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How to Do Homework

Last Updated: March 2, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Ronitte Libedinsky, MS . Ronitte Libedinsky is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Brighter Minds SF, a San Francisco, California based company that provides one-on-one and small group tutoring. Specializing in tutoring mathematics (pre-algebra, algebra I/II, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus) and science (chemistry, biology), Ronitte has over 10 years of experience tutoring to middle school, high school, and college students. She also tutors in SSAT, Terra Nova, HSPT, SAT, and ACT test prep. Ronitte holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Chemistry from Tel Aviv University. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 954,849 times.

Even though your parents probably complain about how hard it was in their day, students nowadays have more homework than ever before, even when just starting their first year at middle school. That homework doesn't need to be a struggle now. Learning to plan out an efficient schedule for completing your homework, working on it effectively, and knowing when to get help with difficult assignments can help take the stress out of studying. Don't put it off any longer. See Step 1 for more information.

Working on Homework

Step 1 Make sure you have everything you need before you start.

Once you go into your space and start working, try not to leave until you've got a break scheduled. If you want a quick snack or drink, get it now before you start. Hit the bathroom and make sure you'll be able to work for the amount of time before your next break, uninterrupted.

Step 2 Eliminate as many distractions as possible.

  • It's common that students will try to multi-task, watching TV or listening to the radio or continuing to chat on Facebook or Instagram while also trying to do homework. It'll be so much more fun to do those things after you're already done with your homework, though, and your homework will take half as much time if you're focused on doing nothing but your homework.
  • Check your phone or your social networking sites during your study break, but not before. Use these distractions as a carrot, not as a pacifier.

Step 3 Concentrate on one task at a time.

If one assignment proves challenging and time-consuming, it's okay to switch for a while to something else. Just make sure to save enough time to circle back and give it another shot.

Step 4 Take a break every hour.

  • Try to figure out what works best for you. Some students might like to start their homework immediately after school to get it done as quickly as possible, while it may be better to give yourself an hour to relax before starting in on it and decompress from the long school day. Don't wait for the last minute.
  • While it may seem like a better idea to work straight through and finish, it's possible that the quality of the work you're doing will start to suffer if you don't give your mind a rest. It's difficult to think hard for more than 45 minutes at a time on a particular subject. Give yourself a rest and come back refreshed.

Step 5 Dive back in after study breaks.

  • The first fifteen minutes after a break are your most effective minutes, because your mind will be cleared, and ready to work hard. Give yourself a pep talk and dive back in, refreshed and ready.

Step 6 Create incentives to finish.

  • If you have trouble staying focused, get a parent, sibling, or friend to help keep you honest. Give them your phone while you're working to avoid the temptation to check it, or give them the video game controller so you won't be able to plug in for a few minutes of alien-hunting when you're supposed to be doing your homework. Then, when you're finished, show them the finished product and earn back your fun. Make it impossible to cheat.

Step 7 Let the homework take as long as it needs.

  • You can make yourself take enough time by having your gate-keeper (the person with your phone or video game controller) check over your homework for quality when you're done. If you know you're not going to get it anyway unless it's done right, you won't have any reason to rush. Slow down and do it right.

Step 8 Review your work after you finish.

Planning Your Homework

Step 1 Write out your daily homework in a list.

  • It's common to quickly write out the math problems you're supposed to do at the top of your notes, or scribble down the page number of the English reading on a textbook page, but try to recopy this information into a specific homework list so you will be sure to remember to do it.
  • Write down as many details as you can about each assignment. It's good to include the due date, corresponding textbook pages, and additional instructions from your teacher. This will help you plan your night of homework more effectively. Also, it's a good idea to write about your homework in a planner.

Step 2 Make sure you understand each assignment.

  • Homework doesn't have to wait until you get home. Look through an assignment as soon as it's been given, so you'll have the time to ask your teacher any questions you might have before you leave school for the day.

Step 3 Create a comfortable homework spot

  • At home , a desk in your bedroom might be the best place. You can shut the door and tune out any distractions. For some students, though, this is a good way to get distracted. You might have video games, computers, guitars, and all sorts of other distractions in your bedroom. It might be a better idea to sit at the kitchen table, or in the living room, where your parents can call you out for procrastinating. You'll get it done more quickly without the temptation of distraction.
  • In public , the library is a great place to study and do homework. At all libraries, it's a rule that you have to be quiet, and you won't have any of the distractions of home. The school library will often stay open after school ends, making it a good option for finishing up homework before heading home, or your school may even have an after-school study spot specifically for the purpose. [11] X Research source
  • Try to switch it up . Studying in the same place too often can make work more difficult. Some studies have shown that a change in environment can make your mind more active, since it's processing new information. You'll be able to vary your routine and remember what you learned more effectively.

Step 4 Choose the most important assignments to work on.

  • Try starting with the most difficult homework . Do you really hate the idea of getting into the algebra homework? Does reading for English take the longest? Start with the most challenging homework to give yourself the most time to complete it, then move on to the easier tasks you can complete more quickly.
  • Try starting with the most pressing homework . If you've got 20 math problems to do for tomorrow, and 20 pages to read in a novel for Friday, it's probably better to start with the math homework to make sure you'll have enough time to complete it. Make homework due the next day the priority.
  • Try starting with the most important homework . Your math homework might be difficult, but if it's only worth a few completion points, it might be less important to spend a lot of time on it than the big project for Social Studies that's due in two days. Devote the most time to the most valuable assignments.

Step 5 Make a timetable.

  • Set an alarm or a timer to keep yourself honest. The less time you spend procrastinating and checking your text messages, the more quickly you'll be done. If you think you can finish everything in a half hour, set a timer and work efficiently to finish in that amount of time. If you don't quite finish, give yourself a few extra minutes. Treat it like a drill.
  • Keep track of how long you usually spend on particular assignments on average. If your math homework typically takes you 45 minutes to finish, save that much time each night. If you start plugging away for an hour, give yourself a break and work on something else to avoid tiring out.
  • Schedule 10 minutes of break time for every 50 minutes of work time. It's important to take study breaks and give your mind a rest, or you'll work less effectively. You're not a robot!

Finding Extra Time

Step 1 Start working on it now.

  • Do you really need an hour of TV or computer after school to decompress? It might be easier to just dive into your homework and get it done while the skills are still fresh in your mind. Waiting a couple hours means you'll have to review your notes and try to get back to the same place you already were. Do it while it's fresh.
  • If you've got three days to read an assignment, don't wait until the last evening to do it all. Space it out and give yourself more time to finish. Just because you've got a due date that's a long time away doesn't mean it wouldn't be easier to finish now. Stay ahead of the game. Try either waking up earlier or going to bed later. But don't get too tired!

Step 2 Steal some homework time on the bus.

  • If you've got to read a bunch of stuff for homework, read on the bus. Pop in some headphones to white noise that'll drown out the shouting of other students and tune into your book.
  • The bus can be distracting, or it can be a great resource. Since it's full of your classmates, try to get other students to work with you and get things done more quickly. Work together on the math problems and try to figure out things together. It's not cheating if everyone's doing the work and no one's just copying. Also, you might make some new friends while you're at it!

Step 3 Work on your homework in between class periods.

  • Don't rely on this time to finish homework just before it's due. Rushing to finish your last few problems in the five minutes before you need to turn it in looks bad in front of the teacher, plus it doesn't give you any time to review your homework after you finish it. Rushing is a good way to make mistakes. And always check difficult problems you had trouble with.

Step 4 Work on homework during long waits.

  • Work on your homework while you're waiting for a ride, while you're killing time at your brother's soccer game, or while you're waiting for your friend to come over. Take advantage of any extra time you have in the day.

Getting Homework Help

Step 1 Talk to your teacher about difficult assignments.

  • Asking for help with your homework isn't a sign that you're bad at the subject or that you're "stupid." Every teacher on the planet will respect a student that takes their homework seriously enough to ask for help. Especially ask if you weren't there that day!
  • Asking for help isn't the same thing as complaining about the difficulty of homework or making excuses. Spending ten minutes doing half your math problems and leaving most of them blank because they were hard and then telling your teacher you need help isn't going to win you any favors on the due date. If it's hard, see your teacher ahead of time and find the time to get help.

Step 2 Visit the tutoring center or help desk at school.

  • If there's not an organized homework help group at your school, there are many private tutoring organizations that work both for-pay and non-profits. Sylvan Learning Center and other businesses have after-school hours that you can schedule appointments at to get help studying and completing your homework, while community centers like the YMCA, or even public libraries will often have homework help hours in your area.
  • Getting help doesn't mean that you're bad at your homework. All variety of students visit tutoring centers for extra help, just to make sure they have enough time and motivation to get everything done. It's hard being a student! There's no shame in extra help. Imagine being afraid to ask for anything! You wouldn't be able to ask in restaurants, shops, anywhere!

Step 3 Work with other students.

  • Make sure that your group study sessions don't cross the line into cheating. Dividing up an assigned so your friend does half and you copy each other's answers is considered cheating, but discussing a problem and coming up with a solution together isn't. As long as you each do the work separately, you shouldn't have any problems.

Step 4 Talk to your parents.

  • Some parents don't necessarily know how to help with your homework and might end up doing too much. Try to keep yourself honest. Asking for help doesn't mean asking your parent to do your work for you.
  • Likewise, some older relatives have outdated ways of completing specific tasks and might suggest forcefully that something you learned in class is wrong. Always use your teacher's approach as the correct approach, and discuss these alternative ways of completing an assignment with your teacher if necessary.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

1 - Study For Exams

Expert Q&A

Ronitte Libedinsky, MS

Reader Videos

Share a quick video tip and help bring articles to life with your friendly advice. Your insights could make a real difference and help millions of people!

  • If you missed school that day, then you should call a friend to get the notes and/or homework from that day. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure your little study space is well lit, quiet, and comfortable. This will make it much easier to do your homework properly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Take a piece of paper or wipe board and create a schedule for your homework. Be generous with the amount of time that you give for each task. If you end up finishing a task earlier than the schedule says, you will feel accomplished and will have extra time to complete the next task. It makes homework get done quicker than usual. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Make sure you have what you need handy when you get stuck on homework. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're confused — asking helps you understand things better. And get enough sleep since it's easier to get your work done when you're well-rested.
  • Don't put off starting homework just to have more playtime. Jumping in early leaves more free time for later but ensures you don't miss out on sleep. Plus, the class material is still fresh right after school, so you'll understand your homework better.
  • Do your homework as soon as you get home every day except Fridays. On Fridays, give yourself permission to relax for the evening. Also, take short breaks as you work to help you focus. Play a quick game, eat a healthy snack, or use the bathroom.
  • Ask for help when you need it, but don't rely on others to give you all the answers. The point of homework is for you to practice what you've learned, so try to work through problems yourself before asking for hints or explanations.
  • Write down homework assignments in your planner right when your teacher gives them so you don't forget details later. Knowing exactly what work you need to do keeps you from being surprised.
  • Break big assignments down into smaller pieces that feel more manageable. Taking things step-by-step makes big tasks feel less overwhelming, and helps you stay motivated.

they are doing the homework

  • Never leave unfinished homework for the next day because you might have other homework to do and you will have to do both. Thanks Helpful 24 Not Helpful 0
  • If you forget your homework, your teacher might not accept late work or may even give you more homework. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 1

Things You'll Need

  • Writing equipment, such as pencils, rulers, and erasers.
  • Resources that may help you work faster.
  • A comfy place to sit while doing homework.

You Might Also Like

Excuse Yourself from Unfinished Homework

  • ↑ https://www.warnerpacific.edu/5-tips-for-dealing-with-too-much-homework/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201206/10-tips-make-homework-time-less-painful
  • ↑ Ronitte Libedinsky, MS. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 26 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/plan-for-college/college-prep/stay-motivated/take-control-of-homework
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/homework.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/understanding-assignments/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/homework.html#a_Create_a_Homework_Plan
  • ↑ https://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Extras/StudyMath/Homework.aspx
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/studying-101-study-smarter-not-harder/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/homework-help.html

About This Article

Ronitte Libedinsky, MS

If you need to do homework, find a quiet, comfortable spot where you won’t be distracted. Turn off any electronics, like your TV, phone, or radio, and gather all of the supplies you’ll need before you get started. Work on the most important or hardest assignments first to get them out of the way, and if you have a homework assignment that actually seems fun, save it for last to motivate you to finish your other work faster. Keep reading to learn how to find extra time to get your homework done, like working on it on the way home from school! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Should Kids Get Homework?

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

Mother helping son with homework at home

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

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

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

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

Value of Homework

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Homework Assignments

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

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

Homework that's just busy work.

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

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

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

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

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

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

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

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

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

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

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

Private vs. Public Schools

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

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

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

How to Address Homework Overload

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

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

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

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

Study Tips for High School Students

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Does homework really work?

by: Leslie Crawford | Updated: December 12, 2023

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Does homework help

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain? Is this just too much homework?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in their 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework , The Homework Myth , and The Case Against Homework the film Race to Nowhere , and the anguished parent essay “ My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me ” make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what’s the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

How much is too much?

To answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting and examining hundreds of studies. Chris Drew Ph.D., founder and editor at The Helpful Professor recently compiled multiple statistics revealing the folly of today’s after-school busy work. Does any of the data he listed below ring true for you?

• 45 percent of parents think homework is too easy for their child, primarily because it is geared to the lowest standard under the Common Core State Standards .

• 74 percent of students say homework is a source of stress , defined as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.

• Students in high-performing high schools spend an average of 3.1 hours a night on homework , even though 1 to 2 hours is the optimal duration, according to a peer-reviewed study .

Not included in the list above is the fact many kids have to abandon activities they love — like sports and clubs — because homework deprives them of the needed time to enjoy themselves with other pursuits.

Conversely, The Helpful Professor does list a few pros of homework, noting it teaches discipline and time management, and helps parents know what’s being taught in the class.

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is listed on the National Education Association’s website and the National Parent Teacher Association’s website , but few schools follow this rule.

Do you think your child is doing excessive homework? Harris Cooper Ph.D., author of a meta-study on homework , recommends talking with the teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing the assignments. It may seem like they’re taking two hours, but maybe your child is wandering off frequently to get a snack or getting distracted.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing their work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure your child gets enough sleep. A 2012 study of 535 high school students found that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

For elementary school-age children, Cooper’s research at Duke University shows there is no measurable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, Cooper found there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, Cooper’s research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in a class with no homework.

Many schools are starting to act on this research. A Florida superintendent abolished homework in her 42,000 student district, replacing it with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She attributed her decision to “ solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students .”

More family time

A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don’t have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth . “It’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

By far, the best replacement for homework — for both parents and children — is bonding, relaxing time together.

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The Cult of Homework

America’s devotion to the practice stems in part from the fact that it’s what today’s parents and teachers grew up with themselves.

they are doing the homework

America has long had a fickle relationship with homework. A century or so ago, progressive reformers argued that it made kids unduly stressed , which later led in some cases to district-level bans on it for all grades under seventh. This anti-homework sentiment faded, though, amid mid-century fears that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union (which led to more homework), only to resurface in the 1960s and ’70s, when a more open culture came to see homework as stifling play and creativity (which led to less). But this didn’t last either: In the ’80s, government researchers blamed America’s schools for its economic troubles and recommended ramping homework up once more.

The 21st century has so far been a homework-heavy era, with American teenagers now averaging about twice as much time spent on homework each day as their predecessors did in the 1990s . Even little kids are asked to bring school home with them. A 2015 study , for instance, found that kindergarteners, who researchers tend to agree shouldn’t have any take-home work, were spending about 25 minutes a night on it.

But not without pushback. As many children, not to mention their parents and teachers, are drained by their daily workload, some schools and districts are rethinking how homework should work—and some teachers are doing away with it entirely. They’re reviewing the research on homework (which, it should be noted, is contested) and concluding that it’s time to revisit the subject.

Read: My daughter’s homework is killing me

Hillsborough, California, an affluent suburb of San Francisco, is one district that has changed its ways. The district, which includes three elementary schools and a middle school, worked with teachers and convened panels of parents in order to come up with a homework policy that would allow students more unscheduled time to spend with their families or to play. In August 2017, it rolled out an updated policy, which emphasized that homework should be “meaningful” and banned due dates that fell on the day after a weekend or a break.

“The first year was a bit bumpy,” says Louann Carlomagno, the district’s superintendent. She says the adjustment was at times hard for the teachers, some of whom had been doing their job in a similar fashion for a quarter of a century. Parents’ expectations were also an issue. Carlomagno says they took some time to “realize that it was okay not to have an hour of homework for a second grader—that was new.”

Most of the way through year two, though, the policy appears to be working more smoothly. “The students do seem to be less stressed based on conversations I’ve had with parents,” Carlomagno says. It also helps that the students performed just as well on the state standardized test last year as they have in the past.

Earlier this year, the district of Somerville, Massachusetts, also rewrote its homework policy, reducing the amount of homework its elementary and middle schoolers may receive. In grades six through eight, for example, homework is capped at an hour a night and can only be assigned two to three nights a week.

Jack Schneider, an education professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell whose daughter attends school in Somerville, is generally pleased with the new policy. But, he says, it’s part of a bigger, worrisome pattern. “The origin for this was general parental dissatisfaction, which not surprisingly was coming from a particular demographic,” Schneider says. “Middle-class white parents tend to be more vocal about concerns about homework … They feel entitled enough to voice their opinions.”

Schneider is all for revisiting taken-for-granted practices like homework, but thinks districts need to take care to be inclusive in that process. “I hear approximately zero middle-class white parents talking about how homework done best in grades K through two actually strengthens the connection between home and school for young people and their families,” he says. Because many of these parents already feel connected to their school community, this benefit of homework can seem redundant. “They don’t need it,” Schneider says, “so they’re not advocating for it.”

That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that homework is more vital in low-income districts. In fact, there are different, but just as compelling, reasons it can be burdensome in these communities as well. Allison Wienhold, who teaches high-school Spanish in the small town of Dunkerton, Iowa, has phased out homework assignments over the past three years. Her thinking: Some of her students, she says, have little time for homework because they’re working 30 hours a week or responsible for looking after younger siblings.

As educators reduce or eliminate the homework they assign, it’s worth asking what amount and what kind of homework is best for students. It turns out that there’s some disagreement about this among researchers, who tend to fall in one of two camps.

In the first camp is Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Cooper conducted a review of the existing research on homework in the mid-2000s , and found that, up to a point, the amount of homework students reported doing correlates with their performance on in-class tests. This correlation, the review found, was stronger for older students than for younger ones.

This conclusion is generally accepted among educators, in part because it’s compatible with “the 10-minute rule,” a rule of thumb popular among teachers suggesting that the proper amount of homework is approximately 10 minutes per night, per grade level—that is, 10 minutes a night for first graders, 20 minutes a night for second graders, and so on, up to two hours a night for high schoolers.

In Cooper’s eyes, homework isn’t overly burdensome for the typical American kid. He points to a 2014 Brookings Institution report that found “little evidence that the homework load has increased for the average student”; onerous amounts of homework, it determined, are indeed out there, but relatively rare. Moreover, the report noted that most parents think their children get the right amount of homework, and that parents who are worried about under-assigning outnumber those who are worried about over-assigning. Cooper says that those latter worries tend to come from a small number of communities with “concerns about being competitive for the most selective colleges and universities.”

According to Alfie Kohn, squarely in camp two, most of the conclusions listed in the previous three paragraphs are questionable. Kohn, the author of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , considers homework to be a “reliable extinguisher of curiosity,” and has several complaints with the evidence that Cooper and others cite in favor of it. Kohn notes, among other things, that Cooper’s 2006 meta-analysis doesn’t establish causation, and that its central correlation is based on children’s (potentially unreliable) self-reporting of how much time they spend doing homework. (Kohn’s prolific writing on the subject alleges numerous other methodological faults.)

In fact, other correlations make a compelling case that homework doesn’t help. Some countries whose students regularly outperform American kids on standardized tests, such as Japan and Denmark, send their kids home with less schoolwork , while students from some countries with higher homework loads than the U.S., such as Thailand and Greece, fare worse on tests. (Of course, international comparisons can be fraught because so many factors, in education systems and in societies at large, might shape students’ success.)

Kohn also takes issue with the way achievement is commonly assessed. “If all you want is to cram kids’ heads with facts for tomorrow’s tests that they’re going to forget by next week, yeah, if you give them more time and make them do the cramming at night, that could raise the scores,” he says. “But if you’re interested in kids who know how to think or enjoy learning, then homework isn’t merely ineffective, but counterproductive.”

His concern is, in a way, a philosophical one. “The practice of homework assumes that only academic growth matters, to the point that having kids work on that most of the school day isn’t enough,” Kohn says. What about homework’s effect on quality time spent with family? On long-term information retention? On critical-thinking skills? On social development? On success later in life? On happiness? The research is quiet on these questions.

Another problem is that research tends to focus on homework’s quantity rather than its quality, because the former is much easier to measure than the latter. While experts generally agree that the substance of an assignment matters greatly (and that a lot of homework is uninspiring busywork), there isn’t a catchall rule for what’s best—the answer is often specific to a certain curriculum or even an individual student.

Given that homework’s benefits are so narrowly defined (and even then, contested), it’s a bit surprising that assigning so much of it is often a classroom default, and that more isn’t done to make the homework that is assigned more enriching. A number of things are preserving this state of affairs—things that have little to do with whether homework helps students learn.

Jack Schneider, the Massachusetts parent and professor, thinks it’s important to consider the generational inertia of the practice. “The vast majority of parents of public-school students themselves are graduates of the public education system,” he says. “Therefore, their views of what is legitimate have been shaped already by the system that they would ostensibly be critiquing.” In other words, many parents’ own history with homework might lead them to expect the same for their children, and anything less is often taken as an indicator that a school or a teacher isn’t rigorous enough. (This dovetails with—and complicates—the finding that most parents think their children have the right amount of homework.)

Barbara Stengel, an education professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, brought up two developments in the educational system that might be keeping homework rote and unexciting. The first is the importance placed in the past few decades on standardized testing, which looms over many public-school classroom decisions and frequently discourages teachers from trying out more creative homework assignments. “They could do it, but they’re afraid to do it, because they’re getting pressure every day about test scores,” Stengel says.

Second, she notes that the profession of teaching, with its relatively low wages and lack of autonomy, struggles to attract and support some of the people who might reimagine homework, as well as other aspects of education. “Part of why we get less interesting homework is because some of the people who would really have pushed the limits of that are no longer in teaching,” she says.

“In general, we have no imagination when it comes to homework,” Stengel says. She wishes teachers had the time and resources to remake homework into something that actually engages students. “If we had kids reading—anything, the sports page, anything that they’re able to read—that’s the best single thing. If we had kids going to the zoo, if we had kids going to parks after school, if we had them doing all of those things, their test scores would improve. But they’re not. They’re going home and doing homework that is not expanding what they think about.”

“Exploratory” is one word Mike Simpson used when describing the types of homework he’d like his students to undertake. Simpson is the head of the Stone Independent School, a tiny private high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that opened in 2017. “We were lucky to start a school a year and a half ago,” Simpson says, “so it’s been easy to say we aren’t going to assign worksheets, we aren’t going assign regurgitative problem sets.” For instance, a half-dozen students recently built a 25-foot trebuchet on campus.

Simpson says he thinks it’s a shame that the things students have to do at home are often the least fulfilling parts of schooling: “When our students can’t make the connection between the work they’re doing at 11 o’clock at night on a Tuesday to the way they want their lives to be, I think we begin to lose the plot.”

When I talked with other teachers who did homework makeovers in their classrooms, I heard few regrets. Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Joshua, Texas, stopped assigning take-home packets of worksheets three years ago, and instead started asking her students to do 20 minutes of pleasure reading a night. She says she’s pleased with the results, but she’s noticed something funny. “Some kids,” she says, “really do like homework.” She’s started putting out a bucket of it for students to draw from voluntarily—whether because they want an additional challenge or something to pass the time at home.

Chris Bronke, a high-school English teacher in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, told me something similar. This school year, he eliminated homework for his class of freshmen, and now mostly lets students study on their own or in small groups during class time. It’s usually up to them what they work on each day, and Bronke has been impressed by how they’ve managed their time.

In fact, some of them willingly spend time on assignments at home, whether because they’re particularly engaged, because they prefer to do some deeper thinking outside school, or because they needed to spend time in class that day preparing for, say, a biology test the following period. “They’re making meaningful decisions about their time that I don’t think education really ever gives students the experience, nor the practice, of doing,” Bronke said.

The typical prescription offered by those overwhelmed with homework is to assign less of it—to subtract. But perhaps a more useful approach, for many classrooms, would be to create homework only when teachers and students believe it’s actually needed to further the learning that takes place in class—to start with nothing, and add as necessary.

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

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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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The Pros and Cons of Homework

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

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

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

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

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

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

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

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

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

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

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

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

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

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

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

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

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

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

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

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

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

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

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

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

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

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

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

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

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do teachers set homework?

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

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

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

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

establish and improve communication between parents and children about learning

help children be more responsible, confident and disciplined

practise or review material from class

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

introduce new material to be presented in class

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

get students to use their own skills to create work.

So, does homework achieve what teachers intend it to?

Do we know if it ‘works’?

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

But there are several things we can say.

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

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

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

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

Young boy holding a microphone in the living room.

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

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

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

What kind of homework is best?

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

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

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

aligned to the learning in the classroom.

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

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Listen: we know homework isn’t fun, but it is a good way to reinforce the ideas and concepts you’ve learned in class. But what if you’re really struggling with your homework assignments? 

If you’ve looked online for a little extra help with your take-home assignments, you’ve probably stumbled across websites claiming to provide the homework help and answers students need to succeed . But can homework help sites really make a difference? And if so, which are the best homework help websites you can use? 

Below, we answer these questions and more about homework help websites–free and paid. We’ll go over: 

  • The basics of homework help websites 
  • The cost of homework help websites 
  • The five best homework websites out there 
  • The pros and cons of using these websites for homework help 
  • The line between “learning” and “cheating” when using online homework help 
  • Tips for getting the most out of a homework help website

So let’s get started! 

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The Basics About Homework Help Websites–Free and Paid

Homework help websites are designed to help you complete your homework assignments, plain and simple. 

What Makes a Homework Help Site Worth Using

Most of the best sites allow users to ask questions and then provide an answer (or multiple possible answers) and explanation in seconds. In some instances, you can even send a photo of a particular assignment or problem instead of typing the whole thing out! 

Homework help sites also offer more than just help answering homework questions. Common services provided are Q&A with experts, educational videos, lectures, practice tests and quizzes, learning modules, math solving tools, and proofreading help. Homework help sites can also provide textbook solutions (i.e. answers to problems in tons of different textbooks your school might be using), one-on-one tutoring, and peer-to-peer platforms that allow you to discuss subjects you’re learning about with your fellow students. 

And best of all, nearly all of them offer their services 24/7, including tutoring! 

What You Should Should Look Out For

When it comes to homework help, there are lots–and we mean lots –of scam sites out there willing to prey on desperate students. Before you sign up for any service, make sure you read reviews to ensure you’re working with a legitimate company. 

A word to the wise: the more a company advertises help that veers into the territory of cheating, the more likely it is to be a scam. The best homework help websites are going to help you learn the concepts you’ll need to successfully complete your homework on your own. (We’ll go over the difference between “homework help” and “cheating” a little later!) 

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You don't need a golden piggy bank to use homework help websites. Some provide low or no cost help for students like you!

How Expensive Are the Best Homework Help Websites?

First of all, just because a homework help site costs money doesn’t mean it’s a good service. Likewise, just because a homework help website is free doesn’t mean the help isn’t high quality. To find the best websites, you have to take a close look at the quality and types of information they provide! 

When it comes to paid homework help services, the prices vary pretty widely depending on the amount of services you want to subscribe to. Subscriptions can cost anywhere from $2 to $150 dollars per month, with the most expensive services offering several hours of one-on-one tutoring with a subject expert per month.

The 5 Best Homework Help Websites 

So, what is the best homework help website you can use? The answer is that it depends on what you need help with. 

The best homework help websites are the ones that are reliable and help you learn the material. They don’t just provide answers to homework questions–they actually help you learn the material. 

That’s why we’ve broken down our favorite websites into categories based on who they’re best for . For instance, the best website for people struggling with math might not work for someone who needs a little extra help with science, and vice versa. 

Keep reading to find the best homework help website for you! 

Best Free Homework Help Site: Khan Academy

  • Price: Free!
  • Best for: Practicing tough material 

Not only is Khan Academy free, but it’s full of information and can be personalized to suit your needs. When you set up your account , you choose which courses you need to study, and Khan Academy sets up a personal dashboard of instructional videos, practice exercises, and quizzes –with both correct and incorrect answer explanations–so you can learn at your own pace. 

As an added bonus, it covers more course topics than many other homework help sites, including several AP classes.

Runner Up: Brainly.com offers a free service that allows you to type in questions and get answers and explanations from experts. The downside is that you’re limited to two answers per question and have to watch ads. 

Best Paid Homework Help Site: Chegg

  • Price: $14.95 to $19.95 per month
  • Best for: 24/7 homework assistance  

This service has three main parts . The first is Chegg Study, which includes textbook solutions, Q&A with subject experts, flashcards, video explanations, a math solver, and writing help. The resources are thorough, and reviewers state that Chegg answers homework questions quickly and accurately no matter when you submit them.  

Chegg also offers textbook rentals for students who need access to textbooks outside of their classroom. Finally, Chegg offers Internship and Career Advice for students who are preparing to graduate and may need a little extra help with the transition out of high school. 

Another great feature Chegg provides is a selection of free articles geared towards helping with general life skills, like coping with stress and saving money. Chegg’s learning modules are comprehensive, and they feature solutions to the problems in tons of different textbooks in a wide variety of subjects. 

Runner Up: Bartleby offers basically the same services as Chegg for $14.99 per month. The reason it didn’t rank as the best is based on customer reviews that say user questions aren’t answered quite as quickly on this site as on Chegg. Otherwise, this is also a solid choice!

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Best Site for Math Homework Help: Photomath

  • Price: Free (or $59.99 per year for premium services) 
  • Best for: Explaining solutions to math problems

This site allows you to t ake a picture of a math problem, and instantly pulls up a step-by-step solution, as well as a detailed explanation of the concept. Photomath also includes animated videos that break down mathematical concepts to help you better understand and remember them. 

The basic service is free, but for an additional fee you can get extra study tools and learn additional strategies for solving common math problems.

Runner Up: KhanAcademy offers in-depth tutorials that cover complex math topics for free, but you won’t get the same tailored help (and answers!) that Photomath offers. 

Best Site for English Homework Help: Princeton Review Academic Tutoring

  • Price: $40 to $153 per month, depending on how many hours of tutoring you want 
  • Best for: Comprehensive and personalized reading and writing help 

While sites like Grammarly and Sparknotes help you by either proofreading what you write via an algorithm or providing book summaries, Princeton Review’s tutors provide in-depth help with vocabulary, literature, essay writing and development, proofreading, and reading comprehension. And unlike other services, you’ll have the chance to work with a real person to get help. 

The best part is that you can get on-demand English (and ESL) tutoring from experts 24/7. That means you can get help whenever you need it, even if you’re pulling an all-nighter! 

This is by far the most expensive homework site on this list, so you’ll need to really think about what you need out of a homework help website before you commit. One added benefit is that the subscription covers over 80 other subjects, including AP classes, which can make it a good value if you need lots of help!  

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Best Site for STEM Homework Help: Studypool

  • Best for: Science homework help
  • Price: Varies; you’ll pay for each question you submit

When it comes to science homework help, there aren’t a ton of great resources out there. The best of the bunch is Studypool, and while it has great reviews, there are some downsides as well. 

Let’s start with the good stuff. Studypool offers an interesting twist on the homework help formula. After you create a free account, you can submit your homework help questions, and tutors will submit bids to answer your questions. You’ll be able to select the tutor–and price point–that works for you, then you’ll pay to have your homework question answered. You can also pay a small fee to access notes, lectures, and other documents that top tutors have uploaded. 

The downside to Studypool is that the pricing is not transparent . There’s no way to plan for how much your homework help will cost, especially if you have lots of questions! Additionally, it’s not clear how tutors are selected, so you’ll need to be cautious when you choose who you’d like to answer your homework questions.  

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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Homework Help Sites?

Homework help websites can be a great resource if you’re struggling in a subject, or even if you just want to make sure that you’re really learning and understanding topics and ideas that you’re interested in. But, there are some possible drawbacks if you don’t use these sites responsibly. 

We’ll go over the good–and the not-so-good–aspects of getting online homework help below. 

3 Pros of Using Homework Help Websites 

First, let’s take a look at the benefits. 

#1: Better Grades Beyond Homework

This is a big one! Getting outside help with your studies can improve your understanding of concepts that you’re learning, which translates into better grades when you take tests or write essays. 

Remember: homework is designed to help reinforce the concepts you learned in class. If you just get easy answers without learning the material behind the problems, you may not have the tools you need to be successful on your class exams…or even standardized tests you’ll need to take for college. 

#2: Convenience

One of the main reasons that online homework help is appealing is because it’s flexible and convenient. You don’t have to go to a specific tutoring center while they’re open or stay after school to speak with your teacher. Instead, you can access helpful resources wherever you can access the internet, whenever you need them.

This is especially true if you tend to study at off hours because of your extracurriculars, work schedule, or family obligations. Sites that offer 24/7 tutoring can give you the extra help you need if you can’t access the free resources that are available at your school. 

#3: Variety

Not everyone learns the same way. Maybe you’re more of a visual learner, but your teacher mostly does lectures. Or maybe you learn best by listening and taking notes, but you’re expected to learn something just from reading the textbook . 

One of the best things about online homework help is that it comes in a variety of forms. The best homework help sites offer resources for all types of learners, including videos, practice activities, and even one-on-one discussions with real-life experts. 

This variety can also be a good thing if you just don’t really resonate with the way a concept is being explained (looking at you, math textbooks!).

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Not so fast. There are cons to homework help websites, too. Get to know them below!

3 Cons of Using Homework Help Websites 

Now, let’s take a look at the drawbacks of online homework help. 

#1: Unreliable Info

This can be a real problem. In addition to all the really good homework help sites, there are a whole lot of disreputable or unreliable sites out there. The fact of the matter is that some homework help sites don’t necessarily hire people who are experts in the subjects they’re talking about. In those cases, you may not be getting the accurate, up-to-date, and thorough information you need.

Additionally, even the great sites may not be able to answer all of your homework questions. This is especially true if the site uses an algorithm or chatbot to help students…or if you’re enrolled in an advanced or college-level course. In these cases, working with your teacher or school-provided tutors are probably your best option. 

#2: No Clarification

This depends on the service you use, of course. But the majority of them provide free or low-cost help through pre-recorded videos. Watching videos or reading info online can definitely help you with your homework… but you can’t ask questions or get immediate feedback if you need it .

#3: Potential For Scamming 

Like we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of homework help websites out there, and lots of them are scams. The review comments we read covered everything from outdated or wrong information, to misleading claims about the help provided, to not allowing people to cancel their service after signing up. 

No matter which site you choose to use, make sure you research and read reviews before you sign up–especially if it’s a paid service! 

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When Does “Help” Become “Cheating”?

Admittedly, whether using homework help websites constitutes cheating is a bit of a grey area. For instance, is it “help” when a friend reads your essay for history class and corrects your grammar, or is it “cheating”? The truth is, not everyone agrees on when “help” crosses the line into “cheating .” When in doubt, it can be a good idea to check with your teacher to see what they think about a particular type of help you want to get. 

That said, a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is to make sure that the assignment you turn in for credit is authentically yours . It needs to demonstrate your own thoughts and your own current abilities. Remember: the point of every homework assignment is to 1) help you learn something, and 2) show what you’ve learned. 

So if a service answers questions or writes essays for you, there’s a good chance using it constitutes cheating. 

Here’s an example that might help clarify the difference for you. Brainstorming essay ideas with others or looking online for inspiration is “help” as long as you write the essay yourself. Having someone read it and give you feedback about what you need to change is also help, provided you’re the one that makes the changes later. 

But copying all or part of an essay you find online or having someone write (or rewrite) the whole thing for you would be “cheating.” The same is true for other subjects. Ultimately, if you’re not generating your own work or your own answers, it’s probably cheating.

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5 Tips for Finding the Best Homework Help Websites for You

Now that you know some of our favorite homework help websites, free and paid, you can start doing some additional research on your own to decide which services might work best for you! Here are some top tips for choosing a homework help website. 

Tip 1: Decide How You Learn Best 

Before you decide which site or sites you’re going to use for homework help, y ou should figure out what kind of learning style works for you the most. Are you a visual learner? Then choose a site that uses lots of videos to help explain concepts. If you know you learn best by actually doing tasks, choose a site that provides lots of practice exercises.

Tip 2: Determine Which Subjects You Need Help With

Just because a homework help site is good overall doesn’t mean that it’s equally good for every subject. If you only need help in math, choose a site that specializes in that area. But if history is where you’re struggling, a site that specializes in math won’t be much help. So make sure to choose a site that you know provides high-quality help in the areas you need it most. 

Tip 3: Decide How Much One-On-One Help You Need 

This is really about cost-effectiveness. If you learn well on your own by reading and watching videos, a free site like Khan Academy is a good choice. But if you need actual tutoring, or to be able to ask questions and get personalized answers from experts, a paid site that provides that kind of service may be a better option.

Tip 4: Set a Budget 

If you decide you want to go with a paid homework help website, set a budget first . The prices for sites vary wildly, and the cost to use them can add up quick. 

Tip 5: Read the Reviews

Finally, it’s always a good idea to read actual reviews written by the people using these homework sites. You’ll learn the good, the bad, and the ugly of what the users’ experiences have been. This is especially true if you intend to subscribe to a paid service. You’ll want to make sure that users think it’s worth the price overall!

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What’s Next?

If you want to get good grades on your homework, it’s a good idea to learn how to tackle it strategically. Our expert tips will help you get the most out of each assignment…and boost your grades in the process. 

Doing well on homework assignments is just one part of getting good grades. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting great grades in high school in this article. 

Of course, test grades can make or break your GPA, too. Here are 17 expert tips that’ll help you get the most out of your study prep before you take an exam. 

Need more help? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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September 27, 2022

'There's only so far I can take them': Why teachers give up on struggling students who don't do their homework

by Jessica Calarco and Ilana Horn, The Conversation

student homework

Whenever "Gina," a fifth grader at a suburban public school on the East Coast, did her math homework, she never had to worry about whether she could get help from her mom.

"I help her a lot with homework," Gina's mother, a married, mid-level manager for a health care company, explained to us during an interview for a study we did about how teachers view students who complete their homework versus those who do not.

"I try to maybe re-explain things, like, things she might not understand," Gina's mom continued. "Like, if she's struggling, I try to teach her a different way. I understand that Gina is a very visual child but also needs to hear things, too. I know that when I'm reading it, and I'm writing it, and I'm saying it to her, she comprehends it better."

One of us is a sociologist who looks at how schools favor middle-class families . The other is a math education professor who examines how math teachers perceive their students based on their work.

We were curious about how teachers reward students who complete their homework and penalize and criticize those who don't—and whether there was any link between those things and family income .

By analyzing student report cards and interviewing teachers, students and parents, we found that teachers gave good grades for homework effort and other rewards to students from middle-class families like Gina, who happen to have college-educated parents who take an active role in helping their children complete their homework.

But when it comes to students such as "Jesse," who attends the same school as Gina and is the child of a poor, single mother of two, we found that teachers had a more bleak outlook.

The names "Jesse" and "Gina" are pseudonyms to protect the children's identities. Jesse can't count on his mom to help with his homework because she struggled in school herself.

"I had many difficulties in school," Jesse's mom told us for the same study. "I had behavior issues, attention-deficit. And so after seventh grade, they sent me to an alternative high school, which I thought was the worst thing in the world. We literally did, like, first and second grade work. So my education was horrible."

Jesse's mother admitted she still can't figure out division to this day.

"[My son will] ask me a question, and I'll go look at it and it's like algebra, in fifth grade. And I'm like: 'What's this?'" Jesse's mom said. "So it's really hard. Sometimes you just feel stupid. Because he's in fifth grade. And I'm like, I should be able to help my son with his homework in fifth grade."

Unlike Gina's parents, who are married and own their own home in a middle-class neighborhood, Jesse's mom isn't married and rents a place in a mobile home community. She had Jesse when she was a teenager and was raising Jesse and his brother mostly on her own, though with some help from her parents. Her son is eligible for free lunch.

An issue of equity

As a matter of fairness, we think teachers should take these kinds of economic and social disparities into account in how they teach and grade students. But what we found in the schools we observed is that they usually don't, and instead they seemed to accept inequality as destiny. Consider, for instance, what a fourth grade teacher—one of 22 teachers we interviewed and observed during the study—told us about students and homework.

"I feel like there's a pocket here—a lower income pocket," one teacher said. "And that trickles down to less support at home, homework not being done, stuff not being returned and signed. It should be almost 50-50 between home and school. If they don't have the support at home, there's only so far I can take them. If they're not going to go home and do their homework, there's just not much I can do."

While educators recognize the different levels of resources that students have at home, they continue to assign homework that is too difficult for students to complete independently, and reward students who complete the homework anyway.

Consider, for example, how one seventh grade teacher described his approach to homework: "I post the answers to the homework for every course online. The kids do the homework, and they're supposed to check it and figure out if they need extra help. The kids who do that, there is an amazing correlation between that and positive grades. The kids who don't do that are bombing.

"I need to drill that to parents that they need to check homework with their student, get it checked to see if it's right or wrong and then ask me questions. I don't want to use class time to go over homework."

The problem is that the benefits of homework are not uniformly distributed. Rather, research shows that students from high-income families make bigger achievement gains through homework than students from low-income families.

This relationship has been found in both U.S. and Dutch schools , and it suggests that homework may contribute to disparities in students' performance in school.

Tougher struggles

On top of uneven academic benefits, research also reveals that making sense of the math homework assigned in U.S schools is often more difficult for parents who have limited educational attainment , parents who feel anxious over mathematical content . It is also difficult for parents who learned math using different approaches than those currently taught in the U.S. .

Meanwhile, students from more-privileged families are disproportionately more likely to have a parent or a tutor available after school to help with homework, as well as parents who encourage them to seek help from their teachers if they have questions . And they are also more likely to have parents who feel entitled to intervene at school on their behalf.

False ideas about merit

In the schools we observed, teachers interpreted homework inequalities through what social scientists call the myth of meritocracy . The myth suggests that all students in the U.S. have the same opportunities to succeed in school and that any differences in students ' outcomes are the result of different levels of effort. Teachers in our study said things that are in line with this belief.

For instance, one third grade teacher told us: "We're dealing with some really struggling kids. There are parents that I've never even met. They don't come to conferences. There's been no communication whatsoever. … I'll write notes home or emails; they never respond. There are kids who never do their homework , and clearly the parents are OK with that.

"When you don't have that support from home, what can you do? They can't study by themselves. So if they don't have parents that are going to help them out with that, then that's tough on them, and it shows."

Provided by The Conversation

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11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data

homework pros and cons

The age-old question of whether homework is good or bad for students is unanswerable because there are so many “ it depends ” factors.

For example, it depends on the age of the child, the type of homework being assigned, and even the child’s needs.

There are also many conflicting reports on whether homework is good or bad. This is a topic that largely relies on data interpretation for the researcher to come to their conclusions.

To cut through some of the fog, below I’ve outlined some great homework statistics that can help us understand the effects of homework on children.

Homework Statistics List

1. 45% of parents think homework is too easy for their children.

A study by the Center for American Progress found that parents are almost twice as likely to believe their children’s homework is too easy than to disagree with that statement.

Here are the figures for math homework:

  • 46% of parents think their child’s math homework is too easy.
  • 25% of parents think their child’s math homework is not too easy.
  • 29% of parents offered no opinion.

Here are the figures for language arts homework:

  • 44% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is too easy.
  • 28% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is not too easy.
  • 28% of parents offered no opinion.

These findings are based on online surveys of 372 parents of school-aged children conducted in 2018.

2. 93% of Fourth Grade Children Worldwide are Assigned Homework

The prestigious worldwide math assessment Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) took a survey of worldwide homework trends in 2007. Their study concluded that 93% of fourth-grade children are regularly assigned homework, while just 7% never or rarely have homework assigned.

3. 17% of Teens Regularly Miss Homework due to Lack of High-Speed Internet Access

A 2018 Pew Research poll of 743 US teens found that 17%, or almost 2 in every 5 students, regularly struggled to complete homework because they didn’t have reliable access to the internet.

This figure rose to 25% of Black American teens and 24% of teens whose families have an income of less than $30,000 per year.

4. Parents Spend 6.7 Hours Per Week on their Children’s Homework

A 2018 study of 27,500 parents around the world found that the average amount of time parents spend on homework with their child is 6.7 hours per week. Furthermore, 25% of parents spend more than 7 hours per week on their child’s homework.

American parents spend slightly below average at 6.2 hours per week, while Indian parents spend 12 hours per week and Japanese parents spend 2.6 hours per week.

5. Students in High-Performing High Schools Spend on Average 3.1 Hours per night Doing Homework

A study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) conducted a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California. 

Across these high-performing schools, students self-reported that they did 3.1 hours per night of homework.

Graduates from those schools also ended up going on to college 93% of the time.

6. One to Two Hours is the Optimal Duration for Homework

A 2012 peer-reviewed study in the High School Journal found that students who conducted between one and two hours achieved higher results in tests than any other group.

However, the authors were quick to highlight that this “t is an oversimplification of a much more complex problem.” I’m inclined to agree. The greater variable is likely the quality of the homework than time spent on it.

Nevertheless, one result was unequivocal: that some homework is better than none at all : “students who complete any amount of homework earn higher test scores than their peers who do not complete homework.”

7. 74% of Teens cite Homework as a Source of Stress

A study by the Better Sleep Council found that homework is a source of stress for 74% of students. Only school grades, at 75%, rated higher in the study.

That figure rises for girls, with 80% of girls citing homework as a source of stress.

Similarly, the study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) found that 56% of students cite homework as a “primary stressor” in their lives.

8. US Teens Spend more than 15 Hours per Week on Homework

The same study by the Better Sleep Council also found that US teens spend over 2 hours per school night on homework, and overall this added up to over 15 hours per week.

Surprisingly, 4% of US teens say they do more than 6 hours of homework per night. That’s almost as much homework as there are hours in the school day.

The only activity that teens self-reported as doing more than homework was engaging in electronics, which included using phones, playing video games, and watching TV.

9. The 10-Minute Rule

The National Education Association (USA) endorses the concept of doing 10 minutes of homework per night per grade.

For example, if you are in 3rd grade, you should do 30 minutes of homework per night. If you are in 4th grade, you should do 40 minutes of homework per night.

However, this ‘rule’ appears not to be based in sound research. Nevertheless, it is true that homework benefits (no matter the quality of the homework) will likely wane after 2 hours (120 minutes) per night, which would be the NEA guidelines’ peak in grade 12.

10. 21.9% of Parents are Too Busy for their Children’s Homework

An online poll of nearly 300 parents found that 21.9% are too busy to review their children’s homework. On top of this, 31.6% of parents do not look at their children’s homework because their children do not want their help. For these parents, their children’s unwillingness to accept their support is a key source of frustration.

11. 46.5% of Parents find Homework too Hard

The same online poll of parents of children from grades 1 to 12 also found that many parents struggle to help their children with homework because parents find it confusing themselves. Unfortunately, the study did not ask the age of the students so more data is required here to get a full picture of the issue.

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Interpreting the Data

Unfortunately, homework is one of those topics that can be interpreted by different people pursuing differing agendas. All studies of homework have a wide range of variables, such as:

  • What age were the children in the study?
  • What was the homework they were assigned?
  • What tools were available to them?
  • What were the cultural attitudes to homework and how did they impact the study?
  • Is the study replicable?

The more questions we ask about the data, the more we realize that it’s hard to come to firm conclusions about the pros and cons of homework .

Furthermore, questions about the opportunity cost of homework remain. Even if homework is good for children’s test scores, is it worthwhile if the children consequently do less exercise or experience more stress?

Thus, this ends up becoming a largely qualitative exercise. If parents and teachers zoom in on an individual child’s needs, they’ll be able to more effectively understand how much homework a child needs as well as the type of homework they should be assigned.

Related: Funny Homework Excuses

The debate over whether homework should be banned will not be resolved with these homework statistics. But, these facts and figures can help you to pursue a position in a school debate on the topic – and with that, I hope your debate goes well and you develop some great debating skills!

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 5 Top Tips for Succeeding at University
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Debunking Homework Myths

they are doing the homework

"Do you have any homework tonight?" I asked my daughter Mercedes.

"No, I don't have any homework! Yeah!" she exclaimed.

"When is your next test or quiz?" I countered.

"It's Friday," she quipped.

"Today is Wednesday, shouldn't getting ready for the test be your homework?" I questioned.

"That's not homework. That's just study," she responded, as if I didn't know anything.

"Oh, I get it, homework is not study...it's..." I conjectured while Mercedes finished my sentence.

"...it's worksheets and problems at the end of the chapter. Just busywork," she told me.

It's an obvious myth that students think homework is for their benefit. I wonder how many other students also view homework as pure busywork, or as something you do just because the teacher assigned it for a grade? With that attitude, a student may think, "It doesn't matter how I get the homework done, just as long as it is done before the teacher checks it. Right?" This is why on the day the homework is due a group of students can typically be seen frantically huddled over the "smart girl" copying her answers.

This of course applies to students that are motivated by grades. If not motivated by grades, what is the incentive to do homework, for the joy of learning? Hm, let me think -- not! I know it wasn't until I went to college that I understood that I always had homework whether it was assigned or not. I had to review my notes, read the chapters, and prepare for the exams on my own homework schedule.

As a teacher, I became a proponent of homework in my master's degree program when I learned that by assigning homework, the teacher significantly extends the classroom learning time. I also learned that a teacher should never assign homework on a topic that has not been practiced first in the classroom. It should be focused on one concept and should be difficult enough to challenge a student, but not so difficult that the student feels overwhelmed.

Students need the habit of homework and that every day homework should be graded and feedback should be provided. Those ideas made sense to me at the time because I didn't really understand the conceptual myths that they engendered.

Myths vs. Reality

It didn't take too long for me to figure out that were some things about the homework strategies I had learned that were more mythical than real. For example, while daily homework was supposed to be a major part of the learning, the myth was that I typically only made it worth a quarter of the student grade. Additionally, I soon discovered the myth that in assigning homework, the students would be doing the heavy lifting. I realized that giving homework every day was exhausting not only my energy but also my time. I felt a huge burden in grading the 120 workbook papers daily. Another myth that I debunked was that homework would actually save time in the classroom.

Because I assigned homework every day, I felt compelled to take valuable classroom learning time to review the homework, that sometimes took half the class period, or more, leaving little for instruction and practice of new concepts and skills. I justified this investment of time because I wanted to make sure that the students were "getting it" before we moved on. Feeling defrauded about my fervor for homework, I began questioning my original thoughts on homework:

  • Why was I assigning homework?
  • Was I doing it to increase learning or to absolve myself of the responsibility for student learning deficits (the I-taught-them-so-they-should know-it syndrome)?
  • Was assigning all that homework helping the students learn more?
  • What about the students that struggled doing the homework, or the students that simply copied the work from another student, or what about the students that never did the homework?
  • What benefit were they getting from homework?

These were all poignant questions and I was fortunate enough to have experienced mentor teachers who were able to help me answer these questions and shared with me some of their strategies.

Homework: Facing Reality

I had to come to the determination that homework was extended learning time only if the students were inspired enough to want to practice the skills obtained in class. My worksheets were hardly inspiring, so I had to change what I assigned as homework. I heard other teachers, and I still hear teachers, recite this worn out myth, "I don't assign homework because my students aren't the kind of students that do homework. Now if I had Mr. Sullivan's students, I would assign homework because they would do it."

My answer then and now was, "Then make homework worth doing so they will want to do it."

A New Approach

I began assigning projects that required the students to apply their learning from class. Instead of filling in the blanks on a worksheet I requested that students find a Spanish speaker and have a discussion with them using what they knew. I asked the students to teach a family member how to introduce themselves in Spanish. I asked them to fill out a family history tree by interviewing family members. I had them reporting on Spanish language movies and television shows they watched at home.

I assigned the task of finding Spanish advertisements, news articles, and personal ads. I had them creating Spanish menus, trip itineraries, and illustrated dictionaries. I assigned groups of students to create reader's theaters, reenactments of historical events, game shows, detective who-done-it similar to CSI, Spanish class newspapers, fashion shows, sidewalk art, food bazaars, travel agencies, restaurants, and department stores.

I also had to change how I graded the homework assignments. I was savvy enough to know that if the homework was not recorded in some fashion, students would see it as optional and not do it. I also knew I could not sustain the daily grind of 120 papers to grade, dealing with late work, and keeping up with the grade calculations. One of my mentors suggested a method that simplified this for students and for me.

Homework was due at the beginning of class every day. Class started with a warm up sponge activity while I took roll. I asked the students to pull out their homework so I could see it as I walked around the class, recording one of three things on my grade book: full credit if the homework was completed, half credit for not fully completed, zero for less than half completed.

Stamp of Approval: Grading

Students needed to know that I had recorded their work so I stamped their papers with a smiley face if it was completed, a frowning face if it was not completed (I turned the stamp upside down).

Students who had done their work or even tried to do it were insistent that I stamp their completed papers. It took me five minutes to look at the homework and give feedback to every student. To check their understanding, I asked the students to teach their elbow partners what they learned in the homework.

They then traded papers and we quickly went over the correct answers to the homework on the overhead projector, again it took only five minutes. I found that the students liked this system because it was less tedious and provided immediate feedback. I liked it because I had more time to inspire learning and I got an immediate pulse of where my students were in their learning progress and what students needed my attention for that class period.

What About Blended Learning?

As a teacher I have never experienced blended learning; I have observed teachers in schools over which I was the administrator be successful in flipping the classroom and turning homework into the major learning tool. During my time as a high school principal, students all had iPads and some of the teachers set up learning management accounts (LMS) on places like Moodle. They assigned students work and research projects through the LMS and students did the work at home. When they came to class, the teacher would either review what they had done individually, or step up the learning by providing further opportunities to apply their knowledge in group projects.

So, as I understand it, in blended learning at home or wherever they are, students acquire the skills and gained content knowledge, and in class the teachers prepare scenarios, case studies and projects in which the students could apply the skills and content knowledge. This brings me back to the question of what is the purpose of homework. I would say that the purpose of homework is to not only extend classroom learning time, but to create independent and enthused learners.

Whether it is a blended learning environment or a regular classroom, we must make sure our homework is worth doing. What myths about homework have you debunked and what strategies have you discovered to be successful in engaging students in homework? Please share in the comments section below.

Homework in America

  • 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

Subscribe to the Brown Center on Education Policy Newsletter

Tom loveless tom loveless former brookings expert @tomloveless99.

March 18, 2014

  • 18 min read

Part II of the 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

part two cover

Homework!  The topic, no, just the word itself, sparks controversy.  It has for a long time. In 1900, Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal , published an impassioned article, “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents,” accusing homework of destroying American youth.  Drawing on the theories of his fellow educational progressive, psychologist G. Stanley Hall (who has since been largely discredited), Bok argued that study at home interfered with children’s natural inclination towards play and free movement, threatened children’s physical and mental health, and usurped the right of parents to decide activities in the home.

The Journal was an influential magazine, especially with parents.  An anti-homework campaign burst forth that grew into a national crusade. [i]   School districts across the land passed restrictions on homework, culminating in a 1901 statewide prohibition of homework in California for any student under the age of 15.  The crusade would remain powerful through 1913, before a world war and other concerns bumped it from the spotlight.  Nevertheless, anti-homework sentiment would remain a touchstone of progressive education throughout the twentieth century.  As a political force, it would lie dormant for years before bubbling up to mobilize proponents of free play and “the whole child.” Advocates would, if educators did not comply, seek to impose homework restrictions through policy making.

Our own century dawned during a surge of anti-homework sentiment. From 1998 to 2003, Newsweek , TIME , and People , all major national publications at the time, ran cover stories on the evils of homework.  TIME ’s 1999 story had the most provocative title, “The Homework Ate My Family: Kids Are Dazed, Parents Are Stressed, Why Piling On Is Hurting Students.” People ’s 2003 article offered a call to arms: “Overbooked: Four Hours of Homework for a Third Grader? Exhausted Kids (and Parents) Fight Back.” Feature stories about students laboring under an onerous homework burden ran in newspapers from coast to coast. Photos of angst ridden children became a journalistic staple.

The 2003 Brown Center Report on American Education included a study investigating the homework controversy.  Examining the most reliable empirical evidence at the time, the study concluded that the dramatic claims about homework were unfounded.  An overwhelming majority of students, at least two-thirds, depending on age, had an hour or less of homework each night.  Surprisingly, even the homework burden of college-bound high school seniors was discovered to be rather light, less than an hour per night or six hours per week. Public opinion polls also contradicted the prevailing story.  Parents were not up in arms about homework.  Most said their children’s homework load was about right.  Parents wanting more homework out-numbered those who wanted less.

Now homework is in the news again.  Several popular anti-homework books fill store shelves (whether virtual or brick and mortar). [ii]   The documentary Race to Nowhere depicts homework as one aspect of an overwrought, pressure-cooker school system that constantly pushes students to perform and destroys their love of learning.  The film’s website claims over 6,000 screenings in more than 30 countries.  In 2011, the New York Times ran a front page article about the homework restrictions adopted by schools in Galloway, NJ, describing “a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, especially in elementary grades.”   In the article, Vicki Abeles, the director of Race to Nowhere , invokes the indictment of homework lodged a century ago, declaring, “The presence of homework is negatively affecting the health of our young people and the quality of family time.” [iii] 

A petition for the National PTA to adopt “healthy homework guidelines” on change.org currently has 19,000 signatures.  In September 2013, Atlantic featured an article, “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me,” by a Manhattan writer who joined his middle school daughter in doing her homework for a week.  Most nights the homework took more than three hours to complete.

The Current Study

A decade has passed since the last Brown Center Report study of homework, and it’s time for an update.  How much homework do American students have today?  Has the homework burden increased, gone down, or remained about the same?  What do parents think about the homework load?

A word on why such a study is important.  It’s not because the popular press is creating a fiction.  The press accounts are built on the testimony of real students and real parents, people who are very unhappy with the amount of homework coming home from school.  These unhappy people are real—but they also may be atypical.  Their experiences, as dramatic as they are, may not represent the common experience of American households with school-age children.  In the analysis below, data are analyzed from surveys that are methodologically designed to produce reliable information about the experiences of all Americans.  Some of the surveys have existed long enough to illustrate meaningful trends.  The question is whether strong empirical evidence confirms the anecdotes about overworked kids and outraged parents.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provide a good look at trends in homework for nearly the past three decades.  Table 2-1 displays NAEP data from 1984-2012.  The data are from the long-term trend NAEP assessment’s student questionnaire, a survey of homework practices featuring both consistently-worded questions and stable response categories.  The question asks: “How much time did you spend on homework yesterday?”  Responses are shown for NAEP’s three age groups: 9, 13, and 17. [iv]

Table 21

Today’s youngest students seem to have more homework than in the past.  The first three rows of data for age 9 reveal a shift away from students having no homework, declining from 35% in 1984 to 22% in 2012.  A slight uptick occurred from the low of 18% in 2008, however, so the trend may be abating.  The decline of the “no homework” group is matched by growth in the percentage of students with less than an hour’s worth, from 41% in 1984 to 57% in 2012. The share of students with one to two hours of homework changed very little over the entire 28 years, comprising 12% of students in 2012.  The group with the heaviest load, more than two hours of homework, registered at 5% in 2012.  It was 6% in 1984.

The amount of homework for 13-year-olds appears to have lightened slightly. Students with one to two hours of homework declined from 29% to 23%.  The next category down (in terms of homework load), students with less than an hour, increased from 36% to 44%.  One can see, by combining the bottom two rows, that students with an hour or more of homework declined steadily from 1984 to 2008 (falling from 38% to 27%) and then ticked up to 30% in 2012.  The proportion of students with the heaviest load, more than two hours, slipped from 9% in 1984 to 7% in 2012 and ranged between 7-10% for the entire period.

For 17-year-olds, the homework burden has not varied much.  The percentage of students with no homework has increased from 22% to 27%.  Most of that gain occurred in the 1990s. Also note that the percentage of 17-year-olds who had homework but did not do it was 11% in 2012, the highest for the three NAEP age groups.  Adding that number in with the students who didn’t have homework in the first place means that more than one-third of seventeen year olds (38%) did no homework on the night in question in 2012.  That compares with 33% in 1984.  The segment of the 17-year-old population with more than two hours of homework, from which legitimate complaints of being overworked might arise, has been stuck in the 10%-13% range.

The NAEP data point to four main conclusions:

  • With one exception, the homework load has remained remarkably stable since 1984.
  • The exception is nine-year-olds.  They have experienced an increase in homework, primarily because many students who once did not have any now have some.  The percentage of nine-year-olds with no homework fell by 13 percentage points, and the percentage with less than an hour grew by 16 percentage points.
  • Of the three age groups, 17-year-olds have the most bifurcated distribution of the homework burden.   They have the largest percentage of kids with no homework (especially when the homework shirkers are added in) and the largest percentage with more than two hours.
  • NAEP data do not support the idea that a large and growing number of students have an onerous amount of homework.  For all three age groups, only a small percentage of students report more than two hours of homework.  For 1984-2012, the size of the two hours or more groups ranged from 5-6% for age 9, 6-10% for age 13, and 10-13% for age 17.

Note that the item asks students how much time they spent on homework “yesterday.”  That phrasing has the benefit of immediacy, asking for an estimate of precise, recent behavior rather than an estimate of general behavior for an extended, unspecified period.  But misleading responses could be generated if teachers lighten the homework of NAEP participants on the night before the NAEP test is given.  That’s possible. [v] Such skewing would not affect trends if it stayed about the same over time and in the same direction (teachers assigning less homework than usual on the day before NAEP).  Put another way, it would affect estimates of the amount of homework at any single point in time but not changes in the amount of homework between two points in time.

A check for possible skewing is to compare the responses above with those to another homework question on the NAEP questionnaire from 1986-2004 but no longer in use. [vi]   It asked students, “How much time do you usually spend on homework each day?” Most of the response categories have different boundaries from the “last night” question, making the data incomparable.  But the categories asking about no homework are comparable.  Responses indicating no homework on the “usual” question in 2004 were: 2% for age 9-year-olds, 5% for 13 year olds, and 12% for 17-year-olds.  These figures are much less than the ones reported in Table 2-1 above.  The “yesterday” data appear to overstate the proportion of students typically receiving no homework.

The story is different for the “heavy homework load” response categories.  The “usual” question reported similar percentages as the “yesterday” question.  The categories representing the most amount of homework were “more than one hour” for age 9 and “more than two hours” for ages 13 and 17.   In 2004, 12% of 9-year-olds said they had more than one hour of daily homework, while 8% of 13-year-olds and 12% of 17-year-olds said they had more than two hours.  For all three age groups, those figures declined from1986 to 2004. The decline for age 17 was quite large, falling from 17% in 1986 to 12% in 2004.  

The bottom line: regardless of how the question is posed, NAEP data do not support the view that the homework burden is growing, nor do they support the belief that the proportion of students with a lot of homework has increased in recent years.  The proportion of students with no homework is probably under-reported on the long-term trend NAEP.  But the upper bound of students with more than two hours of daily homework appears to be about 15%–and that is for students in their final years of high school.

College Freshmen Look Back  

There is another good source of information on high school students’ homework over several decades.  The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA conducts an annual survey of college freshmen that began in 1966.  In 1986, the survey started asking a series of questions regarding how students spent time in the final year of high school.  Figure 2-1 shows the 2012 percentages for the dominant activities.  More than half of college freshmen say they spent at least six hours per week socializing with friends (66.2%) and exercising/sports (53.0%).  About 40% devoted that much weekly time to paid employment.

Figure 21

Homework comes in fourth pace. Only 38.4% of students said they spent at least six hours per week studying or doing homework. When these students were high school seniors, it was not an activity central to their out of school lives.  That is quite surprising.  Think about it.  The survey is confined to the nation’s best students, those attending college.  Gone are high school dropouts.  Also not included are students who go into the military or attain full time employment immediately after high school.  And yet only a little more than one-third of the sampled students, devoted more than six hours per week to homework and studying when they were on the verge of attending college.

Another notable finding from the UCLA survey is how the statistic is trending (see Figure 2-2).  In 1986, 49.5% reported spending six or more hours per week studying and doing homework.  By 2002, the proportion had dropped to 33.4%.  In 2012, as noted in Figure 2-1, the statistic had bounced off the historical lows to reach 38.4%.  It is slowly rising but still sits sharply below where it was in 1987.

Figure 22

What Do Parents Think?

Met Life has published an annual survey of teachers since 1984.  In 1987 and 2007, the survey included questions focusing on homework and expanded to sample both parents and students on the topic. Data are broken out for secondary and elementary parents and for students in grades 3-6 and grades 7-12 (the latter not being an exact match with secondary parents because of K-8 schools).

Table 2-2 shows estimates of homework from the 2007 survey.  Respondents were asked to estimate the amount of homework on a typical school day (Monday-Friday).  The median estimate of each group of respondents is shaded.  As displayed in the first column, the median estimate for parents of an elementary student is that their child devotes about 30 minutes to homework on the typical weekday.  Slightly more than half (52%) estimate 30 minutes or less; 48% estimate 45 minutes or more.  Students in grades 3-6 (third column) give a median estimate that is a bit higher than their parents’ (45 minutes), with almost two-thirds (63%) saying 45 minutes or less is the typical weekday homework load.

Table 22

One hour of homework is the median estimate for both secondary parents and students in grade 7-12, with 55% of parents reporting an hour or less and about two-thirds (67%) of students reporting the same.  As for the prevalence of the heaviest homework loads, 11% of secondary parents say their children spend more than two hours on weekday homework, and 12% is the corresponding figure for students in grades 7-12.

The Met Life surveys in 1987 and 2007 asked parents to evaluate the amount and quality of homework.  Table 2-3 displays the results.  There was little change over the two decades separating the two surveys.  More than 60% of parents rate the amount of homework as good or excellent, and about two-thirds give such high ratings to the quality of the homework their children are receiving.  The proportion giving poor ratings to either the quantity or quality of homework did not exceed 10% on either survey.

Table23

Parental dissatisfaction with homework comes in two forms: those who feel schools give too much homework and those who feel schools do not give enough.  The current wave of journalism about unhappy parents is dominated by those who feel schools give too much homework.  How big is this group?  Not very big (see Figure 2-3). On the Met Life survey, 60% of parents felt schools were giving the right amount of homework, 25% wanted more homework, and only 15% wanted less.

Figure 23

National surveys on homework are infrequent, but the 2006-2007 period had more than one.  A poll conducted by Public Agenda in 2006 reported similar numbers as the Met Life survey: 68% of parents describing the homework load as “about right,” 20% saying there is “too little homework,” and 11% saying there is “too much homework.”  A 2006 AP-AOL poll found the highest percentage of parents reporting too much homework, 19%.  But even in that poll, they were outnumbered by parents believing there is too little homework (23%), and a clear majority (57%) described the load as “about right.”  A 2010 local survey of Chicago parents conducted by the Chicago Tribune reported figures similar to those reported above: approximately two-thirds of parents saying their children’s homework load is “about right,” 21% saying it’s not enough, and 12% responding that the homework load is too much.

Summary and Discussion

In recent years, the press has been filled with reports of kids over-burdened with homework and parents rebelling against their children’s oppressive workload. The data assembled above call into question whether that portrait is accurate for the typical American family.  Homework typically takes an hour per night.  The homework burden of students rarely exceeds two hours a night.  The upper limit of students with two or more hours per night is about 15% nationally—and that is for juniors or seniors in high school.  For younger children, the upper boundary is about 10% who have such a heavy load.  Polls show that parents who want less homework range from 10%-20%, and that they are outnumbered—in every national poll on the homework question—by parents who want more homework, not less.  The majority of parents describe their children’s homework burden as about right.

So what’s going on?  Where are the homework horror stories coming from?

The Met Life survey of parents is able to give a few hints, mainly because of several questions that extend beyond homework to other aspects of schooling.  The belief that homework is burdensome is more likely held by parents with a larger set of complaints and concerns.  They are alienated from their child’s school.  About two in five parents (19%) don’t believe homework is important.  Compared to other parents, these parents are more likely to say too much homework is assigned (39% vs. 9%), that what is assigned is just busywork (57% vs. 36%), and that homework gets in the way of their family spending time together (51% vs. 15%).  They are less likely to rate the quality of homework as excellent (3% vs. 23%) or to rate the availability and responsiveness of teachers as excellent (18% vs. 38%). [vii]

They can also convince themselves that their numbers are larger than they really are.  Karl Taro Greenfeld, the author of the Atlantic article mentioned above, seems to fit that description.  “Every parent I know in New York City comments on how much homework their children have,” Mr. Greenfeld writes.  As for those parents who do not share this view? “There is always a clique of parents who are happy with the amount of homework. In fact, they would prefer more .  I tend not to get along with that type of parent.” [viii] 

Mr. Greenfeld’s daughter attends a selective exam school in Manhattan, known for its rigorous expectations and, yes, heavy homework load.  He had also complained about homework in his daughter’s previous school in Brentwood, CA.  That school was a charter school.  After Mr. Greenfeld emailed several parents expressing his complaints about homework in that school, the school’s vice-principal accused Mr. Greenfeld of cyberbullying.  The lesson here is that even schools of choice are not immune from complaints about homework.

The homework horror stories need to be read in a proper perspective.  They seem to originate from the very personal discontents of a small group of parents.  They do not reflect the experience of the average family with a school-age child.  That does not diminish these stories’ power to command the attention of school officials or even the public at large. But it also suggests a limited role for policy making in settling such disputes.  Policy is a blunt instrument.  Educators, parents, and kids are in the best position to resolve complaints about homework on a case by case basis.  Complaints about homework have existed for more than a century, and they show no signs of going away.

Part II Notes:

[i]Brian Gill and Steven Schlossman, “A Sin Against Childhood: Progressive Education and the Crusade to Abolish Homework, 1897-1941,” American Journal of Education , vol. 105, no. 1 (Nov., 1996), 27-66.  Also see Brian P. Gill and Steven L. Schlossman, “Villain or Savior? The American Discourse on Homework, 1850-2003,” Theory into Practice , 43, 3 (Summer 2004), pp. 174-181.

[ii] Bennett, Sara, and Nancy Kalish.  The Case Against Homework:  How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It   (New York:  Crown, 2006).  Buell, John.  Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time . (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004). Kohn, Alfie.    The Homework Myth:  Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing  (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006).  Kralovec, Etta, and John Buell.  The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning  (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).

[iii] Hu, Winnie, “ New Recruit in Homework Revolt: The Principal ,” New York Times , June 15, 2011, page a1.

[iv] Data for other years are available on the NAEP Data Explorer.  For Table 1, the starting point of 1984 was chosen because it is the first year all three ages were asked the homework question.  The two most recent dates (2012 and 2008) were chosen to show recent changes, and the two years in the 1990s to show developments during that decade.

[v] NAEP’s sampling design lessens the probability of skewing the homework figure.  Students are randomly drawn from a school population, meaning that an entire class is not tested.  Teachers would have to either single out NAEP students for special homework treatment or change their established homework routine for the whole class just to shelter NAEP participants from homework.  Sampling designs that draw entact classrooms for testing (such as TIMSS) would be more vulnerable to this effect.  Moreover, students in middle and high school usually have several different teachers during the day, meaning that prior knowledge of a particular student’s participation in NAEP would probably be limited to one or two teachers.

[vi] NAEP Question B003801 for 9 year olds and B003901 for 13- and 17-year olds.

[vii] Met Life, Met Life Survey of the American Teacher: The Homework Experience , November 13, 2007, pp. 21-22.

[viii] Greenfeld, Karl Taro, “ My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me ,” The Atlantic , September 18, 2013.

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If They'd Only Do Their Work!

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Why Students Don't Work

Assign work that is worthy of effort, make the work doable, find out what students need, create space and time for homework, make work public, collaboration is the key.

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Students fail to do homework for many reasons. Deborah Meier, the founder of a number of successful schools, notes that her staff at Central Park East in New York City reflected together about how to solve the problem of students' failure to complete their work: We soon realized that a sizable number of students didn't really know how to do the homework, or at least how to do it well enough to get any satisfaction from it. A smaller number truly didn't have time, and we needed a whole-family conference to tackle the issues of jobs, baby-sitting, etc. A third group just couldn't or didn't plan, so we tried having a brief meeting at the end of each day to plan for homework. Some students were just expressing their general despair this way.
Most important, we need to ensure that homework tasks are authentic and engaging—that students have a reason to do them (other than avoiding a zero). Project-based work is an approach that teachers have found intrinsically engaging for students, says Sylvia Rabiner, founding principal of Landmark High School in New York City: I've found that students respond best when working on longer class projects in which they become deeply involved. At Bushwick, where I coach teachers, kids who routinely neglected homework behave differently when working on final Inquiry Projects. Teachers report kids coming to school early, staying late, and even asking to complete their projects after the school year has ended.
Marian Mogulescu, former codirector of New York City's Vanguard High School and current consultant to other schools, suggests that staff members working together can help one another discover what kinds of homework yield high completion rates. At one school, teachers participated in a workshop titled “Homework: To Be or Not to Be.” They talked about experiences in which they had really learned something, and they shared and analyzed successful homework assignments. One insight, Mogulescu recalls, was that even routine homework tasks can be meaningful if they are related to authentic classroom learning: Yes, there are times when homework is not fabulously creative and unusual—there are times when we all have to stuff envelopes, for example—but if the focus is project-based, or inquiry-based, or part of what the class is actively engaged in, the follow-up outside of class will have more meaning.
Cece Cunningham, former principal of Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College in New York City, observes that the perceived usefulness of the work is also important. Students are most likely to complete homework when the homework is actually used the next day in class. For instance, if students have to read a passage in a book and highlight or underline selections to share with their classmates the next day, they tend to put in the effort.
Teachers can also make homework more useful to students by providing relevant and engaging classwork that draws on students' ideas in ways that require them to prepare. An example is the course “Looking for an Argument,” developed by teacher Avram Barlowe and codirector Herb Mack at New York City's Urban Academy. Using a Socratic seminar format, the course incorporates oral and listening skills, reading, research, writing, and critique in an inquiry-based approach. Students are required to cite primary texts to debate their ideas. As they get involved in defending their opinions about important topics, students increasingly do the hard work of reading dense texts and preparing their points. As Barlowe and Mack note, Through a structured format, students learn to make connections between the “talk” of the class, the materials they read, and the essays they write. As students become more informed and articulate, they also become more engaged and empowered and gain confidence in their ability to have and defend a point of view. (2004, p. 5)
Even if the work is engaging, students won't do it if they don't know how. Sylvia Rabiner, founding principal of Landmark High School, suggests that teachers ask themselves, Are the directions clear? Is the homework doable without any assistance? How does it relate to the lesson? Is it being collected and returned or reviewed in class the next day so that students are getting immediate feedback? What kind of comments is the teacher writing on the homework? Can homework be started in class so that the teacher may observe and see where problems for students arise?
Teachers at Middle College High School presented their student portfolio assignments to their colleagues. They were surprised to discover that their peers often could not navigate the material successfully. According to former principal Cece Cunningham, Being confronted by the difficulties their fellow teachers experienced in deciphering their assignments gave teachers insight into similar challenges faced by their students. Vetting projects with one another, across disciplines, created opportunities for collective revision of individual teacher assignments. It was key in refining teacher skill in developing and fashioning assignments of high intellectual quality nested in language and scaffolding that were accessible to students.
Even when students have engaging work that they can do, they have to be motivated and organized to do it. Founding principal of Manhattan East Middle School Jacqueline Ancess and her staff wanted their small school to provide strong relationships and authentic intellectual experiences for students. They also found that it was important to identify and address individual students' problems. Ancess notes that A good strategy is to help make the kids part of the solution rather than the problem. Teachers can meet alone or as a team with individual kids, discuss their strengths with them—where they have succeeded—and then ask the kids what would be necessary for them to complete the homework and the assignment. This has to be a positive intervention with no sneak attacks. The teachers must seek from the students or suggest one or two specific strategies for one problem at a time. For example, they may agree that the student will tell his advisor or particular teacher what he has to do to complete the assignment, how he plans to do it, when it is due, and what he needs help with. The teacher or advisor will assess what help the student needs to complete the assignment. The teacher and student should write this down together, so that success becomes inevitable.
Sanda Balaban recalls how her teaching colleagues in a pilot school in Boston identified student needs by asking the students themselves. Involving students in gathering this information added value to the process: We employed all of the personalization strategies that we knew were essential and tried to make every homework assignment engaging and appealing to our students, based on our knowledge of their interests and learning styles. Nonetheless, we still were stymied with a sizable number of students who weren't doing work outside of class. We decided to conduct a Homework Audit to try to get to the root of what wasn't working. Since I was facilitating our student council at the time, I encouraged student leaders to design and administer a survey to their fellow students to gain insight. One of the key findings was that many of our students had after-school jobs that impeded their ability to complete work outside of the school day. As a result, I worked with each student in my advisory group to craft work-based learning plans that identified the competencies they were aiming to develop at their jobs. We developed the curriculum to further capitalize on this learning. This also served as an instrument of advocacy with their employers to provide them with more meaningful work experiences.
At the Urban Academy, the daily schedule includes a period called Drop-In—a teacher's preparation period that he or she voluntarily shares with a small number of students. The teachers don't necessarily teach or talk to the students; they just provide an opportunity for the students to sit in the presence of a caring, supportive adult for an extended period of time to complete schoolwork. The codirector of the school, Ann Cook, explains, Drop-In provides what many of us experienced at home when we were young students. Our parents would insist that we sit at the kitchen or dining room table and just do our work. We developed the habit of sitting and completing school tasks. Many students have not had that experience.

Barlowe, A., & Mack, H. (2004). Looking for an argument? New York: Community Studies Inc. & Teachers College Press.

McCombs, B., & Whisler, J. S. (1997). The learner-centered classroom and school . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Neild, R. C., Stoner-Eby, S., & Furstenberg, F. F. (2001). Connecting entrance and departure: The transition to ninth grade and high school dropout . Paper presented at Harvard Civil Rights Project Conference on Dropouts in America. Available: www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/research/dropouts/neild.pdf

• 1 We consulted the following educators by e-mail and telephone: Jacqueline Ancess , Codirector, National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, and founding Principal of Manhattan East Middle School, New York, NY; Sanda Balaban , Autonomy Zone Liaison for New York City Department of Education and Coordinator of Homework Audit for New Mission High School, Roxbury, MA; Avram Barlowe , history teacher, Urban Academy, New York, NY; Ann Cook , Codirector, Urban Academy, and Cochair, New York Performance Standards Consortium, New York, NY; Cecelia Cunningham , Director of Middle College National Consortium and former Principal of Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College, New York, NY; Herb Mack , Codirector, Urban Academy, New York, NY; Deborah Meier , Senior Scholar, New York University, Steinhardt School of Education, and founding Principal of Central Park East Elementary and Secondary Schools, New York, NY, and Mission Hill School, Boston, MA; Marian Mogulescu , education consultant and former Codirector of Vanguard High School, New York, NY; and Sylvia Rabiner , Project Manager, the Institute for Student Achievement, and founding Principal of Landmark High School, New York, NY.

they are doing the homework

Linda Darling-Hammond is president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign.

Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to-Policy. She is a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education.

In 2006, she was named one of the nation's 10 most influential people affecting educational policy and later served as the leader of President Obama's education policy transition team.

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they are doing the homework

From school uniforms to homework & dinner: Video of South African mom's routine inspires parents

  • A South African mom shared a video on social media showing her after-school routine with her children
  • The TikTok footage shows the kids changing out of their uniforms, cleaning their shoes, doing homework, and enjoying dinner together
  • Many people commented on the video, praising the mom for her routine and saying it was an inspiration

A Mzansi mom took to social media to share a wholesome video of how after school afternoon routine with her children.

Mom shares children's afternoon routine

Routines provide opportunities for young children to learn and practice essential life skills.

Footage shared by @beulah_matsitse_ shows her children returning back from school as they make their way to their bedroom to change out their uniforms.

The footage goes on to show the kids cleaning their school shoes after having their lunch.

@beulah_matsitse_can be heard explaining that her kids have a schedule which details what they need to do and prepare for the following day, before they get stuck into doing their homework until dinner time.

The family is then seen enjoying their dinner around the dinner table before the kids get ready for bed.

Watch the video below:

SA impressed by family's routine

Many netizens were left in awe of the family's routine and responded with heartwarming comments. Others shared how the family's lifestyle was a goal for themselves in the future.

Layla commented:

"Thank you mommy for helping with homework and studying! This means so much to us as teachers."

Kereng commented:

"'It's time for me to be my husband's baby' Love it!"

kabiwinter said:

"This is the end goal ."

<3 replied:

"You are raising them so beautifully mama!!"

Hairy said:

"Amaphupho❤."

mamaZN02 said:

"Chef did what."

Ayamah Zinhle Binda wrote:

"Lapho ngangibuya ekhaya ngibeke iskhwama ngyodlala. Wait for 5pm khane ngyendlini."

Watle Hlaki said:

"Your husband is Mpho Matsitse. Wow, what a great guy, I love his leadership style. You have gained a follower sis."

Mom gets real about single parenting struggles

In another story, Briefly News reported that a South African mom took to social media to share three things she doesn't like about being a single parent.

@growingseedsa posted a TikTok video of her preparing a delicious breakfast for her family as she shared some of the hardships she faces in single motherhood.

She listed co-parenting with the father of her child as one of the challenges.

From school uniforms to homework & dinner: Video of South African mom's routine inspires parents

Muslim students face tough challenges during Ramadan. Here's what teachers can do to help.

they are doing the homework

Last year during Ramadan , Zara Ahmad’s school in southern Maryland hosted a waffle day. The smells of batter and syrup wafted through the campus hallways. Ahmad did everything she could to ignore the aromas, but the decision to hold the event then felt insensitive given she and other Muslim students were fasting .   

“Even if they know, they just don't care and they're not as considerate as they could be,” said Ahmad, 16, reflecting on how teachers and administrators handle day-to-day operations during the Islamic holy month of fasting, prayer and community. 

Several times in the past couple of decades , the U.S. Education Department has issued guidance about affirming students’ right to pray and express their religion at school. Last year, the department released the guidance again – specifically alluding to protections related to Ramadan, which began last week and runs through April 9. The latest guidance came as a growing number of school districts have taken steps to better accommodate students who observe Ramadan, including by making one of the major holidays following the month an official day off for all students. 

At a time of rising anti-Muslim discrimination, however, advocates say U.S. schools aren’t doing enough to raise awareness and ensure that students feel supported when practicing their religion. Teachers are often unaware that the holiday is taking place, putting the onus on kids or parents to request exemptions from certain activities or a place where students can pray.

The Education Department’s civil rights arm separately issued a letter on Thursday reminding schools of their obligation to protect such students from discrimination, highlighting the heightened Islamophobia after war broke out in Gaza.

USA TODAY spoke with Amaarah DeCuir, an education researcher and expert on Muslim student experiences about best practices for supporting Ramadan in schools. Here's what she said: 

Lunchtime accommodations and places to pray

A key tenet of Ramadan is fasting from dawn to sunset, which means people observing the holiday often don’t eat lunch. Schools should ensure children have a place to go during lunchtime other than the cafeteria, with its food smells and boisterous noises, said DeCuir, a lecturer at American University in Washington, D.C. 

Often that place is the library. Experts recommend schools staff this lunchtime room or area with at least one adult to monitor children and ensure they have what they need, whether it's quiet time for reflection or a game to play and recharge. 

Kids who choose to pray will also need a place to do so without being bothered. Ahmad, who has been sitting in the cafeteria and doing her schoolwork since Ramadan began, had to ask the guidance counselor earlier this school year if she could pray in her office. “But nothing really special has been done,” she said. This year, as with years before, “it’s definitely on the students to figure out what they want to do" during school, she said.

Flexible homework and testing

DeCuir stressed that Ramadan is a time of joy and reflection, when families may pray late at night and early in the morning. With fasting and limited sleep, students are sometimes low on energy. That’s especially true for younger students still figuring out how to navigate and manage the physical aspects of Ramadan. (Fasting typically isn't expected until followers reach puberty.)

That can make it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork at certain times of the day. DeCuir suggested that educators keep this in mind and be flexible with students who need leeway. Kids who feel their brains are most active during the morning can do any tests or important assignments early; students who feel most energetic in the afternoon can do the bulk of their work later in the day. 

DeCuir said it's important to check in with students and see what works best for them. She noted that the holy month coincides with high-stakes testing this year in many states and said schools should be flexible about timing with students who need consideration. 

At colleges and universities, it's typically up to faculty members to decide whether to accommodate Muslim students' needs during Ramadan, she said. Many professors aren't proactive about being flexible with students, penalizing them for turning in assignments late or refusing to let them take an exam at a different time than their peers.

When is Ramadan 2024? What is it? Muslims set to mark a month of spirituality, reflection

Alternatives in PE, music class and extracurriculars

Because of the physical limitations that sometimes come with fasting, DeCuir stressed the importance of exempting students from high-intensity cardiovascular activities. Instead, teachers can offer strength training or another low-intensity exercise.

Some people also abstain from singing and listening to music during Ramadan. Those students should be allowed to opt out of music class or engage in alternative activities during that time. 

Special consideration should also be made for children involved in after-school sports, DeCuir said. 

Ahmad is an avid tennis player and has often had to contend with matches scheduled on Eid al-Fitr, the holy day that marks the end of Ramadan. Ahmad’s parents have had to push the district to allow her to participate in the competitions after she missed class to attend Muslim events. Administrators typically bar students from playing on days they are absent from school.

Her parents have also had to request permission for Ahmad to be picked up from matches early, rather than take the bus back with her teammates, so she'll be home in time to break the fast at night with her family. 

“All these things can happen if the kids and parents ask for it,” said Omar Ahmad, Zara’s father. “But high school’s a tough time for children as it is, and there’s been a rise in Islamophobia and a backlash if you’re different.

"So many kids aren’t going to ask for it. Many parents might not even ask for it.”

Proactive support for students

Allowing Muslim students to exercise their right to pray is just a first step, DeCuir said. Schools should also be proactive about offering support. 

The Education Department guidance indicates that schools should excuse students from class so they can fast is such an allowance is requested.

Policies with this kind of language place a heavy burden on children and families, DeCuir said: “It requires a family or student to come before a school leader or classroom teacher to say: ‘I’m Muslim. I’m observing Ramadan.'” Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and the war in Gaza, expressing something like that can be "extremely difficult and risky for many Muslims across the nation,” she said.

It can also be logistically tricky, particularly for immigrant families who do not speak English as a first language or know how to navigate school bureaucracy.

A better practice, DeCuir said, would be for schools to distribute a districtwide message outlining support that's available. It's important to remember that while a small percentage of students are Muslim, Islam is the third-largest religion in the U.S.

Campus politics: Harvard under scrutiny for discrimination. This complaint comes from Palestinian students

Don’t do this : Rejecting Ramadan celebrations to avoid politics  

DeCuir shared the story of a person she knows whose daughter wanted to bring Ramadan goodie bags to school for her classmates, including cards, stickers and fidget spinners. That's similar to how kids bring treats for Christmas or Easter, but the principal rejected the idea. 

The effect crushed the child's spirit, she said, and the family has since challenged the decision.

Muslim students have faced stigmas for years, particularly since 9/11. It's important to dedicate classroom time to teaching about issues involving Muslims in an accurate and responsible way, but teachers often avoid them.

It’s understandable why school leaders are wary of that, DeCuir said, “but when it’s done to silence the expression of the joy that young children have at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, that act creates a sense of exclusion and isolation.”

Ahmad, the student, says she has noticed a similar chilling effect at her school, where Muslims make up a small percentage of the campus population. When conversations about Islamic countries come up in government class, for example, she sometimes feels compelled to minimize her identity. 

At the very least, she said, “I just wish school would mention (Ramadan) and make all the students aware of it.”

“I wish I didn’t have to feel awkward.”

NFL Draft rumors: Vikings set to do their homework on polarizing QB prospect

It is no secret that the Minnesota Vikings are absolutely infatuated with Michigan's J.J. McCarthy.

By John Buhler | Mar 18, 2024

NFL Combine

Find someone who loves you as much as the Minnesota Vikings love J.J. McCarthy. I have found my person, so I'm good, but maybe the Vikings can be as lucky as I am in a few weeks' time? Apparently, they are completely love-smitten by the notion of drafting the Michigan quarterback higher than anyone could ever hope for in the 2024 NFL Draft . I mean, they gathered ammo to trade up for him .

According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated , the Vikings are sending quarterbacks coaches Josh McCown and Grant Udinski to McCarthy's pro day in Ann Arbor on Friday. Minnesota has also apparently arranged a private workout with McCarthy next week in Ann Arbor as well. This is so that their head coach Kevin O'Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could be in attendance.

Minnesota may have the No. 11 overall pick, but that is not good enough to be in a great position to draft McCarthy. Another team that really wants to draft him would be the New York Giants picking at No. 6. This is why the Vikings acquired the No. 23 overall pick from the Houston Texans to have enough draft capital to move up the board to get the former Michigan star. Will he even be worth it?

If the Vikings are serious about drafting McCarthy then they must get ahead of the Giants at No. 6.

Minnesota Vikings doing their homework on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Of the six quarterbacks who could go in the first round, I would argue that McCarthy has the second highest floor, only to be outdone by Oregon's Bo Nix, who is the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft class. As far as McCarthy's ceiling, he is only middle of the pack. It is higher than Nix and Washington's Michael Penix Jr., but there is a reason why I only have McCarthy as QB4 on my board.

Essentially, we are talking about a better version of Brock Purdy. Mr. Irrelevant is already well on his way toward being the best quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft -- if you can believe that. McCarthy grew up in Chicagoland, but spent some time at the IMG Academy before playing at Michigan. He is a great leader with tremendous poise, but he was not asked to throw a ton there.

Overall, I think whoever the Vikings draft in the first round will end up being a success in the NFL . This is because the organization has been well-run throughout the better part of Zygi Wilf's ownership of the team, as well as O'Connell being a savvy offensive mind stemming from the Sean McVay tree. Being indoors probably gives whichever rookie quarterback they draft a tremendous shot at success.

Ultimately, I think these series of visits to Ann Arbor are all about learning more about McCarthy's personality, as well as how well can he spin it. We know that he has more zen than even Dave Aranda, but limited arm strength could be a damper on his upward trajectory at the professional level. I have a hard time seeing McCarthy failing, but he is way better off with the Vikings over the Giants.

If the Vikings love him, then trade up with either the Arizona Cardinals or the Los Angeles Chargers.

Next. NFL Draft: Best first-round draft pick in each slot in history. Best first-round draft pick in each NFL Draft slot in history. dark

Opinion Colleges are realizing they can’t ignore the truth, even if it hurts

they are doing the homework

If you’ve ever run short of money — or merely browsed personal finance websites — you might know that folks who are drowning in debt sometimes just stop opening their bills.

Refusing to open your bills does not, alas, make them go away, or even make the anxiety about them go away. The penalties and interest still go up, and the debt collectors still have your number on speed dial. All you accomplish by sticking your bills in some back drawer is depriving yourself of information you could use to make the best of a bad situation.

Of course, it’s easy to shake heads and wag fingers from a comfortable distance. But it’s also easy to understand why people engage in this form of self-harm. From time to time, all of us are tempted to ignore unhappy realities. And unfortunately, reality usually comes calling anyway, bill in hand.

The pandemic provided several vivid illustrations of this principle, including the fallout from the decision many colleges made during the pandemic to relax their requirements for standardized test scores.

they are doing the homework

This was a quite reasonable thing to do in 2020, when, through no fault of their own, many kids had difficulty taking the SAT or the ACT — their scheduled test was canceled, or they or someone they lived with was immunocompromised. But the colleges’ policies continued long after we had excellent vaccines, in part because those tests gave us a lot of very unwelcome information.

They told us, for example, that academic ability is unequally distributed. Some people are better at math, some people are better at English and some people aren’t terrific at either. And with that information came an even more painful fact: Many of those differences mirror other inequalities in our society, including the most pernicious ones. Very generally: Rich kids do better than poor kids. White and Asian kids do better than Black and Hispanic kids. On the math sections , boys perform better than girls.

Despite decades of attempts to narrow those gaps, they’ve stubbornly refused to close. Eventually, people decided that the problem was the tests themselves. A sizeable cottage industry sprung up to provide critics with dubious research supposedly showing that the tests don’t predict college performance very well.

Demand for research suggesting tests don’t mean much was fueled by another uncomfortable fact: Test scores gave critics of affirmative action a way to quantify the boost (or detriment) various groups were getting in admissions. This problem became urgent as lawsuits filed by Students for Fair Admissions wended their way toward a Supreme Court that seemed eager to end affirmative action as we know it.

If the pandemic gave grateful admissions offices the excuse they needed to go test-optional, the court’s gutting of affirmative action gave them every reason to stay that way — or ditch the tests entirely. After the decision was handed down in June, I heard a lot of surprisingly glum conservatives predict that it wouldn’t matter, because colleges would just keep practicing affirmative action under another name, and vanishing test requirements would make it hard to draw the direct comparisons among groups that could unmask what admissions offices were doing.

But MIT bucked the trend in 2022 by announcing its return to mandatory testing. Last month, Dartmouth followed suit, becoming the first Ivy League school to do so. Yale and Brown soon followed. On Monday, the University of Texas at Austin became the latest to join the parade — and gave us a peek at the numbers driving its decision.

Last year, UT received 73,000 applications to join its freshman class. The 42 percent of applicants who submitted test results had a median score of 1420 on the SAT, while those who opted out of submitting scores had a median of 1160. Enrolled students who had submitted scores also performed significantly better during their first semester of college: Controlling for a wide range of factors, their grade-point average was nearly a full letter grade higher than that of students who didn’t submit, and they were 55 percent less likely to end up in the sub-2.0 danger zone.

We can’t know whether this is exactly what other schools were seeing, but we can suspect. And if we’re honest, everyone should have suspected it even before we got this data. The SAT is not a measurement of innate human value, but it is a measurement of whether a person can do the kinds of things people have to do in college courses, from performing basic mathematical operations to quickly gleaning meaning from written passages. It would be shocking if results on this test weren’t correlated with college performance.

It’s a major problem that, as things stand, the acquisition of those skills is also correlated with factors such as race and parental wealth. But we cannot fix that problem by simply throwing away the messages that reality is sending us.

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What the Data Says About Pandemic School Closures, Four Years Later

The more time students spent in remote instruction, the further they fell behind. And, experts say, extended closures did little to stop the spread of Covid.

Sarah Mervosh

By Sarah Mervosh ,  Claire Cain Miller and Francesca Paris

Four years ago this month, schools nationwide began to shut down, igniting one of the most polarizing and partisan debates of the pandemic.

Some schools, often in Republican-led states and rural areas, reopened by fall 2020. Others, typically in large cities and states led by Democrats, would not fully reopen for another year.

A variety of data — about children’s academic outcomes and about the spread of Covid-19 — has accumulated in the time since. Today, there is broad acknowledgment among many public health and education experts that extended school closures did not significantly stop the spread of Covid, while the academic harms for children have been large and long-lasting.

While poverty and other factors also played a role, remote learning was a key driver of academic declines during the pandemic, research shows — a finding that held true across income levels.

Source: Fahle, Kane, Patterson, Reardon, Staiger and Stuart, “ School District and Community Factors Associated With Learning Loss During the COVID-19 Pandemic .” Score changes are measured from 2019 to 2022. In-person means a district offered traditional in-person learning, even if not all students were in-person.

“There’s fairly good consensus that, in general, as a society, we probably kept kids out of school longer than we should have,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who helped write guidance for the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommended in June 2020 that schools reopen with safety measures in place.

There were no easy decisions at the time. Officials had to weigh the risks of an emerging virus against the academic and mental health consequences of closing schools. And even schools that reopened quickly, by the fall of 2020, have seen lasting effects.

But as experts plan for the next public health emergency, whatever it may be, a growing body of research shows that pandemic school closures came at a steep cost to students.

The longer schools were closed, the more students fell behind.

At the state level, more time spent in remote or hybrid instruction in the 2020-21 school year was associated with larger drops in test scores, according to a New York Times analysis of school closure data and results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress , an authoritative exam administered to a national sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students.

At the school district level, that finding also holds, according to an analysis of test scores from third through eighth grade in thousands of U.S. districts, led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard. In districts where students spent most of the 2020-21 school year learning remotely, they fell more than half a grade behind in math on average, while in districts that spent most of the year in person they lost just over a third of a grade.

( A separate study of nearly 10,000 schools found similar results.)

Such losses can be hard to overcome, without significant interventions. The most recent test scores, from spring 2023, show that students, overall, are not caught up from their pandemic losses , with larger gaps remaining among students that lost the most ground to begin with. Students in districts that were remote or hybrid the longest — at least 90 percent of the 2020-21 school year — still had almost double the ground to make up compared with students in districts that allowed students back for most of the year.

Some time in person was better than no time.

As districts shifted toward in-person learning as the year went on, students that were offered a hybrid schedule (a few hours or days a week in person, with the rest online) did better, on average, than those in places where school was fully remote, but worse than those in places that had school fully in person.

Students in hybrid or remote learning, 2020-21

80% of students

Some schools return online, as Covid-19 cases surge. Vaccinations start for high-priority groups.

Teachers are eligible for the Covid vaccine in more than half of states.

Most districts end the year in-person or hybrid.

Source: Burbio audit of more than 1,200 school districts representing 47 percent of U.S. K-12 enrollment. Note: Learning mode was defined based on the most in-person option available to students.

Income and family background also made a big difference.

A second factor associated with academic declines during the pandemic was a community’s poverty level. Comparing districts with similar remote learning policies, poorer districts had steeper losses.

But in-person learning still mattered: Looking at districts with similar poverty levels, remote learning was associated with greater declines.

A community’s poverty rate and the length of school closures had a “roughly equal” effect on student outcomes, said Sean F. Reardon, a professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford, who led a district-level analysis with Thomas J. Kane, an economist at Harvard.

Score changes are measured from 2019 to 2022. Poorest and richest are the top and bottom 20% of districts by percent of students on free/reduced lunch. Mostly in-person and mostly remote are districts that offered traditional in-person learning for more than 90 percent or less than 10 percent of the 2020-21 year.

But the combination — poverty and remote learning — was particularly harmful. For each week spent remote, students in poor districts experienced steeper losses in math than peers in richer districts.

That is notable, because poor districts were also more likely to stay remote for longer .

Some of the country’s largest poor districts are in Democratic-leaning cities that took a more cautious approach to the virus. Poor areas, and Black and Hispanic communities , also suffered higher Covid death rates, making many families and teachers in those districts hesitant to return.

“We wanted to survive,” said Sarah Carpenter, the executive director of Memphis Lift, a parent advocacy group in Memphis, where schools were closed until spring 2021 .

“But I also think, man, looking back, I wish our kids could have gone back to school much quicker,” she added, citing the academic effects.

Other things were also associated with worse student outcomes, including increased anxiety and depression among adults in children’s lives, and the overall restriction of social activity in a community, according to the Stanford and Harvard research .

Even short closures had long-term consequences for children.

While being in school was on average better for academic outcomes, it wasn’t a guarantee. Some districts that opened early, like those in Cherokee County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, and Hanover County, Va., lost significant learning and remain behind.

At the same time, many schools are seeing more anxiety and behavioral outbursts among students. And chronic absenteeism from school has surged across demographic groups .

These are signs, experts say, that even short-term closures, and the pandemic more broadly, had lasting effects on the culture of education.

“There was almost, in the Covid era, a sense of, ‘We give up, we’re just trying to keep body and soul together,’ and I think that was corrosive to the higher expectations of schools,” said Margaret Spellings, an education secretary under President George W. Bush who is now chief executive of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Closing schools did not appear to significantly slow Covid’s spread.

Perhaps the biggest question that hung over school reopenings: Was it safe?

That was largely unknown in the spring of 2020, when schools first shut down. But several experts said that had changed by the fall of 2020, when there were initial signs that children were less likely to become seriously ill, and growing evidence from Europe and parts of the United States that opening schools, with safety measures, did not lead to significantly more transmission.

“Infectious disease leaders have generally agreed that school closures were not an important strategy in stemming the spread of Covid,” said Dr. Jeanne Noble, who directed the Covid response at the University of California, San Francisco health system.

Politically, though, there remains some disagreement about when, exactly, it was safe to reopen school.

Republican governors who pushed to open schools sooner have claimed credit for their approach, while Democrats and teachers’ unions have emphasized their commitment to safety and their investment in helping students recover.

“I do believe it was the right decision,” said Jerry T. Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which resisted returning to school in person over concerns about the availability of vaccines and poor ventilation in school buildings. Philadelphia schools waited to partially reopen until the spring of 2021 , a decision Mr. Jordan believes saved lives.

“It doesn’t matter what is going on in the building and how much people are learning if people are getting the virus and running the potential of dying,” he said.

Pandemic school closures offer lessons for the future.

Though the next health crisis may have different particulars, with different risk calculations, the consequences of closing schools are now well established, experts say.

In the future, infectious disease experts said, they hoped decisions would be guided more by epidemiological data as it emerged, taking into account the trade-offs.

“Could we have used data to better guide our decision making? Yes,” said Dr. Uzma N. Hasan, division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at RWJBarnabas Health in Livingston, N.J. “Fear should not guide our decision making.”

Source: Fahle, Kane, Patterson, Reardon, Staiger and Stuart, “ School District and Community Factors Associated With Learning Loss During the Covid-19 Pandemic. ”

The study used estimates of learning loss from the Stanford Education Data Archive . For closure lengths, the study averaged district-level estimates of time spent in remote and hybrid learning compiled by the Covid-19 School Data Hub (C.S.D.H.) and American Enterprise Institute (A.E.I.) . The A.E.I. data defines remote status by whether there was an in-person or hybrid option, even if some students chose to remain virtual. In the C.S.D.H. data set, districts are defined as remote if “all or most” students were virtual.

Sarah Mervosh covers education for The Times, focusing on K-12 schools. More about Sarah Mervosh

Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times in 2008 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. More about Claire Cain Miller

Francesca Paris is a Times reporter working with data and graphics for The Upshot. More about Francesca Paris

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IDF fires artillery shells into Gaza as fighting between Israeli troops and Islamist Hamas militants continues on Oct. 12, 2023.

Middle East crisis — explained

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians — and other groups in the Middle East — goes back decades. These stories provide context for current developments and the history that led up to them.

In Gaza, Palestinian journalists are documenting a war they're also trying to survive

they are doing the homework

Palestinian journalists attempt to connect to the internet using their phones in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Palestinian journalists attempt to connect to the internet using their phones in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas.

TEL AVIV, Israel – Since Israel launched its military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, the Israeli military — with rare exceptions for military tours — has prevented foreign journalists from entering the Gaza Strip.

Only Palestinian reporters who were already inside the enclave are able to report from there on the conflict and all it entails: The fierce urban combat, the air strikes, the mass displacement of Palestinians and how the civilian population is coping with it all.

For this, they've paid a heavy price.

they are doing the homework

Palestinian journalists stage a protest to draw attention to Palestinian members of the media killed while covering the war in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 15, in Rafah, Gaza. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images hide caption

Palestinian journalists stage a protest to draw attention to Palestinian members of the media killed while covering the war in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 15, in Rafah, Gaza.

At least 95 journalists have been killed since Oct. 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists . It has been the deadliest war for reporters since the group began gathering data in 1992.

The journalists in Gaza, like everyone else there, struggle to survive. They need to find food, water and shelter — all in short supply.

Middle East

Why it's so hard for journalists to report from gaza.

To better understand the realities of reporting from Gaza, we spoke with three Palestinian journalists who have been covering the war since the beginning. All three were displaced from their homes. One of them, Khawla Al Khaldi, recently left Gaza for Egypt. The two others are in Rafah — one of whom, Ibrahim Qannan, has been living in a tent.

We asked them about the challenges they're facing, what they hoped to achieve with their reporting and what they hoped people outside Gaza understood about the realities there. Here is what they told us.

These interviews have been edited in parts for length and clarity.

Ibrahim Qannan

Ibrahim Qannan, 50, is a journalist with Al Ghad TV, an Arabic language news network based in Cairo.

they are doing the homework

In his first week covering the war in Gaza, journalist Ibrahim Qannan learned that 11 of his family members had been killed. Ibrahim Qannan hide caption

In his first week covering the war in Gaza, journalist Ibrahim Qannan learned that 11 of his family members had been killed.

What are the logistics of you getting your work done?

We are under very heavy work pressure in the Gaza Strip due to the developments in the field, the shelling and the targeting, so you spend most of your time in front of the camera observing events, whether from the fixed work site or in field locations ... I spent most of the days of the war in Khan Younis on the ground in the targeted places.

After doing your reports, you will return again to stand in front of the camera and do your stand-up reports. Of course, this routine is very tiring on the psychological and physical levels because you will be [working] 24 hours out of 24, and there are no breaks.

What has it been like to cover a war you're also living?

The first day of the war I was injured, and the third day of the war or the fourth day of the war, I received the news of the death of 11 of my family members — my cousins — while I was on air ... After a period of about a month and a half [of reporting on the war], I also received the news of the death of 17 were killed in Deir Al-Balah , my direct cousins. I mean, you are talking about 17 people. And my house was demolished.

What keeps you motivated?

Our duty and ethics require that we defend the rights of people wherever they are in any region of the world, whether in Gaza or outside Gaza ... You work as a media journalist or journalist with a national and professional humanitarian message who must perform his mission to the fullest.

Akram Al Satarri

Akram Al Satarri, 48, is a freelance journalist in Gaza who has reported for NBC and Reuters, among other outlets.

they are doing the homework

Akram Al Satarri says he is motivated to report from Gaza in order to help show the world the realities of the war. "Even if it means us losing our lives," he says. Akram El Satarri hide caption

Akram Al Satarri says he is motivated to report from Gaza in order to help show the world the realities of the war. "Even if it means us losing our lives," he says.

What is your daily work routine?

You start your day by gathering information about the different incidents that took place at different times throughout the day. Sometimes you have to go to a specific area that was hit to get more accurate information there ... Sometimes because of the general security situation or lack of fuel, I walk there on foot, sometimes I go on an animal-pulled cart, to make sure that I get the information.

What about internet and electricity?

We keep struggling to find those good internet and electricity sources. Sometimes you work for two or three days then it goes off, which means you have to find another alternative. So we spend most of our time looking for electricity supply and looking for internet access.

What motivates you to keep going?

We understand that we have to do this for the sake of reflecting the suffering of the people, and all the people trying to survive ... we as journalists are change agents. We are hoping that by comprehensive coverage of Gaza, even if it means us losing our lives ...We are ready to go the extra mile for the sake of helping the people and for the sake of spreading the truth about this situation.

What are you trying tell the world with your reporting?

I want the people outside Gaza to know that the situation that Gazans have been living in is extremely unbelievable, inconceivable in the sense of the extent of suffering ... and they need to know that it can within their reach to change the situation if they intensified their activism ... and communicated in the U.S. with their congressmen and [members of parliament] in the U.K..

Khawla Al Khalidi

Khawla Al Khalidi, 34, reports for the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya and Al Haddath news channels, as well as Palestine TV, a network run by the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

they are doing the homework

Like other journalists in Rafah, Khawla Al Khaldi has struggled with intermittent access to the internet. "We continuously sought alternatives, which was naturally very exhausting under the humanitarian circumstances we were living in," she says. Khawala Al Khaldi hide caption

Like other journalists in Rafah, Khawla Al Khaldi has struggled with intermittent access to the internet. "We continuously sought alternatives, which was naturally very exhausting under the humanitarian circumstances we were living in," she says.

What's your biggest challenge in getting your work done?

The biggest problem facing us as journalists [is that] because we rely heavily on the internet and electricity to continuously charge our mobile phones and devices. Additionally, we needed to constantly update data and information to deliver it to media organizations ... We continuously sought alternatives, which was naturally very exhausting under the humanitarian circumstances we were living in because we're part of the Israeli targets around the clock and part of the military operations in the Gaza Strip.

What motivated you to keep working under those circumstances?

What motivated us to continue working in the Gaza Strip was our genuine belief that we have the moral high ground and have a more truthful narrative ... We are fully convinced that we have rights and that we are the owners of the narrative. Therefore, we consider the Palestinian pen and Palestinian media to be a clear and very important means of conveying the truth and holding Israel accountable for its crimes.

What do you want the world to know?

The world must fully understand that the Gaza Strip is being annihilated not just every hour or day, but every minute ... Many images couldn't be documented, meaning that what is released to the media is only 10% of what actually happens on the ground. We have indeed lost our past, present and future ... We don't have more time so they must act quickly. This is what we ask for.

NPR producer Abu Bakr Bashir contributed to this report from London.

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VIDEO

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  2. I do my homework #shortsvideo

  3. Why aren't you doing your homework?

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Do Homework: 15 Expert Tips and Tricks

    Here's how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break.

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

    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 ...

  3. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    They argued that while there's some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the "meritocratic" narrative that says ...

  4. How to Do Homework (with Pictures)

    2. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Put your phone away, get away from your computer, and make your environment as quiet as possible. Giving homework your undivided attention will actually make it easier, because your mind won't be balancing different tasks at the same time.

  5. Should Kids Get Homework?

    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 ...

  6. The truth about homework in America

    According to an international study of homework, 15-year-olds in Shanghai do 13.8 hours of homework per week compared to 6.1 hours in the U.S. and 5.3 hours in Mexico and 3.4 hours in Costa Rica. But here's the thing: academic expectations in the U.S. vary widely from school to school. Some American elementary schools have banned homework.

  7. Does homework really work?

    A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don't have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. "Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school," says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth ...

  8. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    "Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home," Fiorentino writes. "This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them." She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

  9. 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).

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    As many children, not to mention their parents and teachers, are drained by their daily workload, some schools and districts are rethinking how homework should work—and some teachers are doing ...

  11. Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

    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.

  12. Why I Love Doing Homework (Even If My Kids Hate It)

    Eric Helgas for The New York Times. By Saul Austerlitz. Sept. 5, 2023. My kids call me the homework villain. Every school-day afternoon, my two sons — the older is entering sixth grade, the ...

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

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

  14. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Pro 1: Homework Helps to Improve Student Achievement. Homework teaches students various beneficial skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and professional life, from time management and organization to self-motivation and autonomous learning. Homework helps students of all ages build critical study abilities that help ...

  15. What's the point of homework?

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

  16. The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong

    The authors go on to argue that since this is the case, teachers should "interpret differences in students' homework production through a structural inequalities frame.". What they have ...

  17. The 5 Best Homework Help Websites (Free and Paid!)

    Best Paid Homework Help Site: Chegg. Price: $14.95 to $19.95 per month. Best for: 24/7 homework assistance. This service has three main parts. The first is Chegg Study, which includes textbook solutions, Q&A with subject experts, flashcards, video explanations, a math solver, and writing help.

  18. 'There's only so far I can take them': Why teachers give up on

    The kids do the homework, and they're supposed to check it and figure out if they need extra help. The kids who do that, there is an amazing correlation between that and positive grades. The kids ...

  19. 11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data (2024)

    Surprisingly, 4% of US teens say they do more than 6 hours of homework per night. That's almost as much homework as there are hours in the school day. The only activity that teens self-reported as doing more than homework was engaging in electronics, which included using phones, playing video games, and watching TV. 9.

  20. Debunking Homework Myths

    Now if I had Mr. Sullivan's students, I would assign homework because they would do it." My answer then and now was, "Then make homework worth doing so they will want to do it." A New Approach. I began assigning projects that required the students to apply their learning from class. Instead of filling in the blanks on a worksheet I requested ...

  21. Homework in America

    In 2004, 12% of 9-year-olds said they had more than one hour of daily homework, while 8% of 13-year-olds and 12% of 17-year-olds said they had more than two hours. For all three age groups, those ...

  22. If They'd Only Do Their Work!

    Teachers complain that many adolescents enter high school unprepared to act like students—to sit still and listen, take notes, study on their own, engage in classwork, and finish homework. The plaintive refrain echoes through the staff room: "If I could only get them to do their work!".

  23. they do their homework

    They do their homework well, he thought. There's another fact that the police might take into account if they do their homework. They do their homework before dinner. They eat when they're supposed to; they sleep when they're supposed to; they do their homework when they're supposed to.

  24. WI DMV urges voters to do their homework before getting ...

    Another mistake people make is they think they need a Wisconsin REAL ID to vote. Winkler said any valid, non-expired driver's license or identification card that is issued by the state of ...

  25. From school uniforms to homework & dinner: Video of South African mom's

    The TikTok footage shows the kids changing out of their uniforms, cleaning their shoes, doing homework, and enjoying dinner together Many people commented on the video, praising the mom for her ...

  26. Ramadan in schools: What teachers can do to support Muslim students

    This year, as with those prior, "it's definitely on the students to figure out what they want to do" during school, she said. Flexible homework and testing.

  27. NFL Draft rumors: Vikings set to do their homework on ...

    If the Vikings are serious about drafting McCarthy then they must get ahead of the Giants at No. 6. Minnesota Vikings doing their homework on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy.

  28. Opinion

    This was a quite reasonable thing to do in 2020, when, through no fault of their own, many kids had difficulty taking the SAT or the ACT — their scheduled test was canceled, or they or someone ...

  29. What the Data Says About Pandemic School Closures, Four Years Later

    In districts where students spent most of the 2020-21 school year learning remotely, they fell more than half a grade behind in math on average, while in districts that spent most of the year in ...

  30. Gaza journalists are reporting on the very war they are living for

    Israel — with rare exceptions — has prevented foreign journalists from entering Gaza. As such, Palestinian reporters remain the world's eyes and ears on the ground, and they do so at great peril.