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August 16, 2021

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

by Sara M Moniuszko

homework

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide-range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas over workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework .

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy work loads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace, says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.

And for all the distress homework causes, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night.

"Most students, especially at these high-achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school ," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely, but to be more mindful of the type of work students go home with, suggests Kang, who was a high-school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework, I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the last two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic, making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized... sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking assignments up can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

©2021 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock)

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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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.

Denise Pope

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.

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.

SuchScience large

How Does Homework Cause Stress: Surprising Ways Your Assignments May Be Overwhelming You

  • SuchScience Staff
  • January 11, 2024

homework related to stress

Understanding Homework-Related Stress

Diving into homework-related stress, one finds that not only is it a significant stressor impacting children’s health, but it also reflects the broader practices and assumptions within the education system.

Health Impacts of Excessive Homework

Not just a buzzword, homework stress can lead to tangible negative health outcomes.

A study in the Journal of Learning Disabilities Research & Practice connects excessive homework to childhood health dilemmas such as headaches, stomach problems, sleep deprivation, and even anxiety and depression.

Denise Pope from Stanford University found in her research that excessive homework can be counterproductive, causing not just mental health issues but also physical health problems by disrupting both sleep quality and quantity.

Education System and Homework Practices

The education system’s traditional assumption has been that homework is beneficial for learning facilitation.

However, survey data indicates that the pressure to complete large volumes of homework can be counterproductive.

There’s a delicate balance between the purpose and benefit of homework and its potential to become a chronic stressor.

Educational experts are examining this issue, as seen in works like those in the Journal of Experimental Education , to ensure that homework practices evolve to support children’s learning without compromising their health.

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Balancing Homework with Personal Life

A cluttered desk with books and papers, a clock ticking in the background, and a look of frustration on a faceless figure's expression

Homework can be more than just a task; it often impacts students’ lives beyond the classroom, affecting their time for other activities and their mental health.

Time Management Challenges

Students today face a significant challenge trying to juggle their homework load with other aspects of their personal lives.

Extracurricular activities, which are essential for social and personal development, often have to be balanced with the time spent on homework .

Many students find themselves in a constant battle to maintain a healthy sleep schedule while trying to keep up with their academic responsibilities, leading to a lack of balance .

Research indicates that middle school students often struggle with this balance, as they attempt to meet the demands of their studies while participating in extracurricular activities and spending valuable family time .

The attempt to manage these diverse commitments can result in a significant decrease in the time available for social activities and contribute to increased anxiety and the risk of depression .

Psychological Consequences of Overload

The psychological impact of an intense homework load can extend far beyond mere frustration.

Students who consistently experience a heavy homework burden may suffer from chronic stress , which can lead to feelings of alienation from family and friends .

The quest for academic success, coupled with the urge to excel in activities and maintain a presence on social media , means young minds are constantly besieged by demands, which can lead to significant personal responsibility and life skills development but at a high cost.

These negative effects are not limited to mental wellness; they can also manifest in physical ways.

A study has shown that a high emphasis on homework can be associated with physical health problems .

It is thus critical for students to learn how to manage their responsibilities effectively, avoiding a scenario where homework becomes the sole focus at the expense of personal growth and health.

Progress in balanced homework practices has also been documented, suggesting that strategic changes can help alleviate the pressure on students.

Teachers are encouraged to consider the overall well-being of their pupils, ensuring that homework bolsters academic achievement without detracting from the ability to lead a balanced life.

The Role of Educational Institutions

homework related to stress

A clock shows late hours.

Educational institutions lie at the core of the homework debate.

They shape the policies that directly influence both the quality and quantity of homework assigned.

Policy Changes and Homework Guidelines

Some schools, recognizing the potential for academic stress, have begun to rethink their approach.

The National Education Association has endorsed a 10-minute rule , suggesting that no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night should be assigned.

This move aims to balance schoolwork and free time, allowing students to engage in exercise and mindfulness activities.

In high-performing schools, where the pressure to succeed is palpable, some administrators are implementing a no-homework policy to reduce student stress and burnout.

Support Systems for Stress Management

Schools are not only changing policies but are also putting support systems in place.

Programs focusing on stress management, such as structured mindfulness exercises , have been introduced.

Teachers and parents are also receiving guidance on how to help manage homework-related stresses.

These initiatives, supported by studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, underline the critical role educational institutions play in shaping a supportive learning environment.

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Mastering the Art of Homework: Expert Tips for a Stress-Free Study Session

2023-05-09 | By Orcam Staff

From Frustration to Focus: How to Make Homework Less Stressful

As students, parents, and teachers alike can attest, homework is a ubiquitous feature of modern education. But as much as homework is a fact of life for many students, the question of whether it causes stress remains a hotly debated topic. The importance of this topic cannot be overstated, as research has consistently shown that homework-related stress can have negative impacts on student mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being. 

In this article, we will explore the underlying causes of homework-related stress, its effects on students, and evidence-based strategies to alleviate homework-related stress and improve student well-being. By the end of this article, readers will have a clearer understanding of the issue at hand and practical tools to help manage the stress that homework can sometimes bring.

Homework is a common aspect of education that can cause stress for many students, parents, and teachers. The question of whether homework causes stress is a controversial topic. However, it is crucial to address this issue as research has consistently shown that homework-related stress can negatively impact students' mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being. One effective solution to alleviate homework-related stress is to learn how to make homework less frustrating. 

This article aims to explore the underlying causes of homework-related stress, its effects on students, and evidence-based strategies to improve student well-being. By the end of this article, readers will have gained a better understanding of the issue and practical tools to manage the stress that homework can bring.

Homework and Stress: Understanding the Causes and Effects

Homework policies: a contributing factor to student stress.

Homework can be a significant source of stress for students, leading to a range of negative effects on their mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being. Research has shown that homework policies that assign excessive amounts of homework or place unrealistic expectations on students can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress.

Study Habits: The Key to Managing Homework-Related Stress

Some of the key causes of homework-related stress include academic pressure, lack of effective time management skills, and poor study habits. When students feel overwhelmed by their workload, it can lead to anxiety and feelings of being unable to cope. This can ultimately impact their academic performance and overall well-being.

Negative Impact of Academic Pressure on Student Mental Health and Well-Being

It's important to recognize that homework itself is not inherently stressful. Rather, it is the amount and type of homework assigned, as well as the expectations placed on students, that can contribute to stress. By implementing effective homework alternatives and strategies, such as project-based learning or flipped classrooms, educators can help alleviate homework-related stress and improve student engagement and performance.

Time Management: A Crucial Skill to Alleviate Homework Stress

To reduce homework stress, students can try to implement effective time management techniques, such as breaking down assignments into manageable tasks and creating a study schedule that prioritizes important assignments. They can also explore homework alternatives, such as online resources and study groups, that can help them better understand the material and complete their assignments more efficiently.

Overall, by understanding the causes and effects of homework-related stress, students, parents, and educators can work together to create a more supportive and less stressful learning environment.

Many students know all too well the feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even hopelessness that can come with excessive homework. But why exactly does homework cause stress? The answer lies in a number of factors, from the policies governing homework to the individual habits and well-being of each student.

The link between homework policies and student stress

One major source of homework-related stress is the policies and expectations surrounding homework. While homework is meant to help reinforce learning and promote academic success, too much homework or overly strict homework policies can lead to anxiety and burnout. When students feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of homework, they may experience anxiety or even feelings of helplessness, leading to a vicious cycle of stress and poor academic performance.

The Role of study habits in Managing homework-related stress

But homework-related stress is not solely the result of external factors. Study habits and time management can play a significant role in how students experience homework-related stress. Students who struggle with effective study habits or who have difficulty managing their time may find themselves feeling overwhelmed by homework and unable to cope with the associated stress.

The Impact of academic pressure on student mental health and Well-being

Academic pressure is also a major contributor to homework-related stress. Whether from parents, teachers, or self-imposed expectations, students may feel intense pressure to perform well academically. This pressure can lead to a range of negative consequences, from burnout to anxiety and depression.

The relationship between homework, time management, and student stress

So, does homework cause anxiety or stress? The answer is yes, and the effects can be significant. When students experience high levels of stress related to homework, they may struggle to concentrate, retain information, and perform well academically. Over time, this can take a toll on their mental health and well-being.

In the next section, we will explore evidence-based strategies for managing homework-related stress, including homework alternatives and techniques for reducing anxiety and improving time management. By implementing these strategies, students can reduce the impact of homework-related stress on their lives and enjoy greater academic success and overall well-being.

The Psychology of Homework and Stress

Homework is a complex issue that goes beyond just completing assignments. The psychological impact of homework on students cannot be ignored. In this section, we will explore the educational psychology theories related to homework and stress.

Overview of Educational Psychology Theories Related to Homework and Stress a. Self-Determination Theory b. Control-Value Theory c. Cognitive Load Theory

Impact of Homework on Student Motivation and Engagement a. How homework can positively or negatively impact student motivation b. How different types of homework assignments affect student engagement

Homework Anxiety and Its Effects on Student Mental Health and Academic Performance a. How homework anxiety can lead to stress and negatively affect student mental health b. The relationship between homework anxiety and academic performance

Alleviate Homework-Related Stress and Improve Student Well-being

Strategies to Alleviate Homework-Related Stress and Improve Student Well-being

After discussing the underlying causes and effects of homework-related stress, it's important to explore strategies that can help alleviate stress and promote student well-being. Here are some evidence-based strategies:

Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments

While homework has long been a staple of the education system, it may not always be the most effective way for students to learn. Here are some alternatives to traditional homework assignments:

Project-Based Learning: 

Instead of assigning daily homework, teachers can assign longer-term projects that allow students to explore a topic in-depth and demonstrate their understanding in creative ways.

Collaborative Learning: 

Group assignments can help students learn from one another and work together to achieve a common goal.

Flipped Classroom: 

In this approach, students watch lectures or read materials at home and use class time to work on assignments or projects, allowing for more individualized support from the teacher.

Time-Management Strategies to Reduce Homework-Related Stress

Effective time management can help students better balance their academic workload and reduce homework-related stress. Here are some strategies students can use:

Prioritize Tasks: 

Help students prioritize tasks by breaking down large assignments into smaller tasks and prioritizing tasks based on deadlines and importance.

Use a Planner: 

Encourage students to use a planner to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and extracurricular activities.

Take Breaks: 

Encourage students to take breaks and engage in physical activity or other hobbies to help reduce stress and increase focus.

Tips for Students on How to Make School Less Stressful

In addition to effective time management, there are other strategies students can use to make school less stressful:

Practice Mindfulness: 

Encourage students to practice mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing or meditation to help reduce stress and increase focus.

Get Enough Sleep: 

Getting enough sleep is crucial for student well-being and academic success. Encourage students to prioritize a consistent sleep schedule.

Seek Support: 

Encourage students to seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Support Students' Well-being and Academic Success

Parents and teachers can play a crucial role in supporting student well-being and academic success. Here are some strategies they can use:

Communicate: 

Encourage open communication between parents, teachers, and students to ensure everyone is aware of expectations and concerns.

Prioritize Playtime: 

Encourage parents to prioritize playtime and physical activity outside of school hours to help reduce stress and promote well-being.

Provide Support: 

Teachers can provide additional support to students who are struggling with homework by offering extra help sessions or alternative assignments.

By implementing these strategies, we can work towards reducing homework-related stress and promoting student well-being and academic success.

In conclusion, this article has explored the underlying causes and effects of homework-related stress on students, as well as evidence-based strategies to alleviate this stress and improve student well-being. It has been established that homework policies, study habits, academic pressure, and time management all play a significant role in contributing to homework-related stress. Moreover, it has been highlighted that homework-related stress can have a negative impact on student mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being.

To alleviate this stress and promote student well-being, there are various strategies that can be employed, such as alternatives to traditional homework assignments, time-management strategies, and tips for making school less stressful. Additionally, parents and teachers can play an important role in supporting students' well-being and academic success.

In conclusion, it is important for students, parents, and teachers to prioritize student well-being and to seek out additional resources on this topic. By taking steps to reduce homework-related stress, we can help ensure that students are better able to thrive academically, mentally, and emotionally.

Key Takeaways:

Homework can cause stress in students, which can negatively impact their mental health and academic performance.

Homework-related stress can stem from a variety of factors, including academic pressure, time management, and ineffective homework policies.

Alternatives to traditional homework assignments and time-management strategies can help reduce homework-related stress.

It's important for parents and teachers to prioritize student well-being and to seek out additional resources to support students in managing homework-related stress. 

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The Truth About Homework Stress: What Parents & Students Need to Know

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Homework is generally given out to ensure that students take time to review and remember the days lessons. It can help improve on a student’s general performance and enhance traits like self-discipline and independent problem solving.

Parents are able to see what their children are doing in school, while also helping teachers determine how well the lesson material is being learned. Homework is quite beneficial when used the right way and can improve student  performance.

This well intentioned practice can turn sour if it’s not handled the right way. Studies show that if a student is inundated with too much homework, not only do they get lower scores, but they are more likely to get stressed.

The age at which homework stress is affecting students is getting lower, some even as low as kindergarten. Makes you wonder what could a five year old possibly need to review as homework?

One of the speculated reasons for this stress is that the complexity of what a student is expected to learn is increasing, while the breaks for working out excess energy are reduced. Students are getting significantly more homework than recommended by the education leaders, some even nearly three times more.

To make matters worse, teachers may give homework that is both time consuming and will keep students busy while being totally non-productive.

Remedial work like telling students to copy notes word for word from their text books will  do nothing to improve their grades or help them progress. It just adds unnecessary stress.

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Effects of homework stress at home

Both parents and students tend to get stressed out at the beginning of a new school year due to the impending arrival of homework.

Nightly battles centered on finishing assignments are a household routine in houses with students.

Research has found that too much homework can negatively affect children. In creating a lack of balance between play time and time spent doing homework, a child can get headaches, sleep deprivation or even ulcers.

And homework stress doesn’t just impact grade schoolers. College students are also affected, and the stress is affecting their academic performance.

Even the parent’s confidence in their abilities to help their children with homework suffers due increasing stress levels in the household.

Fights and conflict over homework are more likely in families where parents do not have at least a college degree. When the child needs assistance, they have to turn to their older siblings who might already be bombarded with their own homework.

Parents who have a college degree feel more confident in approaching the school and discussing the appropriate amount of school work.

“It seems that homework being assigned discriminates against parents who don’t have college degree, parents who have English as their second language and against parents who are poor.” Said Stephanie Donaldson Pressman, the contributing editor of the study and clinical director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.

With all the stress associated with homework, it’s not surprising that some parents have opted not to let their children do homework. Parents that have instituted a no-homework policy have stated that it has taken a lot of the stress out of their evenings.

The recommended amount homework

The standard endorsed by the National Education Association is called the “10 minute rule”; 10 minutes per grade level per night. This recommendation was made after a number of studies were done on the effects of too much homework on families.

The 10 minute rule basically means 10 minutes of homework in the first grade, 20 minute for the second grade all the way up to 120 minutes for senior year in high school. Note that no homework is endorsed in classes under the first grade.

Parents reported first graders were spending around half an hour on homework each night, and kindergarteners spent 25 minutes a night on assignments according to a study carried out by Brown University.

Making a five year old sit still for half an hour is very difficult as they are at the age where they just want to move around and play.

A child who is exposed to 4-5 hours of homework after school is less likely to find the time to go out and play with their friends, which leads to accumulation of stress energy in the body.

Their social life also suffers because between the time spent at school and doing homework, a child will hardly have the time to pursue hobbies. They may also develop a negative attitude towards learning.

The research highlighted that 56% of students consider homework a primary source of stress.

And if you’re curious how the U.S stacks up against other countries in regards to how much time children spend on homework, it’s pretty high on the list .

Signs to look out for on a student that has homework stress

Since not every student is affected by homework stress in the same way, it’s important to be aware of some of the signs your child might be mentally drained from too much homework.

Here are some common signs of homework stress:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Frequent stomachaches and headaches
  • Decreased appetite or changed eating habits
  • New or recurring fears
  • Not able to relax
  • Regressing to behavior they had when younger
  • Bursts of anger crying or whining
  • Becoming withdrawn while others may become clingy
  • Drastic changes in academic performance
  • Having trouble concentrating or completing homework
  • Constantly complains about their ability to do homework

If you’re a parent and notice any of these signs in your child, step in to find out what’s going on and if homework is the source of their stress.

If you’re a student, pay attention if you start experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of your homework load. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or parents for help if the stress of homework becomes too much for you.

What parents do wrong when it comes to homework stress

Most parents push their children to do more and be more, without considering the damage being done by this kind of pressure.

Some think that homework brought home is always something the children can deal with on their own. If the child cannot handle their homework then these parents get angry and make the child feel stupid.

This may lead to more arguing and increased dislike of homework in the household. Ultimately the child develops an even worse attitude towards homework.

Another common mistake parents make is never questioning the amount of homework their children get, or how much time they spend on it. It’s easy to just assume whatever the teacher assigned is adequate, but as we mentioned earlier, that’s not always the case.

Be proactive and involved with your child’s homework. If you notice they’re spending hours every night on homework, ask them about it. Just because they don’t complain doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

How can parents help?

  • While every parent wants their child to become successful and achieve the very best, it’s important to pull back on the mounting pressure and remember that they’re still just kids. They need time out to release their stress and connect with other children.
  • Many children may be afraid to admit that they’re overwhelmed by homework because they might be misconstrued as failures. The best thing a parent can do is make home a safe place for children to express themselves freely. You can do this by lending a listening ear and not judging your kids.
  • Parents can also take the initiative to let the school know that they’re unhappy with the amount of homework being given. Even if you don’t feel comfortable complaining, you can approach the school through the parent-teacher association available and request your representative to plead your case.
  • It may not be all the subjects that are causing your child to get stressed. Parents should find out if there is a specific subject of homework that is causing stress. You could also consult with other parents to see what they can do to fix the situation. It may be the amount or the content that causes stress, so the first step is identifying the problem.
  • Work with your child to create a schedule for getting homework done on time. You can set a specific period of time for homework, and schedule time for other activities too. Strike a balance between work and play.
  • Understanding that your child is stressed about homework doesn’t mean you have to allow them not to try. Let them sit down and work on it as much as they’re able to, and recruit help from the older siblings or a neighbor if possible.
  • Check out these resources to help your child with their homework .

The main idea here is to not abolish homework completely, but to review the amount and quality of homework being given out. Stress, depression and lower grades are the last things parents want for their children.

The schools and parents need to work together to find a solution to this obvious problem.

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When Is Homework Stressful? Its Effects on Students’ Mental Health

student online learning

Are you wondering when is homework stressful? Well, homework is a vital constituent in keeping students attentive to the course covered in a class. By applying the lessons, students learned in class, they can gain a mastery of the material by reflecting on it in greater detail and applying what they learned through homework. 

However, students get advantages from homework, as it improves soft skills like organisation and time management which are important after high school. However, the additional work usually causes anxiety for both the parents and the child. As their load of homework accumulates, some students may find themselves growing more and more bored.

Students may take assistance online and ask someone to do my online homework . As there are many platforms available for the students such as Chegg, Scholarly Help, and Quizlet offering academic services that can assist students in completing their homework on time. 

Negative impact of homework

There are the following reasons why is homework stressful and leads to depression for students and affect their mental health. As they work hard on their assignments for alarmingly long periods, students’ mental health is repeatedly put at risk. Here are some serious arguments against too much homework.

No uniqueness

Homework should be intended to encourage children to express themselves more creatively. Teachers must assign kids intriguing assignments that highlight their uniqueness. similar to writing an essay on a topic they enjoy.

Moreover, the key is encouraging the child instead of criticizing him for writing a poor essay so that he can express himself more creatively.

Lack of sleep

One of the most prevalent adverse effects of schoolwork is lack of sleep. The average student only gets about 5 hours of sleep per night since they stay up late to complete their homework, even though the body needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day. Lack of sleep has an impact on both mental and physical health.

No pleasure

Students learn more effectively while they are having fun. They typically learn things more quickly when their minds are not clouded by fear. However, the fear factor that most teachers introduce into homework causes kids to turn to unethical means of completing their assignments.

Excessive homework

The lack of coordination between teachers in the existing educational system is a concern. As a result, teachers frequently end up assigning children far more work than they can handle. In such circumstances, children turn to cheat on their schoolwork by either copying their friends’ work or using online resources that assist with homework.

Anxiety level

Homework stress can increase anxiety levels and that could hurt the blood pressure norms in young people . Do you know? Around 3.5% of young people in the USA have high blood pressure. So why is homework stressful for children when homework is meant to be enjoyable and something they look forward to doing? It is simple to reject this claim by asserting that schoolwork is never enjoyable, yet with some careful consideration and preparation, homework may become pleasurable.

No time for personal matters

Students that have an excessive amount of homework miss out on personal time. They can’t get enough enjoyment. There is little time left over for hobbies, interpersonal interaction with colleagues, and other activities. 

However, many students dislike doing their assignments since they don’t have enough time. As they grow to detest it, they can stop learning. In any case, it has a significant negative impact on their mental health.

Children are no different than everyone else in need of a break. Weekends with no homework should be considered by schools so that kids have time to unwind and prepare for the coming week. Without a break, doing homework all week long might be stressful.

How do parents help kids with homework?

Encouraging children’s well-being and health begins with parents being involved in their children’s lives. By taking part in their homework routine, you can see any issues your child may be having and offer them the necessary support.

Set up a routine

Your student will develop and maintain good study habits if you have a clear and organized homework regimen. If there is still a lot of schoolwork to finish, try putting a time limit. Students must obtain regular, good sleep every single night.

Observe carefully

The student is ultimately responsible for their homework. Because of this, parents should only focus on ensuring that their children are on track with their assignments and leave it to the teacher to determine what skills the students have and have not learned in class.

Listen to your child

One of the nicest things a parent can do for their kids is to ask open-ended questions and listen to their responses. Many kids are reluctant to acknowledge they are struggling with their homework because they fear being labelled as failures or lazy if they do.

However, every parent wants their child to succeed to the best of their ability, but it’s crucial to be prepared to ease the pressure if your child starts to show signs of being overburdened with homework.

Talk to your teachers

Also, make sure to contact the teacher with any problems regarding your homework by phone or email. Additionally, it demonstrates to your student that you and their teacher are working together to further their education.

Homework with friends

If you are still thinking is homework stressful then It’s better to do homework with buddies because it gives them these advantages. Their stress is reduced by collaborating, interacting, and sharing with peers.

Additionally, students are more relaxed when they work on homework with pals. It makes even having too much homework manageable by ensuring they receive the support they require when working on the assignment. Additionally, it improves their communication abilities.

However, doing homework with friends guarantees that one learns how to communicate well and express themselves. 

Review homework plan

Create a schedule for finishing schoolwork on time with your child. Every few weeks, review the strategy and make any necessary adjustments. Gratefully, more schools are making an effort to control the quantity of homework assigned to children to lessen the stress this produces.

Bottom line

Finally, be aware that homework-related stress is fairly prevalent and is likely to occasionally affect you or your student. Sometimes all you or your kid needs to calm down and get back on track is a brief moment of comfort. So if you are a student and wondering if is homework stressful then you must go through this blog.

While homework is a crucial component of a student’s education, when kids are overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to perform, the advantages of homework can be lost and grades can suffer. Finding a balance that ensures students understand the material covered in class without becoming overburdened is therefore essential.

Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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Is Homework a Waste of Students' Time? Study Finds It's the Biggest Cause of Teen Stress

As the debate over the need for homework continues, a new study found that it's the biggest cause of teen stress, leading to sleepless nights and poor academic performance

Julie Mazziotta is the Sports Editor at PEOPLE, covering everything from the NFL to tennis to Simone Biles and Tom Brady. She was previously an Associate Editor for the Health vertical for six years, and prior to joining PEOPLE worked at Health Magazine. When not covering professional athletes, Julie spends her time as a (very) amateur athlete, training for marathons, long bike trips and hikes.

homework related to stress

It’s the bane of every teen’s existence. After sitting through hours at school, they leave only to get started on mountains of homework. And educators are mixed on its effectiveness . Some say the practice reinforces what students learned during the day, while others argue that it put unnecessary stress on kids and parents , who are often stuck nagging or helping.

According to a new study, conducted by the Better Sleep Council , that homework stress is the biggest source of frustration for teens, with 74 percent of those surveyed ranking it the highest, above self-esteem (51 percent) parental expectations (45 percent) and bullying (15 percent).

Homework is taking up a large chunk of their time , too — around 15-plus hours a week, with about one-third of teens reporting that it’s closer to 20-plus hours.

The stress and excessive homework adds up to lost sleep, the BSC says. According to the survey, 57 percent of teenagers said that they don’t get enough sleep, with 67 reporting that they get just five to seven hours a night — a far cry from the recommended eight to ten hours. The BSC says that their research shows that when teens feel more stressed, their sleep suffers. They go to sleep later, wake up earlier and have more trouble falling and staying asleep than less-stressed teens.

“We’re finding that teenagers are experiencing this cycle where they sacrifice their sleep to spend extra time on homework, which gives them more stress — but they don’t get better grades,” said Mary Helen Rogers, the vice president of marketing and communications for the BSC.

RELATED VIDEO: To Help Or Not To Help: Moms Talk About Whether Or Not They Help Their Children With Homework

Another interesting finding from this study: students who go to bed earlier and wake up earlier do better academically than those who stay up late, even if those night owls are spending that time doing homework.

To end this cycle of sleep deprivation and stress, the BSC recommends that students try setting a consistent time to go to sleep each night, regardless of leftover homework. And their other sleep tips are good for anyone, regardless of age — keep the temperature between 65 and 67 degrees, turn off the electronic devices before bed, make sure the mattress is comfy and reduce noise with earplugs or sound machines.

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The University of Texas at Austin

August 23, 2022 , Filed Under: Uncategorized

How to Manage Homework-Related Stress

Ask students what causes them the most stress, and the conversation will likely turn to homework. Students have complained about homework for practically as long as it has existed. While some dismiss these complaints as students’ laziness or lack of organization, there’s more to it than that. Many students face a lot of pressure to succeed in school, sports, work, and other areas. Also, more teens and young adults are dealing with mental health problems, with up to 40% of college students reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety.  

Researchers and professionals debate over whether homework does more harm than good, but at least for now, homework is an integral part of education. How do students deal with heavy homework loads? It’s become common for overwhelmed students to use an essay service to help them complete their assigned tasks. Pulling all-nighters to finish assignments and study for tests is another strategy busy college students use, for better or worse. 

If you’re a student that’s struggling to get all your homework done, make sure to take care of your mental health. School is important, but your health is more important. Try the following tips to help you stay on top of your busy schedule.

Make a Schedule

Time management is an important skill, but you can’t learn it without effort. The first step to managing your time more effectively is to make a schedule and stick to it. Use a calendar, planner, or an app to write down everything you need to get done. Set reminders for due dates and set aside time each day for studying. Don’t leave assignments for the last minute. Plan to finish your work well ahead of the due date in case something unexpected happens and you need more time. Make sure your schedule is realistic. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete each task. And schedule time for hobbies and social activities too. 

Find a Study Spot

Doing homework in a dedicated workspace can boost your productivity. Studying in bed could make you fall asleep, and doing homework in a crowded, noisy place can be distracting. You want to complete as much work as possible during your study sessions, so choose a place that’s free of distractions. Make sure you have everything you need within arm’s reach. Resist the temptation to check your notifications or social media feeds while you study. Put your phone in airplane mode if necessary so it doesn’t distract you. You don’t need a private office to study efficiently, but having a quiet, distraction-free place to do your homework can help you to get more done.

Get Enough Rest

An all-nighter every once in a while probably won’t do you any lasting harm. But a consistent lack of sleep is bad for your productivity and your health. Most young people need at least 7 hours of sleep every night, so make it your goal to go to bed on time. You’ll feel better throughout the day, have more energy, and improve your focus. Instead of dozing off while you’re doing homework, you’ll be more alert and productive if you get enough sleep. 

It’s also important to spend time relaxing and enjoying your favorite activities. Hang out with friends, take a walk, or watch a movie. You’ll feel less stressed if you take some time for yourself.

Don’t Shoot for Perfection

It’s tempting to try to get a perfect grade on every test or assignment. But perfectionism only causes unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you consider yourself a perfectionist, you might spend too much time on less important tasks. Prioritize your assignments and put more time and effort into the most important ones. 

Most people struggle with perfectionism because they’ve been taught they should do their best at everything. But you don’t have to go above and beyond for every assignment. That’s not to say you should turn in bad work. But putting in just enough effort to get by isn’t a bad thing. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be the best at everything. Focus on your most important assignments, and don’t spend too much time and effort perfecting the others. 

Almost all students deal with the burden of homework-related stress. No one enjoys the anxiety of having a lot of assignments due and not enough time to complete them. But take advantage of this opportunity to learn organization and self-discipline, which will help you throughout your life. Try making a schedule and don’t forget to set aside time to rest. When it’s time to study, choose a quiet place where you can concentrate. Don’t neglect your health; if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, talk to a counselor or your doctor. School stress is hard to avoid, but if you take these steps you can reduce homework anxiety and have better control of your time. 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes —  Marcel Proust

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School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say

Patti Neighmond

homework related to stress

Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill. Toni Greaves for NPR hide caption

Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill.

When high school junior Nora Huynh got her report card, she was devastated to see that she didn't get a perfect 4.0.

Nora "had a total meltdown, cried for hours," her mother, Jennie Huynh of Alameda, Calif., says. "I couldn't believe her reaction."

Nora is doing college-level work, her mother says, but many of her friends are taking enough advanced classes to boost their grade-point averages above 4.0. "It breaks my heart to see her upset when she's doing so awesome and going above and beyond."

And the pressure is taking a physical toll, too. At age 16, Nora is tired, is increasingly irritated with her siblings and often suffers headaches, her mother says.

Teens Talk Stress

When NPR asked on Facebook if stress is an issue for teenagers, they spoke loud and clear:

  • "Academic stress has been a part of my life ever since I can remember," wrote Bretta McCall, 16, of Seattle. "This year I spend about 12 hours a day on schoolwork. I'm home right now because I was feeling so sick from stress I couldn't be at school. So as you can tell, it's a big part of my life!"
  • "At the time of writing this, my weekend assignments include two papers, a PowerPoint to go with a 10-minute presentation, studying for a test and two quizzes, and an entire chapter (approximately 40 pages) of notes in a college textbook," wrote Connor West of New Jersey.
  • "It's a problem that's basically brushed off by most people," wrote Kelly Farrell in Delaware. "There's this mentality of, 'You're doing well, so why are you complaining?' " She says she started experiencing symptoms of stress in middle school, and was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in high school.
  • "Parents are the worst about all of this," writes Colin Hughes of Illinois. "All I hear is, 'Work harder, you're a smart kid, I know you have it in you, and if you want to go to college you need to work harder.' It's a pain."

Parents are right to be worried about stress and their children's health, says Mary Alvord , a clinical psychologist in Maryland and public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association.

"A little stress is a good thing," Alvord says. "It can motivate students to be organized. But too much stress can backfire."

Almost 40 percent of parents say their high-schooler is experiencing a lot of stress from school, according to a new NPR poll conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. In most cases, that stress is from academics, not social issues or bullying, the poll found. (See the full results here .)

Homework was a leading cause of stress, with 24 percent of parents saying it's an issue.

Teenagers say they're suffering, too. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of all teens — 45 percent — said they were stressed by school pressures.

Chronic stress can cause a sense of panic and paralysis, Alvord says. The child feels stuck, which only adds to the feeling of stress.

Parents can help put the child's distress in perspective, particularly when they get into what Alvord calls catastrophic "what if" thinking: "What if I get a bad grade, then what if that means I fail the course, then I'll never get into college."

Then move beyond talking and do something about it.

homework related to stress

Colleen pets her horse, Bishop. They had been missing out on rides together because of homework. Toni Greaves for NPR hide caption

Colleen pets her horse, Bishop. They had been missing out on rides together because of homework.

That's what 16-year-old Colleen Frainey of Tualatin, Ore., did. As a sophomore last year, she was taking all advanced courses. The pressure was making her sick. "I didn't feel good, and when I didn't feel good I felt like I couldn't do my work, which would stress me out more," she says.

Mom Abigail Frainey says, "It was more than we could handle as a family."

With encouragement from her parents, Colleen dropped one of her advanced courses. The family's decision generated disbelief from other parents. "Why would I let her take the easy way out?" Abigail Frainey heard.

But she says dialing down on academics was absolutely the right decision for her child. Colleen no longer suffers headaches or stomachaches. She's still in honors courses, but the workload this year is manageable.

Even better, Colleen now has time to do things she never would have considered last year, like going out to dinner with the family on a weeknight, or going to the barn to ride her horse, Bishop.

Psychologist Alvord says a balanced life should be the goal for all families. If a child is having trouble getting things done, parents can help plan the week, deciding what's important and what's optional. "Just basic time management — that will help reduce the stress."

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Does Homework Cause Stress? Exploring the Impact on Students’ Mental Health

How much homework is too much?

homework related to stress

Jump to: The Link Between Homework and Stress | Homework’s Impact on Mental Health | Benefits of Homework | How Much Homework Should Teacher’s Assign? | Advice for Students | How Healium Helps

Homework has become a matter of concern for educators, parents, and researchers due to its potential effects on students’ stress levels. It’s no secret students often find themselves grappling with high levels of stress and anxiety throughout their academic careers, so understanding the extent to which homework affects those stress levels is important. 

By delving into the latest research and understanding the underlying factors at play, we hope to curate insights for educators, parents, and students who are wondering  is homework causing stress in their lives?

The Link Between Homework and Stress: What the Research Says

Over the years, numerous studies investigated the relationship between homework and stress levels in students. 

One study published in the Journal of Experimental Education found that students who reported spending more than two hours per night on homework experienced higher stress levels and physical health issues . Those same students reported over three hours of homework a night on average.

This study, conducted by Stanford lecturer Denise Pope, has been heavily cited throughout the years, with WebMD eproducing the below video on the topic– part of their special report series on teens and stress : 

Additional studies published by Sleep Health Journal found that long hours on homework on may be a risk factor for depression while also suggesting that reducing workload outside of class may benefit sleep and mental fitness .

Lastly, a study presented by Frontiers in Psychology highlighted significant health implications for high school students facing chronic stress, including emotional exhaustion and alcohol and drug use.

Homework’s Potential Impact on Mental Health and Well-being

Homework-induced stress on students can involve both psychological and physiological side effects. 

1. Potential Psychological Effects of Homework-Induced Stress:

• Anxiety: The pressure to perform academically and meet homework expectations can lead to heightened levels of anxiety in students. Constant worry about completing assignments on time and achieving high grades can be overwhelming.

• Sleep Disturbances : Homework-related stress can disrupt students’ sleep patterns, leading to sleep anxiety or sleep deprivation, both of which can negatively impact cognitive function and emotional regulation.

• Reduced Motivation: Excessive homework demands could drain students’ motivation, causing them to feel fatigued and disengaged from their studies. Reduced motivation may lead to a lack of interest in learning, hindering overall academic performance.

2. Potential Physical Effects of Homework-Induced Stress:

• Impaired Immune Function: Prolonged stress could weaken the immune system, making students more susceptible to illnesses and infections.

• Disrupted Hormonal Balance : The body’s stress response triggers the release of hormones like cortisol, which, when chronically elevated due to stress, can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance and lead to various health issues.

• Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Stress has been known to affect the gastrointestinal system, leading to symptoms such as stomachaches, nausea, and other digestive problems.

• Cardiovascular Impact: The increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure associated with stress can strain the cardiovascular system, potentially increasing the risk of heart-related issues in the long run.

• Brain impact: Prolonged exposure to stress hormones may impact the brain’s functioning , affecting memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities.

The Benefits of Homework

It’s important to note that homework also offers many benefits that contribute to students’ academic growth and development, such as: 

• Development of Time Management Skills: Completing homework within specified deadlines encourages students to manage their time efficiently. This valuable skill extends beyond academics and becomes essential in various aspects of life.

• Preparation for Future Challenges : Homework helps prepare students for future academic challenges and responsibilities. It fosters a sense of discipline and responsibility, qualities that are crucial for success in higher education and professional life.

• Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities: Homework often presents students with challenging problems to solve. Tackling these problems independently nurtures critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

While homework can foster discipline, time management, and self-directed learning, the middle ground may be to  strike a balance that promotes both academic growth and mental well-being .

How Much Homework Should Teachers Assign?

As a general guideline, educators suggest assigning a workload that allows students to grasp concepts effectively without overwhelming them . Quality over quantity is key, ensuring that homework assignments are purposeful, relevant, and targeted towards specific objectives. 

Advice for Students: How to balance Homework and Well-being

Finding a balance between academic responsibilities and well-being is crucial for students. Here are some practical tips and techniques to help manage homework-related stress and foster a healthier approach to learning:

• Effective Time Management : Encourage students to create a structured study schedule that allocates sufficient time for homework, breaks, and other activities. Prioritizing tasks and setting realistic goals can prevent last-minute rushes and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

• Break Tasks into Smaller Chunks : Large assignments can be daunting and may contribute to stress. Students should break such tasks into smaller, manageable parts. This approach not only makes the workload seem less intimidating but also provides a sense of accomplishment as each section is completed.

• Find a Distraction-Free Zone : Establish a designated study area that is free from distractions like smartphones, television, or social media. This setting will improve focus and productivity, reducing time needed to complete homework.

• Be Active : Regular exercise is known to reduce stress and enhance mood. Encourage students to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, whether it’s going for a walk, playing a sport, or doing yoga.

• Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques : Encourage students to engage in mindfulness practices, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, to alleviate stress and improve concentration. Taking short breaks to relax and clear the mind can enhance overall well-being and cognitive performance.

• Seek Support : Teachers, parents, and school counselors play an essential role in supporting students. Create an open and supportive environment where students feel comfortable expressing their concerns and seeking help when needed.

How Healium is Helping in Schools

Stress is caused by so many factors and not just the amount of work students are taking home.  Our company created a virtual reality stress management solution… a mental fitness tool called “Healium” that’s teaching students how to learn to self-regulate their stress and downshift in a drugless way. Schools implementing Healium have seen improvements from supporting dysregulated students and ADHD challenges to empowering students with body awareness and learning to self-regulate stress . Here’s one of their stories. 

By providing students with the tools they need to self-manage stress and anxiety, we represent a forward-looking approach to education that prioritizes the holistic development of every student. 

To learn more about how Healium works, watch the video below.

About the Author

homework related to stress

Sarah Hill , a former interactive TV news journalist at NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates in Missouri, gained recognition for pioneering interactive news broadcasting using Google Hangouts. She is now the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically powered immersive media channel, helping those with stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other struggles through biofeedback storytelling. With patents, clinical validation, and over seven million views, she has reshaped the landscape of immersive media.

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

homework related to stress

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

homework related to stress

How to Reduce Homework Stress

If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

Katie Wickliff headshot

Author Katie Wickliff

homework related to stress

Published March 2024

homework related to stress

 If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

  • Key takeaways
  • Homework stress can be a significant problem for children and their families
  • An appropriate amount of quality homework can be beneficial for students
  • Parents can help reduce homework stress in several key ways

Table of contents

  • Homework stress effects
  • How to reduce homework stress

As a parent who has felt the frustration of watching my child be reduced to tears because of her homework each night, I’ve often wondered: do these math worksheets and reading trackers really make a difference to a child’s academic success? Or does homework cause stress without having a positive impact on learning? 

If your child experiences a significant amount of homework stress, you may feel at a loss to help. However, there are several things you can do at home to minimize the negative effects of this stress on your child–and you! We’ve put together a list of research-based practices that can help your child better handle their homework load.

The Effects of Homework Stress on Students

Does homework cause stress? Short answer: Yes. It’s been well documented that too much homework can cause stress and anxiety for students–and their parents. However, do the benefits of homework outweigh the costs? Is homework “worth” the frustration and exhaustion that our children experience? 

Findings on the benefits of homework at the elementary school level are mixed, with studies showing that homework appears to have more positive effects under certain conditions for certain groups of students.

After examining decades of studies on the relationship between homework and academic achievement, leading homework researcher Harris M. Cooper has proposed the “10-minute rule,” suggesting that homework be limited to 10 minutes per grade level. For example, children in 3rd grade should do no more than 30 minutes of homework daily, while a 1st grader should do no more than 10 minutes of homework. The National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association both endorse this guideline as a general rule of thumb. 

Because of these research findings, Doodle believes that an appropriate amount of quality homework can help students feel more positive about learning and can provide parents with a critical connection to their child’s school experience . But to keep learning positive, we need to reduce the amount of stress both students and parents feel about homework.

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

Creating an after-school routine and sticking to it helps children feel organized, but with sports, tutoring, or music lessons, many children have varying weekday schedules. As a former classroom teacher and private tutor, I suggest that families post a weekly schedule somewhere visible and communicate that schedule with their child. 

At our house, we have a dry-erase calendar posted on the wall. Every Sunday evening, I write both of my children’s schedules for the following week–including homework time. We go through the calendar together, and they reference it often throughout the week. I can tell both my son and daughter feel better when they know when they’ll get their homework done.

2. Create a Homework Space

Ideally, your child should have a dedicated homework space. It doesn’t matter if that space is a desk, a dining room table, or a kitchen countertop. What does matter is that the homework area is tidy, because an unorganized homework area is very distracting.

3. Start Homework Early

Encourage your child to start their homework as early as possible. Help them review their assignments, make a plan for what needs to be completed, and then dive in. Naturally, children are more tired later in the evening which can lead to more stress.

4. Encourage Breaks

If you can see your child becoming frustrated or overwhelmed by their homework, encourage them to take a breather and come back to it later. As a teacher and tutor, I called this a “brain break” and believe these breaks are essential. Taking a short break will give your child a chance to step away from a frustrating problem or assignment.

5. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes, homework can become just too stressful and overwhelming. In that case, it really is okay to stop. Children can learn to advocate for themselves by making a list of questions for their teacher and asking for help the next day. Depending on their age, you might need to help role-play how to approach their teacher with their frustrations. 

Additionally, parents should never feel afraid to contact their child’s teacher to talk about homework issues. When I was teaching elementary school, I always wanted parents to feel comfortable reaching out about any issues, including homework stress.

6. Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is critical to a child’s overall wellbeing , which includes their academic performance. Tired kids can’t concentrate as well, which can lead to feeling more overwhelmed about homework assignments. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, kids aged 6-12 should get at least 9 hours of sleep each night.

7. Consider a Homework Group

Organizing a homework group a few times a week is another way for your child to view homework more positively. Working as a group encourages collaboration, while discussions can solidify concepts learned in class.

8. Encourage Positivity

No matter what your school experience was like, it’s important to model a growth mindset for your child. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can develop and improve over time. So if your child says something like “ I can’t do this! ” first acknowledge their frustration. Then, encourage them to say, “ I may not understand this yet, but I will figure it out. ” Speaking positively about tough experiences takes practice, but it will go a long way in reducing homework stress for your child.

9. Develop Skills With Fun Games

Feeling stressed about homework is no fun. Completing worksheets and memorizing facts is necessary, but playing games is a great way to inject some excitement into learning. Doodle’s interactive math app is filled with interactive exercises, engaging math games, and unique rewards that help kids develop their skills while having fun.

Lower Math Anxiety with DoodleMath

Does your child struggle with math anxiety? DoodleMath is an award-winning math app f illed with fun, interactive math questions aligned to state standards. Doodle creates a unique work program tailored to each child’s skill level to boost confidence and reduce math anxiety. Try it free  today!

for families

FAQs About Homework Stress

homework related to stress

Many studies have shown that homework and stress often go hand-in-hand, often because many children feel pressure to perform perfectly or they have trouble managing their emotions–they get overwhelmed or flooded easily.

You can help your child reduce homework stress in several ways, including by establishing a routine, creating a homework space, encouraging breaks, and making homework fun with online games or math apps.

homework related to stress

Lesson credits

Katie Wickliff headshot

Katie Wickliff

Katie holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in both Journalism and English from The University of Iowa. She has over 15 years of education experience as a K-12 classroom teacher and Orton-Gillingham certified tutor. Most importantly, Katie is the mother of two elementary students, ages 8 and 11. She is passionate about math education and firmly believes that the right tools and support will help every student reach their full potential.

homework related to stress

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How to Manage Homework Stress

Reducing+Homework+Stress

Homework—a dreadful word for both parents and children. While homework is an important part of a child’s development, building independence and problem-solving abilities, it’s also a driving factor in frustration among children and parents. 56% of students say it’s a primary source of stress. But what causes homework stress and what can you do when your child is overwhelmed with homework?

What is Homework Stress ?

It’s exactly that! Anxiety about homework , frustration while working on assignments, and procrastination are all indicators of homework-related stress . The stress can leave students feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, which has a negative impact on their ability to retain information. Students who feel this way often have trouble managing their time and emotions. So, we’ve prepared a few pointers that can help make homework less stressful for your kids!

What Can You Do About It ?

🗓 Create a routine

Make a schedule and stick to it. A clear and organized homework routine will help your children feel more motivated to do their work. Have them get started early after school so they have the rest of the evening for other activities. Establish a time limit so that homework time can feel more manageable. If they struggle to finish their work in the timeframe, discuss with their teacher to find out how long it should be taking. Finding a balance between homework, extracurricular activities, and social time can be difficult, so sticking to a routine is important.

💻 Set a designated study spot

Give students an area that is quiet and distraction free. Remove cell phones, TVs, and tablets to ensure that your children are working to the best of their abilities without any interruptions. It’s easy to become distracted by noise from the living room and toys from the bedroom, so find a spot in your home that has a quiet environment. Make sure to keep the space stocked and organized with necessary items such as highlighter, pencils, and paper. A designated study area allows students to concentrate and produce better quality work.

🙋‍♀️ Don’t be afraid to help

If there is a question or assignment that your child is struggling with, help them! They often know the answer but need a fresh set of eyes to get them across the finish line. Sitting with your child and asking if they need help goes a long way, especially if they’re stuck on a concept. When reviewing material, be sure to consider your child’s learning style .

🥛 Take breaks

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again . During study time, short breaks help reduce anxiety and frustration. It gives your children a few minutes to clear their minds so they can come back to their assignments refreshed and focused. This not only increases productivity and energy, but also helps students to work smarter and more diligently. The most effective break times are around 10–15 minutes, so the next time you see your child struggling with motivation, suggest a short break!

📝 Make sure they understand the material

Homework is a recap and extension of what your children learned during the school day, so if they’re struggling at home, it could be an indication that they didn’t fully understand the material in class. Making sure they read directions carefully. Ask them to explain or teach the concept to you to see if they comprehend the concept. Start by reviewing homework or class material from previous weeks that led up to the current work. When students fully understanding the topic, they feel more at ease and confident.

Parker, Clifton. “Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework”. Stanford News. 2014.  

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  • Preschool Homework

Homework Related Stress

Homework Related Stress

Examining the Impact of Homework on Preschoolers’ Free Time and Stress Levels

The ongoing debate surrounding homework has sparked discussions among teachers, parents, and researchers. While some argue for its role in reinforcing learning, concerns have emerged about its potential harm to preschoolers’ well-being. This article focuses on the stress and anxiety preschoolers may experience due to homework, shedding light on the need for a balanced approach.

Preschoolers, in their formative years, undergo rapid brain development and require sufficient time for rest, play, and exploration. Homework, however, often occupies a significant portion of this time, limiting opportunities for free play and pursuing personal interests.

Studies highlight the adverse effects of excessive homework on preschoolers, manifesting in sleep difficulties, increased irritability, and a waning interest in learning. Severe cases may even contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders.

Parents and teachers must carefully consider the type and amount of homework assigned to preschoolers, striking a balance that fosters free play, interest exploration, and social-emotional development. This article delves into the nuanced relationship between homework, free time, and stress levels, offering practical tips for parents and educators.

1. The Crucial Role of Free Time

Preschoolers’ physical, emotional, and cognitive development hinges on the availability of free time. It serves as a platform for exploration, creative play, and social interaction, fostering self-regulation skills as they manage their time and make decisions.

2. Navigating the Homework Debate

Homework’s contentious nature sees proponents highlighting its role in reinforcing learning, while opponents argue its potential counterproductivity, leading to stress and anxiety among preschoolers.

3. Homework’s Impact on Free Time

Research indicates that homework can encroach on preschoolers’ free time, limiting leisure activities like play and sports, thereby contributing to stress and anxiety.

4. Unveiling the Link between Homework and Stress

Homework-related stress presents itself through physical symptoms and emotional manifestations, with higher levels of stress and anxiety observed in preschoolers with increased homework burdens.

5. The Role of Parental Support

Parents play a pivotal role in mitigating homework’s negative impacts by offering support and guidance. However, they must also advocate for their preschoolers’ well-being, acknowledging the potential harms of excessive homework.

6. Striving for a Balanced Approach

Striking a balance between academic and non-academic pursuits is essential. Limits on homework or creative assignments promoting free exploration and play can contribute to a healthier balance.

In conclusion, the debate on homework’s impact on preschoolers’ well-being requires nuanced consideration. By valuing free time, fostering self-regulation skills, and advocating for policies prioritizing preschoolers’ well-being, we can contribute to a holistic approach that nurtures their academic and personal growth.

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  4. Stress-free Homework ~ 10 Tips to Take the Pain Out of Nightly Homework

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COMMENTS

  1. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health ...

  2. More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research

    • 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.

  3. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

    March 10, 2014 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 ...

  4. Is homework a necessary evil?

    As homework load increased, so did family stress, the researchers found (American Journal of Family Therapy, 2015). Many high school students also seem to be exceeding the recommended amounts of homework. Pope and Galloway recently surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-achieving high schools.

  5. Impacts of Excessive Homework on Student Health

    Diving into homework-related stress, one finds that not only is it a significant stressor impacting children's health, but it also reflects the broader practices and assumptions within the education system. Health Impacts of Excessive Homework. Not just a buzzword, homework stress can lead to tangible negative health outcomes. ...

  6. From Frustration to Focus: How to Make Homework Less Stressful

    Homework-related stress can stem from a variety of factors, including academic pressure, time management, and ineffective homework policies. Alternatives to traditional homework assignments and time-management strategies can help reduce homework-related stress.

  7. The Truth About Homework Stress: What You Need to Know

    In creating a lack of balance between play time and time spent doing homework, a child can get headaches, sleep deprivation or even ulcers. And homework stress doesn't just impact grade schoolers. College students are also affected, and the stress is affecting their academic performance. Even the parent's confidence in their abilities to ...

  8. 10 Tips to Reduce Homework Stress

    How To Avoid Homework Stress. Here are 10 tips to help your child learn how to make homework less stressful. 1. Stick to a Schedule. Help your child plan out his or her time, scheduling time for homework, chores, activities, and sleep. Keep this schedule handy so your child knows what he or she should be working on, and when.

  9. Homework anxiety: Why it happens and how to help

    Use a calm voice. When kids feel anxious about homework, they might get angry, yell, or cry. Avoid matching their tone of voice. Take a deep breath and keep your voice steady and calm. Let them know you're there for them. Sometimes kids just don't want to do homework. They complain, procrastinate, or rush through the work so they can do ...

  10. When Is Homework Stressful? Its Effects on Students ...

    Every few weeks, review the strategy and make any necessary adjustments. Gratefully, more schools are making an effort to control the quantity of homework assigned to children to lessen the stress this produces. Bottom line. Finally, be aware that homework-related stress is fairly prevalent and is likely to occasionally affect you or your student.

  11. Study Finds Homework Is the Biggest Cause of Teen Stress

    According to a new study, conducted by the Better Sleep Council, that homework stress is the biggest source of frustration for teens, with 74 percent of those surveyed ranking it the highest ...

  12. How to Manage Homework-Related Stress

    Ask students what causes them the most stress, and the conversation will likely turn to homework. Students have complained about homework for practically as long as it has existed. ... Almost all students deal with the burden of homework-related stress. No one enjoys the anxiety of having a lot of assignments due and not enough time to complete ...

  13. Addressing Student Mental Health Through the Lens of Homework Stress

    Keywords: homework, stress, mental health The outcomes of adolescent mental health is a threat to students' health and wellbeing, more so than it ever has been in the modern era. As of 2019, the CDC reported a nearly 40. percent increase in feelings of sadness or hopelessness over the last ten years, and similar.

  14. School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say

    In most cases, that stress is from academics, not social issues or bullying, the poll found. (See the full results here .) Homework was a leading cause of stress, with 24 percent of parents saying ...

  15. Does Homework Cause Stress? Exploring the Impact on Students' Mental

    1. Potential Psychological Effects of Homework-Induced Stress: • Anxiety: The pressure to perform academically and meet homework expectations can lead to heightened levels of anxiety in students. Constant worry about completing assignments on time and achieving high grades can be overwhelming. • Sleep Disturbances: Homework-related stress ...

  16. Homework Stress and Learning Disability: The Role of Parental Shame

    The high stress related to homework for students with LD and their parents may be accounted for by the characteristics of the disability, which can make many aspects of homework more challenging. For example, students with LD may encounter problems understanding the assignment, remembering to do it, organizing the material needed to carry it ...

  17. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health ...

  18. Study: Too Many Enrichment Activities Harm Mental Health

    Even before the pandemic, U.S. students were struggling with mental health. But the statistics have since become even more alarming. According to a new federal of teen health, about 1 in 5 adolescents report symptoms of anxiety or depression. The impact of social media and bullying have, for good reason, dominated much of the discussion around this growing crisis.

  19. Students Experiencing Stress

    Stress is the body's emotional, physical, or behavioral response to environmental change. Stress can be a short-term reaction in response to an upcoming event, such as homework deadlines, an upcoming exam, or speaking in front of the class. Stress can also result from traumatic or ongoing experiences, such as coping with parents' divorce ...

  20. How to Reduce Homework Stress

    How can I help my child reduce homework related stress? You can help your child reduce homework stress in several ways, including by establishing a routine, creating a homework space, encouraging breaks, and making homework fun with online games or math apps. Lesson credits.

  21. How to Manage Homework Stress

    Anxiety about homework, frustration while working on assignments, and procrastination are all indicators of homework-related stress. The stress can leave students feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, which has a negative impact on their ability to retain information. Students who feel this way often have trouble managing their time and emotions ...

  22. Stress in America 2023

    The top significant sources of stress reported among the 18 to 34 age cohort in 2023 were health-related and money (both 82%). Of the three categories covered under health-related (family-related, physical health, or mental health), mental health as a stressor was the highest at 72%, which also was the highest among all age cohorts.

  23. Homework Related Stress

    Homework-related stress can manifest in a variety of ways, including physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches, as well as emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression. A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that preschoolers who had more homework also had higher levels of stress and anxiety.