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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.

Related Articles

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

Getty Images

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

High angle view of young woman sitting at desk and studying at home during coronavirus lockdown

Tags: K-12 education , students , elementary school , children

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August 16, 2021

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

by Sara M Moniuszko

homework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial

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

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

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

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

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

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

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

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

Breaking assignments up can also make things easier to tackle.

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

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

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

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

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A daughter sits at a desk doing homework while her mom stands beside her helping

Credit: August de Richelieu

Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs in

Joyce epstein, co-director of the center on school, family, and community partnerships, discusses why homework is essential, how to maximize its benefit to learners, and what the 'no-homework' approach gets wrong.

By Vicky Hallett

The necessity of homework has been a subject of debate since at least as far back as the 1890s, according to Joyce L. Epstein , co-director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. "It's always been the case that parents, kids—and sometimes teachers, too—wonder if this is just busy work," Epstein says.

But after decades of researching how to improve schools, the professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Education remains certain that homework is essential—as long as the teachers have done their homework, too. The National Network of Partnership Schools , which she founded in 1995 to advise schools and districts on ways to improve comprehensive programs of family engagement, has developed hundreds of improved homework ideas through its Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program. For an English class, a student might interview a parent on popular hairstyles from their youth and write about the differences between then and now. Or for science class, a family could identify forms of matter over the dinner table, labeling foods as liquids or solids. These innovative and interactive assignments not only reinforce concepts from the classroom but also foster creativity, spark discussions, and boost student motivation.

"We're not trying to eliminate homework procedures, but expand and enrich them," says Epstein, who is packing this research into a forthcoming book on the purposes and designs of homework. In the meantime, the Hub couldn't wait to ask her some questions:

What kind of homework training do teachers typically get?

Future teachers and administrators really have little formal training on how to design homework before they assign it. This means that most just repeat what their teachers did, or they follow textbook suggestions at the end of units. For example, future teachers are well prepared to teach reading and literacy skills at each grade level, and they continue to learn to improve their teaching of reading in ongoing in-service education. By contrast, most receive little or no training on the purposes and designs of homework in reading or other subjects. It is really important for future teachers to receive systematic training to understand that they have the power, opportunity, and obligation to design homework with a purpose.

Why do students need more interactive homework?

If homework assignments are always the same—10 math problems, six sentences with spelling words—homework can get boring and some kids just stop doing their assignments, especially in the middle and high school years. When we've asked teachers what's the best homework you've ever had or designed, invariably we hear examples of talking with a parent or grandparent or peer to share ideas. To be clear, parents should never be asked to "teach" seventh grade science or any other subject. Rather, teachers set up the homework assignments so that the student is in charge. It's always the student's homework. But a good activity can engage parents in a fun, collaborative way. Our data show that with "good" assignments, more kids finish their work, more kids interact with a family partner, and more parents say, "I learned what's happening in the curriculum." It all works around what the youngsters are learning.

Is family engagement really that important?

At Hopkins, I am part of the Center for Social Organization of Schools , a research center that studies how to improve many aspects of education to help all students do their best in school. One thing my colleagues and I realized was that we needed to look deeply into family and community engagement. There were so few references to this topic when we started that we had to build the field of study. When children go to school, their families "attend" with them whether a teacher can "see" the parents or not. So, family engagement is ever-present in the life of a school.

My daughter's elementary school doesn't assign homework until third grade. What's your take on "no homework" policies?

There are some parents, writers, and commentators who have argued against homework, especially for very young children. They suggest that children should have time to play after school. This, of course is true, but many kindergarten kids are excited to have homework like their older siblings. If they give homework, most teachers of young children make assignments very short—often following an informal rule of 10 minutes per grade level. "No homework" does not guarantee that all students will spend their free time in productive and imaginative play.

Some researchers and critics have consistently misinterpreted research findings. They have argued that homework should be assigned only at the high school level where data point to a strong connection of doing assignments with higher student achievement . However, as we discussed, some students stop doing homework. This leads, statistically, to results showing that doing homework or spending more minutes on homework is linked to higher student achievement. If slow or struggling students are not doing their assignments, they contribute to—or cause—this "result."

Teachers need to design homework that even struggling students want to do because it is interesting. Just about all students at any age level react positively to good assignments and will tell you so.

Did COVID change how schools and parents view homework?

Within 24 hours of the day school doors closed in March 2020, just about every school and district in the country figured out that teachers had to talk to and work with students' parents. This was not the same as homeschooling—teachers were still working hard to provide daily lessons. But if a child was learning at home in the living room, parents were more aware of what they were doing in school. One of the silver linings of COVID was that teachers reported that they gained a better understanding of their students' families. We collected wonderfully creative examples of activities from members of the National Network of Partnership Schools. I'm thinking of one art activity where every child talked with a parent about something that made their family unique. Then they drew their finding on a snowflake and returned it to share in class. In math, students talked with a parent about something the family liked so much that they could represent it 100 times. Conversations about schoolwork at home was the point.

How did you create so many homework activities via the Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program?

We had several projects with educators to help them design interactive assignments, not just "do the next three examples on page 38." Teachers worked in teams to create TIPS activities, and then we turned their work into a standard TIPS format in math, reading/language arts, and science for grades K-8. Any teacher can use or adapt our prototypes to match their curricula.

Overall, we know that if future teachers and practicing educators were prepared to design homework assignments to meet specific purposes—including but not limited to interactive activities—more students would benefit from the important experience of doing their homework. And more parents would, indeed, be partners in education.

Posted in Voices+Opinion

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Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

A conversation with a Wheelock researcher, a BU student, and a fourth-grade teacher

child doing homework

“Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives,” says Wheelock’s Janine Bempechat. “It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.” Photo by iStock/Glenn Cook Photography

Do your homework.

If only it were that simple.

Educators have debated the merits of homework since the late 19th century. In recent years, amid concerns of some parents and teachers that children are being stressed out by too much homework, things have only gotten more fraught.

“Homework is complicated,” says developmental psychologist Janine Bempechat, a Wheelock College of Education & Human Development clinical professor. The author of the essay “ The Case for (Quality) Homework—Why It Improves Learning and How Parents Can Help ” in the winter 2019 issue of Education Next , Bempechat has studied how the debate about homework is influencing teacher preparation, parent and student beliefs about learning, and school policies.

She worries especially about socioeconomically disadvantaged students from low-performing schools who, according to research by Bempechat and others, get little or no homework.

BU Today  sat down with Bempechat and Erin Bruce (Wheelock’17,’18), a new fourth-grade teacher at a suburban Boston school, and future teacher freshman Emma Ardizzone (Wheelock) to talk about what quality homework looks like, how it can help children learn, and how schools can equip teachers to design it, evaluate it, and facilitate parents’ role in it.

BU Today: Parents and educators who are against homework in elementary school say there is no research definitively linking it to academic performance for kids in the early grades. You’ve said that they’re missing the point.

Bempechat : I think teachers assign homework in elementary school as a way to help kids develop skills they’ll need when they’re older—to begin to instill a sense of responsibility and to learn planning and organizational skills. That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success. If we greatly reduce or eliminate homework in elementary school, we deprive kids and parents of opportunities to instill these important learning habits and skills.

We do know that beginning in late middle school, and continuing through high school, there is a strong and positive correlation between homework completion and academic success.

That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success.

You talk about the importance of quality homework. What is that?

Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives. It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.

Janine Bempechat

What are your concerns about homework and low-income children?

The argument that some people make—that homework “punishes the poor” because lower-income parents may not be as well-equipped as affluent parents to help their children with homework—is very troubling to me. There are no parents who don’t care about their children’s learning. Parents don’t actually have to help with homework completion in order for kids to do well. They can help in other ways—by helping children organize a study space, providing snacks, being there as a support, helping children work in groups with siblings or friends.

Isn’t the discussion about getting rid of homework happening mostly in affluent communities?

Yes, and the stories we hear of kids being stressed out from too much homework—four or five hours of homework a night—are real. That’s problematic for physical and mental health and overall well-being. But the research shows that higher-income students get a lot more homework than lower-income kids.

Teachers may not have as high expectations for lower-income children. Schools should bear responsibility for providing supports for kids to be able to get their homework done—after-school clubs, community support, peer group support. It does kids a disservice when our expectations are lower for them.

The conversation around homework is to some extent a social class and social justice issue. If we eliminate homework for all children because affluent children have too much, we’re really doing a disservice to low-income children. They need the challenge, and every student can rise to the challenge with enough supports in place.

What did you learn by studying how education schools are preparing future teachers to handle homework?

My colleague, Margarita Jimenez-Silva, at the University of California, Davis, School of Education, and I interviewed faculty members at education schools, as well as supervising teachers, to find out how students are being prepared. And it seemed that they weren’t. There didn’t seem to be any readings on the research, or conversations on what high-quality homework is and how to design it.

Erin, what kind of training did you get in handling homework?

Bruce : I had phenomenal professors at Wheelock, but homework just didn’t come up. I did lots of student teaching. I’ve been in classrooms where the teachers didn’t assign any homework, and I’ve been in rooms where they assigned hours of homework a night. But I never even considered homework as something that was my decision. I just thought it was something I’d pull out of a book and it’d be done.

I started giving homework on the first night of school this year. My first assignment was to go home and draw a picture of the room where you do your homework. I want to know if it’s at a table and if there are chairs around it and if mom’s cooking dinner while you’re doing homework.

The second night I asked them to talk to a grown-up about how are you going to be able to get your homework done during the week. The kids really enjoyed it. There’s a running joke that I’m teaching life skills.

Friday nights, I read all my kids’ responses to me on their homework from the week and it’s wonderful. They pour their hearts out. It’s like we’re having a conversation on my couch Friday night.

It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.

Bempechat : I can’t imagine that most new teachers would have the intuition Erin had in designing homework the way she did.

Ardizzone : Conversations with kids about homework, feeling you’re being listened to—that’s such a big part of wanting to do homework….I grew up in Westchester County. It was a pretty demanding school district. My junior year English teacher—I loved her—she would give us feedback, have meetings with all of us. She’d say, “If you have any questions, if you have anything you want to talk about, you can talk to me, here are my office hours.” It felt like she actually cared.

Bempechat : It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.

Ardizzone : But can’t it lead to parents being overbearing and too involved in their children’s lives as students?

Bempechat : There’s good help and there’s bad help. The bad help is what you’re describing—when parents hover inappropriately, when they micromanage, when they see their children confused and struggling and tell them what to do.

Good help is when parents recognize there’s a struggle going on and instead ask informative questions: “Where do you think you went wrong?” They give hints, or pointers, rather than saying, “You missed this,” or “You didn’t read that.”

Bruce : I hope something comes of this. I hope BU or Wheelock can think of some way to make this a more pressing issue. As a first-year teacher, it was not something I even thought about on the first day of school—until a kid raised his hand and said, “Do we have homework?” It would have been wonderful if I’d had a plan from day one.

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Senior Contributing Editor

Sara Rimer

Sara Rimer A journalist for more than three decades, Sara Rimer worked at the Miami Herald , Washington Post and, for 26 years, the New York Times , where she was the New England bureau chief, and a national reporter covering education, aging, immigration, and other social justice issues. Her stories on the death penalty’s inequities were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision outlawing the execution of people with intellectual disabilities. Her journalism honors include Columbia University’s Meyer Berger award for in-depth human interest reporting. She holds a BA degree in American Studies from the University of Michigan. Profile

She can be reached at [email protected] .

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There are 81 comments on Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

Insightful! The values about homework in elementary schools are well aligned with my intuition as a parent.

when i finish my work i do my homework and i sometimes forget what to do because i did not get enough sleep

same omg it does not help me it is stressful and if I have it in more than one class I hate it.

Same I think my parent wants to help me but, she doesn’t care if I get bad grades so I just try my best and my grades are great.

I think that last question about Good help from parents is not know to all parents, we do as our parents did or how we best think it can be done, so maybe coaching parents or giving them resources on how to help with homework would be very beneficial for the parent on how to help and for the teacher to have consistency and improve homework results, and of course for the child. I do see how homework helps reaffirm the knowledge obtained in the classroom, I also have the ability to see progress and it is a time I share with my kids

The answer to the headline question is a no-brainer – a more pressing problem is why there is a difference in how students from different cultures succeed. Perfect example is the student population at BU – why is there a majority population of Asian students and only about 3% black students at BU? In fact at some universities there are law suits by Asians to stop discrimination and quotas against admitting Asian students because the real truth is that as a group they are demonstrating better qualifications for admittance, while at the same time there are quotas and reduced requirements for black students to boost their portion of the student population because as a group they do more poorly in meeting admissions standards – and it is not about the Benjamins. The real problem is that in our PC society no one has the gazuntas to explore this issue as it may reveal that all people are not created equal after all. Or is it just environmental cultural differences??????

I get you have a concern about the issue but that is not even what the point of this article is about. If you have an issue please take this to the site we have and only post your opinion about the actual topic

This is not at all what the article is talking about.

This literally has nothing to do with the article brought up. You should really take your opinions somewhere else before you speak about something that doesn’t make sense.

we have the same name

so they have the same name what of it?

lol you tell her

totally agree

What does that have to do with homework, that is not what the article talks about AT ALL.

Yes, I think homework plays an important role in the development of student life. Through homework, students have to face challenges on a daily basis and they try to solve them quickly.I am an intense online tutor at 24x7homeworkhelp and I give homework to my students at that level in which they handle it easily.

More than two-thirds of students said they used alcohol and drugs, primarily marijuana, to cope with stress.

You know what’s funny? I got this assignment to write an argument for homework about homework and this article was really helpful and understandable, and I also agree with this article’s point of view.

I also got the same task as you! I was looking for some good resources and I found this! I really found this article useful and easy to understand, just like you! ^^

i think that homework is the best thing that a child can have on the school because it help them with their thinking and memory.

I am a child myself and i think homework is a terrific pass time because i can’t play video games during the week. It also helps me set goals.

Homework is not harmful ,but it will if there is too much

I feel like, from a minors point of view that we shouldn’t get homework. Not only is the homework stressful, but it takes us away from relaxing and being social. For example, me and my friends was supposed to hang at the mall last week but we had to postpone it since we all had some sort of work to do. Our minds shouldn’t be focused on finishing an assignment that in realty, doesn’t matter. I completely understand that we should have homework. I have to write a paper on the unimportance of homework so thanks.

homework isn’t that bad

Are you a student? if not then i don’t really think you know how much and how severe todays homework really is

i am a student and i do not enjoy homework because i practice my sport 4 out of the five days we have school for 4 hours and that’s not even counting the commute time or the fact i still have to shower and eat dinner when i get home. its draining!

i totally agree with you. these people are such boomers

why just why

they do make a really good point, i think that there should be a limit though. hours and hours of homework can be really stressful, and the extra work isn’t making a difference to our learning, but i do believe homework should be optional and extra credit. that would make it for students to not have the leaning stress of a assignment and if you have a low grade you you can catch up.

Studies show that homework improves student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college. Research published in the High School Journal indicates that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework “scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average.” On both standardized tests and grades, students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework. A majority of studies on homework’s impact – 64% in one meta-study and 72% in another – showed that take home assignments were effective at improving academic achievement. Research by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) concluded that increased homework led to better GPAs and higher probability of college attendance for high school boys. In fact, boys who attended college did more than three hours of additional homework per week in high school.

So how are your measuring student achievement? That’s the real question. The argument that doing homework is simply a tool for teaching responsibility isn’t enough for me. We can teach responsibility in a number of ways. Also the poor argument that parents don’t need to help with homework, and that students can do it on their own, is wishful thinking at best. It completely ignores neurodiverse students. Students in poverty aren’t magically going to find a space to do homework, a friend’s or siblings to help them do it, and snacks to eat. I feel like the author of this piece has never set foot in a classroom of students.

THIS. This article is pathetic coming from a university. So intellectually dishonest, refusing to address the havoc of capitalism and poverty plays on academic success in life. How can they in one sentence use poor kids in an argument and never once address that poor children have access to damn near 0 of the resources affluent kids have? Draw me a picture and let’s talk about feelings lmao what a joke is that gonna put food in their belly so they can have the calories to burn in order to use their brain to study? What about quiet their 7 other siblings that they share a single bedroom with for hours? Is it gonna force the single mom to magically be at home and at work at the same time to cook food while you study and be there to throw an encouraging word?

Also the “parents don’t need to be a parent and be able to guide their kid at all academically they just need to exist in the next room” is wild. Its one thing if a parent straight up is not equipped but to say kids can just figured it out is…. wow coming from an educator What’s next the teacher doesn’t need to teach cause the kid can just follow the packet and figure it out?

Well then get a tutor right? Oh wait you are poor only affluent kids can afford a tutor for their hours of homework a day were they on average have none of the worries a poor child does. Does this address that poor children are more likely to also suffer abuse and mental illness? Like mentioned what about kids that can’t learn or comprehend the forced standardized way? Just let em fail? These children regularly are not in “special education”(some of those are a joke in their own and full of neglect and abuse) programs cause most aren’t even acknowledged as having disabilities or disorders.

But yes all and all those pesky poor kids just aren’t being worked hard enough lol pretty sure poor children’s existence just in childhood is more work, stress, and responsibility alone than an affluent child’s entire life cycle. Love they never once talked about the quality of education in the classroom being so bad between the poor and affluent it can qualify as segregation, just basically blamed poor people for being lazy, good job capitalism for failing us once again!

why the hell?

you should feel bad for saying this, this article can be helpful for people who has to write a essay about it

This is more of a political rant than it is about homework

I know a teacher who has told his students their homework is to find something they are interested in, pursue it and then come share what they learn. The student responses are quite compelling. One girl taught herself German so she could talk to her grandfather. One boy did a research project on Nelson Mandela because the teacher had mentioned him in class. Another boy, a both on the autism spectrum, fixed his family’s computer. The list goes on. This is fourth grade. I think students are highly motivated to learn, when we step aside and encourage them.

The whole point of homework is to give the students a chance to use the material that they have been presented with in class. If they never have the opportunity to use that information, and discover that it is actually useful, it will be in one ear and out the other. As a science teacher, it is critical that the students are challenged to use the material they have been presented with, which gives them the opportunity to actually think about it rather than regurgitate “facts”. Well designed homework forces the student to think conceptually, as opposed to regurgitation, which is never a pretty sight

Wonderful discussion. and yes, homework helps in learning and building skills in students.

not true it just causes kids to stress

Homework can be both beneficial and unuseful, if you will. There are students who are gifted in all subjects in school and ones with disabilities. Why should the students who are gifted get the lucky break, whereas the people who have disabilities suffer? The people who were born with this “gift” go through school with ease whereas people with disabilities struggle with the work given to them. I speak from experience because I am one of those students: the ones with disabilities. Homework doesn’t benefit “us”, it only tears us down and put us in an abyss of confusion and stress and hopelessness because we can’t learn as fast as others. Or we can’t handle the amount of work given whereas the gifted students go through it with ease. It just brings us down and makes us feel lost; because no mater what, it feels like we are destined to fail. It feels like we weren’t “cut out” for success.

homework does help

here is the thing though, if a child is shoved in the face with a whole ton of homework that isn’t really even considered homework it is assignments, it’s not helpful. the teacher should make homework more of a fun learning experience rather than something that is dreaded

This article was wonderful, I am going to ask my teachers about extra, or at all giving homework.

I agree. Especially when you have homework before an exam. Which is distasteful as you’ll need that time to study. It doesn’t make any sense, nor does us doing homework really matters as It’s just facts thrown at us.

Homework is too severe and is just too much for students, schools need to decrease the amount of homework. When teachers assign homework they forget that the students have other classes that give them the same amount of homework each day. Students need to work on social skills and life skills.

I disagree.

Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature. It can help students recognize that learning can occur at home as well as at school. Homework can foster independent learning and responsible character traits. And it can give parents an opportunity to see what’s going on at school and let them express positive attitudes toward achievement.

Homework is helpful because homework helps us by teaching us how to learn a specific topic.

As a student myself, I can say that I have almost never gotten the full 9 hours of recommended sleep time, because of homework. (Now I’m writing an essay on it in the middle of the night D=)

I am a 10 year old kid doing a report about “Is homework good or bad” for homework before i was going to do homework is bad but the sources from this site changed my mind!

Homeowkr is god for stusenrs

I agree with hunter because homework can be so stressful especially with this whole covid thing no one has time for homework and every one just wants to get back to there normal lives it is especially stressful when you go on a 2 week vaca 3 weeks into the new school year and and then less then a week after you come back from the vaca you are out for over a month because of covid and you have no way to get the assignment done and turned in

As great as homework is said to be in the is article, I feel like the viewpoint of the students was left out. Every where I go on the internet researching about this topic it almost always has interviews from teachers, professors, and the like. However isn’t that a little biased? Of course teachers are going to be for homework, they’re not the ones that have to stay up past midnight completing the homework from not just one class, but all of them. I just feel like this site is one-sided and you should include what the students of today think of spending four hours every night completing 6-8 classes worth of work.

Are we talking about homework or practice? Those are two very different things and can result in different outcomes.

Homework is a graded assignment. I do not know of research showing the benefits of graded assignments going home.

Practice; however, can be extremely beneficial, especially if there is some sort of feedback (not a grade but feedback). That feedback can come from the teacher, another student or even an automated grading program.

As a former band director, I assigned daily practice. I never once thought it would be appropriate for me to require the students to turn in a recording of their practice for me to grade. Instead, I had in-class assignments/assessments that were graded and directly related to the practice assigned.

I would really like to read articles on “homework” that truly distinguish between the two.

oof i feel bad good luck!

thank you guys for the artical because I have to finish an assingment. yes i did cite it but just thanks

thx for the article guys.

Homework is good

I think homework is helpful AND harmful. Sometimes u can’t get sleep bc of homework but it helps u practice for school too so idk.

I agree with this Article. And does anyone know when this was published. I would like to know.

It was published FEb 19, 2019.

Studies have shown that homework improved student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college.

i think homework can help kids but at the same time not help kids

This article is so out of touch with majority of homes it would be laughable if it wasn’t so incredibly sad.

There is no value to homework all it does is add stress to already stressed homes. Parents or adults magically having the time or energy to shepherd kids through homework is dome sort of 1950’s fantasy.

What lala land do these teachers live in?

Homework gives noting to the kid

Homework is Bad

homework is bad.

why do kids even have homework?

Comments are closed.

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

why should there be homework in school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

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

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

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

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

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

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

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

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

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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! ☺️

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EverestAndEvetheWarriors

Thanks, E&E!

Wonderopolis

Thanks for sharing your opinion, kev.

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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! :)

Wonderopolis

Antonio yet King

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

Wonderopolis

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! :)

Wonderopolis

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. :)

Wonderopolis

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

Wonderopolis

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! :)

Wonderopolis

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.

Wonderopolis

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

Wonderopolis

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

Wonderopolis

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! :)

Wonderopolis

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.

Wonderopolis

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

Wonderopolis

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! :)

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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!:)

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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! :)

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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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An illustration shows an open math workbook and a pencil writing numbers in it, while the previous page disintegrates and floats away.

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Nobody knows what the point of homework is

The homework wars are back.

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As the Covid-19 pandemic began and students logged into their remote classrooms, all work, in effect, became homework. But whether or not students could complete it at home varied. For some, schoolwork became public-library work or McDonald’s-parking-lot work.

Luis Torres, the principal of PS 55, a predominantly low-income community elementary school in the south Bronx, told me that his school secured Chromebooks for students early in the pandemic only to learn that some lived in shelters that blocked wifi for security reasons. Others, who lived in housing projects with poor internet reception, did their schoolwork in laundromats.

According to a 2021 Pew survey , 25 percent of lower-income parents said their children, at some point, were unable to complete their schoolwork because they couldn’t access a computer at home; that number for upper-income parents was 2 percent.

The issues with remote learning in March 2020 were new. But they highlighted a divide that had been there all along in another form: homework. And even long after schools have resumed in-person classes, the pandemic’s effects on homework have lingered.

Over the past three years, in response to concerns about equity, schools across the country, including in Sacramento, Los Angeles , San Diego , and Clark County, Nevada , made permanent changes to their homework policies that restricted how much homework could be given and how it could be graded after in-person learning resumed.

Three years into the pandemic, as districts and teachers reckon with Covid-era overhauls of teaching and learning, schools are still reconsidering the purpose and place of homework. Whether relaxing homework expectations helps level the playing field between students or harms them by decreasing rigor is a divisive issue without conclusive evidence on either side, echoing other debates in education like the elimination of standardized test scores from some colleges’ admissions processes.

I first began to wonder if the homework abolition movement made sense after speaking with teachers in some Massachusetts public schools, who argued that rather than help disadvantaged kids, stringent homework restrictions communicated an attitude of low expectations. One, an English teacher, said she felt the school had “just given up” on trying to get the students to do work; another argued that restrictions that prohibit teachers from assigning take-home work that doesn’t begin in class made it difficult to get through the foreign-language curriculum. Teachers in other districts have raised formal concerns about homework abolition’s ability to close gaps among students rather than widening them.

Many education experts share this view. Harris Cooper, a professor emeritus of psychology at Duke who has studied homework efficacy, likened homework abolition to “playing to the lowest common denominator.”

But as I learned after talking to a variety of stakeholders — from homework researchers to policymakers to parents of schoolchildren — whether to abolish homework probably isn’t the right question. More important is what kind of work students are sent home with and where they can complete it. Chances are, if schools think more deeply about giving constructive work, time spent on homework will come down regardless.

There’s no consensus on whether homework works

The rise of the no-homework movement during the Covid-19 pandemic tapped into long-running disagreements over homework’s impact on students. The purpose and effectiveness of homework have been disputed for well over a century. In 1901, for instance, California banned homework for students up to age 15, and limited it for older students, over concerns that it endangered children’s mental and physical health. The newest iteration of the anti-homework argument contends that the current practice punishes students who lack support and rewards those with more resources, reinforcing the “myth of meritocracy.”

But there is still no research consensus on homework’s effectiveness; no one can seem to agree on what the right metrics are. Much of the debate relies on anecdotes, intuition, or speculation.

Researchers disagree even on how much research exists on the value of homework. Kathleen Budge, the co-author of Turning High-Poverty Schools Into High-Performing Schools and a professor at Boise State, told me that homework “has been greatly researched.” Denise Pope, a Stanford lecturer and leader of the education nonprofit Challenge Success, said, “It’s not a highly researched area because of some of the methodological problems.”

Experts who are more sympathetic to take-home assignments generally support the “10-minute rule,” a framework that estimates the ideal amount of homework on any given night by multiplying the student’s grade by 10 minutes. (A ninth grader, for example, would have about 90 minutes of work a night.) Homework proponents argue that while it is difficult to design randomized control studies to test homework’s effectiveness, the vast majority of existing studies show a strong positive correlation between homework and high academic achievement for middle and high school students. Prominent critics of homework argue that these correlational studies are unreliable and point to studies that suggest a neutral or negative effect on student performance. Both agree there is little to no evidence for homework’s effectiveness at an elementary school level, though proponents often argue that it builds constructive habits for the future.

For anyone who remembers homework assignments from both good and bad teachers, this fundamental disagreement might not be surprising. Some homework is pointless and frustrating to complete. Every week during my senior year of high school, I had to analyze a poem for English and decorate it with images found on Google; my most distinct memory from that class is receiving a demoralizing 25-point deduction because I failed to present my analysis on a poster board. Other assignments really do help students learn: After making an adapted version of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book for a ninth grade history project, I was inspired to check out from the library and read a biography of the Chinese ruler.

For homework opponents, the first example is more likely to resonate. “We’re all familiar with the negative effects of homework: stress, exhaustion, family conflict, less time for other activities, diminished interest in learning,” Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, which challenges common justifications for homework, told me in an email. “And these effects may be most pronounced among low-income students.” Kohn believes that schools should make permanent any moratoria implemented during the pandemic, arguing that there are no positives at all to outweigh homework’s downsides. Recent studies , he argues , show the benefits may not even materialize during high school.

In the Marlborough Public Schools, a suburban district 45 minutes west of Boston, school policy committee chair Katherine Hennessy described getting kids to complete their homework during remote education as “a challenge, to say the least.” Teachers found that students who spent all day on their computers didn’t want to spend more time online when the day was over. So, for a few months, the school relaxed the usual practice and teachers slashed the quantity of nightly homework.

Online learning made the preexisting divides between students more apparent, she said. Many students, even during normal circumstances, lacked resources to keep them on track and focused on completing take-home assignments. Though Marlborough Schools is more affluent than PS 55, Hennessy said many students had parents whose work schedules left them unable to provide homework help in the evenings. The experience tracked with a common divide in the country between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

So in October 2021, months after the homework reduction began, the Marlborough committee made a change to the district’s policy. While teachers could still give homework, the assignments had to begin as classwork. And though teachers could acknowledge homework completion in a student’s participation grade, they couldn’t count homework as its own grading category. “Rigorous learning in the classroom does not mean that that classwork must be assigned every night,” the policy stated . “Extensions of class work is not to be used to teach new content or as a form of punishment.”

Canceling homework might not do anything for the achievement gap

The critiques of homework are valid as far as they go, but at a certain point, arguments against homework can defy the commonsense idea that to retain what they’re learning, students need to practice it.

“Doesn’t a kid become a better reader if he reads more? Doesn’t a kid learn his math facts better if he practices them?” said Cathy Vatterott, an education researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After decades of research, she said it’s still hard to isolate the value of homework, but that doesn’t mean it should be abandoned.

Blanket vilification of homework can also conflate the unique challenges facing disadvantaged students as compared to affluent ones, which could have different solutions. “The kids in the low-income schools are being hurt because they’re being graded, unfairly, on time they just don’t have to do this stuff,” Pope told me. “And they’re still being held accountable for turning in assignments, whether they’re meaningful or not.” On the other side, “Palo Alto kids” — students in Silicon Valley’s stereotypically pressure-cooker public schools — “are just bombarded and overloaded and trying to stay above water.”

Merely getting rid of homework doesn’t solve either problem. The United States already has the second-highest disparity among OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations between time spent on homework by students of high and low socioeconomic status — a difference of more than three hours, said Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University and author of No More Mindless Homework .

When she interviewed teachers in Boston-area schools that had cut homework before the pandemic, Bempechat told me, “What they saw immediately was parents who could afford it immediately enrolled their children in the Russian School of Mathematics,” a math-enrichment program whose tuition ranges from $140 to about $400 a month. Getting rid of homework “does nothing for equity; it increases the opportunity gap between wealthier and less wealthy families,” she said. “That solution troubles me because it’s no solution at all.”

A group of teachers at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, made the same point after the school district proposed an overhaul of its homework policies, including removing penalties for missing homework deadlines, allowing unlimited retakes, and prohibiting grading of homework.

“Given the emphasis on equity in today’s education systems,” they wrote in a letter to the school board, “we believe that some of the proposed changes will actually have a detrimental impact towards achieving this goal. Families that have means could still provide challenging and engaging academic experiences for their children and will continue to do so, especially if their children are not experiencing expected rigor in the classroom.” At a school where more than a third of students are low-income, the teachers argued, the policies would prompt students “to expect the least of themselves in terms of effort, results, and responsibility.”

Not all homework is created equal

Despite their opposing sides in the homework wars, most of the researchers I spoke to made a lot of the same points. Both Bempechat and Pope were quick to bring up how parents and schools confuse rigor with workload, treating the volume of assignments as a proxy for quality of learning. Bempechat, who is known for defending homework, has written extensively about how plenty of it lacks clear purpose, requires the purchasing of unnecessary supplies, and takes longer than it needs to. Likewise, when Pope instructs graduate-level classes on curriculum, she asks her students to think about the larger purpose they’re trying to achieve with homework: If they can get the job done in the classroom, there’s no point in sending home more work.

At its best, pandemic-era teaching facilitated that last approach. Honolulu-based teacher Christina Torres Cawdery told me that, early in the pandemic, she often had a cohort of kids in her classroom for four hours straight, as her school tried to avoid too much commingling. She couldn’t lecture for four hours, so she gave the students plenty of time to complete independent and project-based work. At the end of most school days, she didn’t feel the need to send them home with more to do.

A similar limited-homework philosophy worked at a public middle school in Chelsea, Massachusetts. A couple of teachers there turned as much class as possible into an opportunity for small-group practice, allowing kids to work on problems that traditionally would be assigned for homework, Jessica Flick, a math coach who leads department meetings at the school, told me. It was inspired by a philosophy pioneered by Simon Fraser University professor Peter Liljedahl, whose influential book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics reframes homework as “check-your-understanding questions” rather than as compulsory work. Last year, Flick found that the two eighth grade classes whose teachers adopted this strategy performed the best on state tests, and this year, she has encouraged other teachers to implement it.

Teachers know that plenty of homework is tedious and unproductive. Jeannemarie Dawson De Quiroz, who has taught for more than 20 years in low-income Boston and Los Angeles pilot and charter schools, says that in her first years on the job she frequently assigned “drill and kill” tasks and questions that she now feels unfairly stumped students. She said designing good homework wasn’t part of her teaching programs, nor was it meaningfully discussed in professional development. With more experience, she turned as much class time as she could into practice time and limited what she sent home.

“The thing about homework that’s sticky is that not all homework is created equal,” says Jill Harrison Berg, a former teacher and the author of Uprooting Instructional Inequity . “Some homework is a genuine waste of time and requires lots of resources for no good reason. And other homework is really useful.”

Cutting homework has to be part of a larger strategy

The takeaways are clear: Schools can make cuts to homework, but those cuts should be part of a strategy to improve the quality of education for all students. If the point of homework was to provide more practice, districts should think about how students can make it up during class — or offer time during or after school for students to seek help from teachers. If it was to move the curriculum along, it’s worth considering whether strategies like Liljedahl’s can get more done in less time.

Some of the best thinking around effective assignments comes from those most critical of the current practice. Denise Pope proposes that, before assigning homework, teachers should consider whether students understand the purpose of the work and whether they can do it without help. If teachers think it’s something that can’t be done in class, they should be mindful of how much time it should take and the feedback they should provide. It’s questions like these that De Quiroz considered before reducing the volume of work she sent home.

More than a year after the new homework policy began in Marlborough, Hennessy still hears from parents who incorrectly “think homework isn’t happening” despite repeated assurances that kids still can receive work. She thinks part of the reason is that education has changed over the years. “I think what we’re trying to do is establish that homework may be an element of educating students,” she told me. “But it may not be what parents think of as what they grew up with. ... It’s going to need to adapt, per the teaching and the curriculum, and how it’s being delivered in each classroom.”

For the policy to work, faculty, parents, and students will all have to buy into a shared vision of what school ought to look like. The district is working on it — in November, it hosted and uploaded to YouTube a round-table discussion on homework between district administrators — but considering the sustained confusion, the path ahead seems difficult.

When I asked Luis Torres about whether he thought homework serves a useful part in PS 55’s curriculum, he said yes, of course it was — despite the effort and money it takes to keep the school open after hours to help them do it. “The children need the opportunity to practice,” he said. “If you don’t give them opportunities to practice what they learn, they’re going to forget.” But Torres doesn’t care if the work is done at home. The school stays open until around 6 pm on weekdays, even during breaks. Tutors through New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development programs help kids with work after school so they don’t need to take it with them.

As schools weigh the purpose of homework in an unequal world, it’s tempting to dispose of a practice that presents real, practical problems to students across the country. But getting rid of homework is unlikely to do much good on its own. Before cutting it, it’s worth thinking about what good assignments are meant to do in the first place. It’s crucial that students from all socioeconomic backgrounds tackle complex quantitative problems and hone their reading and writing skills. It’s less important that the work comes home with them.

Jacob Sweet is a freelance writer in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, among other publications.

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Homework could have an impact on kids’ health. Should schools ban it?

why should there be homework in school

Professor of Education, Penn State

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why should there be homework in school

Reformers in the Progressive Era (from the 1890s to 1920s) depicted homework as a “sin” that deprived children of their playtime . Many critics voice similar concerns today.

Yet there are many parents who feel that from early on, children need to do homework if they are to succeed in an increasingly competitive academic culture. School administrators and policy makers have also weighed in, proposing various policies on homework .

So, does homework help or hinder kids?

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have been investigating international patterns in homework using databases like the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) . If we step back from the heated debates about homework and look at how homework is used around the world, we find the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher social inequality.

Does homework result in academic success?

Let’s first look at the global trends on homework.

Undoubtedly, homework is a global phenomenon ; students from all 59 countries that participated in the 2007 Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS) reported getting homework. Worldwide, only less than 7% of fourth graders said they did no homework.

TIMSS is one of the few data sets that allow us to compare many nations on how much homework is given (and done). And the data show extreme variation.

For example, in some nations, like Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco, more than one in five fourth graders reported high levels of homework. In Japan, less than 3% of students indicated they did more than four hours of homework on a normal school night.

TIMSS data can also help to dispel some common stereotypes. For instance, in East Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan – countries that had the top rankings on TIMSS average math achievement – reported rates of heavy homework that were below the international mean.

In the Netherlands, nearly one out of five fourth graders reported doing no homework on an average school night, even though Dutch fourth graders put their country in the top 10 in terms of average math scores in 2007.

Going by TIMSS data, the US is neither “ A Nation at Rest” as some have claimed, nor a nation straining under excessive homework load . Fourth and eighth grade US students fall in the middle of the 59 countries in the TIMSS data set, although only 12% of US fourth graders reported high math homework loads compared to an international average of 21%.

So, is homework related to high academic success?

At a national level, the answer is clearly no. Worldwide, homework is not associated with high national levels of academic achievement .

But, the TIMSS can’t be used to determine if homework is actually helping or hurting academic performance overall , it can help us see how much homework students are doing, and what conditions are associated with higher national levels of homework.

We have typically found that the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher levels of social inequality – not hallmarks that most countries would want to emulate.

Impact of homework on kids

TIMSS data also show us how even elementary school kids are being burdened with large amounts of homework.

Almost 10% of fourth graders worldwide (one in 10 children) reported spending multiple hours on homework each night. Globally, one in five fourth graders report 30 minutes or more of homework in math three to four times a week.

These reports of large homework loads should worry parents, teachers and policymakers alike.

Empirical studies have linked excessive homework to sleep disruption , indicating a negative relationship between the amount of homework, perceived stress and physical health.

why should there be homework in school

What constitutes excessive amounts of homework varies by age, and may also be affected by cultural or family expectations. Young adolescents in middle school, or teenagers in high school, can study for longer duration than elementary school children.

But for elementary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact . Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption .

Even though some cultures may normalize long periods of studying for elementary age children, there is no evidence to support that this level of homework has clear academic benefits . Also, when parents and children conflict over homework, and strong negative emotions are created, homework can actually have a negative association with academic achievement.

Should there be “no homework” policies?

Administrators and policymakers have not been reluctant to wade into the debates on homework and to formulate policies . France’s president, Francois Hollande, even proposed that homework be banned because it may have inegaliatarian effects.

However, “zero-tolerance” homework policies for schools, or nations, are likely to create as many problems as they solve because of the wide variation of homework effects. Contrary to what Hollande said, research suggests that homework is not a likely source of social class differences in academic achievement .

Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.

Policymakers and researchers should look more closely at the connection between poverty, inequality and higher levels of homework. Rather than seeing homework as a “solution,” policymakers should question what facets of their educational system might impel students, teachers and parents to increase homework loads.

At the classroom level, in setting homework, teachers need to communicate with their peers and with parents to assure that the homework assigned overall for a grade is not burdensome, and that it is indeed having a positive effect.

Perhaps, teachers can opt for a more individualized approach to homework. If teachers are careful in selecting their assignments – weighing the student’s age, family situation and need for skill development – then homework can be tailored in ways that improve the chance of maximum positive impact for any given student.

I strongly suspect that when teachers face conditions such as pressure to meet arbitrary achievement goals, lack of planning time or little autonomy over curriculum, homework becomes an easy option to make up what could not be covered in class.

Whatever the reason, the fact is a significant percentage of elementary school children around the world are struggling with large homework loads. That alone could have long-term negative consequences for their academic success.

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  • Academic success

why should there be homework in school

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Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced

Research suggests that while homework can be an effective learning tool, assigning too much can lower student performance and interfere with other important activities.

Girl working on her laptop at home on the dining room table

Homework: effective learning tool or waste of time?

Since the average high school student spends almost seven hours each week doing homework, it’s surprising that there’s no clear answer. Homework is generally recognized as an effective way to reinforce what students learn in class, but claims that it may cause more harm than good, especially for younger students, are common.

Here’s what the research says:

  • In general, homework has substantial benefits at the high school level, with decreased benefits for middle school students and few benefits for elementary students (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006).
  • While assigning homework may have academic benefits, it can also cut into important personal and family time (Cooper et al., 2006).
  • Assigning too much homework can result in poor performance (Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015).
  • A student’s ability to complete homework may depend on factors that are outside their control (Cooper et al., 2006; OECD, 2014; Eren & Henderson, 2011).
  • The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate homework, but to make it authentic, meaningful, and engaging (Darling-Hammond & Ifill-Lynch, 2006).

Why Homework Should Be Balanced

Homework can boost learning, but doing too much can be detrimental. The National PTA and National Education Association support the “10-minute homework rule,” which recommends 10 minutes of homework per grade level, per night (10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on, up to two hours for 12th grade) (Cooper, 2010). A recent study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90–100 minutes of homework per day, their math and science scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015). Giving students too much homework can lead to fatigue, stress, and a loss of interest in academics—something that we all want to avoid.

Homework Pros and Cons

Homework has many benefits, ranging from higher academic performance to improved study skills and stronger school-parent connections. However, it can also result in a loss of interest in academics, fatigue, and a loss of important personal and family time.

Grade Level Makes a Difference

Although the debate about homework generally falls in the “it works” vs. “it doesn’t work” camps, research shows that grade level makes a difference. High school students generally get the biggest benefits from homework, with middle school students getting about half the benefits, and elementary school students getting few benefits (Cooper et al., 2006). Since young students are still developing study habits like concentration and self-regulation, assigning a lot of homework isn’t all that helpful.

Parents Should Be Supportive, Not Intrusive

Well-designed homework not only strengthens student learning, it also provides ways to create connections between a student’s family and school. Homework offers parents insight into what their children are learning, provides opportunities to talk with children about their learning, and helps create conversations with school communities about ways to support student learning (Walker et al., 2004).

However, parent involvement can also hurt student learning. Patall, Cooper, and Robinson (2008) found that students did worse when their parents were perceived as intrusive or controlling. Motivation plays a key role in learning, and parents can cause unintentional harm by not giving their children enough space and autonomy to do their homework.

Homework Across the Globe

OECD , the developers of the international PISA test, published a 2014 report looking at homework around the world. They found that 15-year-olds worldwide spend an average of five hours per week doing homework (the U.S. average is about six hours). Surprisingly, countries like Finland and Singapore spend less time on homework (two to three hours per week) but still have high PISA rankings. These countries, the report explains, have support systems in place that allow students to rely less on homework to succeed. If a country like the U.S. were to decrease the amount of homework assigned to high school students, test scores would likely decrease unless additional supports were added.

Homework Is About Quality, Not Quantity

Whether you’re pro- or anti-homework, keep in mind that research gives a big-picture idea of what works and what doesn’t, and a capable teacher can make almost anything work. The question isn’t  homework vs. no homework ; instead, we should be asking ourselves, “How can we transform homework so that it’s engaging and relevant and supports learning?”

Cooper, H. (1989). Synthesis of research on homework . Educational leadership, 47 (3), 85-91.

Cooper, H. (2010). Homework’s Diminishing Returns . The New York Times .

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003 . Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1-62.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Ifill-Lynch, O. (2006). If They'd Only Do Their Work! Educational Leadership, 63 (5), 8-13.

Eren, O., & Henderson, D. J. (2011). Are we wasting our children's time by giving them more homework? Economics of Education Review, 30 (5), 950-961.

Fernández-Alonso, R., Suárez-Álvarez, J., & Muñiz, J. (2015, March 16). Adolescents’ Homework Performance in Mathematics and Science: Personal Factors and Teaching Practices . Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.

OECD (2014). Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education? PISA in Focus , No. 46, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Robinson, J. C. (2008). Parent involvement in homework: A research synthesis . Review of Educational Research, 78 (4), 1039-1101.

Van Voorhis, F. L. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvement and science achievement . The Journal of Educational Research, 96 (6), 323-338.

Walker, J. M., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Whetsel, D. R., & Green, C. L. (2004). Parental involvement in homework: A review of current research and its implications for teachers, after school program staff, and parent leaders . Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

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why should there be homework in school

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Should Students Have Homework?

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why should there be homework in school

By Suzanne Capek Tingley, Veteran Educator, M.A. Degree

It used to be that students were the only ones complaining about the practice of assigning homework. For years, teachers and parents thought that homework was a necessary tool when educating children. But studies about the effectiveness of homework have been conflicting and inconclusive, leading some adults to argue that homework should become a thing of the past.

What Research Says about Homework

According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a  "10 minute rule" : students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

But his analysis didn't prove that students did better because they did homework; it simply  showed a correlation . This could simply mean that kids who do homework are more committed to doing well in school. Cooper also found that some research showed that homework caused physical and emotional stress, and created negative attitudes about learning. He suggested that more research needed to be done on homework's effect on kids.

Some researchers say that the question isn't whether kids should have homework. It's more about what kind of homework students have and how much. To be effective, homework has to meet students' needs. For example, some  middle school teachers have found success with online math homework  that's adapted to each student's level of understanding. But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their  math and science test scores went down .

Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they  found no difference in course grades  between students who did homework and those who didn't. These researchers theorize that homework doesn't result in more content mastery, but in greater familiarity with the kinds of questions that appear on standardized tests. According to Professor Adam Maltese, one of the study's authors, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be."

So while many teachers and parents support daily homework, it's hard to find strong evidence that the long-held practice produces positive results.

Problems with Homework

In an article in  Education Week Teacher , teacher Samantha Hulsman said she's frequently heard parents complain that a 30-minute homework assignment turns into a three-hour battle with their kids. Now, she's facing the same problem with her own kids, which has her rethinking her former beliefs about homework. "I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it's what we've always done," she explained. Today, Hulsman said, it's more important to know how to collaborate and solve problems than it is to know specific facts.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish wrote in  Psychology Today  that  battles over homework rarely result in a child's improvement in school . Children who don't do their homework are not lazy, he said, but they may be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious. And for kids with learning disabilities, homework is like "running with a sprained ankle. It's doable, but painful."

Barish suggests that parents and kids have a "homework plan" that limits the time spent on homework. The plan should include turning off all devices—not just the student's, but those belonging to all family members.

One of the  best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn , says that some people wrongly believe "kids are like vending machines—put in an assignment, get out learning." Kohn points to the lack of evidence that homework is an effective learning tool; in fact, he calls it "the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

Homework Bans

Last year, the public schools in Marion County, Florida,  decided on a no-homework policy for all of their elementary students . Instead,  kids read nightly  for 20 minutes. Superintendent Heidi Maier said the decision was based on Cooper's research showing that elementary students gain little from homework, but a lot from reading.

Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont, followed the same path, substituting reading for homework. The  homework policy has four parts : read nightly, go outside and play, have dinner with your family, and get a good night's sleep. Principal Mark Trifilio says that his staff and parents support the idea.

But while many elementary schools are considering no-homework policies, middle schools and high schools have been reluctant to abandon homework. Schools say parents support homework and teachers know it can be helpful when it is specific and follows certain guidelines. For example, practicing solving word problems can be helpful, but there's no reason to assign 50 problems when 10 will do. Recognizing that not all kids have the time, space, and home support to do homework is important, so it shouldn't be counted as part of a student's grade.

So Should Students Have Homework?

Should you ban homework in your classroom? If you teach lower grades, it's possible. If you teach middle or high school, probably not. But all teachers should think carefully about their homework policies. By limiting the amount of homework and improving the quality of assignments, you can improve learning outcomes for your students.

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Trauma-informed practices in schools, teacher well-being, cultivating diversity, equity, & inclusion, integrating technology in the classroom, social-emotional development, covid-19 resources, invest in resilience: summer toolkit, civics & resilience, all toolkits, degree programs, trauma-informed professional development, teacher licensure & certification, how to become - career information, classroom management, instructional design, lifestyle & self-care, online higher ed teaching, current events, homework helps high school students most — but it must be purposeful.

Homework Helps High School Students Most — But it Must Be Purposeful

Researchers make a strong case for the value of homework for high school students.

High school students benefit the most from homework assignments

During the high school years, many students participate in extracurricular activities or take on part-time jobs — responsibilities that leave little time for families to connect, which remains important for this age group. Advocates for less-intense homework policies maintain that students should be able to balance school, activities and family life.

Homework helps high school students — but how much do they need?

High school students are better able to manage their time, stay focused and complete complex tasks, which enables them to tap the value of homework. In high school, the 10-minute per grade level rule still applies (students should receive 10 minutes of homework per night based on the grade level they are in). This rule allows up to 120 minutes of homework in the evening for upper-level students. While students occasionally need to do more than two hours of work a night, this should be the exception rather than the rule. Research shows that completing more than this amount of homework results in no further gains.

There is, however, a larger spread in the amount of homework students do each night, even among those at the same grade level. As students get further along in high school, they can select the rigor of their curriculum. Those who pursue higher-level work, such as AP, honors or college-level courses, will do more homework each night than those who have a less-rigorous course load. Still, students shouldn’t be assigned more than two hours of homework a night on average.

High school students need real work, not busy work

Researchers agree that homework should serve a specific developmental or educational purpose. High school students should not get the impression their homework is just busy work; that increases resentment and reduces the likelihood they’ll see homework as crucial to their education.

The goal of homework, especially in the high school years, is for students to spend more time studying a subject and engaging in the curriculum — assuming the homework is designed to be meaningful and engaging rather than passive activities that don’t truly engage or promote understanding of new concepts. Purposeful homework should give students a deeper understanding of content and allow them to practice skills that they can master independently.

While some researchers suggest reducing homework for high school students, most researchers agree that homework at this age level is important because it has been positively linked to academic achievement. Yet it’s important to remember that the amount and type of homework matters, and teachers should strive to give less homework when possible so long as it promotes academic excellence.

Caitrin Blake has a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Colorado Denver. She teaches composition at Arapahoe Community College.

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why should there be homework in school

Home » Tips for Teachers » 7 Research-Based Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework: Academic Insights, Opposing Perspectives & Alternatives

7 Research-Based Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework: Academic Insights, Opposing Perspectives & Alternatives

In recent years, the question of why students should not have homework has become a topic of intense debate among educators, parents, and students themselves. This discussion stems from a growing body of research that challenges the traditional view of homework as an essential component of academic success. The notion that homework is an integral part of learning is being reevaluated in light of new findings about its effectiveness and impact on students’ overall well-being.

Why Students Should Not Have Homework

The push against homework is not just about the hours spent on completing assignments; it’s about rethinking the role of education in fostering the well-rounded development of young individuals. Critics argue that homework, particularly in excessive amounts, can lead to negative outcomes such as stress, burnout, and a diminished love for learning. Moreover, it often disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating educational inequities. The debate also highlights the importance of allowing children to have enough free time for play, exploration, and family interaction, which are crucial for their social and emotional development.

Checking 13yo’s math homework & I have just one question. I can catch mistakes & help her correct. But what do kids do when their parent isn’t an Algebra teacher? Answer: They get frustrated. Quit. Get a bad grade. Think they aren’t good at math. How is homework fair??? — Jay Wamsted (@JayWamsted) March 24, 2022

As we delve into this discussion, we explore various facets of why reducing or even eliminating homework could be beneficial. We consider the research, weigh the pros and cons, and examine alternative approaches to traditional homework that can enhance learning without overburdening students.

Once you’ve finished this article, you’ll know:

  • Insights from Teachers and Education Industry Experts →
  • 7 Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework →
  • Opposing Views on Homework Practices →
  • Exploring Alternatives to Homework →

Insights from Teachers and Education Industry Experts: Diverse Perspectives on Homework

In the ongoing conversation about the role and impact of homework in education, the perspectives of those directly involved in the teaching process are invaluable. Teachers and education industry experts bring a wealth of experience and insights from the front lines of learning. Their viewpoints, shaped by years of interaction with students and a deep understanding of educational methodologies, offer a critical lens through which we can evaluate the effectiveness and necessity of homework in our current educational paradigm.

Check out this video featuring Courtney White, a high school language arts teacher who gained widespread attention for her explanation of why she chooses not to assign homework.

Here are the insights and opinions from various experts in the educational field on this topic:

“I teach 1st grade. I had parents ask for homework. I explained that I don’t give homework. Home time is family time. Time to play, cook, explore and spend time together. I do send books home, but there is no requirement or checklist for reading them. Read them, enjoy them, and return them when your child is ready for more. I explained that as a parent myself, I know they are busy—and what a waste of energy it is to sit and force their kids to do work at home—when they could use that time to form relationships and build a loving home. Something kids need more than a few math problems a week.” — Colleen S. , 1st grade teacher
“The lasting educational value of homework at that age is not proven. A kid says the times tables [at school] because he studied the times tables last night. But over a long period of time, a kid who is drilled on the times tables at school, rather than as homework, will also memorize their times tables. We are worried about young children and their social emotional learning. And that has to do with physical activity, it has to do with playing with peers, it has to do with family time. All of those are very important and can be removed by too much homework.” — David Bloomfield , education professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York graduate center
“Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. (…) Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, ‘Is it really making a difference?’” — John Hattie , professor
”Many kids are working as many hours as their overscheduled parents and it is taking a toll – psychologically and in many other ways too. We see kids getting up hours before school starts just to get their homework done from the night before… While homework may give kids one more responsibility, it ignores the fact that kids do not need to grow up and become adults at ages 10 or 12. With schools cutting recess time or eliminating playgrounds, kids absorb every single stress there is, only on an even higher level. Their brains and bodies need time to be curious, have fun, be creative and just be a kid.” — Pat Wayman, teacher and CEO of HowtoLearn.com

7 Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework

Let’s delve into the reasons against assigning homework to students. Examining these arguments offers important perspectives on the wider educational and developmental consequences of homework practices.

1. Elevated Stress and Health Consequences

Elevated Stress and Health Consequences

The ongoing debate about homework often focuses on its educational value, but a vital aspect that cannot be overlooked is the significant stress and health consequences it brings to students. In the context of American life, where approximately 70% of people report moderate or extreme stress due to various factors like mass shootings, healthcare affordability, discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, climate change, presidential elections, and the need to stay informed, the additional burden of homework further exacerbates this stress, particularly among students.

Key findings and statistics reveal a worrying trend:

  • Overwhelming Student Stress: A staggering 72% of students report being often or always stressed over schoolwork, with a concerning 82% experiencing physical symptoms due to this stress.
  • Serious Health Issues: Symptoms linked to homework stress include sleep deprivation, headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and stomach problems.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Despite the National Sleep Foundation recommending 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep for healthy adolescent development, students average just 6.80 hours of sleep on school nights. About 68% of students stated that schoolwork often or always prevented them from getting enough sleep, which is critical for their physical and mental health.
  • Turning to Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Alarmingly, the pressure from excessive homework has led some students to turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with stress.

This data paints a concerning picture. Students, already navigating a world filled with various stressors, find themselves further burdened by homework demands. The direct correlation between excessive homework and health issues indicates a need for reevaluation. The goal should be to ensure that homework if assigned, adds value to students’ learning experiences without compromising their health and well-being.

By addressing the issue of homework-related stress and health consequences, we can take a significant step toward creating a more nurturing and effective educational environment. This environment would not only prioritize academic achievement but also the overall well-being and happiness of students, preparing them for a balanced and healthy life both inside and outside the classroom.

2. Inequitable Impact and Socioeconomic Disparities

Inequitable Impact and Socioeconomic Disparities

In the discourse surrounding educational equity, homework emerges as a factor exacerbating socioeconomic disparities, particularly affecting students from lower-income families and those with less supportive home environments. While homework is often justified as a means to raise academic standards and promote equity, its real-world impact tells a different story.

The inequitable burden of homework becomes starkly evident when considering the resources required to complete it, especially in the digital age. Homework today often necessitates a computer and internet access – resources not readily available to all students. This digital divide significantly disadvantages students from lower-income backgrounds, deepening the chasm between them and their more affluent peers.

Key points highlighting the disparities:

  • Digital Inequity: Many students lack access to necessary technology for homework, with low-income families disproportionately affected.
  • Impact of COVID-19: The pandemic exacerbated these disparities as education shifted online, revealing the extent of the digital divide.
  • Educational Outcomes Tied to Income: A critical indicator of college success is linked more to family income levels than to rigorous academic preparation. Research indicates that while 77% of students from high-income families graduate from highly competitive colleges, only 9% from low-income families achieve the same . This disparity suggests that the pressure of heavy homework loads, rather than leveling the playing field, may actually hinder the chances of success for less affluent students.

Moreover, the approach to homework varies significantly across different types of schools. While some rigorous private and preparatory schools in both marginalized and affluent communities assign extreme levels of homework, many progressive schools focusing on holistic learning and self-actualization opt for no homework, yet achieve similar levels of college and career success. This contrast raises questions about the efficacy and necessity of heavy homework loads in achieving educational outcomes.

The issue of homework and its inequitable impact is not just an academic concern; it is a reflection of broader societal inequalities. By continuing practices that disproportionately burden students from less privileged backgrounds, the educational system inadvertently perpetuates the very disparities it seeks to overcome.

3. Negative Impact on Family Dynamics

Negative Impact on Family Dynamics

Homework, a staple of the educational system, is often perceived as a necessary tool for academic reinforcement. However, its impact extends beyond the realm of academics, significantly affecting family dynamics. The negative repercussions of homework on the home environment have become increasingly evident, revealing a troubling pattern that can lead to conflict, mental health issues, and domestic friction.

A study conducted in 2015 involving 1,100 parents sheds light on the strain homework places on family relationships. The findings are telling:

  • Increased Likelihood of Conflicts: Families where parents did not have a college degree were 200% more likely to experience fights over homework.
  • Misinterpretations and Misunderstandings: Parents often misinterpret their children’s difficulties with homework as a lack of attention in school, leading to feelings of frustration and mistrust on both sides.
  • Discriminatory Impact: The research concluded that the current approach to homework disproportionately affects children whose parents have lower educational backgrounds, speak English as a second language, or belong to lower-income groups.

The issue is not confined to specific demographics but is a widespread concern. Samantha Hulsman, a teacher featured in Education Week Teacher , shared her personal experience with the toll that homework can take on family time. She observed that a seemingly simple 30-minute assignment could escalate into a three-hour ordeal, causing stress and strife between parents and children. Hulsman’s insights challenge the traditional mindset about homework, highlighting a shift towards the need for skills such as collaboration and problem-solving over rote memorization of facts.

The need of the hour is to reassess the role and amount of homework assigned to students. It’s imperative to find a balance that facilitates learning and growth without compromising the well-being of the family unit. Such a reassessment would not only aid in reducing domestic conflicts but also contribute to a more supportive and nurturing environment for children’s overall development.

4. Consumption of Free Time

Consumption of Free Time

In recent years, a growing chorus of voices has raised concerns about the excessive burden of homework on students, emphasizing how it consumes their free time and impedes their overall well-being. The issue is not just the quantity of homework, but its encroachment on time that could be used for personal growth, relaxation, and family bonding.

Authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish , in their book “The Case Against Homework,” offer an insightful window into the lives of families grappling with the demands of excessive homework. They share stories from numerous interviews conducted in the mid-2000s, highlighting the universal struggle faced by families across different demographics. A poignant account from a parent in Menlo Park, California, describes nightly sessions extending until 11 p.m., filled with stress and frustration, leading to a soured attitude towards school in both the child and the parent. This narrative is not isolated, as about one-third of the families interviewed expressed feeling crushed by the overwhelming workload.

Key points of concern:

  • Excessive Time Commitment: Students, on average, spend over 6 hours in school each day, and homework adds significantly to this time, leaving little room for other activities.
  • Impact on Extracurricular Activities: Homework infringes upon time for sports, music, art, and other enriching experiences, which are as crucial as academic courses.
  • Stifling Creativity and Self-Discovery: The constant pressure of homework limits opportunities for students to explore their interests and learn new skills independently.

The National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) recommend a “10 minutes of homework per grade level” standard, suggesting a more balanced approach. However, the reality often far exceeds this guideline, particularly for older students. The impact of this overreach is profound, affecting not just academic performance but also students’ attitudes toward school, their self-confidence, social skills, and overall quality of life.

Furthermore, the intense homework routine’s effectiveness is doubtful, as it can overwhelm students and detract from the joy of learning. Effective learning builds on prior knowledge in an engaging way, but excessive homework in a home setting may be irrelevant and uninteresting. The key challenge is balancing homework to enhance learning without overburdening students, allowing time for holistic growth and activities beyond academics. It’s crucial to reassess homework policies to support well-rounded development.

5. Challenges for Students with Learning Disabilities

Challenges for Students with Learning Disabilities

Homework, a standard educational tool, poses unique challenges for students with learning disabilities, often leading to a frustrating and disheartening experience. These challenges go beyond the typical struggles faced by most students and can significantly impede their educational progress and emotional well-being.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish’s insights in Psychology Today shed light on the complex relationship between homework and students with learning disabilities:

  • Homework as a Painful Endeavor: For students with learning disabilities, completing homework can be likened to “running with a sprained ankle.” It’s a task that, while doable, is fraught with difficulty and discomfort.
  • Misconceptions about Laziness: Often, children who struggle with homework are perceived as lazy. However, Barish emphasizes that these students are more likely to be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious rather than unmotivated.
  • Limited Improvement in School Performance: The battles over homework rarely translate into significant improvement in school for these children, challenging the conventional notion of homework as universally beneficial.

These points highlight the need for a tailored approach to homework for students with learning disabilities. It’s crucial to recognize that the traditional homework model may not be the most effective or appropriate method for facilitating their learning. Instead, alternative strategies that accommodate their unique needs and learning styles should be considered.

In conclusion, the conventional homework paradigm needs reevaluation, particularly concerning students with learning disabilities. By understanding and addressing their unique challenges, educators can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment. This approach not only aids in their academic growth but also nurtures their confidence and overall development, ensuring that they receive an equitable and empathetic educational experience.

6. Critique of Underlying Assumptions about Learning

Critique of Underlying Assumptions about Learning

The longstanding belief in the educational sphere that more homework automatically translates to more learning is increasingly being challenged. Critics argue that this assumption is not only flawed but also unsupported by solid evidence, questioning the efficacy of homework as an effective learning tool.

Alfie Kohn , a prominent critic of homework, aptly compares students to vending machines in this context, suggesting that the expectation of inserting an assignment and automatically getting out of learning is misguided. Kohn goes further, labeling homework as the “greatest single extinguisher of children’s curiosity.” This critique highlights a fundamental issue: the potential of homework to stifle the natural inquisitiveness and love for learning in children.

The lack of concrete evidence supporting the effectiveness of homework is evident in various studies:

  • Marginal Effectiveness of Homework: A study involving 28,051 high school seniors found that the effectiveness of homework was marginal, and in some cases, it was counterproductive, leading to more academic problems than solutions.
  • No Correlation with Academic Achievement: Research in “ National Differences, Global Similarities ” showed no correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary students, and any positive correlation in middle or high school diminished with increasing homework loads.
  • Increased Academic Pressure: The Teachers College Record published findings that homework adds to academic pressure and societal stress, exacerbating performance gaps between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

These findings bring to light several critical points:

  • Quality Over Quantity: According to a recent article in Monitor on Psychology , experts concur that the quality of homework assignments, along with the quality of instruction, student motivation, and inherent ability, is more crucial for academic success than the quantity of homework.
  • Counterproductive Nature of Excessive Homework: Excessive homework can lead to more academic challenges, particularly for students already facing pressures from other aspects of their lives.
  • Societal Stress and Performance Gaps: Homework can intensify societal stress and widen the academic performance divide.

The emerging consensus from these studies suggests that the traditional approach to homework needs rethinking. Rather than focusing on the quantity of assignments, educators should consider the quality and relevance of homework, ensuring it truly contributes to learning and development. This reassessment is crucial for fostering an educational environment that nurtures curiosity and a love for learning, rather than extinguishing it.

7. Issues with Homework Enforcement, Reliability, and Temptation to Cheat

Issues with Homework Enforcement, Reliability, and Temptation to Cheat

In the academic realm, the enforcement of homework is a subject of ongoing debate, primarily due to its implications on student integrity and the true value of assignments. The challenges associated with homework enforcement often lead to unintended yet significant issues, such as cheating, copying, and a general undermining of educational values.

Key points highlighting enforcement challenges:

  • Difficulty in Enforcing Completion: Ensuring that students complete their homework can be a complex task, and not completing homework does not always correlate with poor grades.
  • Reliability of Homework Practice: The reliability of homework as a practice tool is undermined when students, either out of desperation or lack of understanding, choose shortcuts over genuine learning. This approach can lead to the opposite of the intended effect, especially when assignments are not well-aligned with the students’ learning levels or interests.
  • Temptation to Cheat: The issue of cheating is particularly troubling. According to a report by The Chronicle of Higher Education , under the pressure of at-home assignments, many students turn to copying others’ work, plagiarizing, or using creative technological “hacks.” This tendency not only questions the integrity of the learning process but also reflects the extreme stress that homework can induce.
  • Parental Involvement in Completion: As noted in The American Journal of Family Therapy , this raises concerns about the authenticity of the work submitted. When parents complete assignments for their children, it not only deprives the students of the opportunity to learn but also distorts the purpose of homework as a learning aid.

In conclusion, the challenges of homework enforcement present a complex problem that requires careful consideration. The focus should shift towards creating meaningful, manageable, and quality-driven assignments that encourage genuine learning and integrity, rather than overwhelming students and prompting counterproductive behaviors.

Addressing Opposing Views on Homework Practices

While opinions on homework policies are diverse, understanding different viewpoints is crucial. In the following sections, we will examine common arguments supporting homework assignments, along with counterarguments that offer alternative perspectives on this educational practice.

1. Improvement of Academic Performance

Improvement of Academic Performance

Homework is commonly perceived as a means to enhance academic performance, with the belief that it directly contributes to better grades and test scores. This view posits that through homework, students reinforce what they learn in class, leading to improved understanding and retention, which ultimately translates into higher academic achievement.

However, the question of why students should not have homework becomes pertinent when considering the complex relationship between homework and academic performance. Studies have indicated that excessive homework doesn’t necessarily equate to higher grades or test scores. Instead, too much homework can backfire, leading to stress and fatigue that adversely affect a student’s performance. Reuters highlights an intriguing correlation suggesting that physical activity may be more conducive to academic success than additional homework, underscoring the importance of a holistic approach to education that prioritizes both physical and mental well-being for enhanced academic outcomes.

2. Reinforcement of Learning

Reinforcement of Learning

Homework is traditionally viewed as a tool to reinforce classroom learning, enabling students to practice and retain material. However, research suggests its effectiveness is ambiguous. In instances where homework is well-aligned with students’ abilities and classroom teachings, it can indeed be beneficial. Particularly for younger students , excessive homework can cause burnout and a loss of interest in learning, counteracting its intended purpose.

Furthermore, when homework surpasses a student’s capability, it may induce frustration and confusion rather than aid in learning. This challenges the notion that more homework invariably leads to better understanding and retention of educational content.

3. Development of Time Management Skills

Development of Time Management Skills

Homework is often considered a crucial tool in helping students develop important life skills such as time management and organization. The idea is that by regularly completing assignments, students learn to allocate their time efficiently and organize their tasks effectively, skills that are invaluable in both academic and personal life.

However, the impact of homework on developing these skills is not always positive. For younger students, especially, an overwhelming amount of homework can be more of a hindrance than a help. Instead of fostering time management and organizational skills, an excessive workload often leads to stress and anxiety . These negative effects can impede the learning process and make it difficult for students to manage their time and tasks effectively, contradicting the original purpose of homework.

4. Preparation for Future Academic Challenges

Preparation for Future Academic Challenges

Homework is often touted as a preparatory tool for future academic challenges that students will encounter in higher education and their professional lives. The argument is that by tackling homework, students build a foundation of knowledge and skills necessary for success in more advanced studies and in the workforce, fostering a sense of readiness and confidence.

Contrarily, an excessive homework load, especially from a young age, can have the opposite effect . It can instill a negative attitude towards education, dampening students’ enthusiasm and willingness to embrace future academic challenges. Overburdening students with homework risks disengagement and loss of interest, thereby defeating the purpose of preparing them for future challenges. Striking a balance in the amount and complexity of homework is crucial to maintaining student engagement and fostering a positive attitude towards ongoing learning.

5. Parental Involvement in Education

Parental Involvement in Education

Homework often acts as a vital link connecting parents to their child’s educational journey, offering insights into the school’s curriculum and their child’s learning process. This involvement is key in fostering a supportive home environment and encouraging a collaborative relationship between parents and the school. When parents understand and engage with what their children are learning, it can significantly enhance the educational experience for the child.

However, the line between involvement and over-involvement is thin. When parents excessively intervene by completing their child’s homework,  it can have adverse effects . Such actions not only diminish the educational value of homework but also rob children of the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and independence. This over-involvement, coupled with disparities in parental ability to assist due to variations in time, knowledge, or resources, may lead to unequal educational outcomes, underlining the importance of a balanced approach to parental participation in homework.

Exploring Alternatives to Homework and Finding a Middle Ground

Exploring Alternatives to Homework

In the ongoing debate about the role of homework in education, it’s essential to consider viable alternatives and strategies to minimize its burden. While completely eliminating homework may not be feasible for all educators, there are several effective methods to reduce its impact and offer more engaging, student-friendly approaches to learning.

Alternatives to Traditional Homework

  • Project-Based Learning: This method focuses on hands-on, long-term projects where students explore real-world problems. It encourages creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative skills, offering a more engaging and practical learning experience than traditional homework. For creative ideas on school projects, especially related to the solar system, be sure to explore our dedicated article on solar system projects .
  • Flipped Classrooms: Here, students are introduced to new content through videos or reading materials at home and then use class time for interactive activities. This approach allows for more personalized and active learning during school hours.
  • Reading for Pleasure: Encouraging students to read books of their choice can foster a love for reading and improve literacy skills without the pressure of traditional homework assignments. This approach is exemplified by Marion County, Florida , where public schools implemented a no-homework policy for elementary students. Instead, they are encouraged to read nightly for 20 minutes . Superintendent Heidi Maier’s decision was influenced by research showing that while homework offers minimal benefit to young students, regular reading significantly boosts their learning. For book recommendations tailored to middle school students, take a look at our specially curated article .

Ideas for Minimizing Homework

  • Limiting Homework Quantity: Adhering to guidelines like the “ 10-minute rule ” (10 minutes of homework per grade level per night) can help ensure that homework does not become overwhelming.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on assigning meaningful homework that is directly relevant to what is being taught in class, ensuring it adds value to students’ learning.
  • Homework Menus: Offering students a choice of assignments can cater to diverse learning styles and interests, making homework more engaging and personalized.
  • Integrating Technology: Utilizing educational apps and online platforms can make homework more interactive and enjoyable, while also providing immediate feedback to students. To gain deeper insights into the role of technology in learning environments, explore our articles discussing the benefits of incorporating technology in classrooms and a comprehensive list of educational VR apps . These resources will provide you with valuable information on how technology can enhance the educational experience.

For teachers who are not ready to fully eliminate homework, these strategies offer a compromise, ensuring that homework supports rather than hinders student learning. By focusing on quality, relevance, and student engagement, educators can transform homework from a chore into a meaningful component of education that genuinely contributes to students’ academic growth and personal development. In this way, we can move towards a more balanced and student-centric approach to learning, both in and out of the classroom.

Useful Resources

  • Is homework a good idea or not? by BBC
  • The Great Homework Debate: What’s Getting Lost in the Hype
  • Alternative Homework Ideas

The evidence and arguments presented in the discussion of why students should not have homework call for a significant shift in homework practices. It’s time for educators and policymakers to rethink and reformulate homework strategies, focusing on enhancing the quality, relevance, and balance of assignments. By doing so, we can create a more equitable, effective, and student-friendly educational environment that fosters learning, well-being, and holistic development.

  • “Here’s what an education expert says about that viral ‘no-homework’ policy”, Insider
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  • “Stress in America”, American Psychological Association (APA)
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  • “National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report”, National Library of Medicine
  • “A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping, and substance use among high school youth in private schools”, Frontiers
  • “The Digital Revolution is Leaving Poorer Kids Behind”, Statista
  • “The digital divide has left millions of school kids behind”, CNET
  • “The Digital Divide: What It Is, and What’s Being Done to Close It”, Investopedia
  • “COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it”, World Economic Forum
  • “PBS NewsHour: Biggest Predictor of College Success is Family Income”, America’s Promise Alliance
  • “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background”, Taylor & Francis Online
  • “What Do You Mean My Kid Doesn’t Have Homework?”, EducationWeek
  • “Excerpt From The Case Against Homework”, Penguin Random House Canada
  • “How much homework is too much?”, neaToday
  • “The Nation’s Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading”, National Center for Education Statistics
  • “Battles Over Homework: Advice For Parents”, Psychology Today
  • “How Homework Is Destroying Teens’ Health”, The Lion’s Roar
  • “ Breaking the Homework Habit”, Education World
  • “Testing a model of school learning: Direct and indirect effects on academic achievement”, ScienceDirect
  • “National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling”, Stanford University Press
  • “When school goes home: Some problems in the organization of homework”, APA PsycNet
  • “Is homework a necessary evil?”, APA PsycNet
  • “Epidemic of copying homework catalyzed by technology”, Redwood Bark
  • “High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame”, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background”, ResearchGate
  • “Kids who get moving may also get better grades”, Reuters
  • “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987–2003”, SageJournals
  • “Is it time to get rid of homework?”, USAToday
  • “Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework”, Stanford
  • “Florida school district bans homework, replaces it with daily reading”, USAToday
  • “Encouraging Students to Read: Tips for High School Teachers”, wgu.edu
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Studies Show Homework Isn't Beneficial in Elementary School, so Why Does It Exist?

It's time for parents to help change homework policies for young kids.

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As a rule-follower and the kind of person who enjoys task completion so much that folding laundry can feel therapeutic, I didn’t anticipate having a problem with homework. That also had something to do with my kid, who regularly requested “homewurt” starting at age 3. An accomplished mimic, she’d pull a chair up alongside a table of middle-schoolers at the public library, set out a sheet of paper, and begin chewing the end of a pencil, proudly declaring, “I do my homewurt!”

But the real thing quickly disappointed us both. She found first grade’s nightly math worksheets excruciating, both uninteresting and difficult. I found pulling her away from pretend games for something that left her in tears excruciating, both undermining and cruel.

Our story is complex but not uncommon. Cathy Vatterott, a professor of education at the University of Missouri, St. Louis who’s better known as the “ Homework Lady ” says, “Parent activism about homework has really increased over the last 5 to 7 years.” Acton, Massachusetts librarian Amy Reimann says her daughter's district recently overhauled its policy. Now, no school issues homework before third grade , and it's not expected nightly until seventh. In 2017, Marion County, Florida eliminated all elementary homework aside from 20 minutes of reading (or being read to) at night. The result? After moving to a school with a no-homework policy in Berkeley, California, parent Allison Busch Zulawski said: “Our kids are happier, I’m happier, and there are no academic downsides.” If you're looking to make a similar change at your school, check out the stats you'll need to bolster your argument below, followed by some strategies you can use with your school's administration.

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Is homework even beneficial to students? Arm yourself with the stats before you storm the school.

If you want to go in with the most effective arguments for changing your school's homework policy, you'll have to, um, do your homework (or use this cheat sheet).

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Giving up homework in the younger grades has no academic impact.

There's a bit of disagreement among scholars over the academic value of homework. Duke professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., who has studied the issue, says that the best studies show "consistent small positive effects." But others have questioned whether any impact of doing homework on tests scores and/or grades has been proven. And most academics seem to agree that what little bump homework gives doesn't start until middle school or later. What does all this mean? In his book The Homework Myth , writer and researcher Alfie Kohn concludes, “There is no evidence of any academic benefit from homework in elementary school."

There is clear evidence on a related point though: Reading self-selected material boosts literacy. That’s why many elementary schools are moving toward homework policies that require reading, or being read to, rather than problems or exercises. (Once kids get to middle and high school, the homework debate generally shifts to “how much” and “what kind” rather than “whether.”)

Many agree with educators like Linda Long, a fourth-grade teacher at a different San Francisco school, who sees the value in “just the act of taking a piece of paper home and bringing it back” for building organizational skills and responsibility. But Good Housekeeping was able to find no research demonstrating that this is the case at the elementary level prior to grade five. And research showing that doing homework increases conscientiousness in grades 5 through 8 appears to be thin. What’s more, the many children who don’t complete homework fastidiously have the opposite lesson reinforced: that duties can be ignored or completed hastily.

Homework is more harmful than helpful to families.

Long sees another upside of elementary homework, saying, “It helps families be aware of what their children are learning in the classroom.” Professor Cooper adds, "Homework can give parents an opportunity to express positive attitudes toward achievement."

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But there are lots of ways for parents to do these things, from quarterly teacher updates like the ones Fairmount Elementary School instituted when eliminating homework, to parents sifting through the completed classwork that comes home in backpacks. And asking parents to police homework can damage family relationships by creating power struggles and resentment. In a September 2019 poll of approximately 800 parents conducted by the tech company Narbis, 65% reported that the stress of homework had negatively affected their family dynamic. Academic studies show that this family stress increases as homework load increases.

Homework can also have a negative impact on children’s attitudes toward school. Take the story of Sarah Bloomquist Greathouse of Felton, California. “My fourth-grader has always had such a hard time with liking school,” she says. “This year is the first year we have no worksheets or other busywork. This is the first year my son has actually enjoyed going to school.” As Vicki Abeles puts it in Beyond Measure , “Homework overload steals from young minds the desire to learn.”

Homework eats up time that could be spent doing something more beneficial.

For some students, time spent doing homework displaces after-school activities — like imaginative play, outdoor time, sibling bonding, physical activity, socializing, and reading purely for pleasure — that are shown to be neurologically and developmentally beneficial.

For others, homework provides important scaffolding for free time. (Long says, “I’m more inclined to give homework to my kids who I know just go home and are playing Fortnite for five hours.”) Some argue a no-homework policy leaves a void that only wealthier families can afford to fill with enrichment. That’s why a lot of parents are throwing their weight behind optional policies that provide homework but let families determine whether doing it will improve their child’s life.

Another important displacement concern is sleep. “If parents and teachers are worried about academics and behavior in school then they don’t need homework, they need sleep,” says Heather Shumaker of Traverse City, Michigan, author of It’s OK to Go Up The Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids , which covers banning homework in elementary school. "The more sleep kids get, the better their memory, the better their learning, the better their focus, the better they’ll do on all the tests, being able to control their impulses, and so on.”

What do you do if you don't agree with the amount of homework your kids get at school?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be as annoying as me to change your situation. There are multiple ways to push back against homework, each suited to a different personality type. That said, we can all learn a little something from every take.

Neck, Illustration, Long hair, Drawing, Black hair, Rock,

Introvert Parent

You'd like your child to have less homework, but you don't want to make a huge thing of it.

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Rallier Parent

You've read the research, and you're ready to gather others and take the whole system down.

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Conflict-Avoidant Parent

You're bad at confrontation, but you want your student's homework stress to be known.

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Hands-off Parent

You don't think it's good for anyone when your kids' assignments become your homework.

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Some parents focus on winning an exception to the rule rather than challenging it. Teresa Douglas’s daughter read voraciously — until, that is, she was required to log her minutes in a daily time log. The Vancouver, British Columbia mom wrote the teacher a note explaining the situation, declaring her intent to excuse her daughter from doing homework, and offering to provide relevant research. “I received zero pushback,” she says. Pretty much the same thing happened for a Sacramento, California parent (who didn’t wish to be named due to her role in that state’s government). She told her sons’ teachers they would not be doing any homework, aside from reading, unless the teacher could provide research proving it beneficial. That was the end of that.

Straight-up refusal to comply is the same approach I’ve taken when asked to sign off on my kids’ work while my advocacy efforts were ongoing. I thought my signature would imply my child couldn’t be trusted, and I knew it would put us on course for the type of shared academic responsibility, and ultimately dependence, decried in How to Raise an Adult , a book by former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims. So every year, I emailed my kids’ teachers, explaining my reasoning and offering alternatives, like having my children put their own initials in that spot. Some teachers weren't pleased, and I have to admit my kids initially felt mortified, but I held firm and everyone wound up happy with the arrangement.

Critical, independent thinking is also what Kang Su Gatlin, a Seattle, Washington dad, is after. He gives his son the option to do school-assigned homework or exercises chosen by his parents. When the fifth-grader picks the school’s problems, he’s allowed to skip the ones drilling concepts he’s already mastered. “At least in the jobs I’ve had,” says Gatlin, who currently works for Microsoft, “it’s not just how you do your job, but also knowing what work isn't worth doing.”

Some worry that going this route will upset their child's teacher, and it's possible. But when Long was asked what she’d do if a parent presented her with research-backed arguments that disagree with her homework philosophy, she replied, “I would read it, and it would probably change my opinion. And I would also be flexible with the individual family.”

For the Rallier Parent: Gather Reinforcements and Tell Your PTA Why Students Should Have No Homework

Many parents don’t stop with their own child. When the first edition of Vatterott’s book Rethinking Homework was published in 2009, she says, it was a relatively fringe thing, but now, “We’re talking about a real movement.”

Shumaker, the Michigan author and one of the most prominent figures in the movement, knows initiating this kind of conversation with a teacher can be terrifying, so she recommends having company: “Maybe you want to bring in another parent in the class who feels similarly or who is even just willing to sit next to you,” she says. Or broach the subject in a group setting. Shumaker tells a story that reminds me of every back-to-school night I’ve ever attended: “One of the parents raised a hand and said, ‘My child is having such a hard time with math. She spends hours on it every night, and she can’t get through all the problems.’ There was this huge sigh of relief from all the other parents in the room, because they’d had the same problem.”

So, talk to other parents. Bring the issue to the PTA. For petitions, surveys, and templates you can use when writing to a teacher, reaching out to other parents, and commenting at PTA and school board meetings, see The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish. It’s packed with step-by-step advocacy advice, including ideas for a variety of non-traditional homework policies (e.g., “No-Homework Wednesdays”).

For the Conflict-Avoidant Parent: Sometimes It Just Takes One Homework Question

If all this sounds like a bit much, Vatterott recommends an approach based on inquiry and information-sharing.

Begin by asking whether there's a fixed policy, either in the classroom or at the school. “You can’t believe how many schools have a policy that the teachers don't follow,” Vatterott notes. Often it’s one based on guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association: about 10 minutes per night in the first grade, and 10 more minutes added on for each successive grade (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 50 for fifth). “Sometimes all that’s needed is to say, ‘Can we make the homework requirement weekly rather than daily?’” she says.

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Experts also recommend starting with what psychologists call “I statements,” because teachers aren’t mind-readers. Put a note on each assignment saying, “My child spent 40 minutes on this.” Since research shows teachers often underestimate the amount of time homework takes by about 50% , Vatterott reports, passing along this info can be enough to make assignments less onerous. Other simple statements of fact include:

  • “Luna isn’t getting enough downtime in the afternoon."
  • “Cynthia told me today, ‘I hate homework and I hate school.’”
  • “Dante is losing sleep to finish his work.”

Try to find some way, Vatterott says, to not feel embarrassed or guilty about telling the teacher, even in a roundabout way, “This is too much.”

For the Hands-off Parent: Just Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Not everyone agrees on the level of parental involvement required in homework assignments. Reading all that research also taught me that intrinsic motivation is the more effective , longer-lasting kind. So during the years when I tried to get the school-wide policy changed, I also told my kids that homework is between them and their teacher. If they decided to do it, great; if they chose not to, the consequences were up to them to negotiate.

Third-grade mom Anna Gracia did the same thing, and her oldest, a third-grader, opted to take a pass on homework. When the teacher explained that the class had a star chart for homework with Gracia’s kid listed in last place, she asked whether her daughter seemed to mind. Her daughter didn't. Gracia asked if her daughter was behind in a particular subject or needed to practice certain skills. "No, but homework helps kids learn responsibility," the teacher replied. “How does it teach my kid that, if I’m the one who has to remind her to do it?” she asked. In the end, Gracia stayed out of it: “I said the teacher could take it up directly with my daughter, but I would not be having any conversations about homework at home unless she could point to a demonstrable need for her to do it.”

I’m happy to report my now fifth-grader takes complete ownership over her nightly "homewurt." And after the most recent round of parent-teacher conferences, neither her teacher nor Gracia’s daughter’s had any complaints.

Do the Research

Rethinking Homework

ASCD Rethinking Homework

The Case Against Homework

Harmony The Case Against Homework

The Homework Myth

Da Capo Press The Homework Myth

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@media(max-width: 64rem){.css-o9j0dn:before{margin-bottom:0.5rem;margin-right:0.625rem;color:#ffffff;width:1.25rem;bottom:-0.2rem;height:1.25rem;content:'_';display:inline-block;position:relative;line-height:1;background-repeat:no-repeat;}.loaded .css-o9j0dn:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.loaded .css-o9j0dn:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}} Back-to-School Season 2023

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H ow long is your child’s workweek? Thirty hours? Forty? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime. Even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars, the daily homework slog keeps many students on the clock as long as lawyers, teachers, medical residents, truck drivers and other overworked adults. Is it any wonder that,deprived of the labor protections that we provide adults, our kids are suffering an epidemic of disengagement, anxiety and depression ?

With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p.m. only to face hours more of homework. Now, even as a senior with a moderate course load, my son, Zak, has spent many weekends studying, finding little time for the exercise and fresh air essential to his well-being. Week after week, and without any extracurriculars, Zak logs a lot more than the 40 hours adults traditionally work each week — and with no recognition from his “bosses” that it’s too much. I can’t count the number of shared evenings, weekend outings and dinners that our family has missed and will never get back.

How much after-school time should our schools really own?

In the midst of the madness last fall, Zak said to me, “I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living.”

My spirit crumbled along with his.

Like Zak, many people are now questioning the point of putting so much demand on children and teens that they become thinly stretched and overworked. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”

In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.

Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning . Even top adult professionals in specialized fields take care to limit their work to concentrated periods of focus. A landmark study of how humans develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day .

Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. American high school students , in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found.

It’s time for an uprising.

Already, small rebellions are starting. High schools in Ridgewood, N.J. , and Fairfax County, Va., among others, have banned homework over school breaks. The entire second grade at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Va., abolished homework this academic year. Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette, Calif., has eliminated homework in grades K through 4. Henry West Laboratory School , a public K-8 school in Coral Gables, Fla., eliminated mandatory, graded homework for optional assignments. One Lexington, Mass., elementary school is piloting a homework-free year, replacing it with reading for pleasure.

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Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. And a second-grade teacher in Texas, made headlines this fall when she quit sending home extra work , instead urging families to “spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”

It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell. Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children.

Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife. Mike Miller, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., found this out firsthand when he spearheaded a homework committee to rethink the usual approach. He had read the education research and found a forgotten policy on the county books limiting homework to two hours a night, total, including all classes. “I thought it would be a slam dunk” to put the two-hour cap firmly in place, Miller said.

But immediately, people started balking. “There was a lot of fear in the community,” Miller said. “It’s like jumping off a high dive with your kids’ future. If we reduce homework to two hours or less, is my kid really going to be okay?” In the end, the committee only agreed to a homework ban over school breaks.

Miller’s response is a great model for us all. He decided to limit assignments in his own class to 20 minutes a night (the most allowed for a student with six classes to hit the two-hour max). His students didn’t suddenly fail. Their test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work.

That’s the way we will get to a sane work schedule for kids: by simultaneously pursuing changes big and small. Even as we collaboratively press for policy changes at the district or individual school level, all teachers can act now, as individuals, to ease the strain on overworked kids.

As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.

We’ll know our work is done only when Zak and every other child can clock out, eat dinner, sleep well and stay healthy — the very things needed to engage and learn deeply. That’s the basic standard the law applies to working adults. Let’s do the same for our kids.

Vicki Abeles is the author of the bestseller Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, and director and producer of the documentaries “ Race to Nowhere ” and “ Beyond Measure. ”

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current events conversation

What Students Are Saying About Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’

Chronic absenteeism has increased in American schools since the Covid-19 pandemic. We asked teenagers what they make of the trend.

Students walk through an outdoor breezeway at the Patti Welder Middle School in Victoria.

By The Learning Network

Nationally, an estimated 26 percent of public school students were considered chronically absent last school year, up from 15 percent before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the most recent data, from 40 states and Washington, D.C., compiled by the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

The increases have occurred in districts big and small, and across income and race.

In “​ Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’ Almost Everywhere ,” Sarah Mervosh and Francesca Paris explain:

The trends suggest that something fundamental has shifted in American childhood and the culture of school, in ways that may be long lasting. What was once a deeply ingrained habit — wake up, catch the bus, report to class — is now something far more tenuous. “Our relationship with school became optional,” said Katie Rosanbalm, a psychologist and associate research professor with the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

In a related Student Opinion question , we asked teenagers if that explanation resonated with them. Had their relationship to school — and school attendance — changed since the pandemic? And if so, what did they make of this shift?

Many students said, yes, school feels different now. Why? They pointed to remote learning changing their routines, an increase in anxiety and a decrease in motivation, the ease of making up schoolwork online and much more. Read their responses in full below.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the conversation on our writing prompts this week, including students from Central Bucks South High School in Warrington, Pa .; Norwood High School in Norwood, Mass.; and West Salem High School in Salem, Ore.

Please note: Student comments have been lightly edited for length, but otherwise appear as they were originally submitted.

Remote learning made students comfortable with missing school.

I believe that there are two main contributors to missing school too much. The first is online school. Myself included. It was very easy to simply leave the call after taking attendance and the teacher wouldn’t realize. Skipping class was easy and you could still get high grades. Transitioning back to real school, kids still held that true. They knew that they could miss school and still do well because covid taught that to them. The second reason is punishment. When you miss school, nothing happens. Class goes on and you have a little extra homework the next day but that’s it. What is the issue with missing class is a very common thought and it’s true. There is very minimal downside to missing school. When I had surgery, I missed a full week of school and within a day and a half, I was fully caught up again. Missing school has just become all too easy.

— Xavier, Pennsylvania

2020 was when our lives completely changed for the worst. We all had to stay inside and stay separate from each other. It was terrible, not being able to talk to my friends, and seeing the death toll on news constantly rise. However, after a year into the pandemic, I believe students realized the power they now had, including me. Now that I am a highschooler, I am going to admit that sometimes I would just mute my class and do whatever I wanted. School became shorter and easier to pass than ever before. That’s why when we all transitioned back into school, it was weird. We all still wanted to get through class the “easy way,” yet now that we were back, it wasn’t possible. This is why we started increasing our absences. The threat of absence has become weak, students are not as afraid to stay out of school. Furthermore the threat of being infected gave just one more reason to be out of school, for the sake of “preventing others from getting sick,” when in reality you feel fine. That is most likely why the absences in school had an exponential increase.

— Joshua, Pennsylvania

Students feel like expectations are lower than they were before the pandemic.

As a student in high school, I’ve come to realize the horrible state our attendance has been in since the pandemic. The reason can be simplified into one idea: laziness. We are lazy, willing to do only enough to get by, no more, no less. If a student doesn’t need to come to a class to obtain the grade they wish to achieve, then they won’t show up. Classes are not challenging enough to make students feel that they are worth going to. My mom is used to getting texts from me during the school day, begging to be excused from a class where “we’re doing nothing” or, “I already finished the work,” which is true, yet I abuse the opportunity to miss class because I know there will be no greater coincidence, I will still be getting an A. Due to my laziness, I would rather be at home taking a nap than sitting in a class with no greater impact on my life.

— Clara, Salem, Oregon

Since the pandemic, schooling has been focused on getting students caught up to where we’re supposed to be. Consequently, more allowances are made for students who don’t do assignments or don’t even show up. And with the switch to all online because of the pandemic, things have never shifted back. If a student misses a day or even a week, they can easily see what they missed and do it and submit it from home. With this option giving them the exact same grade as it would if they actually went to school, it’s no wonder why students are choosing to stay at home or skipping class. Additionally, the pandemic had heightened anxiety levels in students, specifically social anxiety, making them less likely to show up. The allowances made by the school district for students has created a space for students to be lazy and get away with it. This is fostering a negative impact on student work ethic not only now, but also in the future when this generation will be entering the work force.

— Emma, West Salem High School

The period of school shutdowns got students out of their school routines.

When I think back to virtual learning, my brain automatically goes to how stress free it was. I was in sixth grade when Covid first hit and going through a period of my life where I was extremely anxious at school. I believe that this break is exactly what I needed at the time. However, I do believe that in the long run, this online learning time period got a lot of people into the routine of not having a routine. A lot of people at my school would turn their camera off and fall asleep or go on their phones during online learning. I believe that there were times that I did this as well. I also think that this mindset carried through into the grades where I did not have an online/hybrid option. In eighth and ninth grade, I happened to stay home sick, go into school late, or leave early a lot. I think this is due to me not taking school as seriously due to the grading methods that were being used and how some of my teachers were not grading harshly. Now that I am a sophomore in high school, I think I have finally gotten back into the routine of actual schooling and not staying home sick unless I actually feel extremely sick.

— Madison, Pennsylvania

Before the pandemic and as I was growing up, I was the kind of student that wanted perfect attendance. For some odd reason, it made me feel like a better student if I never missed a day. This included turning my parents down when they offered me to go on trips, even though I was only in fourth grade and the work that I would have missed wouldn’t have made an impact in my academic career. However, after the pandemic school began to feel optional. We felt what it was like to fall out of the routine that going to school was and were never able to fully recover from it. I think that having experienced attending school from your bed, in your pajamas has played a major role in the current trend of students receiving more absences. For me, it made me realize that the “0” next to your number of absences didn’t matter as much as I had once thought. As a now highschooler, the school days are long and every class requires an abundance of work and undivided attention that whenever there is a substitute or not much going on, it is easy to decide to leave school. With senior year approaching, everything’s purpose is college and the fact that colleges aren’t able to see how many absences a student has when they apply, does play a role in the increasing number of absences.

— Ava, Miami Country Day School

Because assignments and other materials are online, students find they can keep up with their classes even if they don’t attend school.

Schools have adjusted rules so much that it makes school feel optional. Don’t want to attend class publicly? Take online classes. Don’t want to take “required” state testing? Opt out. Before, school seemed strict, we didn’t have the option to opt out of tests, we didn’t think of taking online school. Yet now, schools make it so easy to skip because everything is simply online. Our assignments, lectures, and teachers are all online. There are no longer requirements in school. What’s the point of attending if we can graduate without taking state testing or attending advisory — also a requirement, yet I no longer have an advisory because my counselors said I don’t need to take it to graduate. It’s confusing. Students have been enabled for over 4 years now since quarantine started. School doesn’t feel mandatory, it’s optional. I’m currently enrolled into 2 AP classes, so I try my best not to miss school. But it’s inevitable, I get sick, I have family situations or maybe I simply don’t feel like attending school. But I see people skip school like nothing. “I didn’t feel like going” is a constant statement I hear. Not many students have the motivation to attend, and simply don’t go because they have a comfort in their head that they can graduate while missing multiple days of school nearly everyday.

— Olivia, Salem, OR

Current absenteeism rates have significantly impacted my learning experience for the past few years. Since the pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift in the perception of the value of education and whether or not attendance is an important factor in a student’s academic success. In the years following 2020, I found myself struggling to make it to class everyday due to my new found efficiency of working at home with my computer. I felt that even if I was not in class personally, I would be able to keep up with my work easily as it was all online regardless. Due to this I would go on trips or skip class purely because I was under the impression that I would be able to continue achieving virtually.

— Ruby, RFHS

Before the pandemic, my attendance was stable but after the pandemic, my absences were piling on. It was difficult to get back in the rhythm of in person school when I had already done a whole year online, but now my attendance in school is definitely getting better. On the other hand, students in my school tend to miss school and it is a rare sight to see a full class. Some students go as far as showing up to class once a week and just do the classwork online. After the pandemic, schools went from paperwork to all online, which is a big reason why students miss all the time, knowing that school work can just be done at home. It has definitely affected students’ grades and goals in life, but hopefully in the future, absences can lower back down.

— Emily, Atrisco Heritage Academy High School

Going to school, and finding the motivation to have as good an attendance record as possible, now feels like more of a struggle.

As students, we’ve developed a comfort in staying in bed during school without having to get ourselves ready to go outside. We had the ability to wake up five minutes before “school” started to get on our zoom calls. Now, we must wake up an hour and a half prior, and make breakfast and pack lunch, before driving to school. The process is tenuous as the article states, but because we’ve accustomed to a different lifestyle, it just makes this one seem like so much more work. I, myself have noticed my difference in attendance after COVID-19. I used to be very obsessed with perfect attendance, but I had 11 absences in my sophomore year, right after coming back from online school. Nowadays, I’m more lenient on myself when it comes to taking a mental health day, because the process can be overwhelming. School is very important, so of course I try to always come in, but sometimes it can be hard. I have not noticed this trend in the world, as well as with myself until this article. It’s enlightening to know that this had not only an effect on me, but all over the country. Hopefully the rates of absenteeism will decrease as time goes on, because we are the future.

— Anisha, New Jersey

Before virtual learning, I never made much of a habit of not turning in work or showing up for class. It was so much easier then but since virtual learning, it had become incredibly difficult for me to focus as well as keep up motivation to continue school. It was easy to skip and nobody really said much about it so it easily became a bad habit. That bad habit eventually leaked into normal school as well and it always sounds so much easier to break out of than it actually is.

— Tayy, NRHS

As the average high school class skipper (only sometimes), in my personal experience, missing out on classes hasn’t really been because of mental health concerns, but more of just lasting laziness from the pandemic. I feel as though I was relatively hard working in middle school/elementary but after a few years off with only half effort assignments, I have grown to become more sluggish and reluctant when it comes to more advanced work while in school. And it makes the option of missing out on classes because of my own reluctance a lot more appealing.

— Luke, Bali, Indonesia

My schedule during the week is get up, get ready for school, go to school, go home, do homework, go to sleep and then I repeat that everyday for 5 days. As much as I don’t want to dread going to school, it’s exhausting having the same schedule repeated everyday of the week. While in school, you have assignments assigned nearly everyday. I feel as though school has had a change in its meaning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While in quarantine, we were looking at a screen for the whole day and lacked motivation to get assignments done. When we shifted to in person school again, it didn’t change. I now look at school as a task that I need to complete to shape my future. I need to have all my assignments perfect and turned in on time. The meaning of school has turned into a draining task rather than a place that you look forward to going to.

— Jamisan, Salem, Oregon

Some students face challenges in attending class that may have nothing to do with the pandemic.

I don’t believe that students are skipping because it is so easy to catch up and pass, despite their absences. In fact, I know that a lot of people who skip aren’t passing most of their classes. They do this because their parents don’t hold them accountable, and there is always something deeper going on in that student’s life that makes it that much harder for them to find the motivation to go to class. I don’t think making the classes harder will hold students more accountable, but in fact deter them from going to class at all. If a student is aware that they are failing and doesn’t understand the concept of the class, and the class proceeds to become harder, they are going to quickly become unmotivated to go to class in the first place, feeling out of place compared to the other — passing — students in the class. While I don’t have a solution for this problem, myself, I feel that the problem is much broader than we suspect, and the answer will be a much deeper journey to find.

— Kylie, West Salem HS

Schools can do more to get students back in class.

I attend a French school in London and attendance is closely monitored. Absences have to be justified by your parents or you could get into trouble. I think it’s important to attend school as we did before Covid - because as well as learning the curriculum, it is crucial to socialise with your friends and classmates, which is good for your mental health … I wonder if social media could be a factor? If students did not have access to social media or the internet, would they prefer to be in school with their friends? This increase in absenteeism could affect students’ chances of getting into University when they come to finish school or even their opportunities later in life. Students need to be reminded of this more and more perhaps. School helps you to learn not just about facts but also helps to build your emotional quotient & social intelligence — which are all valuable for life.

— Alexandre 14, London

As a current high school junior, my experiences with skipping have been minimal at best, however, I feel strongly that the reason behind skipping is pretty simple. Students don’t care as much about school and the system encourages it. When faced with the choice of sitting in a class and learning about the Patagorian theorem or hanging out with friends, many students are now choosing the latter. The lack of care or effort being put forth in school doesn’t even affect their grades! This is due to certain classes having minimal grades set at 50%, which is 10% away from a pass. This system is actively encouraging people to put minimal effort into a class just to get a pass and graduate. Removing courses like this would certainly raise the importance of getting the work done. Another solution to this problem would be having attendance as a grade, if your grade depends on you being in classes then most would show up. If you have to show up to class to pass then more students would be inclined to do so. The emphasis is on not bending the knee to people who don’t want to show up to class, not giving them a minimal 50%, we should mark attendance for a passing grade, and letting them fail. If we keep letting students skip with minimal consequences then their attitudes won’t change and thus hinder our students’ growth.

— Henry, Salem, OR

Learn more about Current Events Conversation here and find all of our posts in this column .

Former educator at Virginia school where 6-year-old shot teacher had 'shocking' lack of response, grand jury finds

A former assistant principal at a Virginia elementary school should be held criminally liable after her “lack of response” and “poor decisions” allowed a student to intentionally sho o t his first-grade teacher last year, according to a special g rand jury report released Wednesday.

Ebony Parker, who resigned in the wake of the shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Jan. 6, 2023, now faces eight counts of felony child abuse and neglect , each carrying up to five years in prison, the case’s court docket first showed Tuesday.

The 31-page grand jury report alleges that Parker failed to protect the 15 children, ages 6 and 7, in teacher Abigail Zwerner’s class. It says Zwerner was injured by one of her 6-year-old students despite multiple warnings from staff members and other students who believed the boy had a gun and posed an imminent threat on the day of the shooting.

“Dr. Parker’s lack of response and initiative given the seriousness of the information she had received on January 6, 2023 is shocking,” the report says.

Police outside the school.

The report provides further details about the events leading up to the shooting and during it, among them that after the boy shot Zwerner at less than 6 feet away, he tried to fire again but was thwarted.

“The child continued to stare at her, not changing his emotional facial expression as he tried to shoot again,” the report says. “The firearm had jammed due to his lack of strength on the first shot inhibiting him from shooting Ms. Zwerner or anyone else again. The firearm had a full magazine with seven additional bullets ready to fire if not for the firearm jamming.”

An arrest date for Parker was listed as Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether she has legal representation.

The Newport News Commonwealth Attorney’s Office declined to comment Wednesday about the grand jury report and said it would hold a news conference Thursday.

According to the grand jury report, Parker was made aware on four occasions on the day of the shooting that the child might be a “potentially dangerous threat”: At noon, a Richneck reading specialist told Parker that two students told her the child had a gun in his backpack, yet it was not checked; at 12:30 p.m., the reading specialist told Parker that while she did search the backpack and did not find a weapon, Zwerner said the child put something in his pockets; a music teacher told Parker that another first-grade teacher mentioned a gun; and at 1:40 p.m., a guidance counselor told Parker the child might have a firearm or ammunition and, when he asked whether he could search him, Parker “refused and took no action.”

About 20 minutes later, the boy would go on to shoot Zwerner with a gun containing eight bullets.

Police later said Zwerner escorted her panicked class to safety after a bullet ripped through her left hand, rupturing bones, before it lodged in her upper chest.

Three months after the shooting, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against the school district alleging that administrators, including Parker, failed to heed warnings. The grand jury’s findings are similar to her complaint.

Lawyers for Zwerner, 26, said the report echoes the “systemic failure” at the school.

“Most shocking is the apparent cover up of disciplinary records before and after the shooting,” attorneys Diane Toscano, Kevin Biniazan and Jeffrey Breit said in a statement Wednesday. “We are grateful for the work of the special grand jury and the answers they have provided this community.”

The 11-member grand jury, which was impaneled in September, said it heard from 19 witnesses, reviewed several hundred documents of school records and watched police bodycam and other video to make its determination.

The grand jury said it was tasked with addressing whether “there was any decision or action taken that would have prevented” the events of that day, making recommendations for improvements and determining whether anyone at the school “should be held criminally liable in their actions or lack of actions” in their duty to provide care and safety to students.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told NBC News that he would not seek charges against the 6-year-old boy, citing his age and inability to adequately understand the legal system, but he said he was still weighing whether he might hold any adults criminally responsible.

A year ago, Gwynn also sought a grand jury to determine charges against the boy’s mother, Deja Taylor. She was sentenced in December to two years in prison on a state charge of felony child neglect and must begin her state sentence after she finishes serving 21 months on a related federal charge.

On the morning of the shooting, Taylor believed the gun was in her purse with the trigger lock installed, left on top of her bedroom dresser, according to a probable cause statement and a search warrant affidavit. She added that the key for the lock was kept under her bedroom mattress.

“A lockbox was not found,” prosecutors said, “nor was a trigger lock or key to a trigger lock ever found.”

As part of a care plan at the school, the boy’s parents were supposed to be with him daily, but they were absent on the day of the shooting, officials said.

The child’s family has said that he has an “acute disability” and that he had received the “treatment he needs” under court-ordered temporary detention at a medical facility.

The grand jury report also notes the boy’s disciplinary issues, including in the days before the shooting, when he was “defiant during recess,” “constantly spoke back to Zwerner,” slammed her phone on the ground at reading time, causing the screen to crack, and used an expletive toward her. He was suspended for one day after that incident.

The principal at the time of the shooting, Briana Foster-Newton, is also named in the grand jury report, but it says she should not face charges.

“Her lack of knowledge does not mean she is, per say, faultless for certain decisions as Principal regarding the care of the children at Richneck previous to this incident,” the grand jury found. “But, because she was not informed of the events on January 6, 2023 specifically, and thus was not given the chance to have acted appropriately, she is not criminally liable due to her lack of knowledge for the events that transpired.”

Foster-Newman was moved from her position. A Newport News Public Schools spokeswoman declined to comment, and an attorney representing the school board, the superintendent at the time and Foster-Newman said they are "still digesting the report" and didn't have a further statement.

Meanwhile, the boy has been under the care of his great-grandfather, Calvin Taylor, who told NBC affiliate WAVY  in December that he was disappointed the child's mother was given such prison time on the felony child neglect charge.

"I think the sentence is not going to fix the problem," Calvin Taylor said, adding: "Sitting in a state prison or a federal prison for additional time is not going to fix the problem."

why should there be homework in school

Erik Ortiz is a senior reporter for NBC News Digital focusing on racial injustice and social inequality.

Julia Jester is a producer for NBC News based in Washington, D.C.

Watch CBS News

Why is looking at a solar eclipse dangerous without special glasses? Eye doctors explain.

By Sara Moniuszko

Edited By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Updated on: April 8, 2024 / 8:54 AM EDT / CBS News

The solar eclipse will be visible for millions of Americans on April 8, 2024, making many excited to see it — but how you watch it matters, since it can be dangerous for your eyes. 

A  solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun's light . When the moon blocks some of the sun, it's a partial solar eclipse, but when moon lines up with the sun, blocking all of its light, a total solar eclipse occurs,  NASA explains . Either way, you need eye protection when viewing.

"The solar eclipse will be beautiful, so I hope that everyone experiences it — but they need to experience it in the right way," said Dr. Jason P. Brinton, an ophthalmologist and medical director at Brinton Vision in St. Louis.

Here's what to know to stay safe.

Why is looking at a solar eclipse dangerous?

Looking at the sun — even when it's partially covered like during an eclipse — can cause eye damage.

There is no safe dose of solar ultraviolet rays or infrared radiation, said  Dr. Yehia Hashad , an ophthalmologist, retinal specialist and the chief medical officer at eye health company Bausch + Lomb.

"A very small dose could cause harm to some people," he said. "That's why we say the partial eclipse could also be damaging. And that's why we protect our eyes with the partial as well as with the full sun."

Some say that during a total eclipse, it's safe to view the brief period time when the moon completely blocks the sun without eye protection. But experts warn against it. 

"Totality of the eclipse lasts only about 1 to 3 minutes based on geographic location, and bright sunlight suddenly can appear as the moon continues to move," notes an eclipse viewing guide published in JAMA , adding, "even a few seconds of viewing the sun during an eclipse" can temporarily or permanently damage your vision. 

Do I need special glasses for eclipse viewing?

Yes.  Eclipse glasses are needed to protect your eyes if you want to look at the eclipse.

Regular sunglasses aren't protective enough for eclipse viewing — even if you stack more than one. 

"There's no amount of sunglasses that people can put on that will make up for the filtering that the ISO standard filters and the eclipse glasses provide," Brinton said.

You also shouldn't look at the eclipse through a camera lens, phone, binoculars or telescope, according to NASA, even while wearing eclipse glasses. The solar rays can burn through the lens and cause serious eye injury.

Eclipse glasses must comply with the  ISO 12312-2 international safety standard , according to NASA, and should have an "ISO" label printed on them to show they comply. The American Astronomical Society  has a list  of approved solar viewers.

Can't find these, or they're sold out near you? You can also  make homemade viewers ,   which allow you to observe the eclipse indirectly — just don't accidentally look at the sun while using one.

How to keep kids safe during the solar eclipse

Since this eclipse is expected to occur around the time of dismissal for many schools across the country, it may be tempting for students to view it without the proper safety precautions while getting to and from their buses. That's why some school districts are  canceling classes early so kids can enjoy the event safely with their families.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, vitreoretinal surgeon at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai, said parents should also be careful because it can be difficult for children to listen or keep solar eclipse glasses on. 

"You want to actually, in my opinion, kind of avoid them even looking at the eclipse, if possible," he said. "Never look directly at the sun, always wear the right eclipse sunglasses if you are going to look at the sun and make sure that those are coming from a reliable source."

Brinton recommends everyone starts their eclipse "viewing" early, by looking at professional photos and videos of an eclipse online or visiting a local planetarium. 

That way, you "have an idea of what to expect," he said. 

He also recommends the foundation  Prevent Blindness , which has resources for families about eclipse safety.

What happens if you look at a solar eclipse without eclipse glasses?

While your eyes likely won't hurt in the moment if you look at the eclipse without protection, due to lowered brightness and where damage occurs in the eye, beware: The rays can still cause damage .

The harm may not be apparent immediately. Sometimes trouble starts to appear one to a few days following the event. It could affect just one or both eyes.

And while some will regain normal visual function, sometimes the damage is permanent. 

"Often there will be some recovery of the vision in the first few months after it, but sometimes there is no recovery and sometimes there's a degree to which it is permanent," Brinton said. 

How long do you have to look at the eclipse to damage your eyes?

Any amount of time looking at the eclipse without protection is too long, experts say. 

"If someone briefly looks at the eclipse, if it's extremely brief, in some cases there won't be damage. But damage can happen even within a fraction of a second in some cases," Brinton said. He said he's had patients who have suffered from solar retinopathy, the official name for the condition.

Deobhakta treated a patient who watched the 2017 solar eclipse for 20 seconds without proper eye protection. She now has permanent damage in the shape of a crescent that interferes with her vision. 

"The crescent that is burned into the retina, the patient sees as black in her visual field," he said. "The visual deficit that she has will never go away."

How to know if you've damaged your eyes from looking at the eclipse

Signs and symptoms of eye damage following an eclipse viewing include headaches, blurred vision, dark spots, changes to how you see color, lines and shapes. 

Unfortunately, there isn't a treatment for solar retinopathy.

"Seeing an eye care professional to solidify the diagnosis and for education I think is reasonable," Brinton said, but added, "right now there is nothing that we do for this. Just wait and give it time and the body does tend to heal up a measure of it."

Sara Moniuszko is a health and lifestyle reporter at CBSNews.com. Previously, she wrote for USA Today, where she was selected to help launch the newspaper's wellness vertical. She now covers breaking and trending news for CBS News' HealthWatch.

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IMAGES

  1. How to Help Middle and High School Students Develop the Skills They

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  2. The Benefits Of Homework: How Homework Can Help Students Succeed

    why should there be homework in school

  3. Why are Homeworks Important?

    why should there be homework in school

  4. Why Do We Have Homework?

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  5. Top 21 Reasons Why Should Students Have Homework?

    why should there be homework in school

  6. 10 Homework Benefits (Purpose & Facts)

    why should there be homework in school

VIDEO

  1. Homework: Pros and Cons

  2. Is Homework Necessary?

  3. Should Homework be Banned?

  4. Should Homework Be BANNED Forever?

  5. Homework Or No Homework? Learn Debating Skills

  6. Why homework is bad?

COMMENTS

  1. 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.

  2. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    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 ...

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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]

  5. Why homework matters

    Homework is the perennial bogeyman of K-12 education. Any given year, you'll find people arguing that students, especially those in elementary school, should have far less homework—or none at all.I have the opposite opinion. The longer I run schools—and it has now been more than sixteen years—the more convinced I am that homework is not only necessary, but a linchpin to effective K ...

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

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

  7. Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says

    A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. "We really ...

  8. Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs

    The necessity of homework has been a subject of debate since at least as far back as the 1890s, according to Joyce L. Epstein, co-director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. "It's always been the case that parents, kids—and sometimes teachers, too—wonder if this is just busy work ...

  9. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    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 ...

  10. Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

    Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness. While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night).

  11. Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

    Bempechat: I can't imagine that most new teachers would have the intuition Erin had in designing homework the way she did.. Ardizzone: Conversations with kids about homework, feeling you're being listened to—that's such a big part of wanting to do homework….I grew up in Westchester County.It was a pretty demanding school district. My junior year English teacher—I loved her—she ...

  12. Students' mental health: Is it time to get rid of homework in schools?

    For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. "Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's ...

  13. Why Do We Have Homework?

    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!

  14. Why does homework exist?

    The homework wars are back. By Jacob Sweet Updated Feb 23, 2023, 6:04am EST. As the Covid-19 pandemic began and students logged into their remote classrooms, all work, in effect, became homework ...

  15. Homework could have an impact on kids' health. Should schools ban it?

    Elementary school kids are dealing with large amounts of homework. Howard County Library System, CC BY-NC-ND. One in 10 children report spending multiple hours on homework. There are no benefits ...

  16. Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced

    Here's what the research says: In general, homework has substantial benefits at the high school level, with decreased benefits for middle school students and few benefits for elementary students (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006). While assigning homework may have academic benefits, it can also cut into important personal and family time ...

  17. Why is Homework Important?

    Homework is an opportunity to learn and retain information in an environment where they feel most comfortable, which can help accelerate their development. 5. Using Learning Materials. Throughout a child's education, understanding how to use resources such as libraries and the internet is important. Homework teaches children to actively ...

  18. Should Students Have Homework?

    According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a "10 minute rule": students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 ...

  19. High School Students Enjoy Greatest Benefits of Homework

    In high school, the 10-minute per grade level rule still applies (students should receive 10 minutes of homework per night based on the grade level they are in). This rule allows up to 120 minutes of homework in the evening for upper-level students. While students occasionally need to do more than two hours of work a night, this should be the ...

  20. Why Students Should Not Have Homework

    Examining these arguments offers important perspectives on the wider educational and developmental consequences of homework practices. 1. Elevated Stress and Health Consequences. According to Gitnux, U.S. high school students who have over 20 hours of homework per week are 27% more likely to encounter health issues.

  21. Should Kindergartners and Young Kids Have Homework in Elementary School?

    Giving up homework in the younger grades has no academic impact. There's a bit of disagreement among scholars over the academic value of homework. Duke professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., who has ...

  22. Why Homework Should Be Banned From Schools

    American high school students, in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found. It's time for an uprising. Already, small rebellions ...

  23. Giving less homework may actually produce better results

    5 reasons why students should get less homework. 1. Students are encouraged to learn. The goal of school should be to teach students how to learn and to love learning. You don't just want to hand your students fish; You want to teach them how to fish. Lectures, discussions, and readings should all engage students and encourage them to get ...

  24. What Students Are Saying About Why School Absences Have 'Exploded

    By The Learning Network. April 11, 2024. Nationally, an estimated 26 percent of public school students were considered chronically absent last school year, up from 15 percent before the Covid-19 ...

  25. Day 1 of Trump New York hush money trial

    This trial, related to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, is the first of four ongoing criminal cases that are expected to head to trial for the presumptive 2024 GOP ...

  26. Former educator at Virginia school where 6-year-old shot teacher had

    The 31-page grand jury report alleges that Parker failed to protect the 15 children, ages 6 and 7, in teacher Abigail Zwerner's class. It says Zwerner was injured by one of her 6-year-old ...

  27. Why is looking at a solar eclipse dangerous without special glasses

    While your eyes likely won't hurt in the moment if you look at the eclipse without protection, due to lowered brightness and where damage occurs in the eye, beware: The rays can still cause damage ...

  28. Consumer Reports says Lunchables 'should not be allowed on menu' for

    The school cafeteria versions of popular kids' grocery store snack kit Lunchables is packed with too much sodium, a consumer watchdog group warned on Tuesday. Lunchables developed two new ...

  29. Why Iran attacked Israel and what comes next

    02:53 - Source: CNN. CNN —. The wave of drones and missiles that flew towards Israel overnight on Sunday brought with it a new phase of tension, uncertainty and confrontation in the Middle East ...