Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

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Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful.

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

Study Tips for High School Students

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?

what is compulsory homework

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?

Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?

Should we get rid of homework?

In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:

Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”

Mr. Kang argues:

But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?

Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?

Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?

When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.

In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:

Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.

What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?

Is there a way to make homework more effective?

If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle

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Adolescent girl doing homework.

What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.

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How to use homework to support student success.

  • by: Sandra Chafouleas
  • January 13, 2022
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Editor’s Note: Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Sandra Chafouleas shares insights on supporting students’ homework during the pandemic in the following piece, which originally appeared  in Psychology Today , where she publishes a blog.

COVID has brought many changes in education. What does it mean for homework?

School assignments that a student is expected to do outside of the regular school day—that’s homework. The general guideline is 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level beginning after kindergarten. This amounts to just a few minutes for younger elementary students to up to 2 hours for high school students.

The guidance seems straightforward enough, so why is homework such a controversial topic? School disruptions, including extended periods of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, have magnified the controversies yet also have provided an opportunity to rethink the purpose and value of homework.

Debates about the value of homework center around two primary issues: amount and inequity.

First, the amount of assigned homework may be much more than the recommended guidelines. Families report their children are stressed out over the time spent doing homework. Too much homework can challenge well-being given the restricted time available for sleep, exercise, and social connection. In a 2015 study , for example, parents reported their early elementary children received almost three times the recommended guidelines. In high school, researchers found an average of three hours of homework per night for students living in economically privileged communities.

“ Debates about the value of homework center around two primary issues: amount and inequity.”

Second, homework can perpetuate inequities. Students attending school in less economically privileged communities may receive little to no homework, or have difficulty completing it due to limited access to needed technology. This can translate into fewer opportunities to learn and may contribute to gaps in achievement.

There isn’t a ton of research on the effects of homework, and available studies certainly do not provide a simple answer. For example, a 2006 synthesis of studies suggested a positive influence between homework completion and academic achievement for middle and high school students. Supporters also point out that homework offers additional opportunities to engage in learning and that it can foster independent learning habits such as planning and a sense of responsibility. A more recent study involving 13-year-old students in Spain found higher test scores for those who were regularly assigned homework in math and science, with an optimal time around one hour—which is roughly aligned with recommendations. However, the researchers noted that ability to independently do the work, student effort, and prior achievement were more important contributors than time spent.

Opponents of homework maintain that the academic benefit does not outweigh the toll on well-being. Researchers have observed student stress, physical health problems, and lack of life balance, especially when the time spent goes over the recommended guidelines. In a survey of adolescents , over half reported the amount and type of homework they received to be a primary source of stress in their lives. In addition, vast differences exist in access and availability of supports, such as internet connection, adult assistance, or even a place to call home, as 1.5 million children experience homelessness in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-energized discussion about homework practices, with the goal to advance recommendations about how, when, and with whom it can be best used. Here’s a summary of key strategies:

Strategies for Educators

Make sure the tasks are meaningful and matched..

First, the motto “ quality over quantity ” can guide decisions about homework. Homework is not busy-work, and instead should get students excited about learning. Emphasize activities that facilitate choice and interest to extend learning, like choose your own reading adventure or math games. Second, each student should be able to complete homework independently with success. Think about Goldilocks: To be effective, assignments should be just right for each learner. One example of how do this efficiently is through online learning platforms that can efficiently adjust to skill level and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

Ensure access to resources for task completion.

One step toward equity is to ensure access to necessary resources such as time, space, and materials. Teach students about preparing for homework success, allocating classroom time to model and practice good study habits such as setting up their physical environment, time management, and chunking tasks. Engage in conversations with students and families to problem-solve challenges When needed, connect students with homework supports available through after-school clubs, other community supports, or even within a dedicated block during the school day.

Be open to revisiting homework policies and practices.

The days of penalizing students for not completing homework should be long gone. Homework is a tool for practicing content and learning self-management. With that in mind, provide opportunities for students to communicate needs, and respond by revising assignments or allowing them to turn in on alternative dates. Engage in adult professional learning about high-quality homework , from value (Should I assign this task?) to evaluation (How should this be graded? Did that homework assignment result in expected outcomes?). Monitor how things are going by looking at completion rates and by asking students for their feedback. Be willing to adapt the homework schedule or expectations based on what is learned.

Strategies for Families

Understand how to be a good helper..

When designed appropriately, students should be able to complete homework with independence. Limit homework wars by working to be a good helper. Hovering, micromanaging, or doing homework for them may be easiest in the moment but does not help build their independence. Be a good helper by asking guiding questions, providing hints, or checking for understanding. Focus your assistance on setting up structures for homework success, like space and time.

Use homework as a tool for communication.

Use homework as a vehicle to foster family-school communication. Families can use homework as an opportunity to open conversations about specific assignments or classes, peer relationships, or even sleep quality that may be impacting student success. For younger students, using a daily or weekly home-school notebook or planner can be one way to share information. For older students, help them practice communicating their needs and provide support as needed.

Make sure to balance wellness.

Like adults, children need a healthy work-life balance. Positive social connection and engagement in pleasurable activities are important core principles to foster well-being . Monitor the load of homework and other structured activities to make sure there is time in the daily routine for play. Play can mean different things to different children: getting outside, reading for pleasure, and yes, even gaming. Just try to ensure that activities include a mix of health-focused activities such as physical movement or mindfulness downtime.

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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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Wonderopolis

Wonder of the Day #1385

Why Do We Have Homework?

Wonderopolis

SCIENCE — Health and Fitness

Have You Ever Wondered...

  • Why do we have homework?
  • What are the benefits of homework?
  • Is there such a thing as too much homework?
  • classroom ,
  • education ,
  • knowledge ,
  • mathematics ,
  • prioritization ,
  • repetition ,
  • responsibility ,
  • time management ,
  • Classroom ,
  • Education ,
  • Knowledge ,
  • Mathematics ,
  • Prioritization ,
  • Repetition ,
  • Responsibility ,
  • Time Management

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Nicolas from fort lauderdale, FL. Nicolas Wonders , “ Who invented homework? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Nicolas!

What has eight letters and strikes fear into the hearts of students around the world? No, it's not broccoli, but that was a good guess! Give up? HOMEWORK !

Did you just gasp in fear and anguish ? We're sorry, but homework is a fact of life and it's time we took a closer look at it. Even though it might get in the way of playing outside or watching your favorite television show, it's necessary and, believe it or not, good for you!

Homework creates a bridge between school and home. Parents rarely get to spend much time with you while you're at school. Homework allows them to keep up with what you're doing in your classes on a daily basis. But you don't have homework purely for your parents' benefit . It's good for you, too!

Homework can help you become a better student in several different ways. First of all, homework given in advance of a particular subject can help you make the most of your classroom discussion time. For example, before beginning a discussion of a complex period in history , it can be very helpful to read background information as homework the night before.

Homework also gives you valuable practice with what you've learned in the classroom. Often, the brief period of time you have during class to learn something new is simply not enough. Repeating classroom concepts at home helps to cement in your mind the things you learned.

For example, you've probably experienced the value of homework when it comes to mathematics . A new concept explained in class might seem foreign at first. With repetition via homework, however, you reinforce what you learned in class and it sticks with you. Without homework, a lot of classroom time would be wasted with repetition that could more easily be done outside the classroom.

In these ways, homework expands upon what is done during the day in the classroom. Your overall educational experience is better, because homework helps you to gain and retain more knowledge than would be possible with only classroom work. As you learn more, you know more and you achieve more…and you have homework to thank!

Homework teaches lessons beyond just what's taught in the classroom, too. Bringing homework home, completing it correctly, and turning it in promptly teaches a host of other important life skills, from time management and responsibility to organization and prioritization .

Despite these benefits found by researchers, the topics of who should receive homework and how much homework are hotly debated among educators and researchers. In one study , researchers found that academic gains from homework increased as grade level increased, suggesting homework is more beneficial for older students. Some researchers have found that too much homework can lower or cancel its benefits and become counterproductive , because students become burned out.

How much is too much? That depends upon many complex factors, including the individual abilities of the child, other demands upon time, such as sports, part-time jobs, family responsibilities, and types of classes. If you feel overburdened by homework, the best thing you can do is to open a dialog with your teacher. Be open and honest about your feelings regarding homework and work with your teacher to strike a reasonable balance that helps you achieve your educational goals.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day feels just like home!

We hope today's Wonder of the Day didn't feel like homework! Be sure to check out the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • While some kids don't like any homework, almost every student has homework that he doesn't mind doing on a regular basis. For some, reading a novel for homework is pure joy, because they love to read. For others, doing group projects as homework is great fun, because they get to have fun with their friends in the process. Make a list of the types of homework that you enjoy the most. Once you have your list, think about ways in which you can encourage your teachers to assign more of your favorite types of homework and less of the types you don't enjoy as much. Opening a dialog with your teacher about homework can be a mutually-beneficial conversation that can increase learning both in and out of the classroom!
  • You know what goes great with homework? Food! It's true. A healthy snack can give you the energy you need to concentrate and tackle your homework as soon as you get home from school. If you need some ideas, jump online and check out After School Snacks To Power Homework . Share what you learn with your friends and family members. What's your favorite after-school snack? Why?
  • Do you have a lot of homework on a regular basis? It can be easy to get overwhelmed. To make sure you make the most of your homework time, it helps to be organized. Setting priorities and sticking to them will help you complete your assignments on time with minimal stress. For help learning how to do this, read through How to Prioritize Homework Assignments: 5 Steps from School Habits. Using what you learn, put a plan into place that will help you make sure you become a homework hero!

Wonder Sources

  • http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar07/vol64/num06/The-Case-For-and-Against-Homework.aspx
  • http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Instruction/What-research-says-about-the-value-of-homework-At-a-glance/What-research-says-about-the-value-of-homework-Research-review.html

Did you get it?

Wonder contributors.

We’d like to thank:

quenton , Jaiden , Leo , Grace and Lenysia for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

Keep WONDERing with us!

Wonder Words

  • responsibility
  • organization
  • prioritization
  • counterproductive
  • overburdened
  • educational

Wonderopolis

Hopefully this article helped you realize why homework is helpful, nyiahna. Keep WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

Don't get homework at this school. :)

Hopefully this article helped you realize why homework is helpful! 

Wonderopolis

yeah me too a lot

Wonderopolis

Wow, that's great for those schools! Thanks for stopping by, Mister C.

Wonderopolis

You're welcome, Person!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing, Joe!

Wonderopolis

That's a great way to look at it, Adriana! 

That's a great way to look at it, Adriana! Thanks for sharing! 

Wonderopolis

I need to vent

Homework could benefit you. It gives your brain an easier time when you get a surprise quiz.

That's a difficult one, Wonder Friend! 

It certainly is hard to do homework while at play practice! There are so many cool things going on! 

Trying to complete your math homework right after you get home and have had dinner might be the best bet. Good luck! 

Wonderopolis

Ellen The Happy Girl!

We're so glad you liked it, Ellen The Happy Girl!

Wonderopolis

We like your enthusiasm, tyonna! 

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Student! That's an interesting concept. 

Wonderopolis

clever-name-or-smth

There's nothing wrong with being a big ol' nerd. 

And, there's nothing wrong with Invater Zim fanfic, either. 

so is checking these comments like a full time job or

Here at Wonderopolis, we do have specific people that check comments, but we do much more than that! 

Wonderopolis

There's a specific amount of time during a school day--and that doesn't make a lot of time for 'independent practice' of skills learned during the school day. 

Also, it's a GREAT idea to share your homework with your parents! 

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your opinon, Joe! 

Wonderopolis

That's a great question, Brady. You should post it in the Wonder Bank . 

Wonderopolis

You're welcome, Chase!

Wonderopolis

That's great, loren! Care to share your fun homework hack?

Wonderopolis

wegsfvbydgfhnry

Hey, Wonder Friend. We're sorry you think homework is a waste of time. Practice is really important when learning new things. 

Wonderopolis

Hi sofia! 

What's your secret for making homework fun? I'm sure a lot of our Wonder Friends would like to try it out! 

Wonderopolis

That seems to be a common theme, ashley. 

Wonderopolis

We're sorry to hear that, harrison. 

Wonderopolis

wonder i already know...

Yikes! Well, it's important to have good time management skills so you can get everything turned in! 

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Harold! 

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your thought process, Tyrannie! 

Wonderopolis

That's great, Xavier-B-! Make homework interesting! 

Wonderopolis

Hey, Adriana! We have a wonderful Wonder team that works together to accomplish all the Wonderopolis tasks. There is a core group of three currently, but we have people that pop in occasionally to help with things. 

Wonderopolis

my next wonder is how do you know if a boy likes you because i just got a boyfriend and hes really shy.

Make sure you submit it to the Wonder Bank !

That's legit. We totally understand your position!

Wonderopolis

CaptainObvious

Thanks bunches, CaptainObvious! 

Wonderopolis

Lil’ Mousey

Hey, Lil' Mousey--

We have some Wonders about cheese already. Check them out !

Wonderopolis

I know right! ☺️

Wonderopolis

EverestAndEvetheWarriors

Thanks, E&E!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your opinion, kev.

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Giani.

Wonderopolis

Jeez bro. It’s boring. All you do is sit there and fill out worksheets and assignments. We already do work at school. Why do we need work at home? It’s boring,bro,it’s boring. That’s why nobody likes it.

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Elvisssss. 

None taken. ? And, we're glad you respect homework because it's a great way to practice skills. 

Wonderopolis

It's Crule??

...but necessary!

Wonderopolis

Video gamessssss??????????????

Great reward for finishing homework! 

Wonderopolis

Video games DUH! I have one! Would you rather eat only fried chicken for the rest of your life or suffer from homework every single day for the rest of your life. Plz reply ??

Wonderopolis

ChickenFries

I would pick fried chicken because I’m a HUGE chicken fan. Not a homework fan. One time my teacher gave the class a big report that day and said it was due the next day. It wasn’t fair because I had to miss football practice because I had to work on it.

We're sorry that happened, ChickenFries.

Homework. Definitely. 

Wonderopolis

Wonder Friend

I love homework it the best i love not being able to play with my friends and doing my homework call me i will do your homework. [redacted]

Wonderopolis

It may, Catlyn, but practice makes perfect! 

Wonderopolis

Homeworkistheworst

Wonderopolis

Catlyn smith

Homework is a way for students to practice skills. It takes, on average, doing something right 18 times before it becomes a habit. So, writing a sentence with subject/verb agreement 18 times(ish), means you have mastered that skill. 

Until you get to more complicated stuff.

Wonderopolis

The sources are listed in the left column of the WONDER, ZERVA. 

Homework is the independent practice of a skill teachers need to make sure students can perform on their own. 

We're sorry homework stresses some people out. That's a great subject to bring up with parents and teachers, though! 

Wonderopolis

We're sorry to hear that, Carter. 

Wonderopolis

Isohatehomework

Wonderopolis

I'm sure a lot of our Wonder Friends share your opinion! ?

Oh,ha ha ha.???I am not a so called Wonder Friend. Are you a robot?!

? Everyone who comes to Wonderopolis are our Wonder Friends! 

We're not robots. We actually respond to most of the comments made. 

your not one person, your multiple people who are in the "Wonderopolis" company

Oh...sorry about that...I didn’t mean to say that. I’m sorry x100 ☹️????

It's ?

Wonderopolis

We think you're not alone in that emotion!

Wonderopolis

Jack McCrea

OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT. But to be honest I just hate it

Wonderopolis

Mason Smolen

That's WONDERful, Mason!

Wonderopolis

AnonymousPerson31

We're glad we could be of assistance, Wonder Friend!

Wonderopolis

Maybe this WONDER about expectations will help. 

Wonderopolis

Hi, Lulia! It's important to finish your homework so that you can continue to learn about topics discussed in school! What is your favorite subject in school? 

Wonderopolis

Hi, caileigh! Yeah, though homework isn't the most fun activity after school, it will help you learn more about what you learned in school!

Wonderopolis

steve savie

Wonderopolis

Hi, Sara! We're sorry to hear that you're having homework problems ?.

Wonderopolis

All homework does is make students stressed out and make less time for them to be with their family and relax

Wonderopolis

no homework is based on the work we do in school and you will get better at your work.

We're so sorry to hear that you're having a tough time with homework, Wonder Friend ?.  Homework is important, and time with family and relaxing is important, too!

Wonderopolis

AngryPerson

u think all of our parents help with our homework? some of them dont, they see this as a "student's responsibility" and let them be and btw, if you delete this comment, it is easy to see that you don't want any negative comments about this and want to eliminate the people who think homework is bad

Hi, AngryPerson.  We're so sorry that you're angry.  We do want to hear our Wonder Friends' thoughts here at Wonderopolis.  If you're having trouble with your homework, we hope that you ask your teacher for help.  We appreciate your feedback!

Wonderopolis

This is so true! In my house, homework never connected me to my parents, because like work at school, I saw it as a test of what I could do individually. Thus, as all my time was taken up by homework, I almost never spent time with my parents. Now I feel isolated from them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kay.  We definitely recommend spending quality time with family, and we hope that learning together is a way to connect with your family!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mii.  And we absolutely agree that spending quality time with your family is very important!!  Perhaps you could tell your family fun facts that you learned at school?  Learning new information is also very important, and it is awesome to share the information you learn with your family so that you can learn together! ?

Wonderopolis

Homework is both emotionally and mentally hurtful...Physically too-

We're sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your homework, Wonder Friend!  We hope that you ask your teacher if you have any specific questions about your homework.

Wonderopolis

Hi, Llamaz! We hope that you are getting plenty of sleep, too! Check out  Wonder 1775: Do Kids Need More Sleep Than Adults?   Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for asking, rather! We ask that Wonderopolis be listed as the author.  Also, since we do not list the publish date for our Wonders of the Day, you may put the date you accessed this page for information.  The following is how you would cite this page:

"Why Do We Have Homework?"  Wonderopolis.    https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-we-have-homework .  Accessed 25 Apr. 2018.

Wonderopolis

Hang in there, Louie! It sounds like you're working really hard on your homework and essays, which is awesome!!

Louie ramirez

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us, Louie.   We know that homework takes a lot of work, but it's also helping you learn and Wonder!

Hi, Louie! What are you writing about in your essay?

Wonderopolis

Hi, Clara! We have MANY Wonders on these topics!! Our  Explore Wonders tab contains over 2,100 Wonders, and if you scroll down on this page, you can search for Wonders by topics that you're interested in! Have fun WONDERing, Clara!

Wonderopolis

We're sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with your homework, Ben, but we think that you are doing a great job and working hard! Keep up the great work!!

Wonderopolis

Playing games is fun, but make sure you make time for your homework, too, Mitchell! Once you finish your the homework, you should check out   Wonder 1732: How Are Video Games Made?  ?

Wonderopolis

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Benicio.  Though the pros of homework are the focus of this Wonder, the second to last paragraph does list some potential cons:

"Despite these benefits found by researchers, the topics of who should receive homework and how much homework are hotly debated among educators and researchers. In  one study , researchers found that academic gains from homework increased as grade level increased, suggesting homework is more beneficial for older students. Some researchers have found that too much homework can lower or cancel its benefits and become  counterproductive , because students become burned out."

Wonderopolis

Hi, kody! We're glad that you're WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

We love hearing that, Jordan!! Thanks for letting us know, and thanks for WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for WONDERing with us, Miles!

Wonderopolis

Hi, Ameir! It looks like you've really done some research on the subject! 

Hi, ameir!! If you're having trouble with your homework, you may want to discuss specific questions you're having with your teacher.  What is your favorite subject in school?

math and science are my favorite

Those subjects are very interesting!! Have you seen our  Math and  Science Wonders?

Wonderopolis

We're sorry to hear that, UJEY, but we're glad you're WONDERing with us! 

Wonderopolis

It is important to take some time to rest, but homework is also important! We hope this Wonder helps explain why!

Wonderopolis

We're sorry to hear that, Gia, but we hope that this Wonder helps explain the many benefits of homework, too!

Wonderopolis

homework gets in the way of thing i want to do. I think teachers give homework just because they have nothing else to do. like isn't going to school enough work and it takes time away from my family especially my mom who cancer and i would want to spend more time with my mom. :(

We're so sorry to hear that, digeo! ?

Wonderopolis

dogs go moo

school is kid preson!

We're sorry you feel that way! We think school is an excellent place to Wonder!!!

Wonderopolis

why do dogs go moo

Thanks for WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

mkewigyjdfo8ueabsn ry7gtcbsh j

We're glad you liked this Wonder!! ?

Wonderopolis

Hi, Luke! Have you seen Wonder 1529:  Why Do Cats Purr?

Wonderopolis

Hi, mew mew! Have you seen our  Wonders about cats ?

jacob baldwin

Sorry, didn't catch that, jacob! Glad you're WONDERing with us though!!

Hello, Bob! We're always looking to hear more from our Wonder Friends!!  ?

Thanks for stopping by to Wonder with us!

dogs say moooooooooooooooooooo

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing! Sometimes it is difficult to balance homework and other activities.  What are some of your favorite things to do when you're not doing homework?

Wonderopolis

We're sorry you feel that way, CN Olson!! We're glad you're WONDERing with us, though!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for joining the conversation, davaeh!

Wonderopolis

im sorry for anyone that feels that way but homework is good for you

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Wonderopolis

Great points, john! We hope you will have some more free time soon!!  Thanks for WONDERing with us!!

Wonderopolis

We appreciate your feedback, jorge! 

Wonderopolis

Agreed aswell

Does your school give homework, bob? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Wonderopolis

xxxtentacion

Sometimes, unfortunately, it does ?. Homework also has benefits too, though! Thanks, gavin!

Wonderopolis

That certainly does add up the majority of the day!  The lessons we learn in school help us to grow up to be thoughtful and intelligent adults.  We do agree that everyone needs a break sometimes, though!  Hope you and our other friends get a few minutes to kick back and relax today!?

Wonderopolis

We should discontinue homework because some kids don’t do it or understand it, therefore kids start stressing and saying to there self I’m gonna get in trouble , I’m gonna get a bad grade and it basically leads in to this whole conflict .

Thanks for sharing, Liv!

Wonderopolis

Sorry you feel that way, Justin, but we're glad that you're WONDERing with us!!

Wonderopolis

Thank you bob, we should change our studies to something actually helpful.

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Bob.  Thanks for WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

Homework hater

Homework is a disease I think we need a intercontinental cure research lab for it

But, unfortunately, creating this research lab may require some homework! ? 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hi!  It's good to keep the conversation going about the amount of homework that students typically get.

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing that, Caden!  Have you been back to Mars since being born there?

Wonderopolis

Yes, I went there with him I will send you a postcard next time we go. I think Mars is wrecking his brain.

Kai's evil twin

My friend trolled me

? Be safe out there, Caden!

Wonderopolis

Must be a fun class! ?

Thanks for the feedback, Gyanve!  Great to hear from you! ?

Perhaps they also suggested some coping strategies, too?  

OOOOOOOOOOO

Not a roast

Hi again, Kai!  Actually, if you look toward the bottom of the Wonder, under "Sources" you'll see where we got our information.  We appreciate you checking up on us with a critical eye!  It's always good to be a little skeptical and ask for more research and data. You're a smart Wonder Friend!  We Wonder if you could do some research to find support for why schools SHOULDN'T have homework. We're curious to hear what you find!

www.Scholastic.com says that there is no evidence to say that homework benefits kids at all, and Washington Post says that homework on a national level is not related to academic success. Washington post also says that some lower income countries cultures normalize long periods of studying but it is uneffective, nd neotoday.org says that the link between assigned homework and academic achievement is drastically over inflated, What do you have to say about that?(sorry If I was a little harsh in my last two comments I was unhappy at the time) neotoday.org/2014/05/13/should-schools-be-done-with-homework) //www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/09/02/homework-could-have-an-effect-on-kids-health-should-schools-ban-it

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/subarticle.jsp?id=2953

WOW!! You've really done some EXCELLENT research from some reputable sources, Kai!  Our Wonder Salute to you!  One thing to note: in the Washington Post article, they do make a distinction that heavy homework loads in elementary can be negative.  In higher grades, this might not be the case "Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.".  It certainly raises a very good question which is we shouldn't assume homework is helping and adding more homework all the time seems to definitely not be helping.  It's a great question that deserves a lot more thought and research.  Thank you for WONDERing and researching, Kai! 

This might get moderated, but I am curious to see how how many people "talked" with me./?

How many people have responded to my comments

You would just have to look on this comment page and see who "replies" to your comment.  Does that help, Kai?

What do you mean, exactly?  We don't follow.

? Wow, tough review!  Well, research does support that extra practice helps.  We DO discuss the debate over how much homework and what kind.  Truthfully, homework is probably not going anywhere anytime soon, so we wanted to help show our Wonder Friends how it can be beneficial and how one can get the most out of it.  We appreciate hearing from you, Kai!

Wonderopolis

I'd agree with the fact that practice does help learning on a basic level of memory but, in experience as a student, I cannot say that homework could be considered "practice." I've had many-a-teacher that has given homework out and I've had to google search how to do most of it because I was never taught it in class. Homework is more of busy work in the way of doing hobbies, eating, sleeping, and a happy and healthy life style that could possibly be important in "the real world", as if this torture is as easy as petting a bunny. Homework CAN provide help in small, sparatic, doses. If you are bombarded with homework everyday, it really becomes more harmful than helpful.

Great thoughts, Jillian!  Really well said and we appreciate you taking the time to share that with us!  We wish more teachers made time to wonder with their class (and we are thankful for the great ones who do!).

Wonderopolis

jaime lannister

you couldn't be more right school is about seven hours every 5 days a week for about a year and we still get work to take home like school is for learning there needs to be time to separate school life from your life like you can't just do work all day and you also get homework when it's holiday and there are enough going on in childrens lives than homework so this page is bad no one needs homework i learn more from youtube videos than school and children get anxiety enough from life like puberty, family, growing older school is just boring and you need time to settle your mind because in british schools they work you forever and the teachers are tough.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jaime!  Hang in there!

Wonderopolis

I hate homework we do work every day at school teachers know what is is like because they been through homework.Let me put it to you guys i know some people hate homework and some do not.Most teachers just overdo homework.

Good thoughts, Edrick.  Thanks for sharing and glad to have you WONDERing with us!

Do they write those essays in class or at home, Brielle? ?

they write the essays at home

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Yuguj!  Glad to have you WONDERing with us on this important topic!

Wonderopolis

I agree so much I am so scared of not doing my homework or my grade might go down and that really isn't fair for me and my peers so great point!!!

That's a great point, Anonymous!  In a perfect world, people would just do the work assigned and see the value in it.  Sadly, it's hard to do away with the consequences and still have full participation.  It's a challenging problem to try and solve, but we are glad you are WONDERing with us!

Wonderopolis

I think homework is a waste of time. it takes away from family time and exercise time.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alisa! We think family time and exercise are important, too. The article did mention some reasons why homework has value, even if it doesn't always seem that way. Hang in there! It will all be worth it someday!

I am a very smart student with a brain to fit an adult, but even i get tired of homework. I have spent all day at school so I want a break. We don' need homework.

Wonderopolis

Yes, I agree and I too get tired of it. In my school they said that HW, was just the same lesson at home than at school. It is just a review. I am smart and don't study (LOL) and yet I have always gotten an A or a B in my tests (BTW, studying is considered homework for some reasons)

The struggle is real, Alisa. We do hope you get some time to give that super-smart brain a break! Thanks for using some of that brain power here with us at Wonderopolis!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kid77! Sometimes in life, the important things are not always the most fun. Some homework assignments might feel unnecessary but (as the article mentioned) there can be many functions of homework. At least in your case, if you learned the material well in class, it shouldn't take up as much time to complete at home. Sometimes, though, that extra practice can make the difference between knowing the information and truly mastering it. Hang in there, Kid77!

Wonderopolis

ethan (murphy)

If you are bullied, tell a teacher, if the teacher is the bully.... I honestly can’t help you there.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, ethan. We're sorry it feels like you are being bullied by your teachers. Have you spoken with your school counselor or your parents? Perhaps they can help you resolve the issues you are facing.

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, Alexia. We hope you'll keep exploring Wonders to find one you like!

Wonderopolis

Thank you for commenting, Boi. We hope you'll visit Wonderopolis again soon.

Wonderopolis

Thanks for joining the conversation, pretty456 and twanasia! We're glad you stopped by Wonderopolis!

you don't like homework?

Thanks for telling us how you feel, Isaac. We appreciate your feedback.

Wonderopolis

We're glad we could help with your homework, Pusheen! Since we do not list the publish date, standard MLA formatting says that it's OK to list the date you accessed the page for information. Check out the Purdue OWL website for more guidance.

Thank you for WONDERing with us, Isaac! We hope you'll take a look at Wonder #1534. We think it's right up your alley! ?

Wonderopolis

Certainly, Liesel! Thank you for asking. We ask that Wonderopolis be listed as the author of this Wonder of the Day. Since we do not list the publish date, you may use the date you accessed this webpage for information (such as November 27). Cheers, Wonder Friend!

Wonderopolis

We're glad you found this Wonder helpful, sonice! There are both advantages and disadvantages to homework and sometimes those points are contrary to each other. This happens when there are different studies performed by different researchers. Sometimes the results contradict other studies.

I used this source for a case study that I am conducting on homework. I was wondering if I could know who wrote the source and when it was published. If I am allowed to have this information, please respond. Thank you.

Thank you for using Wonderopolis for your homework, Liesel! Please see our response above. ?

Wonderopolis

I know the heather

Thanks for joining the discussion, D. We're glad you visited Wonderopolis.

We're glad this Wonder helped, suicune300, even if it didn't make you like homework any more! It's great that you're WONDERing! We hope you'll stop by again! :)

Wonderopolis

Hi, bill! We're not sure we understand your comment. Do you have homework about autism? If so, head over to Wonder #1346 to explore information about autism.

Wonderopolis

We're glad you joined the conversation, avery! We hope you liked reading this Wonder -- perhaps it helped you understand some of the advantages to homework. :)

Wonderopolis

We're glad you joined the discussion, Bob. Perhaps this Wonder helped to explain why homework is assigned to students. :)

Hi, amez! Sometimes it is helpful to take a break before starting your homework. Thinking can be tiring sometimes, but it's so important! :)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Thank you for sharing, Wonder Friend! :)

Wonderopolis

lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies

We're sorry you feel this way, bob. Thanks for sharing your opinion. We always value hearing from our Wonder Friends! :)

Hi, Christian. We're sorry you don't agree with this Wonder. We encourage you to also explore the Wonder Sources listed. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wonderopolis

i hate homework

Thank you for sharing your opinion, yazzie! We hope this Wonder helped you to understand some of the advantages to homework, along with some of the disadvantages. :)

Wonderopolis

i really like this article, got an A+ on my report. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great job, Wonder Friend! Keep up the GREAT work and always keep WONDERing! :)

Hi, Wonder Friend! We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

Wonderopolis

We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework, nathan! Try to think about all the extra practice! :)

Wonderopolis

hey homework is good for your brain and help you to get smarter

Thanks for sharing your opinion, elroi! 

Wonderopolis

Great question, tyler! If we know who submitted the question the author is listed up by the "Listen" button. This Wonder does not have an author listed. Sometimes people submit anonymous questions! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wonderopolis

Riley & Anna

Thanks for the KIND words, Riley & Anna! We think our Wonder Friends are pretty AWESOME, too! We encourage you to submit your question to the Wonder Bank! :)

Wonderopolis

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about homework, bob! We're glad you think it is helpful! :)

Wonderopolis

I hate homework

Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your opinion, Brendon! We're glad you're WONDERing! :)

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Wonder Friend! Spending time with your parents is important, too! We encourage you to share this Wonder with them! :)

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Antonio yet King

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this Wonder topic, too! Thanks for joining the conversation, Antonio! :)

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Thanks for joining the conversation, Caroline! We appreciate you sharing your thoughts! :)

Hi, Makayla! We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this important topic! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)

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Welcome, Dionna! Thanks for sharing your opinion about homework! We're glad you're WONDERing! :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bob! We understand that sometimes it is difficult, but try to also think about the positive aspects mentioned in the Wonder! :)

I notice that none of the evidence presented in the article is backed by any tests or studies to show that the claims presented in the wonder is true.

Oh wow.  You got us, Unknown.  Not a fan of homework, we are guessing?  Did you try clicking any of our sources links?  We appreciate you keeping us on our toes!

Hi, d! We understand it's important for you to have free time, too! We hope you still have time for that! :)

I think you are wrong I have to stay up all night to do my homework then at school I always fall asleep :(

We're sorry to hear that, Jack. Thanks for sharing your connection. Maybe you can talk to your teacher about that. :)

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Thanks for sharing your opinion about homework, avry! We appreciate you joining the discussion! Hopefully you learned some of the positive aspects of homework! :)

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Thanks for sharing your opinion, Bumble Bee! We understand that there are many different opinions out there about homework. We tried to address both sides, while also stating the positive aspects of homework. We hope you understand and Wonder with us again soon! :)

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wonderopolis is a lier

no your article is mostly one sided. the side being that homework is good

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Wonder Friend. You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of homework by reviewing the Wonder Sources we provided above.

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Hi, Kayla! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We're sorry to hear homework is so stressful. We hope things get better! Stay positive! :)

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That's GREAT, Emma! We love your enthusiasm for learning! Keep up the GREAT work! :)

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Trinity Goebel

Hi, Trinity! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about homework. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you have a lot, but try to stay positive! Keep up the GREAT work! :)

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homework is stupid why why do we have it mmmmmmm i hate it..

Hi, tyson! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We're sure there is some good in homework -- just take a look at the Wonder text above to see! :)

A lot of students don't like homework, ..., and it can be challenging to keep up with homework with everything else going on in your life. The important thing is to do your best, because there are lots of benefits to homework even if it doesn't always seem like it. If homework is a regular problem, talk to your teacher or fellow classmates for help. We're glad you took the time to share your thoughts about homework.

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To answer your question, Im pretty sure homework is NOT a law, but pretty much every teacher gives you homework. Depending on what grade you are in, usually grades 1-3 get 0-30 minutes of homework each night. grades 4-6 get 0-2 hour of homework each night, and Grades 7 and 8 get 30-3 hours of homework each night..... all of this depends on the student and how he or she learns. but this is what the average student gives to do homework in Elementary school

Thanks for the GREAT explanation, emma! You're right in that there are recommended amounts, but no particular law. We appreciate your comment! :)

Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis for your homework, Maya! Homework is not a law. It depends how much homework you have as to how long it takes. Also, some assignments, like projects, take longer than smaller assignments. We hope this Wonder was helpful in answering your questions! :)

Hi, Maya! No, homework is not a law. It is up to your teacher or school. We hope this Wonder helped explain how homework is helpful for practicing what you learned. We understand it is a pain sometimes, but we hope you understand! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

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TENNIS is awesome

Hello, TENNIS is awesome! The WONDER mentions some reasons why homework is important, sch as extra practice. We appreciate your comment and you sharing your opinion with us! :)

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One opinion

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We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, One opinion! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

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Hello, hahahah! Homework can be time consuming sometimes, but keep thinking positively about all you're learning! :)

We appreciate you sharing your opinion, Goopdi! Sometimes it may seem like a chore, but it is always a good idea to practice what you learned at school. WONDERing is a WONDERful way to learn and have fun at the same time! :)

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I believe homework is a waste of time!!

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Shae Skipper

Hello, Shae Skipper! You make some great points to support your opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with your WONDER friends! :)

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Why do we wonder?

That's a GREAT question, Alistair! WONDERing is a GREAT way to learn new things, have fun, and explore the world around us! :)

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connor essary

Hello WONDER Friend, connor essary! We are glad you enjoyed this WONDER. Here is another WONDER about homework. Wonder #491: Do Dogs Really Eat Homework? Enjoy! :)

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JoHaunn Mainwood

Hi JoHaunn Mainwood! Thanks for commenting on this WONDER! We appreciate our WONDER friends sharing their thoughts! :)

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Welcome, Bob! Thanks for WONDERing with us and commenting on the WONDER! :)

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McDonald's

Hi McDonald's! Thanks for commenting on this WONDER. We hate to hear you hate homework. Homework is another way to learn and show others what you know. Check back for more WONDERS! :)

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Hi Jaheim! We hate to hear you don't enjoy your homework. Homework is a great way to show your family and friends what you are doing in school. Keep working hard and WONDERing!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sara! You do learn more from doing your homework! Keep up the great work! :)

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Hi David! We hate to hear you don't like homework because it helps us practice what we learned in school. Homework is different everywhere you go. Keep working hard! :)

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Hello, Nicole! We hate to hear you hate homework. Homework can be great practice for what you are learning in school. We know you are working hard and doing a great job. Keep it up! :)

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keandre campbell

Welcome to WONDERopolis, keandre campbell! There are over 1,000 WONDERS for you to explore. Thanks for WONDERing with us. Check back every day for more WONDERful WONDERS! :)

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That's great, Crazy! Keep up the great WONDERing! :)

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Wonder frog

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It is not school is amazing!!!

Welcome, Wonder frog! We hate to hear you don't enjoy school. School is a great opportunity to WONDER and learn new things. Then you can share your new knowledge with your friends. Try checking out Wonder #1268: Why Was School Created? Always keep WONDERing! :)

Wonderopolis

I agree totally!

We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework, too, Kaytlyn! Thanks for stopping by! :)

We appreciate you joining the discussion, Trinity! We hope this Wonder showed a few reasons why homework can be beneficial! :)

Hello, Jordan! Homework can be great practice. It helps you continue learning! :)

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Lukas Wozencraft

That's funny, Lukas Wozencraft! What do you think it will be about? Be sure to check back tomorrow! :)

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Jahkeya from DE

Hello WONDER friend, Jahkeya from DE! What would our world be like if dinosaurs weren't extint? Hmmm...? Something to WONDER about! :)

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We are glad you enjoyed the video, Jasahn! Homework is very helpful most of the time! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

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We are glad you liked the video, Makayla! It made us laugh, too! Check out Wonder #1285: What Was Before Dinosaurs? Happy WONDERing! :)

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Juilo from DE

Hello, Juilo from DE! Cheer up! Homework helps you practice what you are learning. After all, they say practice makes perfect! If you enjoy video games, check out Wonder #1344: Who Invented the First Video Game? Have fun WONDERing! :)

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Autumn from Delaware

Welcome, Autumn from Delaware! The video was silly! Here is another WONDER about dinosaurs! Wonder #275: How Do Dinosaurs Get Their Names? Enjoy! :)

Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sara! Check back everyday for more WONDERful WONDERS!:)

Wonderopolis

Hello, Gabriel! It sounds like many of our WONDER friends agree with you about the video. We all thought it was funny too! Thanks for commenting! :)

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Julian from Delaware

Welcome, Julian from Delaware! You stay busy! That shows true commitment and hard work! :)

Wonderopolis

Hi Geyonni! We are glad you liked the video. Can you imagine seeing a dinosaur at school? Check out Wonder #491: Do Dogs Really Eat Homework? Happy WONDERing! :)

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christina from De

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I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for commenting, christina from De! You're right, that kids also need time to spend with their family. As the WONDER tells us, it is important to not have too much homework. That leaves time for both! :)

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Khyan from DE

Thanks for sharing, Khyan from DE! Homework is helpful practice and playing with your friends is important, too. Hopefully you can find a happy medium between the two! :)

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Kainat from Delware

Not really... :(

im just here because of espark, of all you people you domt kn9w what espark is, well its not homework its just were on oir school ipads amd we do this app that novody wants to do and we have (quests) and are a bunch of activities put togethor.

That could be a very fun way to learn and WONDER, Mitchell! 

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William Weispfenning

Homework is so fun (not) homework = ?

lol really william

Thanks for joining the discussion, William. There are pros and cons to homework and we hope this Wonder helped you learn about them. ?

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Trinity! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)

That's right, Kainat from Delware! Homework is great practice! Keep up the great WONDERing! :)

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Question 1 of 3

Homework plays an important role for parents by creating a bridge between home and what?

  • a school Correct!
  • b parents Not Quite!
  • c coaches Not Quite!
  • d students Not Quite!

Question 2 of 3

Which of the following is NOT an important life skill that can be enhanced via homework?

  • a time management Not Quite!
  • b prioritization Not Quite!
  • c organization Not Quite!
  • d photosynthesis Correct!

Question 3 of 3

How much is too much homework per night?

  • a 30 minutes Not Quite!
  • b 1 hour Not Quite!
  • c 2 hours Not Quite!
  • d It depends upon a variety of complex factors. Correct!

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Should homework be banned?

Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

We’ve all done it: pretended to leave an essay at home, or stayed up until 2am to finish a piece of coursework we’ve been ignoring for weeks. Homework, for some people, is seen as a chore that’s ‘wrecking kids’ or ‘killing parents’, while others think it is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The problem is far from new: public debates about homework have been raging since at least the early-1900s, and recently spilled over into a Twitter feud between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.

Ironically, the conversation surrounding homework often ignores the scientific ‘homework’ that researchers have carried out. Many detailed studies have been conducted, and can guide parents, teachers and administrators to make sensible decisions about how much work should be completed by students outside of the classroom.

So why does homework stir up such strong emotions? One reason is that, by its very nature, it is an intrusion of schoolwork into family life. I carried out a study in 2005, and found that the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, from nursery right up to the end of compulsory education, has greatly increased over the last century . This means that more of a child’s time is taken up with education, so family time is reduced. This increases pressure on the boundary between the family and the school.

Plus, the amount of homework that students receive appears to be increasing, especially in the early years when parents are keen for their children to play with friends and spend time with the family.

Finally, success in school has become increasingly important to success in life. Parents can use homework to promote, or exercise control over, their child’s academic trajectory, and hopefully ensure their future educational success. But this often leaves parents conflicted – they want their children to be successful in school, but they don’t want them to be stressed or upset because of an unmanageable workload.

François Hollande says homework is unfair, as it penalises children who have a difficult home environment © Getty Images

However, the issue isn’t simply down to the opinions of parents, children and their teachers – governments also like to get involved. In the autumn of 2012, French president François Hollande hit world headlines after making a comment about banning homework, ostensibly because it promoted inequality. The Chinese government has also toyed with a ban, because of concerns about excessive academic pressure being put on children.

The problem is, some politicians and national administrators regard regulatory policy in education as a solution for a wide array of social, economic and political issues, perhaps without considering the consequences for students and parents.

Does homework work?

Homework seems to generally have a positive effect for high school students, according to an extensive range of empirical literature. For example, Duke University’s Prof Harris Cooper carried out a meta-analysis using data from US schools, covering a period from 1987 to 2003. He found that homework offered a general beneficial impact on test scores and improvements in attitude, with a greater effect seen in older students. But dig deeper into the issue and a complex set of factors quickly emerges, related to how much homework students do, and exactly how they feel about it.

In 2009, Prof Ulrich Trautwein and his team at the University of Tübingen found that in order to establish whether homework is having any effect, researchers must take into account the differences both between and within classes . For example, a teacher may assign a good deal of homework to a lower-level class, producing an association between more homework and lower levels of achievement. Yet, within the same class, individual students may vary significantly in how much homework improves their baseline performance. Plus, there is the fact that some students are simply more efficient at completing their homework than others, and it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint just what type of homework, and how much of it, will affect overall academic performance.

Over the last century, the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school has greatly increased

Gender is also a major factor. For example, a study of US high school students carried out by Prof Gary Natriello in the 1980s revealed that girls devote more time to homework than boys, while a follow-up study found that US girls tend to spend more time on mathematics homework than boys. Another study, this time of African-American students in the US, found that eighth grade (ages 13-14) girls were more likely to successfully manage both their tasks and emotions around schoolwork, and were more likely to finish homework.

So why do girls seem to respond more positively to homework? One possible answer proposed by Eunsook Hong of the University of Nevada in 2011 is that teachers tend to rate girls’ habits and attitudes towards work more favourably than boys’. This perception could potentially set up a positive feedback loop between teacher expectations and the children’s capacity for academic work based on gender, resulting in girls outperforming boys. All of this makes it particularly difficult to determine the extent to which homework is helping, though it is clear that simply increasing the time spent on assignments does not directly correspond to a universal increase in learning.

Can homework cause damage?

The lack of empirical data supporting homework in the early years of education, along with an emerging trend to assign more work to this age range, appears to be fuelling parental concerns about potential negative effects. But, aside from anecdotes of increased tension in the household, is there any evidence of this? Can doing too much homework actually damage children?

Evidence suggests extreme amounts of homework can indeed have serious effects on students’ health and well-being. A Chinese study carried out in 2010 found a link between excessive homework and sleep disruption: children who had less homework had better routines and more stable sleep schedules. A Canadian study carried out in 2015 by Isabelle Michaud found that high levels of homework were associated with a greater risk of obesity among boys, if they were already feeling stressed about school in general.

For useful revision guides and video clips to assist with learning, visit BBC Bitesize . This is a free online study resource for UK students from early years up to GCSEs and Scottish Highers.

It is also worth noting that too much homework can create negative effects that may undermine any positives. These negative consequences may not only affect the child, but also could also pile on the stress for the whole family, according to a recent study by Robert Pressman of the New England Centre for Pediatric Psychology. Parents were particularly affected when their perception of their own capacity to assist their children decreased.

What then, is the tipping point, and when does homework simply become too much for parents and children? Guidelines typically suggest that children in the first grade (six years old) should have no more that 10 minutes per night, and that this amount should increase by 10 minutes per school year. However, cultural norms may greatly affect what constitutes too much.

A study of children aged between 8 and 10 in Quebec defined high levels of homework as more than 30 minutes a night, but a study in China of children aged 5 to 11 deemed that two or more hours per night was excessive. It is therefore difficult to create a clear standard for what constitutes as too much homework, because cultural differences, school-related stress, and negative emotions within the family all appear to interact with how homework affects children.

Should we stop setting homework?

In my opinion, even though there are potential risks of negative effects, homework should not be banned. Small amounts, assigned with specific learning goals in mind and with proper parental support, can help to improve students’ performance. While some studies have generally found little evidence that homework has a positive effect on young children overall, a 2008 study by Norwegian researcher Marte Rønning found that even some very young children do receive some benefit. So simply banning homework would mean that any particularly gifted or motivated pupils would not be able to benefit from increased study. However, at the earliest ages, very little homework should be assigned. The decisions about how much and what type are best left to teachers and parents.

As a parent, it is important to clarify what goals your child’s teacher has for homework assignments. Teachers can assign work for different reasons – as an academic drill to foster better study habits, and unfortunately, as a punishment. The goals for each assignment should be made clear, and should encourage positive engagement with academic routines.

Parents who play an active role in homework routines can help give their kids a more positive experience of learning © Getty Images

Parents should inform the teachers of how long the homework is taking, as teachers often incorrectly estimate the amount of time needed to complete an assignment, and how it is affecting household routines. For young children, positive teacher support and feedback is critical in establishing a student’s positive perception of homework and other academic routines. Teachers and parents need to be vigilant and ensure that homework routines do not start to generate patterns of negative interaction that erode students’ motivation.

Likewise, any positive effects of homework are dependent on several complex interactive factors, including the child’s personal motivation, the type of assignment, parental support and teacher goals. Creating an overarching policy to address every single situation is not realistic, and so homework policies tend to be fixated on the time the homework takes to complete. But rather than focusing on this, everyone would be better off if schools worked on fostering stronger communication between parents, teachers and students, allowing them to respond more sensitively to the child’s emotional and academic needs.

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The Pros and Cons of Homework

Updated: December 7, 2023

Published: January 23, 2020

The-Pros-and-Cons-Should-Students-Have-Homework

Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

Why should students have homework, 1. homework encourages practice.

Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.

While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.

Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.

It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.

Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.

On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.

The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.

It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.

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Pros and Cons of making homework optional

Pros+and+Cons+of+making+homework+optional

Pro Catherine Gagulashvili  calendar manager Not doing anything is so much easier than doing something. By nature, students would rather avoid doing strenuous amounts of homework, simply because it’s less taxing. When given the option to not do homework on a daily basis, the average student may leap at the opportunity to slack off. They would do that without taking into account the fact that being assigned optional homework is one of the most academically potent opportunities a high school student can be offered. Homework should be made optional because it teaches students to be held accountable for their actions. The daily, mandatory assignment of homework is something that should be enforced and practiced throughout elementary and middle school, but should slowly be phased out once a student graduates to high school. Once a student enters high school, he or she should be prepared to let go of the culture that comforted and guided them through elementary and middle school; it’s time to grow up. Simply put, making homework optional further prepares students on the path of expectations in college and in life. Optional homework should be viewed as an opportunity to pace oneself and to practice what needs to be practiced. If a student excels in a subject without needing extra practice, why force him or her to do that extra homework for the sake of simply going through the motions? If a student has clearly mastered an academic skill or an ability, it is pointless and counterproductive to force him or her to overpractice. By making homework a mandatory assignment, teachers force their students to waste their time on something that might be redundant. Assigning optional homework allows the student to better his or her time management skills. Considering that the average high school student receives 3.5 hours of homework per day , the opportunity to receive optional homework allows students to properly prioritize their work and maximize their time. It allows for flexibility in a student’s life. For students who balance six to seven academic classes and have a sport, having optional homework allows them to spread out their assignments over a longer period of time. If taken advantage of properly , optional homework forces the student to budget his or her time, allocating the right amount of study time for each assignment. In addition, it allows the student to work at his or her own pace. The assignment of optional homework has been used on Beverly’s campus. Geometry and IAT teacher Dustin Mathias assigns optional homework, or as he calls them, “suggested problems” in his classroom. He has found that suggested problems give students more options, teach them how to be responsible and force them to “be honest with themselves and what they need to do.” By no means is one to assume that every student will do his or her homework if it isn’t mandatory. The goal is to have students realize that they have to do the work even if no one is watching. College professors don’t check to see if each student did the reading: they give a final.  High school has a more hands-on approach to learning, but as students transition to being upperclassmen, they need to realize that they are required to dedicate a certain amount of time and energy to a class, regardless if it’s in the form of doing their homework, studying, taking notes or paying attention in class. The average student may view optional homework as an opportunity to slack off, completely disregarding the fact that by doing so, they are setting themselves up for failure. After graduating high school, the student will likely fail to realize that tasks need to be completed not because they need someone else’s approval, but because otherwise failure will await them at every turn. Not doing any homework and failing a test is the equivalent of not doing work at the job and getting fired. No one should have to consistently tell one to do his or her job; one should know one’s responsibility to accomplish goals independently in a satisfactory and timely manner. While both mandatory and optional homework assignments have their pros and cons, some find that mandatory homework does more harm than good. C hild education, parenting and human behavior expert Alfie Kohn finds that “There [is] simply no compelling data to justify the practice of making kids work what amounts to a second shift when they get home from a full day of school.” While Kohn takes it to the extreme opinion by stating “no homework should be the norm,” he brings up the valid point that the assignment of  mandatory homework forces a student to spend his or her entire day focused on academics. Some students will not thrive in an atmosphere that forces them to be held accountable for their actions. But hopefully, if they are forced to deal with the real world consequences for long enough, they will come to realize what their voluntary obligations are. If every class continues to assign homework that is checked on a daily basis, students will not be prepared for college and for life. Assigning optional homework is the stepping-stone through which students learn to be held accountable for their decisions, work and actions. Con Sam Bernstein staff writer Homework needs to be mandatory. It is a fact that students do better after completing homework at home. It’s a fact that students do better when homework is mandatory. There is no reason at all to make homework optional. Not giving credit to those that complete homework nightly is also unfair. With admission into college getting more and more competitive, students need every point they can get. Completing assignments and not getting points for them is absurd and only hurts students chances of getting into the college. Homework points can be the difference between a B and an A for some students, and it hurts students  It’s simply wasting students’ time that they could be spending completing assignments that count for points in other classes. If a kid is willing to put in the work to get an A, teachers should reward them. “The school needs to think about everybody, and if homework was not mandatory, some students who are doing below average would do worse if they had an option to do even less,” sophomore Colin Newberry said. This is school. In real life you’ll lose credibility for not completing tasks. School should be a model of what real life is and what real life will be, as it is a developmental place. Teens need to know responsibility, and having a responsibility to complete homework teaches young minds how to have jobs in the future. Homework is the most basic form of this responsibility. Homework is graded for a reason. Students work hard to complete daily assignments and deserve credit for doing so. Not getting credit for homework is like waiting a table and not getting a tip. If a student is willing to put work into your class, they deserve credit. It’s also a way to give credit for efforts in a class. Students that don’t happen to be good test takers should have another way to make up points lost. “I wouldn’t do the homework without an incentive such as a grade,” freshman Eva Levin said. Other students could attest to that. “If there’s no mandatory studying or homework to be done, then most won’t care about it because is doesn’t affect their grade whether or not they do it,” freshman Nathan Naghi said. Cutting corners is human nature. “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it,” Bill Gates said.  If optional homework has to be cut for students to spend an extra hour on other studying, they’ll do it. By not doing homework, there’s no way to assess how your knowledge of the subject is growing. Sitting in a class for 53 minutes cannot possibly give you enough understanding of a subject to take anything away from it. Homework fundamentally exists to remind students what they learned in class by providing practice problems similar to those on future assessments. By not helping students out in this regard, teachers are setting students up for failure. By encouraging students with points, both students and teachers can spend less time on review and on more time exploring new concepts. “Homework is designed specifically to complement the lessons taught by teachers during class. Sometimes the lessons lack in class, forcing students to essentially teach themselves at home, further reiterating the cruciality of homework,” junior Ethan Manaster said. Not every student has the diligence to sit at a desk and study at their own will. Students do, however, have the diligence to complete homework for points. And by encouraging students through rewards, they’ll learn from the homework they’re forced to do. By teaching students the rewards of being dedicated at getting better  with challenges in life, they’re better prepared to go off into the job force and make a true impact. Students could absolutely be hard working and do their own studying at their own pace. Nobody is getting anywhere by blindly distrusting students. But by giving students guidance in their studying, you’re doing them a solid. Teachers have been to college and are professionally trained to work with young minds. They know what to assign you and how to assign it. They know what’s on their tests and they know how much practice needs to happen outside of class to reach your highest potential on those said tests. Teachers aren’t just there to provide Kahoot codes and to yell at you for sliding into Sarahahs in class. Their purpose is to guide you. By not enabling teachers to guide students, you’re taking away from the purpose of a teacher’s’ job; to teach. By restricting the work teachers can get their students to do, you’re diminishing from the amount of content teachers can teach in a semester. Teachers can go faster when nearly everyone in the class is completing homework. By making homework optional, teachers can not reach their maximum potential with classes. Students, teachers and everyone in between cannot function at their highest potential without assigning mandatory homework.

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Emma • Feb 26, 2023 at 12:02 pm

Five days a week for almost nine months, students spend almost their entire day at school learning concepts and doing tedious work. Even after school, they go home and do even more work. According to College Homework Help, in the year 1905, homework was invented as a punishment for kids. Yet for some reason, it is now assigned almost every night. Homework can be boring, unnecessary, and sometimes just busy work for most students. Therefore, optional homework should be implemented in order to provide the extra practice for those who want it, without penalizing those who do not.

Boy doing homework at desk at home.

What’s the point of homework?

what is compulsory homework

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Homework hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. Most children are still sent home with about an hour’s worth of homework each day, mostly practising what they were taught in class.

If we look internationally, homework is assigned in every country that participated in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012.

Across the participating countries, 15-year-old students reported spending almost five hours per week doing homework in 2012. Australian students spent six hours per week on average on homework. Students in Singapore spent seven hours on homework, and in Shanghai, China they did homework for about 14 hours per week on average.

Read more: Aussie students are a year behind students 10 years ago in science, maths and reading

Shanghai and Singapore routinely score higher than Australia in the PISA maths, science and reading tests. But homework could just be one of the factors leading to higher results. In Finland, which also scores higher than Australia, students spent less than three hours on homework per week.

So, what’s the purpose of homework and what does the evidence say about whether it fulfils its purpose?

Why do teachers set homework?

Each school in Australia has its own homework policy developed in consultation with teachers and parents or caregivers, under the guiding principles of state or regional education departments.

For instance, according to the New South Wales homework policy “… tasks should be assigned by teachers with a specific, explicit learning purpose”.

Homework in NSW should also be “purposeful and designed to meet specific learning goals”, and “built on knowledge, skills and understanding developed in class”. But there is limited, if any, guidance on how often homework should be set.

Research based on teacher interviews shows they set homework for a range of reasons. These include to:

establish and improve communication between parents and children about learning

help children be more responsible, confident and disciplined

practise or review material from class

determine children’s understanding of the lesson and/or skills

introduce new material to be presented in class

provide students with opportunities to apply and integrate skills to new situations or interest areas

get students to use their own skills to create work.

So, does homework achieve what teachers intend it to?

Do we know if it ‘works’?

Studies on homework are frequently quite general, and don’t consider specific types of homework tasks. So it isn’t easy to measure how effective homework could be, or to compare studies.

But there are several things we can say.

First, it’s better if every student gets the kind of homework task that benefits them personally, such as one that helps them answer questions they had, or understand a problem they couldn’t quite grasp in class. This promotes students’ confidence and control of their own learning.

Read more: Learning from home is testing students' online search skills. Here are 3 ways to improve them

Giving students repetitive tasks may not have much value . For instance, calculating the answer to 120 similar algorithms, such as adding two different numbers 120 times may make the student think maths is irrelevant and boring. In this case, children are not being encouraged to find solutions but simply applying a formula they learnt in school.

In primary schools, homework that aims to improve children’s confidence and learning discipline can be beneficial. For example, children can be asked to practise giving a presentation on a topic of their interest. This could help build their competence in speaking in front of a class.

Young boy holding a microphone in the living room.

Homework can also highlight equity issues. It can be particularly burdensome for socioeconomically disadvantaged students who may not have a space, the resources or as much time due to family and work commitments. Their parents may also not feel capable of supporting them or have their own work commitments.

According to the PISA studies mentioned earlier, socioeconomically disadvantaged 15 year olds spend nearly three hours less on homework each week than their advantaged peers.

Read more: 'I was astonished at how quickly they made gains': online tutoring helps struggling students catch up

What kind of homework is best?

Homework can be engaging and contribute to learning if it is more than just a sheet of maths or list of spelling words not linked to class learning. From summarising various studies’ findings, “good” homework should be:

personalised to each child rather than the same for all students in the class. This is more likely to make a difference to a child’s learning and performance

achievable, so the child can complete it independently, building skills in managing their time and behaviour

aligned to the learning in the classroom.

If you aren’t happy with the homework your child is given then approach the school. If your child is having difficulty with doing the homework, the teacher needs to know. It shouldn’t be burdensome for you or your children.

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https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/28/education-secretary-i-trust-head-teachers-to-decide-their-homework-policies/

Education Secretary: I trust head teachers to decide their homework policies

what is compulsory homework

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has today written an op-ed for the Sunday Times setting out his position on homework, which has been followed up with a news story . He says that ultimately up to heads and school leaders to decide whether to set homework and what the consequences should be if children do not complete their homework set.

The Education Secretary said:

One of the tougher things I’ve taken on recently was solving a ‘part-whole model’, involving nine ducks and a jagged shoreline. This was, I should clarify, a piece of homework for one of my children, not something called for in my day job. Homework is a staple of school life, and of home life. Parents know this. After all, almost every one of us will have done homework ourselves as a child and most of us will be drafted in to help with it at some point as a parent, carer or grandparent. There has been some high-profile interest of late on social media suggesting that homework is bad for children, at least in the first half of schooling. There have even been subsequent questions about its legal status. Just to be clear: schools are not obliged to set homework, and some don’t. But when schools do set homework, children do need to do it. We trust individual school head teachers to decide what their policy on homework will be, and what happens if pupils don’t do what’s set. Policy and approach won’t be the same in all cases. Autonomy for schools, and the diversity that comes with it, is at the heart of this government’s approach to education. Of course, schools should, and do, communicate with parents. Parents need to know where they stand. Teachers obviously need to be realistic about expectations, and they know this. Obviously, no one wants children spending an inordinate amount of time every night doing homework. Clearly, there are other important things to do, too – like playing outside, family time, eating together. Good homework policies avoid excessive time requirements – focusing on quality rather than quantity and making sure that there is a clear purpose to any homework set. In 2011 we helped set up the Education Endowment Foundation as an independent expert body to study and advise on “what works” in education. It has established that, although there are more significant educational improvements derived from homework at secondary school, there can still be a modest but positive impact at primary level. Homework isn’t just some joyless pursuit of knowledge. It’s an integral part of learning. Beyond the chance to practice and reinforce what you’ve learned in class, it’s also an opportunity to develop independent study and application – and character traits like perseverance. Children need to know that what they do has consequences. At secondary school, if a pupil doesn’t complete their homework, they risk falling behind. They may also hold up others – clearly it is harder for the teacher to keep the whole class moving forward if some are doing the homework and others aren’t. At primary school, too, we all want our children to develop their knowledge – but we also want them to develop values. Homework set at primary school is likely to be of relatively shorter duration. But if a child is asked to do it and they don’t, for that to have no consequence would not be a positive lesson. Ultimately, of course, the responsibility for a child’s educational development is a shared one. Parental involvement makes a big difference, from the very earliest stage. In the early years parents can support their child’s development through story telling, singing or reading together. Later on, homework can give an ‘in’ for continued involvement in learning. Homework should not in general require adult help, and with today’s busy lives it certainly can be hard to find the time. But I know as a parent that we are called on as reinforcements if an assignment is especially challenging. Other times, it falls to parents just to give a nudge. I want all children to enjoy their progress through school and they will have a much better chance of doing this if they are not having to play catch-up during the day. Parents need to trust teachers, with all their experience of teaching and learning – and know that their child’s homework is not just proportionate, but will be of lasting benefit. From motivation and self-discipline to the wonder of independent learning, homework can teach children about far more than the part-whole model, some ducks and a jagged shoreline.

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Compulsory Homework

  • Compulsory Homework is made up of two main elements:

In Focus topics are the topics you have put into weekly homework for the class and take up around 60% of the homework. You can see what these are each week on the Planner page on your Sparx site. 

Consolidation  topics take up around 40% of the homework. Find out more about the consolidation element of homework in the article: What is consolidation?

  • Times tables can also be added to Compulsory Homework

You can also add Times tables to your Compulsory homework by going to the Class Manager page  and choosing to turn the Additional times tables task in homework on

  • How long does compulsory homework take?

Our research indicates that completing 60 minutes of homework each week has a significant impact on student attainment so the default homework length in Sparx is 60 minutes. You can change this, however, either permanently on the Class Manager page, or on a weekly basis on the Planner page.

You might also find this article useful: How does Sparx calculate the times shown in my Sparx site?

Consolidation.  Retrieval questions that make up around 40% of compulsory homework.

Compulsory.  The main component of weekly homework, created from tasks in the planner.

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What School Subjects Do You Need in High School?

The subjects you study in high school should allow you to graduate, but you’ll also want classes that will prepare you for college and for life as an adult.

  • Subjects Offered in High School
  • Subjects Needed to Graduate
  • Subjects for College Preparation

Picking high school courses is an exciting process. Core high school subjects like math, science, and language arts are required, but a range of others can be selected. Finally being given more of a choice in what a student studies can be freeing, but also may feel overwhelming, confusing, or stressful.

What courses are best? There's no one right path. First, consider what is needed to graduate. Then, take a look at your options.

Parents and teens can work together to choose school subjects that not only engage their interests but also have their future plans and goals in mind.

For example, students who want to go to college may be required to take more years of a foreign language or other classes required by the schools they are interested in. A student who is interested in pursuing a career in construction may want to take an industrial arts class.

Read on to learn more about selecting courses in high school.

Parents / Nusha Ashjaee 

What School Subjects Are Offered in High School?

Most high schools offer the same basic school subjects: Math, language arts, foreign language, science, social studies, health, and physical education (PE).

However, the exact courses may vary dramatically from school to school. Different high schools—even within the same district—often have different course offerings or special programs. If possible, choose the local high school that provides the programs and classes that best suit your needs and passions.

Below is a list of the most common school subjects. However, individual schools may offer a range of specialized classes, such as mindfulness or engineering.

High School Subjects

  • Literature or Language Arts
  • Speech and Debate
  • Writing or Composition
  • Trigonometry or Calculus
  • Biology (typically has advanced class options)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced class options)
  • Earth or Space Sciences
  • Physics (typically has advanced class options)
  • US Government
  • World History
  • Foreign Language, such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and German
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Arts, such as Music, Photography, Drawing, or Ceramics
  • Computer Applications, Graphic Design, or Web Design
  • Cooking and other life skills
  • Physical Education
  • Trade field studies such as Auto Mechanics, Woodworking, or Nursing
  • Personal Finance

School Subjects You Need to Graduate

Ideally, teens should start high school with a basic plan of the classes they will need to take to graduate. Every state has different requirements for obtaining a high school diploma, and each school varies greatly in what it offers to give kids a chance to fulfill them. Different schools also vary in the number of classes students take each year.

The school's guidance department can help students understand the graduation requirements and how their coursework aligns with them.

English language arts

Studying the English language and literature is an important part of high school for every student, regardless of their post-school plans. In addition to studying important pieces of literature, English classes teach teens about writing, reading, and speaking.

Most states require four years of English or language arts classes. Colleges require four years of English for admission. The main English classes in high school include:

Mathematics

In high school, students dig into several different types of math . Algebra and geometry are required at most high schools, and students may choose to take advanced math classes if they are offered.

Most states require three or four years of math coursework in high school. The main math classes in high school include:

Basic life sciences (biology) and physical sciences (chemistry and physics) are required at most high schools. These classes often include lab components that allow students to perform hands-on experiments.

Most states require two to three years of science coursework in high school. These may include:

  • Biology (typically has advanced class options)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced class options)
  • Earth or Space sciences

Social studies and history

Understanding the past and how the world works is important for young adults. In high school, students will study history and government and learn about how social studies affects their lives.

Most states require three to four years of social studies coursework in high school, including:

Foreign languages

Learning a second language is important in today's global world. While many high schools offer foreign language courses, only 11 states require students to take a foreign language course.  

High school students can fill these requirements by learning the basics of at least one foreign language. They may also be able to choose to take advanced classes to learn more.

Common languages offered in high school include:

  • Mandarin Chinese

Other possible language offerings include Russian, Latin, American Sign Language, Arabic, and German.

Physical education and health

Physical education and health classes can teach high schoolers how to care for their bodies' fitness, health, and nutritional needs. These courses often touch on the following:

  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • Making healthy choices about drugs, alcohol, and nicotine.

Many states require at least one unit of PE and health to graduate. Other states offer these subjects as electives.

School Subjects for College Preparation

Students planning to go to college should consider how colleges will look at their courses during the application process. Grade point average (GPA) is important, but coursework should also demonstrate academic rigor.

When planning, it can be helpful to balance standard high school courses with some that are more challenging. Additionally, students can do this—and even get a head start on college—by taking advanced placement (AP) or college-level classes.

AP classes are more rigorous courses that teach subjects at an introductory college level. Some of the most common AP courses that are available include:

  • Calculus AB
  • English Literature
  • African American Studies

Students who take AP classes have the option to take an AP test in the spring. If they get a certain score, they can get credit for the course at many colleges.

College credit courses

Many high schools offer opportunities to gain college credit through various programs. Your child's academic advisor, teachers, or counseling department can inform them about such offerings.

These may be online or in-person classes through programs offered by colleges and universities, and a professor or a high school teacher may teach them. Dual-credit programs allow students to fulfill their high school requirements while obtaining some college credits free of charge.

School Subject Electives

In addition to the basic classes, there are usually plenty of opportunities to take electives in various areas of study. These can not only broaden a student's academic knowledge but also teach them valuable life skills and inspire their career aspirations .

In some cases, a student may be given the freedom to choose one class from a select group of options required in the school's curriculum. In others, a student may have room in their schedule to choose to study something simply based on their interests and goals.

Examples of elective classes may include:

  • Arts, such as music, photography, fashion design, painting, theater, dance, or ceramics
  • Computer applications, graphic design, or web design
  • Student government
  • Forensic science
  • Physical education
  • Sports medicine
  • Trade field studies such as auto mechanics, welding, or nursing
  • Personal finance or business

Students on a vocational track may be able to gain some hands-on learning in fields such as metalworks and woodworking. Many schools even offer the opportunity to gain certificates or licenses that will help them in their future careers .

Key Takeaways

Choosing high school classes requires planning both as a student enters school and throughout their high school experience. The right classes are challenging and engaging but not unrealistically rigorous or overwhelming.

An ideal schedule can help a student succeed, enjoy learning, and have a good academic experience while preparing them for their future plans , whatever they may be. Have your teen set up a meeting with their school counselor if they need any help.

The association between neighbourhoods and educational achievement, a systematic review and meta-analysis . J Hous Built Environ . 2016.

50-state comparison . Education Commission of the States . 2019.

High school classes required for college admission . National Association for College Admission Counseling . n.d.

The national K-16 foreign language enrollment survey report . American Councils for International Education . 2017.

Program summary report . College Board. 2019.

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Poland’s kids rejoice over new rules against homework. Teachers and parents aren’t so sure

Ola Kozak, 11, sits at the table where she used to do her homework at the family home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday April 5, 2024. Ola is happy that Poland's government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. Julian enjoyed doing his homework. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Ola Kozak, 11, sits at the table where she used to do her homework at the family home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday April 5, 2024. Ola is happy that Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. Julian enjoyed doing his homework. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Arkadiusz Korporowicz teaches history to 5th grade children at Primary School number 223 in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Pawel Kozak and his wife Magda Kozak, parents of three, stand at their home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. They have different opinions on the decision by Poland’s government that ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Children enter a classroom at the Primary School number 223 in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Julian Kozak, 9, sits at the table where he used to do his homework at the family home in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday April 5, 2024. Julian is not very happy that Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Ola Kozak, 11, right, and her younger brother Julian Kozak, 9, sit at the table where they used to do their homework at the family home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday April 5, 2024. Ola is happy that Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. Julian enjoyed doing his homework. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Poland’s Education Minister Barbara Nowacka announces restrictions on the amount of homework for primary school children, at school number 223 in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. Opinions are divided on what results can be expected from the strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Pawel Kozak, father of three, speaks at his home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. Pawel and her wife Magda have different opinions on the decision by Poland’s government that ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Magda Kozak, mother of three, stands at her home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. Magda and her husband Pawel have different opinions on the decision by Poland’s government that ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Julian Kozak, 9, sits at the table where he used to do his homework at the family home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. Julian is not very happy that Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Magda Kozak, right, spends time with her son Julian, 9, at their home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. Neither of them is happy that starting in April, Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Children walk in the corridor of Primary School number 223 in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Children with flowers wait for the arrival of Education Minister Barbara Nowacka at Primary School number 223 in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday April 3, 2024. Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades, starting in April. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Julian Kozak, 9, plays with his cat at their home in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, April 5, 2024. Starting in April, Poland’s government has ordered strict limits on the amount of homework that teachers can impose on the lower grades. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ola Kozak is celebrating. The 11-year-old, who loves music and drawing, expects to have more free time for her hobbies after Poland’s government ordered strict limits on the amount of homework in the lower grades.

“I am happy,” said the fifth grader, who lives in a Warsaw suburb with her parents and younger siblings. The lilac-colored walls in her bedroom are covered in her art, and on her desk she keeps a framed picture she drew of Kurt Cobain.

“Most people in my class in the morning would copy the work off someone who had done the homework or would copy it from the internet. So it didn’t make sense,” she said.

The government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk enacted the ban against required homework this month amid a broad discussion about the need to modernize Poland’s education system, which critics say puts too much emphasis on rote learning and homework, and not enough on critical thinking and creativity.

Under the decree, teachers are no longer to give required homework to kids in the first to third grades. In grades four to eight, homework is now optional and doesn’t count towards a grade.

Jesse Fernandez, center, stands with his former foster parents Jason and Joyce White Friday, May 17, 2024, in Independence, Mo. Fernandez was paid thousands of dollars of Social Security survivor's benefits because of the death of his mother, but by the time he turned 18, the money had all been used by the state of Missouri and Fernandez's relatives to pay for his foster care. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Not everyone likes the change – and even Ola’s parents are divided.

“If there is something that will make students enjoy school more, then it will probably be good both for the students and for the school,” said her father, Pawel Kozak.

His wife, Magda Kozak, was skeptical. “I am not pleased, because (homework) is a way to consolidate what was learned,” she said. “It helps stay on top of what the child has really learned and what’s going on at school.”

(Ola’s brother Julian, a third grader, says he sees both sides.)

Debates over the proper amount of homework are common around the globe. While some studies have shown little benefit to homework for young learners, other experts say it can help them learn how to develop study habits and academic concepts.

Poland’s educational system has undergone a number of controversial overhauls. Almost every new government has tried to make changes — something many teachers and parents say has left them confused and discouraged. For example, after communism was thrown off, middle schools were introduced. Then under the last government, the previous system was brought back. More controversy came in recent years when ultra-conservative views were pushed in new textbooks.

For years, teachers have been fleeing the system due to low wages and political pressure. The current government is trying to increase teacher salaries and has promised other changes that teachers approve of.

But Sławomir Broniarz, the head of the Polish Teachers’ Union, said that while he recognized the need to ease burdens on students, the new homework rules are another case of change imposed from above without adequate consultation with educators.

“In general, the teachers think that this happened too quickly, too hastily,” he said.

He argued that removing homework could widen the educational gaps between kids who have strong support at home and those from poorer families with less support and lower expectations. Instead, he urged wider changes to the entire curriculum.

The homework rules gained impetus in the runup to parliamentary elections last year, when a 14-year-old boy, Maciek Matuszewski, stood up at a campaign rally and told Tusk before a national audience that children “had no time to rest.” The boy said their rights were being violated with so much homework on weekends and so many tests on Mondays.

Tusk has since featured Matuszewski in social media videos and made him the face of the sudden change.

Education Minister Barbara Nowacka said she was prompted by research on children’s mental health. Of the various stresses children face, she said, “the one that could be removed fastest was the burden of homework.”

Pasi Sahlberg, a prominent Finnish educator and author, said the value of homework depends on what it is and how it is linked to overall learning. The need for homework can be “very individual and contextual.”

“We need to trust our teachers to decide what is good for each child,” Sahlberg said.

In South Korea, homework limits were set for elementary schools in 2017 amid concerns that kids were under too much pressure. However, teenagers in the education-obsessed country often cram long into the night and get tutoring to meet the requirements of demanding school and university admission tests.

In the U.S., teachers and parents decide for themselves how much homework to assign. Some elementary schools have done away with homework entirely to give children more time to play, participate in activities and spend time with families.

A guideline circulated by teachers unions in the U.S. recommends about 10 minutes of homework per grade. So, 10 minutes in first grade, 20 minutes in second grade and so on.

The COVID-19 pandemic and a crisis around youth mental health have complicated debates around homework. In the U.S., extended school closures in some places were accompanied by steep losses in learning , which were often addressed with tutoring and other interventions paid for with federal pandemic relief money. At the same time, increased attention to student wellbeing led some teachers to consider alternate approaches including reduced or optional homework.

It’s important for children to learn that mastering something “usually requires practice, a lot of practice,” said Sahlberg, in Finland. If reducing homework leads kids and parents to think school expectations for excellence will be lowered, “things will go wrong.”

AP writers Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut, and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed.

what is compulsory homework

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  2. Should Homework Be Compulsory For Kids?

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  3. ⚡ Why is homework helpful. 20 Pros and Cons of Homework. 2022-10-28

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  4. Why are Homeworks Important?

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  5. (PDF) Efficacy of a compulsory homework programme for increasing

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  6. Mandatory homework extinguishes effectiveness

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COMMENTS

  1. Homework Pros and Cons

    Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We've known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that "homework had no association with achievement gains" when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7]

  2. Should Kids Get Homework?

    Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary. "Every child should be doing homework, but the ...

  3. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students.

  4. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    The National PTA and the National Education Association support the " 10-minute homework guideline "—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students' needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

  5. Homework

    Homework is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed at home. Common homework assignments may include required reading, a writing or typing project, mathematical exercises to be completed, information to be reviewed before a test, or other skills to be practiced.

  6. How to Use Homework to Support Student Success

    Use homework as a vehicle to foster family-school communication. Families can use homework as an opportunity to open conversations about specific assignments or classes, peer relationships, or even sleep quality that may be impacting student success. For younger students, using a daily or weekly home-school notebook or planner can be one way to ...

  7. Homework and Higher Standards

    The analysis is a snapshot of homework and, therefore, does not allow the authors to determine if homework over the course of a year covered all required standards.

  8. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.

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

    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.

  10. Why homework matters

    Homework is the perennial bogeyman of K-12 education. In any given year, you'll find people arguing that students, especially in elementary school, should have far less homework—or none at all. Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy charter schools, has the opposite opinion. She's been running schools for sixteen years, and she's only become more convinced that ...

  11. Why Do We Have Homework?

    Homework allows them to keep up with what you're doing in your classes on a daily basis. But you don't have homework purely for your parents' benefit. It's good for you, too! Homework can help you become a better student in several different ways. First of all, homework given in advance of a particular subject can help you make the most of your ...

  12. Should homework be banned?

    Homework is a controversial topic in education, but what does the science say? Explore the pros and cons of homework and its impact on students' well-being in this article from BBC Science Focus Magazine.

  13. The Pros and Cons: Should Students Have Homework?

    Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can't see it in the moment. 6. Homework Reduces Screen Time.

  14. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Homework also helps students develop key skills that they'll use throughout their lives: Accountability. Autonomy. Discipline. Time management. Self-direction. Critical thinking. Independent problem-solving. The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students' daily lives.

  15. Pros and Cons of making homework optional

    Assigning optional homework is the stepping-stone through which students learn to be held accountable for their decisions, work and actions. Con Sam Bernstein staff writer Homework needs to be mandatory. It is a fact that students do better after completing homework at home. It's a fact that students do better when homework is mandatory ...

  16. What's the point of homework?

    These include to: establish and improve communication between parents and children about learning. help children be more responsible, confident and disciplined. practise or review material from ...

  17. Homework

    The average impact of homework is positive across both primary and secondary school. There is, however variation behind this average with homework set in primary school having a smaller impact on average (see below). The quality of the task set appears to be more important than the quantity of work required from the pupil.

  18. Education Secretary: I trust head teachers to decide their homework

    Homework set at primary school is likely to be of relatively shorter duration. But if a child is asked to do it and they don't, for that to have no consequence would not be a positive lesson. Ultimately, of course, the responsibility for a child's educational development is a shared one. Parental involvement makes a big difference, from the ...

  19. Why is Homework Important?

    Homework teaches children to actively search for information using these resources to complete tasks, and this is a skill that will be fundamental throughout their lives. 6. Revision Discipline. Regular homework helps children discover a pattern that will help them when they're required to study for important tests and exams.

  20. PDF Homework Policy Guidelines

    In developing their Homework Policy, schools should be aware that while the Policy itself is compulsory, the setting of homework and any indicative time allocations across year levels are not. This approach to Homework Policy is in line with a number of factors: community expectations about homework are variable

  21. [PDF] A Review on English Homework Design in Compulsory Education under

    In 2021, Chinese authorities introduced a set of guidelines to ease the burden of excessive homework and off-campus tutoring for students undergoing compulsory education (the "Double Reduction" policy). As an effective extension of classroom teaching, homework can promote the development of students' personality and core literacy. Research on homework at home and abroad is mainly based on ...

  22. Compulsory Homework

    Compulsory Homework is made up of two main elements:. In Focus topics are the topics you have put into weekly homework for the class and take up around 60% of the homework. You can see what these are each week on the Planner page on your Sparx site.. Consolidation topics take up around 40% of the homework. Find out more about the consolidation element of homework in the article: What is ...

  23. What School Subjects Do Teens Need in High School?

    Picking high school courses is an exciting process. Core high school subjects like math, science, and language arts are required, but a range of others can be selected.

  24. Poland's kids rejoice over new rules against homework. Teachers and

    The homework rules gained impetus in the runup to parliamentary elections last year, when a 14-year-old boy, Maciek Matuszewski, stood up at a campaign rally and told Tusk before a national audience that children "had no time to rest." The boy said their rights were being violated with so much homework on weekends and so many tests on Mondays.