walker, J. M., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Whetsel, D. R., & Green, C. L. (2004). Parental involvement in homework: A review of current research and its implications for teachers, after school program staff, and parent leaders . Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.
Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?
A conversation with a Wheelock researcher, a BU student, and a fourth-grade teacher
“Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives,” says Wheelock’s Janine Bempechat. “It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.” Photo by iStock/Glenn Cook Photography
Do your homework.
If only it were that simple.
Educators have debated the merits of homework since the late 19th century. In recent years, amid concerns of some parents and teachers that children are being stressed out by too much homework, things have only gotten more fraught.
“Homework is complicated,” says developmental psychologist Janine Bempechat, a Wheelock College of Education & Human Development clinical professor. The author of the essay “ The Case for (Quality) Homework—Why It Improves Learning and How Parents Can Help ” in the winter 2019 issue of Education Next , Bempechat has studied how the debate about homework is influencing teacher preparation, parent and student beliefs about learning, and school policies.
She worries especially about socioeconomically disadvantaged students from low-performing schools who, according to research by Bempechat and others, get little or no homework.
BU Today sat down with Bempechat and Erin Bruce (Wheelock’17,’18), a new fourth-grade teacher at a suburban Boston school, and future teacher freshman Emma Ardizzone (Wheelock) to talk about what quality homework looks like, how it can help children learn, and how schools can equip teachers to design it, evaluate it, and facilitate parents’ role in it.
BU Today: Parents and educators who are against homework in elementary school say there is no research definitively linking it to academic performance for kids in the early grades. You’ve said that they’re missing the point.
Bempechat : I think teachers assign homework in elementary school as a way to help kids develop skills they’ll need when they’re older—to begin to instill a sense of responsibility and to learn planning and organizational skills. That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success. If we greatly reduce or eliminate homework in elementary school, we deprive kids and parents of opportunities to instill these important learning habits and skills.
We do know that beginning in late middle school, and continuing through high school, there is a strong and positive correlation between homework completion and academic success.
That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success.
You talk about the importance of quality homework. What is that?
Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives. It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.
What are your concerns about homework and low-income children?
The argument that some people make—that homework “punishes the poor” because lower-income parents may not be as well-equipped as affluent parents to help their children with homework—is very troubling to me. There are no parents who don’t care about their children’s learning. Parents don’t actually have to help with homework completion in order for kids to do well. They can help in other ways—by helping children organize a study space, providing snacks, being there as a support, helping children work in groups with siblings or friends.
Isn’t the discussion about getting rid of homework happening mostly in affluent communities?
Yes, and the stories we hear of kids being stressed out from too much homework—four or five hours of homework a night—are real. That’s problematic for physical and mental health and overall well-being. But the research shows that higher-income students get a lot more homework than lower-income kids.
Teachers may not have as high expectations for lower-income children. Schools should bear responsibility for providing supports for kids to be able to get their homework done—after-school clubs, community support, peer group support. It does kids a disservice when our expectations are lower for them.
The conversation around homework is to some extent a social class and social justice issue. If we eliminate homework for all children because affluent children have too much, we’re really doing a disservice to low-income children. They need the challenge, and every student can rise to the challenge with enough supports in place.
What did you learn by studying how education schools are preparing future teachers to handle homework?
My colleague, Margarita Jimenez-Silva, at the University of California, Davis, School of Education, and I interviewed faculty members at education schools, as well as supervising teachers, to find out how students are being prepared. And it seemed that they weren’t. There didn’t seem to be any readings on the research, or conversations on what high-quality homework is and how to design it.
Erin, what kind of training did you get in handling homework?
Bruce : I had phenomenal professors at Wheelock, but homework just didn’t come up. I did lots of student teaching. I’ve been in classrooms where the teachers didn’t assign any homework, and I’ve been in rooms where they assigned hours of homework a night. But I never even considered homework as something that was my decision. I just thought it was something I’d pull out of a book and it’d be done.
I started giving homework on the first night of school this year. My first assignment was to go home and draw a picture of the room where you do your homework. I want to know if it’s at a table and if there are chairs around it and if mom’s cooking dinner while you’re doing homework.
The second night I asked them to talk to a grown-up about how are you going to be able to get your homework done during the week. The kids really enjoyed it. There’s a running joke that I’m teaching life skills.
Friday nights, I read all my kids’ responses to me on their homework from the week and it’s wonderful. They pour their hearts out. It’s like we’re having a conversation on my couch Friday night.
It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.
Bempechat : I can’t imagine that most new teachers would have the intuition Erin had in designing homework the way she did.
Ardizzone : Conversations with kids about homework, feeling you’re being listened to—that’s such a big part of wanting to do homework….I grew up in Westchester County. It was a pretty demanding school district. My junior year English teacher—I loved her—she would give us feedback, have meetings with all of us. She’d say, “If you have any questions, if you have anything you want to talk about, you can talk to me, here are my office hours.” It felt like she actually cared.
Bempechat : It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.
Ardizzone : But can’t it lead to parents being overbearing and too involved in their children’s lives as students?
Bempechat : There’s good help and there’s bad help. The bad help is what you’re describing—when parents hover inappropriately, when they micromanage, when they see their children confused and struggling and tell them what to do.
Good help is when parents recognize there’s a struggle going on and instead ask informative questions: “Where do you think you went wrong?” They give hints, or pointers, rather than saying, “You missed this,” or “You didn’t read that.”
Bruce : I hope something comes of this. I hope BU or Wheelock can think of some way to make this a more pressing issue. As a first-year teacher, it was not something I even thought about on the first day of school—until a kid raised his hand and said, “Do we have homework?” It would have been wonderful if I’d had a plan from day one.
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Senior Contributing Editor
Sara Rimer A journalist for more than three decades, Sara Rimer worked at the Miami Herald , Washington Post and, for 26 years, the New York Times , where she was the New England bureau chief, and a national reporter covering education, aging, immigration, and other social justice issues. Her stories on the death penalty’s inequities were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision outlawing the execution of people with intellectual disabilities. Her journalism honors include Columbia University’s Meyer Berger award for in-depth human interest reporting. She holds a BA degree in American Studies from the University of Michigan. Profile
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Comments & Discussion
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There are 81 comments on Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?
Insightful! The values about homework in elementary schools are well aligned with my intuition as a parent.
when i finish my work i do my homework and i sometimes forget what to do because i did not get enough sleep
same omg it does not help me it is stressful and if I have it in more than one class I hate it.
Same I think my parent wants to help me but, she doesn’t care if I get bad grades so I just try my best and my grades are great.
I think that last question about Good help from parents is not know to all parents, we do as our parents did or how we best think it can be done, so maybe coaching parents or giving them resources on how to help with homework would be very beneficial for the parent on how to help and for the teacher to have consistency and improve homework results, and of course for the child. I do see how homework helps reaffirm the knowledge obtained in the classroom, I also have the ability to see progress and it is a time I share with my kids
The answer to the headline question is a no-brainer – a more pressing problem is why there is a difference in how students from different cultures succeed. Perfect example is the student population at BU – why is there a majority population of Asian students and only about 3% black students at BU? In fact at some universities there are law suits by Asians to stop discrimination and quotas against admitting Asian students because the real truth is that as a group they are demonstrating better qualifications for admittance, while at the same time there are quotas and reduced requirements for black students to boost their portion of the student population because as a group they do more poorly in meeting admissions standards – and it is not about the Benjamins. The real problem is that in our PC society no one has the gazuntas to explore this issue as it may reveal that all people are not created equal after all. Or is it just environmental cultural differences??????
I get you have a concern about the issue but that is not even what the point of this article is about. If you have an issue please take this to the site we have and only post your opinion about the actual topic
This is not at all what the article is talking about.
This literally has nothing to do with the article brought up. You should really take your opinions somewhere else before you speak about something that doesn’t make sense.
we have the same name
so they have the same name what of it?
lol you tell her
What does that have to do with homework, that is not what the article talks about AT ALL.
Yes, I think homework plays an important role in the development of student life. Through homework, students have to face challenges on a daily basis and they try to solve them quickly.I am an intense online tutor at 24x7homeworkhelp and I give homework to my students at that level in which they handle it easily.
More than two-thirds of students said they used alcohol and drugs, primarily marijuana, to cope with stress.
You know what’s funny? I got this assignment to write an argument for homework about homework and this article was really helpful and understandable, and I also agree with this article’s point of view.
I also got the same task as you! I was looking for some good resources and I found this! I really found this article useful and easy to understand, just like you! ^^
i think that homework is the best thing that a child can have on the school because it help them with their thinking and memory.
I am a child myself and i think homework is a terrific pass time because i can’t play video games during the week. It also helps me set goals.
Homework is not harmful ,but it will if there is too much
I feel like, from a minors point of view that we shouldn’t get homework. Not only is the homework stressful, but it takes us away from relaxing and being social. For example, me and my friends was supposed to hang at the mall last week but we had to postpone it since we all had some sort of work to do. Our minds shouldn’t be focused on finishing an assignment that in realty, doesn’t matter. I completely understand that we should have homework. I have to write a paper on the unimportance of homework so thanks.
homework isn’t that bad
Are you a student? if not then i don’t really think you know how much and how severe todays homework really is
i am a student and i do not enjoy homework because i practice my sport 4 out of the five days we have school for 4 hours and that’s not even counting the commute time or the fact i still have to shower and eat dinner when i get home. its draining!
i totally agree with you. these people are such boomers
why just why
they do make a really good point, i think that there should be a limit though. hours and hours of homework can be really stressful, and the extra work isn’t making a difference to our learning, but i do believe homework should be optional and extra credit. that would make it for students to not have the leaning stress of a assignment and if you have a low grade you you can catch up.
Studies show that homework improves student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college. Research published in the High School Journal indicates that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework “scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average.” On both standardized tests and grades, students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework. A majority of studies on homework’s impact – 64% in one meta-study and 72% in another – showed that take home assignments were effective at improving academic achievement. Research by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) concluded that increased homework led to better GPAs and higher probability of college attendance for high school boys. In fact, boys who attended college did more than three hours of additional homework per week in high school.
So how are your measuring student achievement? That’s the real question. The argument that doing homework is simply a tool for teaching responsibility isn’t enough for me. We can teach responsibility in a number of ways. Also the poor argument that parents don’t need to help with homework, and that students can do it on their own, is wishful thinking at best. It completely ignores neurodiverse students. Students in poverty aren’t magically going to find a space to do homework, a friend’s or siblings to help them do it, and snacks to eat. I feel like the author of this piece has never set foot in a classroom of students.
THIS. This article is pathetic coming from a university. So intellectually dishonest, refusing to address the havoc of capitalism and poverty plays on academic success in life. How can they in one sentence use poor kids in an argument and never once address that poor children have access to damn near 0 of the resources affluent kids have? Draw me a picture and let’s talk about feelings lmao what a joke is that gonna put food in their belly so they can have the calories to burn in order to use their brain to study? What about quiet their 7 other siblings that they share a single bedroom with for hours? Is it gonna force the single mom to magically be at home and at work at the same time to cook food while you study and be there to throw an encouraging word?
Also the “parents don’t need to be a parent and be able to guide their kid at all academically they just need to exist in the next room” is wild. Its one thing if a parent straight up is not equipped but to say kids can just figured it out is…. wow coming from an educator What’s next the teacher doesn’t need to teach cause the kid can just follow the packet and figure it out?
Well then get a tutor right? Oh wait you are poor only affluent kids can afford a tutor for their hours of homework a day were they on average have none of the worries a poor child does. Does this address that poor children are more likely to also suffer abuse and mental illness? Like mentioned what about kids that can’t learn or comprehend the forced standardized way? Just let em fail? These children regularly are not in “special education”(some of those are a joke in their own and full of neglect and abuse) programs cause most aren’t even acknowledged as having disabilities or disorders.
But yes all and all those pesky poor kids just aren’t being worked hard enough lol pretty sure poor children’s existence just in childhood is more work, stress, and responsibility alone than an affluent child’s entire life cycle. Love they never once talked about the quality of education in the classroom being so bad between the poor and affluent it can qualify as segregation, just basically blamed poor people for being lazy, good job capitalism for failing us once again!
why the hell?
you should feel bad for saying this, this article can be helpful for people who has to write a essay about it
This is more of a political rant than it is about homework
I know a teacher who has told his students their homework is to find something they are interested in, pursue it and then come share what they learn. The student responses are quite compelling. One girl taught herself German so she could talk to her grandfather. One boy did a research project on Nelson Mandela because the teacher had mentioned him in class. Another boy, a both on the autism spectrum, fixed his family’s computer. The list goes on. This is fourth grade. I think students are highly motivated to learn, when we step aside and encourage them.
The whole point of homework is to give the students a chance to use the material that they have been presented with in class. If they never have the opportunity to use that information, and discover that it is actually useful, it will be in one ear and out the other. As a science teacher, it is critical that the students are challenged to use the material they have been presented with, which gives them the opportunity to actually think about it rather than regurgitate “facts”. Well designed homework forces the student to think conceptually, as opposed to regurgitation, which is never a pretty sight
Wonderful discussion. and yes, homework helps in learning and building skills in students.
not true it just causes kids to stress
Homework can be both beneficial and unuseful, if you will. There are students who are gifted in all subjects in school and ones with disabilities. Why should the students who are gifted get the lucky break, whereas the people who have disabilities suffer? The people who were born with this “gift” go through school with ease whereas people with disabilities struggle with the work given to them. I speak from experience because I am one of those students: the ones with disabilities. Homework doesn’t benefit “us”, it only tears us down and put us in an abyss of confusion and stress and hopelessness because we can’t learn as fast as others. Or we can’t handle the amount of work given whereas the gifted students go through it with ease. It just brings us down and makes us feel lost; because no mater what, it feels like we are destined to fail. It feels like we weren’t “cut out” for success.
homework does help
here is the thing though, if a child is shoved in the face with a whole ton of homework that isn’t really even considered homework it is assignments, it’s not helpful. the teacher should make homework more of a fun learning experience rather than something that is dreaded
This article was wonderful, I am going to ask my teachers about extra, or at all giving homework.
I agree. Especially when you have homework before an exam. Which is distasteful as you’ll need that time to study. It doesn’t make any sense, nor does us doing homework really matters as It’s just facts thrown at us.
Homework is too severe and is just too much for students, schools need to decrease the amount of homework. When teachers assign homework they forget that the students have other classes that give them the same amount of homework each day. Students need to work on social skills and life skills.
Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature. It can help students recognize that learning can occur at home as well as at school. Homework can foster independent learning and responsible character traits. And it can give parents an opportunity to see what’s going on at school and let them express positive attitudes toward achievement.
Homework is helpful because homework helps us by teaching us how to learn a specific topic.
As a student myself, I can say that I have almost never gotten the full 9 hours of recommended sleep time, because of homework. (Now I’m writing an essay on it in the middle of the night D=)
I am a 10 year old kid doing a report about “Is homework good or bad” for homework before i was going to do homework is bad but the sources from this site changed my mind!
Homeowkr is god for stusenrs
I agree with hunter because homework can be so stressful especially with this whole covid thing no one has time for homework and every one just wants to get back to there normal lives it is especially stressful when you go on a 2 week vaca 3 weeks into the new school year and and then less then a week after you come back from the vaca you are out for over a month because of covid and you have no way to get the assignment done and turned in
As great as homework is said to be in the is article, I feel like the viewpoint of the students was left out. Every where I go on the internet researching about this topic it almost always has interviews from teachers, professors, and the like. However isn’t that a little biased? Of course teachers are going to be for homework, they’re not the ones that have to stay up past midnight completing the homework from not just one class, but all of them. I just feel like this site is one-sided and you should include what the students of today think of spending four hours every night completing 6-8 classes worth of work.
Are we talking about homework or practice? Those are two very different things and can result in different outcomes.
Homework is a graded assignment. I do not know of research showing the benefits of graded assignments going home.
Practice; however, can be extremely beneficial, especially if there is some sort of feedback (not a grade but feedback). That feedback can come from the teacher, another student or even an automated grading program.
As a former band director, I assigned daily practice. I never once thought it would be appropriate for me to require the students to turn in a recording of their practice for me to grade. Instead, I had in-class assignments/assessments that were graded and directly related to the practice assigned.
I would really like to read articles on “homework” that truly distinguish between the two.
oof i feel bad good luck!
thank you guys for the artical because I have to finish an assingment. yes i did cite it but just thanks
thx for the article guys.
Homework is good
I think homework is helpful AND harmful. Sometimes u can’t get sleep bc of homework but it helps u practice for school too so idk.
I agree with this Article. And does anyone know when this was published. I would like to know.
It was published FEb 19, 2019.
Studies have shown that homework improved student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college.
i think homework can help kids but at the same time not help kids
This article is so out of touch with majority of homes it would be laughable if it wasn’t so incredibly sad.
There is no value to homework all it does is add stress to already stressed homes. Parents or adults magically having the time or energy to shepherd kids through homework is dome sort of 1950’s fantasy.
What lala land do these teachers live in?
Homework gives noting to the kid
Homework is Bad
homework is bad.
why do kids even have homework?
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Curriculum and Instruction
Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework
Whether homework helps students — and how much homework is appropriate — has been debated for many years. Homework has been in the headlines again recently and continues to be a topic of controversy, with claims that students and families are suffering under the burden of huge amounts of homework. School board members, educators, and parents may wish to turn to the research for answers to their questions about the benefits and drawbacks of homework. Unfortunately, the research has produced mixed results so far, and more research is needed. Nonetheless, there are some findings that can help to inform decisions about homework. What follows is a summary of the research to date:
There is no conclusive evidence that homework increases student achievement across the board. Some studies show positive effects of homework under certain conditions and for certain students, some show no effects, and some suggest negative effects (Kohn 2006; Trautwein and Koller 2003).
Some studies have shown that older students gain more academic benefits from homework than do younger students, perhaps because younger students have less-effective study habits and are more easily distracted (Cooper 1989; Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2001; Leone and Richards 1989; Muhlenbruck et al. 2000).
Some researchers believe that students from higher-income homes have more resources (such as computers) and receive more assistance with homework, while low-income students may have fewer resources and less assistance and are therefore less likely to complete the homework and reap any related benefits (McDermott, Goldmen and Varenne 1984; Scott-Jones 1984).
Students with learning disabilities can benefit from homework if appropriate supervision and monitoring are provided (Cooper and Nye 1994; Rosenberg 1989).
A national study of the influence of homework on student grades across five ethnic groups found that homework had a stronger impact on Asian American students than on students of other ethnicities (Keith and Benson, 1992).
Certain nonacademic benefits of homework have been shown, especially for younger students. Indeed, some primary-level teachers may assign homework for such benefits, which include learning the importance of responsibility, managing time, developing study habits, and staying with a task until it is completed (Cooper, Robinson and Patall 2006; Corno and Xu 2004; Johnson and Pontius 1989; Warton 2001).
While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night). When students spend more time than this on homework, the positive relationship with student achievement diminishes (Cooper, Robinson, and Patall 2006).
Some research has shown that students who spend more time on homework score higher on measures of achievement and attitude. Studies that have delved more deeply into this topic suggest, however, that the amount of homework assigned by teachers is unrelated to student achievement, while the amount of homework actually completed by students is associated with higher achievement (Cooper 2001; Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, and Greathouse 1998).
Studies of after-school programs that provide homework assistance have found few definite links to improved student achievement. Several studies, however, noted improvements in student motivation and work habits, which may indirectly affect achievement (Cosden, Morrison, Albanese, and Macias 2001; James-Burdumy et al. 2005).
Homework assignments that require interaction between students and parents result in higher levels of parent involvement and are more likely to be turned in than noninteractive assignments. Some studies have shown, however, that parent involvement in homework has no impact on student achievement. Other studies indicate that students whose parents are more involved in their homework have lower test scores and class grades — but this may be because the students were already lower performing and needed more help from their parents than did higher-performing students. (Balli, Wedman, and Demo 1997; Cooper, Lindsay, and Nye 2000; Epstein 1988; Van Voorhis 2003).
Most teachers assign homework to reinforce what was presented in class or to prepare students for new material. Less commonly, homework is assigned to extend student learning to different contexts or to integrate learning by applying multiple skills around a project. Little research exists on the effects of these different kinds of homework on student achievement, leaving policymakers with little evidence on which to base decisions (Cooper 1989; Foyle 1985; Murphy and Decker 1989).
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Balli, S. J., Wedman, J. F., & Demo, D. H. (1997). Family involvement with middle-grades homework: Effects of differential prompting. Journal of Experimental Education, 66, 31-48.
Cooper, H. (1989). Homework. White Plains, N.Y.: Longman.
Cooper, H. (2001). Homework for all — in moderation. Educational Leadership, 58, 34-38.
Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J, Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 70-83.
Cooper, H., & Nye, B. (1994). Homework for students with learning disabilities: The implications of research for policy and practice. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 470-479.
Cooper, H., Nye, B.A., & Lindsay, J.J. (2000). Homework in the home: How student, family and parenting style differences relate to the homework process. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(4), 464-487.
Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research. Review of Educational Research, 76, 1-62.
Corno, L., & Xu, J. (2004). Homework as the job of childhood. Theory Into Practice, 43, 227-233.
Cosden, M., Morrison, G., Albanese, A. L., & Macias, S. (2001). When homework is not home work: After-school programs for homework assistance. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 211-221.
Epstein, J. L. (1998). Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students. Baltimore: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED301322]
Foyle, H. C. (1985). The effects of preparation and practice homework on student achievement in tenth-grade American history (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 8A.
Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Battiato, A. C., Walker, J. M. T., Reed, R. P., DeJong, J. M. & Jones, K. P. (2001). Parental involvement in homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 195-209.
James-Burdumy, S., Dynarski, M., Moore, M., Deke, J., Mansfield, W., Pistorino, C. & Warner, E. (2005). When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.
Johnson, J. K., & Pontius, A. (1989). Homework: A survey of teacher beliefs and practices. Research in Education, 41, 71-78.
Keith, T. Z., & Benson, M. J. (1992). Effects of manipulable influences on high school grades across five ethnic groups. Journal of Educational Research, 86, 85-93.
Kohn, A. (2006, September). Abusing research: The study of homework and other examples. Phi Delta Kappan, 8-22.
Leone, C. M., & Richards, M. H. (1989). Classwork and homework in early adolescence: The ecology of achievement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 18, 531-548.
McDermott, R. P., Goldman, S. V., & Varenne, H. (1984). When school goes home: Some problems in the organization of homework [Abstract]. Teachers College Record, 85, 391-409.
Muhlenbruck, L., Cooper, H., Nye, B., & Lindsay, J. J. (2000). Homework and achievement: explaining the different strengths of relation at the elementary and secondary school levels. Social Psychology of Education, 3, 295-317.
Murphy, J. & Decker, K. (1989). Teachers’ use of homework in high schools. Journal of Educational Research, 82(5), 261-269.
Rosenberg, M. S. (1989). The effects of daily homework assignments on the acquisition of basic skills by students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 314-323.
Scott-Jones, D. (1984). Family influences on cognitive development and school achievement. Review of Research in Education, 11, 259-304.
Trautwein, U., & Koller, O. (2003). The relationship between homework and achievement — still much of a mystery. Educational Psychology Review, 15, 115-145.
Van Voorhis, F. L. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvements and science achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 96(6), 323-338.
Warton, P. M. (2001). The forgotten voice in homework: Views of students. Educational Psychologist, 36, 155-165.
Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says
A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.
The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.
But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:
For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.
But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”
A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.
New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.
The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.
Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.
Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.
Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.
Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.
“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”
Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.
“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.
The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.
“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”
Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.
“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”
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Why homework matters
Homework is the perennial bogeyman of K–12 education. Any given year, you’ll find people arguing that students, especially those in elementary school, should have far less homework—or none at all . I have the opposite opinion. The longer I run schools—and it has now been more than sixteen years—the more convinced I am that homework is not only necessary, but a linchpin to effective K–12 education.
It is important to remember that kids only spend a fraction of their time in school. The learning that does or does not take place in the many hours outside of school has a monumental effect on children’s academic success and is a root cause of educational inequity.
The pandemic gave us a stark demonstration of this reality. Achievement gaps widened between affluent and low-income children not only because low-income students received less in-person or high-quality online instruction during the years of disrupted school, but also because children of college-educated and affluent parents were already less dependent on schools for learning. Affluent children are far more likely to have the privilege of tutors or other types of supplementary instruction, as well as a family culture of reading, and opportunities to travel, visit museums, and more. Homework is a powerful tool to help narrow these inequities, giving children from all backgrounds the opportunity to keep learning when they are not in school.
At Success Academy, the charter school network I founded and lead, we seek to develop students as lifelong learners who have the confidence and curiosity to pursue and build knowledge in all facets of their lives. Homework cultivates these mindsets and habits. Indeed, when teachers don’t assign homework, it reflects an unconscious conviction that kids can’t learn without adults. Kids internalize this message and come to believe they need their teacher to gain knowledge. In reality, they are more than capable of learning all sorts of things on their own. Discovering this fact can be both incredibly exciting and deeply empowering for them.
We also know that none of these benefits accrue when homework is mere busywork. Low-quality homework is likely what drives the mixed research evidence on the impact of homework on student achievement. It also sends the message to kids that doing it is simply an exercise in compliance and not worth their time. Homework must be challenging and purposeful for kids to recognize its value.
For this reason, at Success, we take great care with the design of our homework assignments, ensuring they are engaging and relevant to what takes place in class the next day. When done well, homework can be a form of the “flipped classroom”—a model developed by ed tech innovators to make large college lecture classes more engaging. In flipped classrooms, students learn everything they can on their own at home (in the original conception, via recorded lectures); class time builds on what they learned to address confusion and elevate their thinking to a more sophisticated level. It’s an approach that both respects kids’ capacity to learn independently, and assumes that out-of-class learning will drive the content and pace of the in-person lesson.
Students always need a “why” for the things we ask them to do, and designing homework this way is motivating for them because it gives them that clear why. Class is engaging and interesting when they are prepared; when they aren’t, they won’t have the satisfaction of participating.
At this point, some teachers may be saying, “I can’t get my kids to hand in a worksheet, let alone rely on them to learn on their own.” And of course, effective use of homework in class relies on creating a strong system of accountability for getting kids to do it. This can be hard for teachers. It’s uncomfortable to lean into students’ lives outside of school, and many educators feel they don’t have that right. But getting over that discomfort is best for kids.
Educators should embrace setting an exacting norm for completing homework. This should include a schoolwide grading policy—at Success schools, missing and incomplete homework assignments receive a zero; students can get partial credit for work handed in late; and middle and high schoolers can revise their homework for a better grade—as well as consistently and explicitly noticing when kids are or are not prepared and offering praise and consequences. Enlisting parents’ help in this area is also highly effective. I guarantee they will be grateful to be kept informed of how well their children are meeting their responsibilities!
Ultimately, minimizing homework or getting rid of it entirely denies children autonomy and prevents them from discovering what they are capable of. As we work to repair the academic damage from the last two-plus years, I encourage educators to focus not on the quantity of homework, but instead on its quality—and on using it effectively in class. By doing so, they will accelerate kids’ engagement with school, and propel them as assured, autonomous learners and thinkers who can thrive in college and beyond.
Eva Moskowitz is the CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools .
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Should Kids Get Homework?
Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images)
How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.
Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.
But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.
Value of Homework
Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.
"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."
Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.
"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."
Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.
"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."
Negative Homework Assignments
Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.
But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.
Homework that's just busy work.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.
"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.
Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.
With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.
Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.
" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .
Homework that's overly time-consuming.
The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.
But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.
Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.
"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."
Private vs. Public Schools
Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.
Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.
"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."
How to Address Homework Overload
First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.
"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."
But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.
"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."
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Is Homework Good for Kids?
Research suggests that homework may be most beneficial when it is minimal..
Updated October 3, 2023 | Reviewed by Devon Frye
- Why Education Is Important
- Find a Child Therapist
- Research finds that homework can academically benefit middle and high schoolers, but not elementary students.
- There are non-academic benefits to homework, but too much work may interfere with other areas of development.
- Research suggests students should be given about 10 minutes of homework per grade level.
- Parents can help with homework by encouraging a growth mindset and supporting their child's autonomy.
In recent years, homework has become a very hot topic. Many parents and educators have raised concerns about homework and questioned how effective it is in enhancing students’ learning. There are also concerns that students may simply be getting too much homework, which ultimately interferes with quality family time and opportunities for physical activity and play.
Research suggests that these concerns may be valid. For example, one study reported that elementary school students, on average, are assigned three times the recommended amount of homework.
What does the research say? What are the potential risks and benefits of homework, and how much is “too much”?
Academic vs. Non-Academic Benefits
First, research finds that homework is associated with higher scores on academic standardized tests for middle and high school students, but not elementary school students . A recent experimental study in Romania found some benefits for a small amount of writing homework in elementary students but not math homework. Yet, interestingly, this positive impact only occurred when students were given a moderate amount of homework (about 20 minutes on average).
Yet the goal of homework is not simply to improve academic skills. Research finds that homework may have some non-academic benefits, such as building responsibility , time management skills, and task persistence . Homework may also increase parents’ involvement in their children’s schooling.
Yet too much homework may also have some negative impacts on non-academic skills by reducing opportunities for free play , which is essential for the development of language, cognitive, self-regulation , and social-emotional skills. Homework may also interfere with physical activity ; indeed, too much homework is associated with an increased risk of being overweight . As with the research on academic benefits, this research also suggests that homework may be beneficial when it is minimal.
What is the “Right” Amount of Homework?
Research suggests that homework should not exceed 1.5 to 2.5 hours per night for high school students and no more than 1 hour per night for middle school students. Homework for elementary school students should be minimal and assigned with the aim of building self-regulation and independent work skills. Any more than this and homework may no longer have a positive impact.
The National Education Association recommends 10 minutes of homework per grade and there is also some experimental evidence that backs this up.
What Can Parents Do?
Research finds that parental help with homework is beneficial but that it matters more how the parent is helping rather than how often the parent is helping.
So how should parents help with homework (according to the research)?
- Focus on providing general monitoring, guidance, and encouragement, but allow children to complete their homework as independently as possible. Research shows that allowing children more autonomy in completing homework may benefit their academic skills.
- Only provide help when your child asks for it and step away whenever possible. Research finds that too much parental involvement or intrusive and controlling involvement with homework is associated with worse academic performance .
- Help your children to create structure and develop some routines that help your child to independently complete their homework. Research finds that providing this type of structure and responsiveness is related to improved academic skills.
- Set specific rules around homework. Research finds an association between parents setting rules around homework and academic performance.
- Help your child to view homework as an opportunity to learn and improve skills. Parents who view homework as a learning opportunity (that is, a “mastery orientation”) rather than something that they must get “right” or complete successfully to obtain a higher grade (that is, a “performance orientation”) are more likely to have children with the same attitudes.
- Encourage your child to persist in challenging assignments and emphasize difficult assignments as opportunities to grow. Research finds that this attitude is associated with student success. Research also indicates that more challenging homework is associated with enhanced academic performance.
- Stay calm and positive during homework. Research shows that mothers’ showing positive emotions while helping with homework may improve children’s motivation in homework.
- Praise your child’s hard work and effort during homework. This type of praise is likely to increase motivation. In addition, research finds that putting more effort into homework may be associated with enhanced development of conscientiousness in children.
- Communicate with your child and the teacher about any problems your child has with homework and the teacher’s learning goals. Research finds that open communication about homework is associated with increased academic performance.
Cara Goodwin, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in translating scientific research into information that is useful, accurate, and relevant for parents.
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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.
A Stanford education researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter. "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education . The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework. Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year. Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night. "The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students' advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being," Pope wrote. Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school. Their study found that too much homework is associated with: • Greater stress : 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor. • Reductions in health : In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems. • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits : Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy. A balancing act The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills. Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as "pointless" or "mindless" in order to keep their grades up. "This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points," said Pope, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success , a nonprofit organization affiliated with the GSE that conducts research and works with schools and parents to improve students' educational experiences.. Pope said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said. "Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development," wrote Pope. High-performing paradox In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. "Young people are spending more time alone," they wrote, "which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities." Student perspectives The researchers say that while their open-ended or "self-reporting" methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for "typical adolescent complaining" – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe. The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.
Clifton B. Parker is a writer at the Stanford News Service .
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Are You Down With or Done With Homework?
- Posted January 17, 2012
- By Lory Hough
The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.
It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.
This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.
"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.
Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.
But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.
The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.
For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.
But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.
Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?
"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."
Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.
Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?
"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."
Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."
Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.
"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."
Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."
One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.
"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.
Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.
As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."
That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."
These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.
"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."
Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.
"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.
Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.
And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."
Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.
"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."
The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.
"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"
Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.
"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"
Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."
According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."
So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.
"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."
Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.
"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."
So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.
Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.
"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."
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Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework
A Stanford researcher found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society. More than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive, according to the study.
Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)
A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.
“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .
The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.
Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.
Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.
“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.
Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.
Their study found that too much homework is associated with:
• Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.
• Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.
• Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.
A balancing act
The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.
Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.
“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.
She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.
“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.
In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”
The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.
The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.
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Should We Get Rid of Homework?
Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?
By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar
Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?
Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?
Should we get rid of homework?
In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:
Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”
Mr. Kang argues:
But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?
Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?
Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?
When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.
In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:
Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.
What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?
Is there a way to make homework more effective?
If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?
Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.
Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle
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The Pros and Cons of Homework
Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.
Photo by energepic.com from Pexels
Why should students have homework.
- Homework Encourages Practice Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .
- Homework Gets Parents Involved Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.
- Homework Teaches Time Management Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.
- Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.
- Homework Allows For More Learning Time Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.
- Homework Reduces Screen Time Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.
The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad
- Homework Encourages A Sedentary Lifestyle Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework. While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom. Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.
- Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .
- Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.
- Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success. The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements. It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity. Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.
- Homework Assignments Are Overdone The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however. On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.
The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.
It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.
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The Pros and Cons of Homework
The dreaded word for students across the country—homework.
Homework has long been a source of debate, with parents, educators, and education specialists debating the advantages of at-home study. There are many pros and cons of homework. We’ve examined a few significant points to provide you with a summary of the benefits and disadvantages of homework.
Check Out The Pros and Cons of Homework
Pro 1: Homework Helps to Improve Student Achievement
Homework teaches students various beneficial skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and professional life, from time management and organization to self-motivation and autonomous learning.
Homework helps students of all ages build critical study abilities that help them throughout their academic careers. Learning at home also encourages the development of good research habits while encouraging students to take ownership of their tasks.
If you’re finding that homework is becoming an issue at home, check out this article to learn how to tackle them before they get out of hand.
Con 1: Too Much Homework Can Negatively Affect Students
You’ll often hear from students that they’re stressed out by schoolwork. Stress becomes even more apparent as students get into higher grade levels.
A study conducted on high school student’s experiences found that high-achieving students found that too much homework leads to sleep deprivation and other health problems such as:
- Weight loss
- Stomach problems
More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies.
It’s been shown that excessive homework can lead to cheating. With too much homework, students end up copying off one another in an attempt to finish all their assignments.
Pro 2: Homework Helps to Reinforce Classroom Learning
Homework is most effective when it allows students to revise what they learn in class. Did you know that students typically retain only 50% of the information teachers provide in class?
Students need to apply that information to learn it.
Homework also helps students develop key skills that they’ll use throughout their lives:
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Independent problem-solving
The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students’ daily lives.
Con 2: Takes Away From Students Leisure Time
Children need free time. This free time allows children to relax and explore the world that they are living in. This free time also gives them valuable skills they wouldn’t learn in a classroom, such as riding a bike, reading a book, or socializing with friends and family.
Having leisure time teaches kids valuable skills that cannot be acquired when doing their homework at a computer.
Plus, students need to get enough exercise. Getting exercise can improve cognitive function, which might be hindered by sedentary activities such as homework.
Pro 3: Homework Gets Parents Involved with Children’s Learning
Homework helps parents track what their children are learning in school.
Also allows parents to see what their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses are. Homework can alert parents to any learning difficulties that their children might have, enabling them to provide assistance and modify their child’s learning approach as necessary.
Parents who help their children with homework will lead to higher academic performance, better social skills and behaviour, and greater self-confidence in their children.
Con 3: Homework Is Not Always Effective
Numerous researchers have attempted to evaluate the importance of homework and how it enhances academic performance. According to a study , homework in primary schools has a minimal effect since students pursue unrelated assignments instead of solidifying what they have already learned.
Mental health experts agree heavy homework loads have the capacity to do more harm than good for students. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether. So, unfortunately for students, homework is here to stay.
You can learn more about the pro and cons of homework here.
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10+ Proven Reasons Why Homework Is Good For Students
- Post author By admin
- October 13, 2022
What’s more important than getting good grades? Many students will say that nothing is better than good academic marks. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, good grades are a prize. Secondly, it is the symbol that you have accomplished something. Lastly, it is essential because they can indicate that you have earned the respect of your teacher.
There must be a connection between homework and higher accomplishments in Maths, Science, and English. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Education thinks that doing homework brings many benefits. If a student understands the value of homework, then homework can help increase productivity and motivate you.
This blog will help you understand why homework is good and discuss all its benefits. But let’s first know what homework is.
Table of Contents
What is Homework?
Homework is defined as tasks students assign as an extension or elaboration of a classroom work that students do outside of class, either at home or in the library. In other words, it is the school work that a student is required to do at home.
Homework serves various educational needs such as an intellectual discipline, reinforces work done in school, establishes study habits, helps you learn time management, and many more. Below are the ten benefits of why homework is suitable for students.
10 Beneficial Reasons Why Homework Is Good for Students
Homework is an integral part of your life because it develops core skills in young children that will serve them throughout school and their lives. According to a study, if you do homework regularly, it is considered an investment in your child’s future. Some vital life skills like improved grades, time management, discipline, using some resources, and improving communication can help your children succeed in their careers.
By encouraging regular homework and supporting students with their assignments, you can expect to see the following benefits why homework is good:
- Increase Memory Power.
- Enhances Concentration.
- Homework Strengthens Problem-Solving.
- Helps in Developing Analytical Skills.
- Discipline Skills.
- Develops Time Management.
- Better Understanding of Study.
- Develop Better Future.
- Homework Helps Students Get Better Grades.
- Better Preparation for Exams.
Increase Memory Power
Homework is a great tool to practice something. The students use it to remember what they have learned in school. When students revise the same lesson taught in school at home, it will help them remember better.
If you revise or do your homework repetitively, this will help you with long-term memory. Homework can be used to improve a student’s memory power. This is the first reason why homework is good.
Students who spend more time on their homework without any distractions can focus better on what they are doing. Once you can concentrate better, it will also help you in exams. This is the second reason why homework is good.
Homework Strengthens Problem-Solving
Assignments are given as homework to help students solve problems on their own instead of asking for help from others which is very embarrassing. After solving many problems, students learn how to manage their time and find solutions to any problem on their own that they only encounter while working on homework. This is the third reason why homework is good.
Develops Time Management
As we mentioned earlier, students who spend time on their homework assignments have a better understanding of time management. After you better understand time management, getting better marks in exams is straightforward. As a result, homework plays a crucial role in developing time management skills. This is the fourth reason why homework is good.
Homework Helps Students Get Better Grades
The main aim of education is to receive better academic marks, which will further help you get the job of your dreams. Higher academic marks can open up several opportunities in the future. Many teachers use homework as a tool for students who are not that good at studying. Teachers often give relevant homework to the students to add to the future exam. As a result, if you revise your homework before an exam, getting better marks is high. This is the fifth reason why homework is good.
Develop Better Future
As we mentioned above, if students do well in their homework assignments, it will automatically boost their grades. If a student can do well in their homework, it will reflect that they are capable of handling challenging tasks given to them in the future. As a result, if you have better grades in school or university, the chances of getting the highest paying job are much higher. This is the sixth reason why homework is good.
Students who do their homework without any complaints are likely to develop discipline. Discipline is an important life skill that will help you in school and help you further in the future. This is the seventh reason why homework is good.
Discipline will help you when you have to work for someone else because discipline is first noticed. This is the most valuable quality employers would look for while choosing between candidates.
Better Understanding of Study
When students revise the lessons again and again that they have learned in school at home, it helps them understand the subject better. If a student practices the same topic twice or more, then it is easier for the student to get an idea about the relevant topic. This is the eighth reason why homework is good.
Better Preparation for Exams
Studying for the exams can be a difficult task for the students. But if they revise the lessons that they have learned in school at home, it is easier for the students to learn and memorize the subject better. As a result, it will give you more confidence for the exam. This is the ninth reason why homework is good.
Read our other blog to learn about the different facts about homework .
Helps in Developing Analytical Skills
When students are given homework that requires them to analyze information, it will help develop their analytical skills. It is the most valuable quality that students can possess. In other words, homework helps the students develop the analytical skills necessary for solving problems in the future. This is the last reason why homework is good.
Bonus Tips For Homework For Parents
- Make sure that your child has a quiet place to do homework if your children are doing homework in front of the television or in an area with other distractions. Then make sure to either turn off the tv or tell the kid to move somewhere with no distraction.
- Always be optimistic about the homework, and tell your child how vital homework assignment is. Express a positive attitude regarding the task.
- Establish a set timetable for each day for your children. Help your child to maintain time. Don’t let your child leave homework until it’s done.
- Somehow, if your children ask for help, provide guidance, not answers.
- When the teacher says that you (parents) play an important role in homework, please cooperate with the teacher. Follow the directions that the teacher gives.
- Too much parent involvement is bad. If homework is meant to be done alone, please stay away from your children.
- Let your child take a short break.
- If your child is getting better marks due to homework, reward them for those things they like. If they get better academic marks, then you can celebrate that success with a small event.
What is the importance of homework to school students?
Improves students’ knowledge
Homework is a type of practice that needs to be done to achieve better results. If students get homework regularly, they become intelligent and answer questions effectively.
Have a chance to explore
To complete the homework, students must solve the problems by researching them. Students have to search for an answer from different sources. Students get to explore new things while working from home in this process.
Make you Responsible
Apart from increasing study skills, homework helps build a sense of responsibility in the students. It means students take responsibility for their work to ensure it is complete and submitted before the last date.
Brings Families Together
When students have homework, they usually ask their parents to help with the assignment. As a result, this allows the student to understand the work better. Asking for help from your parents or siblings will bring the family together.
Why Homework Should Be Banned
After learning about why homework is good for students here you will get some reasons why homework should be banned .
- Homework Restricts A Student’s Freedom
- No Time For Exercises
- No Time To Play Outdoor Games
- Often Breaks Students’ Confidence
- Homework Doing Not An Achievement
Conclusion: Why Homework is Good
This blog provides you with ten reasons why homework is good.
Homework has many benefits for students. If they can complete all their homework seriously, it would help them improve their academic marks.
They can also prepare better for exams by studying the homework at home with the help of their parents. Overall, homework is an integral part of a student’s education, and it should not be taken lightly.
Also, Read: Is Homework Good or Bad
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fact about homework.
A study by a top renowned university, Stanford University, found that 56% of the students or pupils say that the main cause of their stress is homework.
Does homework help in life?
Yes, homework helps students in life. Homework develops a good study habits among students and develop that sense of responsibility as students become responsible for completing their homework.
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20 Reasons Why Homework is Good: Unlocking the Best Benefits For Students
Do you want to know why homework is good? If yes, then you should have a close look at this blog post to explore top 20 reasons why homework is good for students.
Table of Contents
Homework has long been a part of the educational landscape, with students around the world completing assignments outside of school hours. While it may sometimes be met with groans and sighs, homework serves a valuable purpose in the learning process.
In this article, we will explore 20 reasons why homework is good and how it can positively impact students’ academic journey. From enhancing learning and understanding to fostering important skills such as responsibility and critical thinking, homework plays a significant role in a student’s educational development.
Also Read Top 27+Trending Project Ideas for College Students In 2024
So, let’s delve into the reasons why homework should be seen as a beneficial and integral component of the learning experience.
20 Reasons Why Homework is Good
Have a close look at the 20 reasons why homework is good.
Enhances learning and understanding
Homework goes beyond the limited time in the classroom, allowing students to delve deeper into the subject matter.
For example, in a math class, students can practice solving equations, applying formulas, and exploring different problem-solving strategies through homework assignments.
This hands-on practice solidifies their understanding of the concepts and helps them connect the theoretical knowledge with real-world applications.
Homework provides an opportunity for students to reinforce what they have learned in class by applying it to practical situations.
For instance, in a history class, students can be assigned reading assignments and asked to analyze primary sources or write essays that require them to synthesize the information they learned in class.
By actively engaging with the material outside of the classroom, students reinforce their knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of the subject.
By assigning homework, educators instill a sense of responsibility in students. Meeting deadlines and completing assignments on time teach students the importance of managing their obligations.
For instance, a science project that requires regular updates and progress reports teaches students to plan their time effectively, allocate resources, and take ownership of their work.
These skills translate into other areas of life, such as meeting work deadlines or managing personal projects.
Builds time management skills
Homework assignments provide an opportunity for students to develop essential time management skills.
For example, having multiple assignments in different subjects requires students to prioritize their tasks, allocate time accordingly, and balance their academic responsibilities with extracurricular activities or personal commitments.
Through effective time management, students learn to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, which prepares them for the demands of college or a professional career.
Promotes independent learning
Homework encourages students to become self-directed learners. By assigning research projects or open-ended assignments, students have the freedom to explore topics of interest and conduct independent research. This fosters curiosity, initiative, and a lifelong love for learning.
For example, in an English class, students can be assigned a book to read and analyze, allowing them to explore the themes, analyze the characters, and develop their critical thinking skills through independent analysis and interpretation.
Prepares for exams and assessments
Homework serves as valuable preparation for exams and assessments. By practicing through homework assignments, students review and reinforce the material covered in class, identify areas where they need more practice, and gain confidence in their abilities.
For instance, in a language class, students can be given vocabulary exercises, reading comprehension passages, and writing prompts to practice the skills needed for an upcoming exam.
This targeted practice helps students perform better on assessments and boosts their overall academic performance.
Encourages critical thinking
Homework tasks often require students to think critically, analyze information, and draw conclusions.
For instance, in a social science class, students can be given a current event to research and analyze, requiring them to examine different perspectives, evaluate the reliability of sources, and form evidence-based arguments.
This develops their ability to think critically, question assumptions, and make informed judgments, skills that are crucial for success in higher education and beyond.
Consistently completing homework assignments develops self-discipline in students. For example, a long-term project that spans several weeks or months requires students to pace themselves, set milestones, and stay committed to the task until completion.
This cultivates the discipline needed to work independently, meet deadlines, and persist in the face of challenges, all of which are valuable qualities for personal and academic growth.
Improves time on task
Homework provides students with additional practice opportunities, allowing them to spend more time engaging with the subject matter. For instance, in a foreign language class, students can practice vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills through homework assignments.
The additional practice time enhances their fluency, accuracy, and overall proficiency in the language.
Expands knowledge base
Homework assignments often require students to explore topics beyond the classroom curriculum, encouraging them to broaden their knowledge base.
For instance, in a science class, students can be assigned research projects on a specific scientific discovery or phenomenon.
This research allows them to delve into related topics, explore scientific journals, and expand their understanding beyond what is covered in the textbook.
By engaging in independent exploration, students develop a broader perspective and a thirst for knowledge
Builds research skills
Homework assignments promote the development of research skills in students. For example, in a social studies class, students can be assigned a research paper on a historical event.
This requires them to locate and evaluate credible sources, analyze and synthesize information, and present their findings in a coherent and well-supported manner.
These research skills are transferable to other academic disciplines and are valuable in higher education and professional settings.
Homework tasks often present challenges and problems that students must solve independently or in collaboration with peers.
For example, in a math class, students can be given complex word problems that require them to apply mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies.
This fosters their ability to think critically, approach problems from different angles, and develop innovative solutions.
These problem-solving skills extend beyond the academic realm and are applicable in various real-life situations.
Reinforces study habits
Regular homework assignments help students establish effective study habits. For example, in a history class, students can be assigned reading assignments and study guides to review for upcoming quizzes or exams.
By following a consistent study routine, organizing materials, and actively engaging with the content, students develop effective study strategies that enhance their learning and retention of information.
Facilitates parental involvement
Homework assignments provide an opportunity for parents to be involved in their child’s education.
For example, parents can assist their children with homework by offering guidance, answering questions, and providing additional resources or explanations when needed.
This involvement strengthens the parent-child bond, allows parents to stay informed about their child’s academic progress, and creates a supportive learning environment.
Enhances organizational skills
Managing multiple homework assignments requires students to develop and refine their organizational skills.
For example, students can use tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and digital apps to keep track of their assignments, deadlines, and priorities.
These organizational skills extend beyond the academic setting and are valuable in managing various responsibilities and tasks throughout life.
Improves communication skills
Some homework assignments involve written or verbal communication, allowing students to develop effective communication skills.
For example, in an English class, students can be assigned essays, presentations, or debates that require them to articulate their thoughts, present arguments coherently, and engage in respectful discussions.
This practice hones their written and verbal communication abilities, which are essential in academic, professional, and personal contexts.
Builds perseverance and resilience
Overcoming challenges and completing homework assignments teaches students perseverance, resilience, and the value of hard work.
For example, a challenging math problem or a lengthy research paper may initially seem daunting.
But as students persist and work through the difficulties, they develop resilience and a growth mindset.
They learn that perseverance and effort are essential for overcoming obstacles and achieving their goals.
Certain homework tasks, such as creative projects or artistic assignments, encourage students to think creatively, explore new ideas, and express themselves in unique ways.
For example, in an art class, students can be assigned a project to create an original artwork that conveys a specific theme or emotion.
This fosters their creativity, imagination, and self-expression, allowing them to develop their artistic skills and discover new talents.
Prepares for real-world responsibilities
Homework prepares students for future responsibilities they will encounter in their personal and professional lives.
For example, meeting deadlines, managing projects, and handling workloads are common expectations in the real world.
By completing homework assignments, students develop the skills and habits necessary to handle these responsibilities effectively, setting them up for success in various endeavors.
Reinforces classroom learning
Homework serves as a bridge between classroom instruction and independent practice, reinforcing and extending learning beyond the school environment.
For example, in a science class, students can be assigned hands-on experiments or observations to conduct at home.
This allows them to apply the concepts learned in class, make connections to real-world phenomena, and deepen their understanding through practical application.
What are 5 benefits of homework?
Have a close look at the 5 benefits of homework.
Reinforcement of Learning
Homework provides an opportunity for students to reinforce what they have learned in class. By practicing concepts and skills through homework assignments, students solidify their understanding and knowledge of the subject matter.
Development of Responsibility
Completing homework assignments teaches students the importance of taking responsibility for their own learning. It instills a sense of accountability and helps students understand the connection between effort and achievement.
Preparation for Assessments
Homework serves as valuable preparation for exams and assessments. By reviewing and practicing concepts through homework assignments, students can better prepare themselves for tests, quizzes, and other evaluative measures.
Homework assignments help students develop crucial skills such as time management, organization, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills are transferable and applicable to various aspects of life.
Homework extends learning beyond the classroom, allowing students to explore topics in more depth, conduct research, and engage in independent study. It fosters a sense of curiosity and encourages students to become lifelong learners.
These benefits of homework contribute to students’ academic growth, personal development, and readiness for future challenges.
Why is homework so popular?
Homework has gained popularity and become a common practice in education for several reasons:
Homework provides an opportunity for students to reinforce what they have learned in class. It allows them to practice and apply concepts, ensuring better retention and understanding of the subject matter.
Homework is believed to contribute to improved academic performance. It gives students the chance to practice and refine their skills, review material, and prepare for exams and assessments, ultimately enhancing their overall academic achievement.
Homework promotes the development of important skills such as responsibility, time management, critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent learning. These skills are essential for success not only in academics but also in future careers and personal endeavors.
Homework serves as a means for parents to be involved in their child’s education. It provides an opportunity for parents to support and assist their children, fostering a collaborative relationship between home and school. This involvement is seen as beneficial for the overall academic progress and well-being of students.
Preparation for Real-World Responsibilities
Homework prepares students for the demands and responsibilities they will face in the real world. Meeting deadlines, managing tasks, and self-directed learning are skills required beyond the classroom, and homework helps develop these abilities.
Extension of Learning
Homework extends the learning experience beyond the limited time in the classroom. It encourages students to explore topics further, conduct research, and engage in independent study, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the subject matter.
Traditional Educational Practice
Homework has been a longstanding tradition in education, deeply ingrained in the educational system. Its continued use and popularity can be attributed to its historical presence and perceived benefits in reinforcing learning and building academic skills.
While homework may have its critics and varying opinions on its effectiveness, these factors contribute to its popularity as a widely practiced educational tool. It aims to enhance learning, develop important skills, foster parental involvement, and prepare students for future challenges.
Why is homework good for your brain?
Homework offers several benefits for the brain, promoting its growth, development, and overall cognitive abilities. Here’s why homework is good for your brain:
Enhanced Neural Connections
Completing homework tasks engages the brain, creating and reinforcing neural connections. These connections strengthen the pathways between brain cells , allowing for more efficient information processing and improved cognitive function.
Homework involves reviewing and practicing learned material, which aids in memory consolidation. The act of retrieving information from memory and applying it during homework tasks strengthens memory recall and retention, improving overall learning outcomes.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
Homework assignments often require students to think critically, analyze information, and solve problems. Engaging in these cognitive processes stimulates the brain, enhances problem-solving abilities, and develops critical thinking skills necessary for academic success and real-life situations.
Attention and Focus
Homework tasks demand concentration and sustained attention, which contribute to the development of focused cognitive abilities. Regularly practicing sustained attention during homework improves the brain’s ability to concentrate on tasks, leading to improved academic performance and increased productivity in various aspects of life.
Executive Function Skills
Homework helps develop executive function skills, which are essential for planning, organizing, and completing tasks. These skills involve goal setting, time management, prioritization, and self-regulation. Engaging in homework exercises these cognitive processes, strengthening the brain’s executive function abilities.
Creativity and Innovation
Certain homework assignments, such as open-ended projects or creative tasks, stimulate the brain’s creativity and innovation. These activities encourage students to think outside the box, generate unique ideas, and explore alternative solutions. Engaging in creative thinking during homework exercises the brain’s imaginative capacities, fostering a more innovative mindset.
Homework prompts students to reflect on their own learning process, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop self-awareness. This metacognitive practice enhances the brain’s ability to monitor and regulate its own thinking, leading to improved self-directed learning and metacognitive skills that are transferable to other areas of life.
Time Management and Organization
Homework requires students to manage their time effectively and organize their work. Engaging in these tasks exercises the brain’s planning and organizational skills.
By developing effective time management strategies and organizational techniques, the brain becomes more adept at managing complex tasks and responsibilities.
In summary, homework is good for the brain as it promotes neural connections, memory consolidation, critical thinking, attention, executive function skills, creativity, metacognition, time management, and organization.
By engaging in these cognitive processes during homework, the brain is continually challenged and stimulated, leading to improved cognitive abilities and academic performance.
Note : Also read our blog on Best Ideas for Social Science Topics for Research Papers.
In conclusion, homework plays a vital role in the educational journey of students. It offers numerous benefits that contribute to their learning, development, and future success. By enhancing learning and understanding, reinforcing concepts, and promoting critical thinking, homework ensures a deeper grasp of the subject matter.
Moreover, it fosters responsibility, time management skills, and independent learning, equipping students with valuable life skills. Homework prepares students for exams, cultivates self-discipline, and expands their knowledge base through research and problem-solving tasks.
It reinforces study habits, encourages parental involvement, and enhances organizational and communication skills. By promoting perseverance, creativity, and preparation for real-world responsibilities, homework molds students into well-rounded individuals ready to face challenges.
Ultimately, homework serves as a valuable tool to reinforce classroom learning, extend education beyond the school walls, and set a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Embracing the benefits of homework, students can maximize their educational experience and emerge as confident, capable learners prepared for the demands of the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is homework always beneficial for students.
Homework can be beneficial when designed purposefully and aligned with the learning objectives. However, excessive or poorly designed homework may have limited benefits.
How much time should students spend on homework?
The amount of time students spend on homework can vary based on their grade level and the complexity of the assignments. As a general guideline, educators recommend allocating around 10 minutes per grade level for homework.
Does homework contribute to academic success?
Homework can contribute to academic success by reinforcing learning, promoting independent thinking, and developing crucial skills. However, its impact may vary among individuals and should be balanced with other aspects of a student’s life.
How can parents support their children with homework?
Parents can support their children with homework by providing a quiet and conducive study environment, offering guidance when needed, and showing interest in their child’s academic progress.
Are there alternatives to traditional homework assignments?
Yes, educators are exploring alternative approaches to homework, such as project-based learning and flipped classrooms, which aim to engage students in more interactive and practical learning experiences.
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20 Reasons Why Homework Is Good for Students
Homework has long been a topic of debate in the educational sphere, with arguments both for and against its effectiveness. While some may argue that homework adds unnecessary stress to students’ lives, there are numerous benefits that often go unnoticed. In this blog, we will explore 20 reasons why homework is good, shedding light on its positive impact on students’ academic development and overall well-being.
Why Do Students Hate Homework?
Students’ dislike for homework is a complex issue influenced by various factors. Some common reasons why students may express a dislike for homework include:
- Overwhelming Workload: Excessive amounts of homework can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. When students have multiple assignments from different classes, it can become challenging to manage their time effectively.
- Lack of Relevance: Students may resist homework if they perceive it as irrelevant or disconnected from their interests and real-world applications. When they don’t see the purpose behind the tasks, motivation can diminish.
- Insufficient Understanding: If students struggle to grasp the concepts taught in class, homework can become a source of frustration. Feeling ill-equipped to complete assignments can lead to a negative attitude towards homework.
- Limited Free Time: With busy schedules filled with extracurricular activities, family commitments, and social engagements, students may perceive homework as an infringement on their limited free time.
- Repetition of Tasks: When homework assignments merely replicate what was covered in class without offering additional challenges or opportunities for creativity, students may find them monotonous and uninspiring.
- Family Dynamics: Students from homes with limited resources or unsupportive environments may find it difficult to complete homework. Factors such as a lack of quiet space, parental involvement, or access to necessary materials can contribute to negative perceptions.
- Teacher-Student Relationship: A strained relationship between students and teachers can impact how students perceive homework. A lack of clarity in expectations, communication issues, or an unsupportive atmosphere can contribute to a negative attitude.
- Learning Differences: Students with learning differences may find certain types of homework more challenging. When assignments don’t accommodate diverse learning styles, it can lead to frustration and a dislike for the tasks.
- Burnout: Continuous academic pressure, including homework, can contribute to burnout. If students feel constantly overwhelmed, it can result in a negative perception of all academic tasks, including homework.
- Lack of Autonomy: Students may resist homework when they feel they have little autonomy in the learning process. Assignments that allow for creativity, choice, and personalization can be more engaging.
- Development of Skills
- Improving Time Management Skills: Homework assignments necessitate careful planning and time allocation. Students learn to manage their time effectively, a skill that proves invaluable in various aspects of life.
- Enhancing Organizational Skills: Juggling multiple assignments and deadlines teaches students to organize their work, fostering habits that will benefit them beyond the classroom.
- Fostering Responsibility and Accountability: Homework instills a sense of responsibility in students, as they become accountable for completing tasks and meeting deadlines, preparing them for future challenges.
- Reinforcement of Classroom Learning
- Providing Additional Practice: Homework offers students extra practice on concepts learned in class, reinforcing their understanding and ensuring a more comprehensive grasp of the material.
- Reinforcing Important Skills and Knowledge: Regular homework assignments help consolidate crucial skills and knowledge, preventing gaps in understanding and promoting a strong foundation for further learning.
- Helping Solidify Understanding Through Repetition: Repetition is a key component of learning. Homework provides the necessary repetition to help students master new concepts and skills.
- Preparation for Tests and Exams
- Valuable Preparation for Assessments: Homework serves as a preparation ground for tests and exams, allowing students to review and apply what they have learned in a controlled setting.
- Identifying Areas of Weakness: Through homework, students can identify areas of weakness and seek additional help, ensuring they enter exams with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
- Development of Critical Thinking
- Encouraging Independent Problem-Solving: Homework often requires students to think critically and solve problems independently, promoting the development of analytical skills.
- Promoting Analytical Thinking and Reasoning: Critical thinking and reasoning are essential skills in any field. Homework assignments encourage students to think beyond the surface and analyze information more deeply.
- Deepening Understanding of Subjects: Engaging with homework allows students to delve deeper into subjects, fostering a more profound understanding that goes beyond what is covered in class.
- Cultivation of a Strong Work Ethic
- Instilling the Value of Hard Work and Dedication: Completing homework assignments teaches students the value of hard work and dedication, essential qualities for success in academics and life.
- Preparing for Higher Education and the Workforce: The work ethic developed through homework prepares students for the demands of higher education and future careers, where discipline and commitment are key to success.
- Parental Involvement and Awareness
- Facilitating Communication Between Parents and Teachers: Homework serves as a bridge between parents and teachers, providing insights into a student’s progress and facilitating open communication about their academic journey.
- Active Parental Participation in Learning: Parents can actively participate in their child’s learning process by assisting with homework, creating a supportive learning environment at home.
- Bridging Gaps in Understanding
- Revisiting and Clarifying Class Material: Homework assignments offer an opportunity for students to revisit and clarify class material, ensuring a more comprehensive understanding of the curriculum.
- Seeking Clarification on Challenging Concepts: Students can use homework as a platform to seek clarification on concepts they find challenging, promoting a proactive approach to their education.
- Encouragement of Lifelong Learning
- Instilling a Love for Learning Beyond the Classroom: Homework fosters a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom, encouraging students to explore topics independently and pursue knowledge throughout their lives.
- Promoting a Mindset of Continuous Improvement: The habit of engaging with homework instills a mindset of continuous improvement, encouraging students to seek ways to enhance their skills and knowledge.
- Development of Research Skills
- Involvement in Research Assignments: Many homework assignments involve research, providing students with an opportunity to develop and refine their research skills, a valuable asset in academia and beyond.
- Promotion of Creativity
- Allowing for Creative Expression: Certain homework assignments, such as projects and essays, provide students with the chance to express their creativity, fostering innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
- Fostering Innovation and Out-of-the-Box Thinking: By encouraging creative expression, homework helps students develop the ability to approach problems with innovative solutions, a skill highly sought after in today’s dynamic world.
- Preparation for Real-world Responsibilities
- Teaching the Importance of Meeting Deadlines: Completing homework assignments teaches students the importance of meeting deadlines, a crucial skill that prepares them for the responsibilities of the real world.
- Developing Skills Essential for Professional Life: Homework instills skills such as time management, organization, and responsibility, all of which are essential for success in professional life.
- Individualized Learning Opportunities
- Personalized Practice Based on Individual Needs: Homework allows for personalized practice, catering to individual learning styles and addressing specific needs, promoting a more tailored educational experience.
- Catering to Diverse Learning Styles and Paces: Recognizing that each student learns differently, homework provides opportunities for educators to tailor assignments to cater to diverse learning styles and paces.
- Building a Strong Foundation for Future Learning
- Laying the Groundwork for Advanced Topics: Homework assignments play a crucial role in laying the groundwork for more advanced topics, ensuring students have a solid foundation for future learning.
- Contributing to a Comprehensive Education: A balanced approach to homework contributes to a comprehensive education, offering students a well-rounded understanding of various subjects.
- Improvement of Communication Skills
- Involvement in Written and Oral Communication Assignments: Some homework assignments involve written or oral communication, honing students’ communication skills and enhancing their ability to express ideas clearly.
- Enhancing the Ability to Express Ideas Clearly: Through regular communication-focused assignments, students improve their ability to express ideas clearly and articulate their thoughts effectively.
- Encouragement of Discipline
- Requiring Discipline and Commitment: The completion of homework assignments requires discipline and commitment, instilling habits that contribute to academic success and personal growth.
- Building Habits for Academic Success: The discipline developed through homework builds habits that contribute to academic success, fostering a mindset of excellence and achievement.
- Assessment of Progress
- Providing a Measurable Way to Track Progress: Homework offers a measurable way to track academic progress, allowing both students and educators to assess performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Identifying Areas for Improvement: By reviewing completed homework assignments, students can identify areas for improvement and take proactive steps to enhance their understanding of specific topics.
- Promotion of Self-directed Learning
- Encouraging Initiative in Education: Homework encourages students to take initiative in their education, promoting a sense of ownership and self-directed learning.
- Developing a Sense of Autonomy and Self-reliance: Through self-directed learning, students develop a sense of autonomy and self-reliance, skills that serve them well in academia and beyond.
- Integration of Technology Skills
- Involvement in Technology-focused Assignments: Some homework assignments involve the use of technology, fostering digital literacy and preparing students for the demands of the modern world.
- Fostering Digital Literacy: Engaging with technology in the context of homework assignments enhances students’ digital literacy, a crucial skill in today’s technology-driven society.
- Encouragement of Peer Collaboration
Homework assignments often involve collaborative elements, encouraging students to work together to solve problems or complete projects.
This fosters a sense of teamwork, enhances communication skills, and exposes students to diverse perspectives, preparing them for collaborative endeavors in their future academic and professional lives.
- Promotion of a Growth Mindset
Engaging with challenging homework tasks promotes a growth mindset, where students view difficulties as opportunities for learning and improvement rather than insurmountable obstacles.
This mindset not only enhances resilience but also contributes to a positive attitude towards academic challenges throughout their educational journey.
In conclusion, homework, when approached with a balanced perspective, offers a myriad of benefits (and 20 reasons why homework is good) that contribute significantly to students’ academic success and personal development.
From the development of essential skills to the promotion of creativity and the preparation for real-world responsibilities, homework plays a crucial role in shaping well-rounded, capable individuals ready to face the challenges of the future.
It is essential to recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of homework as an integral part of the educational journey. As educators, parents, and students collaborate to create a supportive learning environment, the potential for harnessing the benefits of homework becomes even more profound, ultimately paving the way for a brighter and more successful academic future.
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