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Studying with Friends: Why You Need a Study Buddy [+Tips]

doing homework together

Friendship is based on mutual respect, common interests, and laughter. Studying doesn’t usually appear on the list of shared activities. So why are more and more students meeting with their friends after class to do homework and prepare for exams?

There is a simple reason:

Having a study buddy has many advantages. Of course, you can always study alone at home, but you’ll miss the numerous benefits that come from learning with a friend or two.

In this article, our team will explain the most crucial advantages of having a study buddy. We’ll also explore the characteristics of a friend who can support you in your studies and how to nurture those qualities in yourself.

Who Is a Study Buddy Exactly?

We’ve already mentioned that a study buddy is a friend with whom you can prepare for tests and exams. But we’d like to dive deeper! Let’s explore the phenomenon in detail and figure out what it means to be one.

A study buddy should have these qualities:

  • Empathy . A good study buddy is someone who understands your emotions, especially stress , that can be caused by upcoming exams. In an ideal case, both of you should experience the same challenges to understand each other better.
  • Patience . Sometimes, it takes a long time to grasp new material. A reliable study buddy is someone who can withstand stress and overcome the difficulties of the process successfully.
  • Enthusiasm . A study buddy is someone who energizes you and motivates you to achieve your goals. This type of friend will always support and encourage you.
  • Self-organization. The ability to schedule a workload properly is the key to success. Therefore, a study buddy should be able to manage their time wisely and learn the material needed for an exam.

Most students spend time studying after school. They do homework, prepare for exams, or revise their notes for better comprehension. So, what are these study sessions like?

  • Study Buddy vs. Study Group

There are two options for a joint study session:

  • With a study buddy,
  • In a study group.

You have to decide for yourself which option is the most convenient for you. Keep in mind that if you choose to study with several people, your group shouldn’t be too big. Make sure it is small enough so that everyone has the opportunity to ask questions and understand the material.

Organizing a large group of students is tricky. Thus, follow the principle of quality over quantity . Stick to a small but supportive group of people, and your studying process will be very productive.

  • Study Buddy vs. Studying Alone

You might think you don’t need a study partner at all. Many students believe that studying alone is more effective and convenient because they do not need to adapt to anyone. And this is absolutely normal!

Why you should consider studying with a friend.

For example, you could study separately and call at a later time to quiz each other. Or you could agree to start at a specific time to increase your motivation. There are many options! Come up with several you like and try them out.

In any case, try to study with a friend when you can. There are so many benefits to this interaction, which we’ll talk about below.

9 Reasons to Get a Study Buddy

There are several reasons why you should think of finding a study buddy or a study group. Check them out in our infographic below.

As you can consider, the benefits of studying with a friend are the following:

Benefits of having a friend to study with.

How to Study with Friends: Essential Tips

Now that you’ve learned about all the benefits of studying with your friends let’s see how to start. First and foremost, you need to become a good study buddy yourself. This way, the extra effort that your friends put into studying with you can pay off for them too.

In the following several sections of this article, we’ll explain in detail how to be productive while studying with someone. We’ve got you covered every step of the way: from choosing a buddy to organizing and navigating your study sessions.

7 Tips on Selecting a Study Buddy

Choosing a study buddy can be a confusing process. In this section, we’ve gathered tips to help you select the absolute best one for you.

There are several types of study buddies. Depending on your personality, you’ll want to look for different characteristics that make someone a good partner for you in your study process.

Study buddy types.

Besides, we’ve listed a few things you should take into account when selecting a friend to study with:

  • Compatibility.

Before choosing your study buddy, ask yourself some personal questions:

  • Do you like to chat during your study session?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Do you enjoy working in silence, or do you want to discuss the new information actively?

Asking these questions before choosing a study buddy is essential because these qualities will determine how successful your study results will be. Do not choose a study buddy based on your shared interests or hobbies. Instead, consider how well your study styles match each other.

  • Availability .

Another essential point to consider is your schedule – you want to find someone who has a similar one. If your potential study buddy lives too far away or works inconvenient hours, then it might be better to look for someone else.

It would help if you found someone who respects your time and schedule. Study partners should make things easier for each other. Who needs additional stress? Choose someone punctual, organized, and motivated.

There is a significant difference between study partners and tutors. Remember that you don’t have to be a teacher to your study buddy and explain all the given material. The goal should be to find someone who matches your academic level. Otherwise, you will spend all your time doing someone else’s work.

  • Distractibility .

A good partner should be beneficial for your study process. They should not be the ones distracting you. Thus, find someone who is as motivated and goal-driven as you. Having your best friend as your study buddy might not be the best idea. If you have too much fun together, it might be challenging to focus on the studies.

The best scenario would be finding someone who knows what you don’t know and vice versa. In this case, you can help each other with the study material. For instance, you know someone who is excellent with constitutional law but does not know torts that well. Your understanding of torts can help your study buddy, and their knowledge of constitutional law can fill your educational gaps.

Maintaining a positive outlook is essential. All of us can get scared and unmotivated at times. That’s why it is critical to choose someone whose spirit can boost your confidence and mood.

What’s more, today you don’t have to look for a study buddy in your group or college. You can find various helpful apps and websites that can get you a partner online on the Internet.

For example:

1) StudyBuddyMobile will help you find a study buddy and find free tutoring on your campus. There is also a way to select students who prepare for the same exam, such as GRE, GMAT, etc.

2) Mooclab is another tool that students can use to find the best study pal. All you have to do is sign up, search based on your preferences, and connect with the matched people. It can also help you find a study group. However, it is not easy to use if you want to find someone immediately.

3) StudyPal is a service with a slack chat, a Zoom channel, and a network of tutors who aced the test you are preparing for. If you want to access all of these features, you will be asked to upgrade your account to premium for just 10 dollars. Nevertheless, if you don’t spend additional money on the study buddy service, there are many free services available.

Some universities realized the tremendous benefit of having study groups and including this feature in their campus apps. They allow students who take the same course to indicate their interest in studying outside of the classroom. Academic Support Centers at other colleges started launching programs with the same intention.

For instance:

Brigham Young University in Idaho created a program called  Study Buddy . This specific program offers a one-on-one tutoring solution for those students who need some extra motivation and help.

How to Be a Friend to Study with

Collaborative learning is a process that requires the involvement of each participant. That is, if you want to have a great study buddy, you have to become one yourself. And here we will explain to you how to do it.

Studying with Buddies: Step by Step

Finally, we can move on to the highlights of learning with friends. This section provides you with a step-by-step guide for conducting study sessions when working with one or more people.

First things first, you need to choose a suitable partner for studying and prepare yourself for this responsibility. You can’t skip this step if you want to excel in collaborative learning. We have described all the tips in detail in the previous sections.

To navigate a study session, you should follow these steps:

Step 1: Pick the location.

Choose a convenient place to meet and study. This could be a free classroom in a college, someone’s room in an apartment or dorm. Now, you can meet on Zoom or Skype for collaborative learning.

Step 2: Create a schedule.

It is necessary to devote specific time to your study sessions. Agree on a particular period to conduct your study sessions. Create a shared file with a schedule where all of you can make changes.

Step 3: Choose what to study in advance.

Set a specific goal of what you need to do. You can’t be studying everything at once. Divide the material between each other beforehand.

Step 4: Share your notes and resources.

Sharing valuable resources and clear notes is necessary. It might lead to a better understanding of the material for both of you. If you share your notes, your partner will share theirs. Apart from that, you can both look up informative essay examples that might be useful for studying a particular subject or topic. Exchange what you’ve found afterwards.

Step 5: Plan time for studying and breaks.

You can’t be studying all the time. Devote some time for collaborative and individual study sessions, as well as for some rest time. Also, take some breaks during actual meetings to not overwork.

Step 6: Be prepared for each session.

If you’ve agreed on anything to do during previous sessions, do it. Complete all the tasks you’ve decided to do. Make notes to discuss specific questions.

Step 7: Communicate.

Make sure to actually talk to your study buddy. Your understandings and thoughts might be different, and it’s vital to share them. There’s no point to gather and read the information in silence.

Step 8: Consider tutoring each other.

Explaining a topic in your own words is an effective way to learn it. Try taking in turns and teaching each other specific issues. Every participant will benefit from such sessions.

Step 9: Test and assess each other.

Make regular quizzes. That’s a helpful method of evaluating one’s process of studying. Plus, it’s useful for group sessions.

Step 10: Agree on the deadlines.

If you’re in the course together, it is necessary to go over the material and schedule some deadlines to be on track. Having a shared goal and due date will increase productivity and keep you focused. However, you also need to plan some individual study sessions.

Thank you for reaching the end of the article! We hope you found it helpful, and now you know for sure if you need a study buddy. Share this article with potential candidates for this role to keep them interested.

  • Navigate Study Buddies – Washburn University, Kansas DegreeStats
  • Study Groups – Learning Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 5 Tips for an Effective Study Group – David Eccles School of Business, the University of Utah
  • How Can a Study Buddy Help You Succeed – RMIT University
  • Study Buddies – The Graduate School, the University of Texas at Tyler
  • 10 Reasons Why You Should Form a Study Group – Florida National University
  • Study Groups: Learning Centers – Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
  • Study Groups – Anderson University, Anderson Indiana
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How to Make a Better Homework Schedule for Your Family

Verywell / Zackary Angeline

Why Homework Schedules Are Effective

  • Developing a Schedule

Other Considerations

  • Next in Back to School Planning Guide How to Help Your Kids Succeed in School

Do you frequently have homework struggles with your child or teen? Or, does your student procrastinate doing their work? Maybe they even fail to turn in assignments. If any of these scenarios resonate with you, a better homework schedule may help.

A regular homework schedule establishes predictable times when homework is to be completed. Once the homework schedule has been in place for a few weeks, you may even find your child will begin doing their homework without needing to be reminded—although you may still need to monitor their work progress.

If you're struggling with homework completion in your household, or if you're having daily battles about allotting the appropriate amount of time to homework, you're not alone. That's why educators recommend developing a homework schedule—with input from your kids.

Once you set a homework schedule, then there are no questions about when the work will be done. It also communicates clear expectations; having a homework schedule helps kids understand what is required of them. And following the schedule encourages them to develop a good work ethic.

Schedules also help prevent procrastination and instill good habits like completing work on time. Homework routines also improve study skills and encourage kids to plan ahead.

Other benefits include developing your child's work ethic and organizational abilities. By helping your child complete their work at regular intervals, you are modeling how to manage time and projects in the future. When you send them off to college , they will know how to pace their work so they can avoid all-nighters at the end of the semester.

How to Develop a Homework Schedule

To develop a homework schedule, start by talking with your kids. Get their input on how they would like to manage their time and incorporate their homework into their daily routine. A successful homework schedule allows kids to finish their work and also have some free time.

Give Kids an Option

If you ask kids when they want to do their homework, their first answer might be "Never" or "Later." But if you dig a little deeper, your child may tell you what matters to them as they plan their schedule. This information will help you avoid scheduling homework during their favorite television program or when they usually get online to play games with friends.

When you include your child in the decision-making process, you also will get more buy-in from them because they know that their concerns were heard. You don't have to give them their way, but at least considering what they have to say will let them feel included. After all, this homework schedule is about them completing their homework.

Allow for Free Time

Some kids can step through the front door and buckle down on their homework right away. When this happens, they reap the reward of getting their work done early and having the rest of the evening to do what they want. But most kids need to eat and decompress a bit before tackling their assignments.

As you develop your homework schedule, keep in mind your child has already spent at least six hours in class. And this time doesn't include getting to and from school or participation in extracurricular programs . Allow kids some free time before beginning their homework if that's what they need to unwind.

Establish a Timeline

Generally, you can expect about 10 minutes of homework per grade level of school. This means that a third-grade student will need about 30 minutes to complete homework. However, the amount of time needed can vary dramatically between students, teachers, and schools.

Find out how much time your child's teacher expects homework to take each evening. If your child takes a lot of time to complete their work or struggles with homework , talk with the teacher. Your child may need extra instruction on a task or tutoring assistance—or fewer homework assignments.

Pick a Homework Spot

Designate a comfortable and efficient spot for your kids to do their homework. This workspace should be well-lit, stocked with supplies , and quiet. The workspace should allow you to provide some supervision. 

If you have multiple kids trying to complete their homework at one time, you may want to find a separate location for each child. Sometimes kids can complete their homework together at the kitchen table, but other times having siblings around can be distracting. Do what works best for your family.

Put It All Together

Now that you know what your child's needs and concerns are for finding a time to do homework, you need to come up with the actual plan. Creating a homework routine is really just one piece of creating a daily school year routine .

For the homework time itself, get it down on paper so you can see exactly what they will be doing and when they will be doing it. Do this for each day of the week if you have different activities on different weekdays. Students who are assigned larger projects will need to review their homework plans regularly to make adjustments as needed.

Expect your child to work consistently throughout the assigned time. Avoid having multiple homework sessions, such as one before dinner and a second one after dinner. Starting and stopping may mean children may spend more time getting into what they are doing than working continuously.

Be Consistent

Once you have decided on a time to do homework, stick to the plan! It usually takes about three weeks for most children to really get into the habit of their new schedule.

If your child or teen has difficulty maintaining concentration for the length of time that their homework should take, then you may want to carefully consider breaking up the work to take advantage of the time when your child can focus.

This added step is especially important for children and teens with depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They may benefit from multiple smaller work sessions and more frequent breaks.

Even though the idea behind creating a homework schedule is to get your child to work consistently and independently, you may need to look over their work when they are done. This is especially important for younger children.

Make sure they understand their assignments and that they completed a reasonable amount of work during the homework session. If you find your child is having trouble actually working during their homework time, troubleshoot to find out what might be the issue. Sometimes kids need extra help and other times they simply need more motivation to get their work done.

If you find that your child continues to struggle with homework even with a schedule in place, you might need to dig a little deeper. Consider discussing your child's issues with their teacher or pediatrician.

Sometimes kids are reluctant to complete their homework because of undiagnosed learning disabilities. It could be that your child struggles with reading comprehension or has a processing disorder. Or it could be that your child is struggling with a mental health issue like anxiety .

A Word From Verywell

Establishing a homework schedule allows children to build some important life skills that will help them as they navigate high school, college, and eventually the workforce. Practice is important when kids are learning new skills. So, having a nightly homework routine enhances your child's learning. Just be sure you aren't requiring homework time at the expense of being a kid. Having time to play is just as important to a child's development as learning new material.

National Institute of Mental Health. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder .

By Lisa Linnell-Olsen Lisa Linnell-Olsen has worked as a support staff educator, and is well-versed in issues of education policy and parenting issues.

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  • Doing Homework with Friends

by Ron Kurtus (updated 28 February 2022)

They often say: "Two heads are better than one." Sometimes that can be true when doing your homework.

In some types of homework, collaborating or working with one or more fellow students can be an effective way to get things done and increase understanding.

Of course, this does not mean that each of you only does a part of the work—like splitting up the solving of math problems. Instead, it is working together to discuss the assignment and perhaps check over each other's work.

However, you should check with your teacher to make sure it is OK. Some teachers may prefer that you to work alone.

The biggest problem with doing homework or projects together is that it is so easy to start talking about other things. Also, some friends are better as friends than as study-mates. Thus, you should have a good plan of action for studying together.

Questions you may have include:

  • Who can effectively use this method?
  • Who is a good person to study with?
  • What sort of plan should we have?

This lesson will answer those questions.

Check your best study method

You need to determine whether your personality and study methods would work well if you studied with another person.

Solitary studying

Some students prefer to concentrate by themselves when they study. They need to focus on their work in order to get it done or to solve a problem. Disruptions from other people can break their train of thought and make it difficult to get back on track.

Social studying

Other students are more social in their thinking and study styles. They like to play ideas off others and discuss things before putting it down on paper. These are the students who will do well in studying with friends or other students.

Of course, there is always the temptation to socialize more than to study. With a little planning you can enjoy the company of your friend and still get the homework assignment completed.

Instant messaging or texting

There is also a compromise to this method, where students will be studying alone but will interface through Instant Messaging, texting email, or the telephone.

Even the student who prefers to study alone may break his or her concentration to contact a friend and ask for some information.

Work and tests

Note that in the modern office workplace, many companies are emphasizing group projects. Those who prefer to work alone on projects often are told to work in a group.

But also note that students who like to work alone probably will do better in test situations that those who like to study in a social environment.

Know your study partner

It may seem obvious that you know with whom you are studying, but quite often you don't realize the other person's goals, abilities and methods until you start working with him or her. Some friends may be fun but may also inhibit your ability to finish your assignment.

Some only goof around

Some people just want to socialize and don't have a goal of really getting anything done. With such a study partner, you might end up not finishing your assignment.

Megan was Emily's best friend, so she when asked Emily to study together for the History exam, Emily jumped to the opportunity. However, Megan had not kept up-to-date with her reading and kept asking Emily for information about various sections in the book. Emily felt short-changed in their study session.

Others may have nothing to contribute or may want you to do all the work for them. The person may be a friend, but who wants to always be doing someone else's work?

Be selective

Although it is often fun to work on an assignment or project with others, you also must remember that you have a goal of getting the homework done and receiving a good grade on it.

You may need to be selective in finding a study-mate. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is by trial and error.

Plan your activity

When you study alone, you just do it. Perhaps you may set aside a specific time to do your work. However, when you study with friends, you need a definite plan of action concerning a time limit and how much socializing is allowed.

Set a time limit before you start

When you set a time limit on something, you usually will finish it within time. This is true for doing homework, too. Set a time limit to finish the assignment that you and your friend are working on.

For example, you could say, "Let's work together on the History assignment from 8 to 9 PM."

Then you could plan to do other things after the assignment is complete. Amazingly, when you set a time limit on work, you usually can finish it within that time.

Divide projects into parts

A good way of working together is to control the situation by alternating between serious work and conversation.

Divide your project into small parts and set a goal to complete each part, mixing in breaks for enjoyment. Also, setting time limits to complete various parts of your assignment helps to keep the mix of talk and work in the proper perspective.

Wrap it up on time

My feeling is that in any type of activity, when the time is up, you wrap it up. In other words, when you get near the end of a study session, you make quick decisions and finish everything up.

Try to never let loose ends dangle. Finish the job or the part of the task you had planned to finish.

You can work with friends on assignments to zip through your homework, provided you select good study-mates, you alternate between focused work and breaks and you complete the job in the allotted time.

Studying together is one of several strategies you can use to do well in school. See if it will help you become a top student.

Friends can help each other do well in school

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Getting Good Grades Doing Homework with Friends

Good Grades topics

  • Overview of Getting Good Grades

Seeking good grades

  • Reasons to Seek Good Grades
  • Factors in Determining Your Grades
  • Having Fun in School
  • Reasons Students Get Poor Grades
  • Avoid Getting Failing Grades
  • Cheating to Get a Better Grade

Absorbing information

  • Taking Notes in Class
  • Using Graphical Outlines
  • Texting During Class
  • Learn From Observing Others
  • Learn by Teaching Others

Dealing with teachers

  • When the Teacher is a Jerk
  • Getting a Good Teacher
  • Class Participation Improves Your Grades

Doing your homework

  • Purpose of Homework
  • Zip Through Your Homework
  • Getting Your Homework Done
  • Plagiarism Can Lower Your Grade

Using important skills

  • Special Homework Skills
  • Reading Faster
  • Writing Clearly
  • Speak to Your Class with Confidence
  • Researching Information

Knowing how to take tests

  • Be Good at Taking Tests
  • Practice Taking Tests
  • Preparing to Take a Test
  • Mental Process in Preparing for a Test
  • Avoid Goofing Up Tests
  • Preparing for the Final Exams

Problems in school

  • Being Bullied Can Affect Your Grades
  • Protecting Your Books from Thieves
  • Characteristics of Hyperactive Students
  • Harness Your Hyperactivity

Having champion attitudes

  • Become a Champion Student
  • Three Levels of a Champion Student
  • Being Healthy
  • Being Knowledgeable
  • Striving for Excellence
  • Being Valuable
  • Having Good Character in School

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How to Cowork Remotely With Friends—or Strangers

Person working on laptop in comfortable living room

For reasons that we’re all aware of, working remotely from home is now far more common than it used to be. That brings with it plenty of advantages, but also a few challenges, such as the need to stay motivated and on task when there are no colleagues around and so many distractions just a click away.

To try and tackle this problem, some people are turning to strangers on the internet—strangers who will sit with them, connected over a video call, while both parties study or work or do whatever needs to be done.

It may sound like a bizarre solution at first, but it works better than you might think. It adds a low level of accountability without much additional effort. If you’re sharing your focus session with someone else, albeit silently and simply, you’re far less likely to be tempted by an afternoon nap or an hour of binge watching .

Illustration of doodle characters working on laptops

Focusmate pairs you with another user to help you focus.

Focusmate is one of the leading services in this particular field, connecting you with another user on the same service so you can get stuff done. You can get up to three free 25-minute or 50-minute sessions per week by registering an account on Focusmate, and unlimited sessions are yours for $5 a month.

All you need to do is tell Focusmate when there are free slots in your schedule, and it’ll match you with a partner plucked at random. There’s no small talk and no collaboration involved: Once you’re connected with each other, all you have to do is share the task you’re working on and then get to it.

According to internal user surveys carried out by Focusmate, 93 percent of people who’ve used the service say that it helped their productivity. Even if those users are somewhat biased, that’s still a high figure—it’s at least worth trying out for free to see whether it helps with your particular way of working.

As long as you’ve got a camera and a microphone on your device, you can use Focusmate. It works with Chrome on the desktop and on Android, and with Safari on the iPhone and the iPad. 

Screenshot of computer screen displaying three people on a video call

Life At Spaces lets you invite other people into your working space.

Life At Spaces takes a slightly different approach, and the coworking video session that works in a similar way to Focusmate is just one part of what Life At Spaces does. There are other aids to productivity included here, such as desktop spaces to manage your mood, ambient music to keep you focused, and a to-do list tool as well.

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As far as remote working goes, there’s a way of inviting other users into your digital working space to further concentrate your mind. You don’t get any of the advanced scheduling tools or partnering technology that Focusmate offers—you need to invite someone you know—but it may work better for you.

You need a mic and camera to use the feature, and you’ll be given an email link that you can pass on to one or more coworkers as needed. It’s really up to you how you use Life At Spaces—in terms of how long the sessions are and how you use them—and there’s plenty of flexibility built into the platform.

As we’ve said, there’s lots more to explore here as well, whether that’s putting a soothing background on your laptop while you work, or using a Pomodoro timer to schedule your working sessions and your breaks. You get certain features (including 15 minutes per day of coworking video chat) for free, with a premium account costing $9 a month.

Person shown on laptop screen in a video call

Set up your own session for yourself on Zoom.

You don’t necessarily need to sign up for a whole new service to work with other people in this way: You just need some video calling software like Microsoft Teams , Zoom , or Google Meet , and someone to work with, and you can set up the connection and the work session yourself.

Of course you miss out on the automatic scheduling features of something like Focusmate, but if you’re organizing everything yourself, then you’ve got full control over how everything runs—whether that’s the person signing up with you or how long the session lasts.

We would recommend agreeing ahead of time how much time you’re going to spend working together, and how much interaction there’s going to be—find something that works for you. Focusmate advises people to keep the small talk down to a minimum, but then again, they are putting strangers together, and you might prefer a different set of rules.

One benefit of self-organized coworking video sessions is that you won’t have to pay anything extra for them. One-to-one video calls and even group video calls are usually free for an unlimited time on most video platforms.

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8 Benefits of Studying with Friends


Did you know that studying with friends - when done right - has multiple benefits to your learning experience? Think about the times you have studied on your own and when you are studying with your friends - which is more effective? If you and your friends stay on tasks and eliminate distractions, you will see the advantages of studying in the short and long term.

Discover the eight benefits of studying with friends below:

#1 Builds interpersonal skills

#2 increases learning retention, #3 improves your mood, #4 amplifies your level of motivation, #5 makes learning more enjoyable, #6 strengthens your friendships, #7 encourages you to think openly, #8 develop new skills and habits.

Have you always wanted to study with your mates here at IMC? Currently we are running our latest Referral Rewards Program for you and your friends for Term 3 2020 and Term 1 2021 where you can both benefit greatly! For more information, download our flyer here or read our FAQs page .

Interested? Don’t miss your chance to register today! Terms and conditions apply.

Related Articles

  • 7 Effective Ways to Study Online
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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.

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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)! 

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find: 

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them 
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you . 

So let’s get started! 


How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 


How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 


If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away. 
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C. 

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels 

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 


This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 


Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

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, y ou get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. 

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!) 


Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast 

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.) 

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later. 

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too. 


What’s Next? 

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!) 

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

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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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How to Do Homework

Last Updated: September 24, 2023 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 948,721 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.

Expert Q&A

Ronitte Libedinsky, MS

  • 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 1
  • 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 1 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 1 Not Helpful 1

doing homework together

  • 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

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  • ↑ Ronitte Libedinsky, MS. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 26 May 2020.
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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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Family Work

Titling for magazine article "Family Work."

The daily work of families—the ordinary hands-on labor of sustaining life—has the power to bind us together.

By Kathleen Slaugh Bahr and Cheri A. Loveless in the Spring 2000 Issue

Illustrations by Rich Lillash

I grew up in a little town in Northern Utah, the oldest daughter in a family of 13 children. We lived on a small two-and-a-half-acre farm with a large garden, fruit trees, and a milk cow. We children loved helping our dad plant the garden, following behind him like little quail as he cut the furrow with his hoe and we dropped in the seeds. Weeding was less exciting, but it had to be done. I was never very good at milking the cow. Fortunately, my brothers shared that task.

In the autumn, we all helped with the harvest. I especially loved picking and bottling the fruit. It required the hands of all 13 of us plus Mom and Dad. We children swarmed through the trees picking the fruit. My dad would fire up an old camp stove where we heated the water to scald the fruit. My mother supervised putting the fruit in jars, adding the sugar, putting on the lids. My youngest sister remembers feeling very important because she had hands small enough to turn the peach halves if they fell into the jars upside downand they usually did. When the harvest was complete, I loved looking at the freezer full of vegetables and all the jars of fruit. They looked like jewels to me.

Caring for our large family kept all of us busy most of the time. Mother was the overseer of the inside work, and Dad the outside, but I also remember seeing my father sweep floors, wash dishes, and cook meals when his help was needed. As children we often worked together, but not all at the same task. While we worked we talked, sang, quarreled, made good memories, and learned what it meant to be family members, good sons or daughters and fathers or mothers, good Americans, good Christians.

As a young child, I didn’t know there was anything unusual about this life. My father and mother read us stories about their parents and grandparents, and it was clear that both my father and mother had worked hard as children. Working hard was what families did, what they always had done. Their work was “family work,” the everyday, ordinary, hands-on labor of sustaining life that cannot be ignored—feeding one another, clothing one another, cleaning and beautifying ourselves and our surroundings. It included caring for the sick and tending to the tasks of daily life for those who could not do it for themselves. It was through this shared work that we showed our love and respect for each other—and work was also the way we learned to love and respect each other.

“Many social and political forces continue the devaluation of family work.”

When I went to graduate school, I learned that not everyone considered this pattern of family life ideal. At the university, much of what I read and heard belittled family work. Feminist historians reminded us students that men had long been liberated from farm and family work; now women were also to be liberated. One professor taught that assigning the tasks of nurturing children primarily to women was the root of women’s oppression. I was told that women must be liberated from these onerous family tasks so that they might be free to work for money.

Today many social and political forces continue the devaluation of family work, encouraging the belief that family work is the province of the exploited and the powerless. Chief among these forces is the idea that because money is power, one’s salary is the true indication of one’s worth. Another is that the important work of the world is visible and takes place in the public sphere—in offices, factories, and government buildings. According to this ideology, if one wants to make a difference in the world, one must do it through participation in the world of paid work.

Some have tried to convince us of the importance of family work by calling attention to its economic value, declaring, as in one recent study, that a stay-at-home mom’s work is worth more than half a million dollars. 1  But I believe assigning economic value to household work does not translate into an increase in its status or power. In fact, devaluing family work to its mere market equivalent may even have the opposite effect. People who see the value of family work only in terms of the economic value of processes that yield measurable products—washed dishes, baked bread, swept floors, clothed children—miss what some call the “invisible household production” that occurs at the same time, but which is, in fact, more important to family-building and character development than the economic products. Here lies the real power of family work—its potential to transform lives, to forge strong families, to build strong communities. It is the power to quietly, effectively urge hearts and minds toward a oneness known only in Zion.

Illustration of a family picking apples together.

Back to Eden

Family work actually began with Adam and Eve. As best we can discern, they lived a life of relative ease in the Garden of Eden. They “dressed” and “kept” it ( Moses 3:15 ), but it isn’t clear what that entailed since the plants were already flourishing. There were no weeds, and Adam and Eve had no children to prod or cajole into watering or harvesting, if such tasks needed to be done

When they exercised their agency and partook of the fruit, Adam and Eve left their peaceful, labor-free existence and began one of hard work. They were each given a specific area of responsibility, yet they helped each other in their labors. Adam brought forth the fruit of the earth, and Eve worked along with him ( Moses 5:1 ). Eve bore children, and Adam joined her in teaching them ( Moses 5:12 ). They were not given a choice about these two lifetime labors; these were commandments ( Moses 4:22–25 ).

Traditionally, many have considered this need to labor as a curse, but a close reading of the account suggests otherwise. God did not curse Adam; He cursed the ground  to bring forth thorns and thistles ( Moses 4:24 ), which in turn forced Adam to labor. And Adam was told, “Cursed shall be the ground  for thy sake ” ( vs. 23 , emphasis added). In other words, the hard work of eating one’s bread “by the sweat of thy face” ( vs. 25 ) was meant to be a blessing.

According to the New Testament, the work of bearing and rearing children was also intended as a blessing. Writes the Apostle Paul: “[Eve]  shall be saved  in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” ( 1 Tim. 2:15 , emphasis added). Significantly, Joseph Smith corrected the verse to read, “ They  shall be saved in childbearing” ( JST, 1 Tim. 2:15 , emphasis added), indicating that more than the sparing of Eve’s physical life was at issue here.  Both  Adam and Eve would be privileged to return to their Heavenly Father through the labor of bringing forth and nurturing their offspring.

According to scripture, then, the Lord blessed Adam and Eve (and their descendants) with two kinds of labor that would, by the nature of the work itself, help guarantee their salvation. Both of these labors—tilling the earth for food and laboring to rear children—are family work, work that sustains and nurtures members of a family from one day to the next. But there is more to consider. These labors literally could not be performed in Eden. These are the labors that ensure physical survival; thus, they became necessary only when mankind left a life-sustaining garden and entered a sphere where life was quickly overcome by death unless it was upheld by steady, continual, hard work. Undoubtedly the Lord knew that other activities associated with mortality—like study and learning or developing one’s talents—would also be important. But His initial emphasis, in the form of a commandment, was on that which had the power to bring His children back into His presence, and that was family work.

Since Eden many variations and distortions of the Lord’s original design for earthly labor have emerged. Still, the general pattern has remained dominant among many peoples of the earth, including families who lived in the United States at the turn of the last century. Mothers and fathers, teenagers and young children cared for their land, their animals, and for each other with their own hands. Their work was difficult, and it filled almost every day of their lives. But they recognized their family work as essential, and it was not without its compensations. It was social and was often carried out at a relaxed pace and in a playful spirit.

“The wrenching apart of work and home-life is one of the great themes in social history.”

Yet, long before the close of the 19th century this picture of families working together was changing. People realized that early death was often related to the harshness of their daily routine. Also, many young people longed for formal schooling or to pursue scientific careers or vocations in the arts, life courses that were sometimes prevented by the necessity of hard work. Industrialization promised to free people from the burden of domestic labor. Many families abandoned farm life and crowded into tenement housing in the cities to take jobs in factories. But factory work was irregular. Most families lived in poverty and squalor, and disease was common.

Reformers of the day sought to alleviate these miseries. In the spirit of the times, many of them envisioned a utopian world without social problems, where scientific inventions would free humans from physical labor, and modern medicine would eliminate disease and suffering. Their reforms eventually transformed work patterns throughout our culture, which in turn changed the roles of men, women, and children within the family unit.

By the turn of the century, many fathers began to earn a living away from the farm and the household. Thus, they no longer worked side by side with their children. Where a son once forged ties with his father as he was taught how to run the farm or the family business, now he could follow his father’s example only by distancing himself from the daily work of the household, eventually leaving home to do his work. Historian John Demos notes:

The wrenching apart of work and home-life is one of the great themes in social history. And for fathers, in particular, the consequences can hardly be overestimated. Certain key elements of pre-modern fatherhood dwindled and disappeared (e.g.,  father as pedagogue, father as moral overseer, father as companion). . . .

Of course, fathers had always been involved in the provision of goods and services to their families; but before the nineteenth century such activity was embedded in a larger matrix of domestic sharing. . . . Now, for the first time, the central activity of fatherhood was cited outside one’s immediate household. Now, being fully a father meant being separated from one’s children for a considerable part of every working day. 2

By the 1950s fathers were gone such long hours they became guests in their own homes. The natural connection between fathers and their children was supposed to be preserved and strengthened by playing together. However, play, like work, also changed over the course of the century, becoming more structured, more costly, and less interactive.

Initially, the changing role of women in the family was more subtle because the kind of work they did remained the same. Yet  how  their tasks were carried out changed drastically over the 20th century, influenced by the modernization of America’s factories and businesses. “Housewives” were encouraged to organize, sterilize, and modernize. Experts urged them to purchase machines to do their physical labor and told them that market-produced goods and services were superior because they freed women to do the supposedly more important work of the mind.

Women were told that applying methods of factory and business management to their homes would ease their burdens and raise the status of household work by “professionalizing” it. Surprisingly, these innovations did neither. Machines tended to replace tasks once performed by husbands and children, while mothers continued to carry out the same basic duties. Houses and wardrobes expanded, standards for cleanliness increased, and new appliances encouraged more elaborate meal preparation. More time was spent shopping and driving children to activities. With husbands at work and older children in school, care of the house and young children now fell almost exclusively to mothers, actually lengthening their work day. 3  Moreover, much of a mother’s work began to be done in isolation. Work that was once enjoyable because it was social became lonely, boring, and monotonous.

Even the purpose of family work was given a facelift. Once performed to nurture and care for one another, it was reduced to “housework” and was done to create “atmosphere.” Since work in the home had “use value” instead of “exchange value,” it remained outside the market economy and its worth became invisible. Being a mother now meant spending long hours at a type of work that society said mattered little and should be “managed” to take no time at all.

Prior to modernization, children shared much of the hard work, laboring alongside their fathers and mothers in the house and on the farm or in a family business. This work was considered good for them—part of their education for adulthood. Children were expected to learn all things necessary for a good life by precept and example, and it was assumed that the lives of the adults surrounding them would be worthy of imitation.

With industrialization, children joined their families in factory work, but gradually employers split up families, often rejecting mothers and fathers in favor of the cheap labor provided by children. Many children began working long hours to help put bread on the family table. Their work was hard, often dangerous, and children lost fingers, limbs, and lives. The child labor movement was thus organized to protect the “thousands of boys and girls once employed in sweat shops and factories” from “the grasping greed of business.” 4  However, the actual changes were much more complex and the consequences more far-reaching. 5  Child labor laws, designed to end the abuses, also ended child labor.

At the same time that expectations for children to work were diminishing, new fashions in child rearing dictated that children needed to have their own money and be trained to spend it wisely. Eventually, the relationship of children and work inside the family completely reversed itself: children went from economic asset to pampered consumer.

“In almost every facet of our prosperous, contemporary lifestyle, we strive for the ease associated with Eden. . . . Back to Eden is not onward to Zion.”

Thus, for each family member the contribution to the family became increasingly abstract and ever distant from the labor of Adam and Eve, until the work given as a blessing to the first couple had all but disappeared. Today a man feels “free” if he can avoid any kind of physical labor—actual work in the fields is left to migrant workers and illegal aliens. Meanwhile, a woman is considered “free” if she chooses a career over mothering at home, freer still if she elects not to bear children at all.

In almost every facet of our prosperous, contemporary lifestyle, we strive for the ease associated with Eden. The more abstract and mental our work, the more distanced from physical labor, the higher the status it is accorded. Better off still is the individual who wins the lottery or inherits wealth and does not have to work at all. Our homes are designed to reduce the time we must spend in family work. An enviable vacation is one where all such work is done for us—where we are fed without preparing our meals, dressed without ironing our shirts, cleaned up after wherever we go, whatever we do.

Even the way we go about building relationships denies the saving power inherent in working side by side at something that requires us to cooperate in spite of differences. Rather, we “bond” with our children by getting the housework out of the way so the family can participate in structured “play.” We improve our marriages by getting away from the house and kids, from responsibility altogether, to communicate uninterrupted as if work, love, and living were not inseparably connected. We are so thoroughly convinced that the relationship itself, abstract and apart from life, is what matters that, a relationship free from lasting obligations—to marriage, children, or family labor—is fast becoming the ideal. At every turn, we are encouraged to seek an Eden-like bliss where we enjoy life’s bounties without working for them and where we don’t have to have children, at least not interrupting whatever we’re doing. 6

However, back to Eden is not onward to Zion. Adam and Eve entered mortality to do what they could  not  do in the Garden: to gain salvation by bringing forth, sustaining, and nourishing life. As they worked together in this stewardship, with an eye single to the glory of God, a deep and caring relationship would grow out of their shared daily experience. Today, the need for salvation has not changed; the opportunity to do family work has not changed; the love that blossoms as spouses labor together has not changed. Perhaps, then, we are still obligated to do the work of Adam and Eve.

Illustration of father and son washing a window.

For Our Sakes

The story of Adam and Eve raises an important question. How does ordinary, family-centered work like feeding, clothing, and nurturing a family—work that often seems endless and mundane—actually bless our lives? The answer is so obvious in common experience that it has become obscure: Family work links people. On a daily basis, the tasks we do to stay alive provide us with endless opportunities to recognize and fill the needs of others. Family work is a call to enact love, and it is a call that is universal. Throughout history, in every culture, whether in poverty or prosperity, there has been the ever-present need to shelter, clothe, feed, and care for each other.

Ironically, it is the very things commonly disliked about family work that offer the greatest possibilities for nurturing close relationships and forging family ties. Some people dislike family work because, they say, it is mindless. Yet chores that can be done with a minimum of concentration leave our minds free to focus on one another as we work together. We can talk, sing, or tell stories as we work. Working side by side tends to dissolve feelings of hierarchy, making it easier for children to discuss topics of concern with their parents. Unlike play, which usually requires mental concentration as well as physical involvement, family work invites intimate conversation between parent and child.

We also tend to think of household work as menial, and much of it is. Yet, because it is menial, even the smallest child can make a meaningful contribution. Children can learn to fold laundry, wash windows, or sort silverware with sufficient skill to feel valued as part of the family. Since daily tasks range from the simple to the complex, participants at every level can feel competent yet challenged, including the parents with their overall responsibility for coordinating tasks, people, and projects into a cooperative, working whole.

Another characteristic of ordinary family work that gives it such power is repetition. Almost as quickly as it is done, it must be redone. Dust gathers on furniture, dirt accumulates on floors, beds get messed up, children get hungry and dirty, meals are eaten, clothes become soiled. As any homemaker can tell you, the work is never done. When compared with the qualities of work that are prized in the public sphere, this aspect of family work seems to be just another reason to devalue it. However, each rendering of a task is a new invitation for all to enter the family circle. The most ordinary chores can become daily rituals of family love and belonging. Family identity is built moment by moment amidst the talking and teasing, the singing and storytelling, and even the quarreling and anguish that may attend such work sessions.

Some people also insist that family work is demeaning because it involves cleaning up after others in the most personal manner. Yet, in so doing, we observe their vulnerability and weaknesses in a way that forces us to admit that life is only possible day-to-day by the grace of God. We are also reminded of our own dependence on others who have done, and will do, such work for us. We are reminded that when we are fed, we could be hungry; when we are clean, we could be dirty; and when we are healthy and strong, we could be feeble and dependent. Family work is thus humbling work, helping us to acknowledge our unavoidable interdependence; encouraging (even requiring) us to sacrifice “self” for the good of the whole.

God gave us family work as a link to one another, as a link to Him, as a stepping stone toward salvation that is always available and that has the power to transform us spiritually as we transform others physically. This daily work of feeding and clothing and sheltering each other is perhaps the only opportunity all humanity has in common. Whatever the world takes from us, it cannot take away the daily maintenance needed for survival. Whether we find ourselves in wealth, poverty, or struggling as most of us do in day-to-day mediocrity, we need to be fed, to be clothed, to be sheltered, to be clean. And so does our neighbor.

When Christ instituted one of the most sacred of ordinances, one still performed today among the apostles, what symbolism did He choose? Of all the things He could have done as He prepared His apostles for His imminent death and instructed them on how to become one, He chose the washing of feet—a task ordinarily done in His time by the most humble of servants. When Peter objected, thinking that this was not the kind of work someone of Christ’s earthly, much less eternal stature would be expected to do, Christ made clear the importance of participating: “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” ( John 13:8 ).

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. ( John 13:12–15 )

And so  for our sakes  this work seems mindless, menial, repetitive, and demeaning. This daily toiling is in honor of life itself. After all, isn’t this temporal work of tending to the necessary and routine currents of daily life, whether for our families or for our neighbors, the work we really came to Earth to do? By this humble service—this washing of one another’s feet—we sacrifice our pride and invite God to wash our own souls from sin. Indeed, such work embodies within it the condescension of the Savior himself. It is nothing less than doing unto Christ, by serving the least of our brethren, what He has already done for us.

Illustration of mother and daughter mopping the floor together.

Family Work in Modern Times

If family work is indeed what I say it is—a natural invitation to become Christlike devalued by a world that has shattered family relationships in its quest for gain and ease—what can be done? Families working harmoniously together at a relaxed pace is a wonderful ideal, but what about the realities of our day? Men  do  work away from home, and many feel out-of-step when it comes to family work. Children  do  go to school, and between homework and other activities do not welcome opportunities to work around the house. Whether mothers are employed outside the home or not, they often live in exhaustion, doing most of the family work without willing help.

Yet we cannot go back to a pre-industrial society where hard family work was unavoidable, nor would it be desirable or appropriate to do so.

Life for most people may have changed over the century, but opportunities to instill values, develop character, and work side by side remain. We have all seen how times of crises call forth such effort—war, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods—all disasters no one welcomes, but they provide opportunities for us to learn to care for one another. In truth, opportunities are no less available in our ordinary daily lives.

The length of this article does not allow for the discussion we really need to have at this point, and there will never be “five easy steps” to accomplish these ends. Rather, the eternal principles that govern family work will be uncovered by each of us according to our personal time line of discovery. The following, however, are several ideas that may be helpful.

Tilling the Soil.

Although tilling the soil for our sustenance is unrealistic for most Americans today, modern prophets have stressed the need to labor with the earth, if only in a small way. Former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball was particularly insistent on the need to grow gardens–not just as a food supply, but because of the “lessons of life” inherent in the process as well as the family bonds that could be strengthened:

I hope that we understand that, while having a garden, for instance, is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we  live providently  and extend to our children their pioneer heritage.  (Emphasis in original.) 7

Exemplifying the Attitudes We Want Our Children to Have.

Until we feel about family work the way we want our children to feel about it, we will teach them nothing. If we dislike this work, they will know it. If we do not really consider it our work, they will know it. If we wish to hurry and get it out of the way or if we wish we were doing it alone so it could better meet our standards, they will know it. Most of us have grown up with a strong conviction that we are fortunate to live at a time when machines and prosperity and efficient organizational skills have relieved us of much of the hands-on work of sustaining daily life. If we wish to change our family habits on this matter, we must first change our own minds and hearts.

Refusing Technology That Interferes With Togetherness.

As we labor together in our families, we will begin to cherish certain work experiences, even difficult ones, for reasons we can’t explain. When technology comes along that streamlines that work, we need not rush out and buy it just because it promises to make our labor more efficient. Saving time and effort is not always the goal. When we choose to heat convenience foods in the microwave or to process vegetables in a noisy machine, we choose not to talk, laugh, and play as we peel and chop. Deciding which modern conveniences to live with is a personal matter. Some families love washing dishes together by hand; others would never give up the dishwasher. Before we accept a scientific “improvement,” we should ask ourselves what we are giving up for what we will gain.

Insisting Gently That Children Help.

A frequent temptation in our busy lives today is to do the necessary family work by ourselves. A mother, tired from a long day of work in the office, may find it easier to do the work herself than to add the extra job of getting a family member to help. A related temptation is to make each child responsible only for his own mess, to put away his own toys, to clean his own room, to do his own laundry, and then to consider this enough family work to require of a child. When we structure work this way, we may shortchange ourselves by minimizing the potential for growing together that comes from doing the work for and with each other.

Canadian scholars Joan Grusec and Lorenzo Cohen, along with Australian Jacqueline Goodnow, compared children who did “self-care tasks” such as cleaning up their own rooms or doing their own laundry, with children who participated in “family-care tasks” such as setting the table or cleaning up a space that is shared with others. They found that it is the work one does “for others” that leads to the development of concern for others, while “work that focuses on what is one’s ‘own,’” does not. Other studies have also reported a positive link between household work and observed actions of helpfulness toward others. In one international study, African children who did “predominantly family-care tasks [such as] fetching wood or water, looking after siblings, running errands for parents” showed a high degree of helpfulness while “children in the Northeast United States, whose primary task in the household was to clean their own room, were the least helpful of all the children in the six cultures that were studied.” 8

Avoiding a Business Mentality at Home.

Even with the best of intentions, most of us revert to “workplace” skills while doing family work. We overorganize and believe that children, like employees, won’t work unless they are “motivated,” supervised, and perhaps even paid. This line of thought will get us into trouble. Some managing, of course, is necessary and helpful—but not the kind that oversees from a distance. Rather, family work should be directed with the wisdom of a mentor who knows intimately both the task and the student, who appreciates both the limits and the possibilities of any given moment. A common error is to try to make the work “fun” with a game or contest, yet to chastise children when they become naturally playful (“off task,” to our thinking). Fond family memories often center around spontaneous fun while working, like pretending to be maids, drawing pictures in spilled flour, and wrapping up in towels to scrub the floor. Another error is to reward children monetarily for their efforts. According to financial writer Grace Weinstein, “Unless you want your children to think of you as an employer and of themselves not as family members but as employees, you should think long and hard about introducing money as a motivational force. Money distorts family feeling and weakens the members’ mutual support.” 9

Working Side by side With Our Children.

Assigning family work to our children while we expect to be free to do other activities only reinforces the attitudes of the world. LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Children need to work with their parents, to wash dishes with them, to mop floors with them, to mow lawns, to prune trees and shrubbery, to paint and fix up, to clean up, and to do a hundred other things in which they will learn that labor is the price of cleanliness, progress, and prosperity.” 10

Most of the important lessons that flow from family work are derived from the cooperative nature of the work. Christ said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” ( John 5:19 ). Perhaps this concept is more literal than we have assumed.

Several years ago one of my students, a young mother of two daughters, wrote of the challenges she experienced learning to feel a strong bond with her firstborn. Because this daughter was born prematurely, she was taken from her mother and kept in isolation at the hospital for the first several weeks of her life. Even after the baby came home, she looked so fragile that the mother was afraid to hold her. She felt many of the inadequacies typical of new mothers, plus additional ones that came from her own rough childhood experiences. As time passed, she felt that she loved her daughter, but suffered feelings of deficiency, often to the point of tears, and wondered, “Why don’t I have that ‘natural bond’ with my first child that I do with my second?”

Then she learned about the idea of working together as a means to build bonds. She purposely included her daughter in her work around the house, and gradually, she recalls, “our relationship . . . deepened in a way that I had despaired of ever realizing.” She describes the moment she realized the change that had taken place:

One morning before the girls were to leave [to visit family in another state], Mandy and I were sitting and folding towels together, chattering away. As I looked at her, a sudden rush of maternal love flooded over me–it was no longer something that I had to work at. She looked up at me and must have read my heart in my expression. We fell laughing and crying into each other’s arms. She looked up at me and said, “Mom, what would you do without me?” I couldn’t even answer her, because the thought was too painful to entertain. 11

In a world that lauds the signing of peace treaties and the building of skyscrapers as the truly great work, how can we make such a big thing out of folding laundry? Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Russian literature at Northwestern University, argues convincingly that “the important events are not the great ones, but the infinitely numerous and apparently inconsequential ordinary ones, which, taken together, are far more effective and significant.” 12

To Bring Again Zion

Family work is a gift from the Lord to every mortal, a gift that transcends time, place, and circumstance. On a daily basis it calls us, sometimes forces us, to face our mortality, to ask for the grace of God, to admit that we need our neighbor and that our neighbor needs us. It provides us with a daily opportunity to recognize the needs of those around us and put them before our own. This invitation to serve one another in oneness of heart and mind can become a simple tool that, over time, will bring the peace that attends Zion.

I learned firsthand of the power of this ordinary work not only to bind families but to link people of different cultures when I accompanied a group of university students on a service and study experience in Mexico. The infant mortality rate in many of the villages was high, and we had been invited by community leaders to teach classes in basic nutrition and sanitation. Experts who had worked in developing countries told us that the one month we had to do this was not enough time to establish rapport and win the trust of the people, let alone do any teaching. But we did not have the luxury of more time.

In the first village, we arrived at the central plaza where we were to meet the leaders and families of the village. On our part, tension was high. The faces of the village men and women who slowly gathered were somber and expressionless.  They are suspicious of us,  I thought. A formal introduction ceremony had been planned. The village school children danced and sang songs, and our students sang. The expressions on the faces of the village adults didn’t change.


“Helping one another nurture children, care for the land, prepare food, and clean homes can bind lives together.”

Unexpectedly, I was invited to speak to the group and explain why we were there. What could I say? That we were “big brother” here to try to change the ways they had farmed and fed their families for hundreds of years? I quickly said a silent prayer, desirous of dispelling the feeling of hierarchy, anxious to create a sense of being on equal footing. I searched for the right words, trying to downplay the official reasons for our visit, and began, “We are students; we want to share some things we have learned. . . .” Then I surprised even myself by saying, “But what we are really here for is, we would like to learn to make tortillas.” The people laughed. After the formalities were over, several wonderful village couples came to us and said, “You can come to our house to make tortillas.” The next morning, we sent small groups of students to each of their homes, and we all learned to make tortillas. An almost instant rapport was established. Later, when we began classes, they were surprisingly well attended, with mothers sitting on the benches and fathers standing at the back of the hall listening and caring for little children.

Because our classes were taking time from the necessary work of fertilizing and weeding their crops, we asked one of the local leaders if we could go to the fields with them on the days when we did not teach and help them hoe and spread the fertilizer. His first response was, “No. You couldn’t do that. You are teachers; we are farmers.” I assured him that several of us had grown up on farms, that we could tell weeds from corn and beans, and in any case, we would be pleased if they would teach us. So we went to the fields. As we worked together, in some amazing way we became one. Artificial hierarchies dissolved as we made tortillas together, weeded together, ate lunch together, and together took little excursions to enjoy the beauty of the valley. When the month was over, our farewells were sad and sweet—we were sorry to leave such dear friends, but happy for the privilege of knowing them.

Over the next several years I saw this process repeated again and again in various settings. I am still in awe of the power of shared participation in the simple, everyday work of sustaining life. Helping one another nurture children, care for the land, prepare food, and clean homes can bind lives together. This is the power of family work, and it is this power, available in every home, no matter how troubled, that can end the turmoil of the family, begin to change the world, and bring again Zion.

  • Study by Edelman Financial Services, May 5, 1999, (see ).
  • John Demos, “The Changing Faces of Fatherhood,”  Past, Present, Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History  (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 51–52.
  • See R. S. Cowan,  More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave  (New York: Basic Books, 1983).
  • William A. McKeever, “The New Child Labor Movement,”  Journal of Home Economics , vol. 5 (April 1913), pp. 137–139.
  • See Viviana A. Zelizer,  Pricing the Priceless Child  (New York: Basic Books, 1985).
  • See Germaine Greer,  Sex and Destiny  (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), and J. Van de Kaa, “Europe’s Second Demographic Transition,”  Population Bulletin , vol. 42, no. 1 (March 1987), pp. 1–57.
  • Spencer W. Kimball, “Welfare Services, The Gospel in Action,”  Ensign , November 1977, p. 78.
  • Joan E. Grusec, Jacqueline J. Goodnow, and Lorenzo Cohen, “Household Work and the Development of Concern for Others,”  Developmental Psychology , vol. 32, no. 6 (1996), pp. 999–1007.
  • Grace W. Weinstein, “Money Games Parents Play,”  Redbook , August 1985, p. 107, taken from her book  Children and Money: A Parents’ Guide  (New York: New American Library, 1985).
  • Gordon B. Hinckley, “Four Simple Things to Help Our Families and Our Nations,”  Ensign , September 1996, p. 7.
  • Michelle Cottingham, unpublished paper.
  • Gary Saul Morson, “Prosaics: An Approach to the Humanities,”  American Scholar , vol. 57 (Autumn 1988), p. 519.

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How To Motivate Your Child To Complete Their Homework


Mautushi Paul


null mins read

Topic Index

Introduction, 10 tips to motivate kids to complete homework.

Homework has now become an essential part of any student’s life. Whether it is homework for kids or homework for college students, reading plays a crucial role in the development of every youngster.

It is not surprising to find that homework can be very tedious and demotivating for children and teenagers. It is quite natural for them to resist assignments, but many parents feel guilty because it reflects poorly on their parenting style. They might feel like adults and should not be doing homework like kids.

Before you scold your child for their poor performance, you must ask yourself if your homework strategies are working or not? Maybe it is time to change things up a bit!

Here are some valuable tips that will help you motivate your child to complete their homework.

1) Remember homework for kids is not the same as chores

Many parents tend to treat homework as a chore, so they can’t understand why their kids do not want to complete it. Remember, these days, homework is incorporated into your child’s school curriculum, and it is done at home rather than in school. So, homework for kids should be treated as another learning opportunity for them and this will make homework time less of a chore and more like playtime.

2) Avoid setting deadlines that are too tight

If you set very tight homework schedules, you run the risk of your child rushing through or giving up altogether. The best thing to do is to give them longer but consistent periods each evening to allow them enough time to complete their work without feeling stressed out about its completion. This will make completing homework for kids a fun task rather than just some chore they are burdened with.

3) Motivate without being pushy

Instead of nagging homework for kids, give them a reason to do it. For example, homework teaches them essential life skills such as time management and organisation. It also will help their concentration and memory. At the same time, it is an opportunity to teach your child about the different subjects they’re studying at school and how they can relate to real-world experiences.

4) Ask what you can do to help

If the homework for kids feels like a struggle, then one thing that may help is having you sit down with them while they work through things or do some homework together. A good way of doing this would be getting involved in math homework problems or reading books together on science homework topics, both of which are great ways to spend time with your kids doing homework together.

5) Let them take breaks

Many parents will feel the need to hound their child every five minutes about homework problems they are trying to work out or books they are studying but this can often lead to tension, resentment, and stress which is not suitable for any of you. If the homework for kids needs to be done, then coming up with a reasonable timetable that both of you are happy with is the best way forward. Perhaps letting your child have some free time in between answering questions on math homework or reading chapters in science homework will help relieve pressure. So homework doesn’t become too much like hard work.

6) Do homework together

If the homework for kids is becoming too much of an issue, make it a shared project you do with your child. Work side by side on one homework question or read chapters in homework together. You can talk about what they are learning simultaneously, which could help encourage your child to be interested in homework. Your support will motivate your child to complete their homework and will make the whole process easier for them.

7) Reward for homework done

Set a reward system whereby your child gets a treat each time they finish a certain amount of homework, motivating them to work harder and finish everything more quickly. This might be going out for dinner one night after studying math homework problems for two hours or going straight to bed without having some screen time if all their spelling homework has been completed. If you add up the cost of each “reward” and do homework a bonus time, they don’t want to miss out on it.

8) Help them if they are struggling

When you see your child struggling with their homework, take an interest in what they are trying to do and help them through the problems. It is important that homework needs to be completed independently; however, if your child finds a particular topic difficult, there’s nothing wrong with offering some guidance and correcting any mistakes so long as they understand how to solve the problem for themselves next time. Sometimes the homework for kids can be hectic for them, and your little guidance will help them.

9) Praise your children when homework is done

The homework can be completed successfully in time, rewarding your child. It will take the stress off them and they will know that you are proud of their hard work. You can celebrate homework with a quiet evening activity or a fun family day out. Celebrate homework together as a team!

Homework for kids is essential for their development at school. The homework can contribute to children’s knowledge, creativity, and good attitude towards learning. If homework is done correctly it will delight the teachers and parents.

The homework for kids helps them not only in getting good grades but also in becoming better organised! You should choose homework methods best suited for your child so they don’t feel stressed or frustrated by homework assignments. Spend some time with your kids while doing homework together because this will increase their motivation to complete homework on its own after you have guided them through the first couple of times.

You can also read 

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13 Fun Homework Ideas: The Best Ways To Make Homework Fun For Kids Quickly & Easily

Sophie bartlett.

Figuring out how to make homework fun can be a tricky task for parents.

Does it feel like you’re constantly nagging your kids to do their homework? If your answer is yes, know that we’ve all been there! It’s natural for parents to want their children to progress and do well in school, but after an entire day of paper, pencils, and books many youngsters will resist getting on with their homework – and that’s putting it mildly!

Top Tips To Make Homework Fun:

1. work together, 2. use rewards and incentives, 3. make them a snack, 4. make it visual, 5. try different learning apps, 6. set up a homework play date, 7. go outside, 8. turn it into a game, 9. let them play teacher, 10. use a timer, 11. create a special homework space, 12. remember to be positive, 13. get help if you need it.

Thankfully, there are ways of making homework less boring and that are a little bit more fun for your child. Whether they need to practice spelling, learn their times tables or revise for an important exam, our top fun homework ideas will help you magically take the ‘work’ out of homework.

Fun Homework Ideas - work together

Adults often work best in the company of others, and the same can be said of kids, so why not sit with your child while they’re studying and get on with some of your own work or life admin?

Whether you’re returning emails or doing your online banking, creating a shared workspace and modeling focused work is a great way to spend quality time together while they complete their homework. Win-win!

Quick win : While your child is tackling their fractions homework, you could sit down with them and take a look through your finances.

Rewards and incentives are great when it comes to getting your children to follow your household rules and routines, and homework is no different. Things like stickers or the promise of time on their iPad or games console for slightly older children can all work wonders in getting them to do their homework without a battle.

Quick win: For every few questions they answer they could get a minute of screen time!

Fun Homework Ideas - make them a snack

Let’s face it: A hungry child is an unfocused, unmotivated and unhappy child.

Most children come out of school ravenous, so let them nibble on a nutritious after-school snack while they get on with homework; things like popcorn, apple slices, grapes, or crackers and cheese are all great snack options.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Active for Life has a list of healthy after-school snack ideas and recipes to try.

Quick win: One of the best brain foods for kids is a nice and crispy apple! So when your child is craving something sweet just cut up an apple and let them munch away.

Help to eliminate the late night ‘Oh, I forgot to do that’, and create a weekly homework chart so your child can see what they have to do each day and check off each ‘to do’ task as it’s been completed.

Again, Pinterest has some great free printables to help keep kids organized. Get them involved by letting them color it, or decorate it with their favorite stickers, and pin it up somewhere at their height, where they will see it easily every day as a reminder. Some exciting new stationery and colorful pens might help too.

Quick win: An easy way to make homework fun is to grab a piece of paper and get your child to draw out and decorate a ‘homework chart’ consisting of 5 days. Stick it on the fridge and add a sticker to each day after they’ve done their homework, when they’ve collected 5 stickers they get a treat!

Fun Homework Ideas - try different learning apps

If your child prefers to be online, there are some great online apps around that children will have fun using, yet encourage learning too. Here are our favorite free math websites for example. Speak to your child’s teacher too and see which apps the children use in school so you can support what they’re doing at home.

Quick win: One of our favorite websites that makes homework fun is Tang Math !

Holding a homework playdate where your child can invite one of their best school buddies over to do homework together can be a great way for them to learn and make sure the work gets done, especially older children in elementary school.

Plus, it’s likely that their parents will be delighted!

Younger children may need a bit more support and guidance but can still gain a lot from the experience of learning together with a friend – think of this as a mini-educational play date for them.

Quick win: Let your child and their friend play for a while, and then get them to work through their homework with the incentive of a yummy ‘ice cream party’ when they’ve completed all of their homework.

Fun Homework Ideas - go outside

If the weather allows, create a comfortable outside study space and allow your child to do their homework outdoors.

The fresh air can help kids with their concentration if they’ve been stuck in a classroom all day, and studies also show that being outside, closer to nature, can increase productivity. The reward of a quick game of Frisbee or a kick-around of a soccer ball between tasks will help them stay motivated too.

Who said home learning had to be boring? If children enjoy what they’re learning, they’re more likely to remember what they’re being taught, so turn their learning into a fun game. Using sweets like Smarties to help with math and number work can turn the experience from a chore into a treat. If they get the right answer, they get to eat some!

Another trick that you can use when your child is learning spellings is to write them in shaving cream or in magnetic letters. It sounds simple but we can guarantee that it will make homework a lot more fun for your child.

These math games for kids and times tables games are a great place to start.

Quick win: If you’re looking for some fun homework ideas then check out this simple multiplication activity you can do at home, it’ll even get in one of your child’s five a day!

Make another fun homework game by creating your own mini-classroom and letting your child step into the role of teacher.

Have your child explain a concept to you as a teacher, as you, or their sibling, play the role of the student. This game works particularly well with subjects that require theory, like Science for example, as it will improve their understanding of the concept and build logic and reasoning skills.

Quick win: Make homework fun by getting your child to choose their favorite teddies and toys and setting them up in their own mini- classroom. Start off with registration, ‘mom’ ‘present’, ‘mr teddy’ ‘here’ etc. You’ll soon notice that your child is growing in confidence regardless of the topic as children love playing teacher!

Fun Homework Ideas - let them play

Some children may have difficulty working for prolonged periods of time without a break, so using a timer can be great for getting them to complete homework without whining. For example, if your child is given 20 math problems for homework, you can say “Complete the first 10 questions, then we’ll take a 5-minute break, then complete the next 10 questions”.

Many children will need a mental break and will work more effectively when given the opportunity to take one. At the end of the task, they get to pick an activity of their choice. If your child gets easily distracted, a timer game can work well to keep them focused on the task in hand.

Quick win: Put the timer on your phone so that your child can see the countdown while they’re working.

A special study space can make homework more fun and help motivate your child to get it done! Choose a space in your house that’s least likely to distract your child, and create simple, organized, and kid-friendly homework.

You could hang up some of their artwork above the desk, and have all their school essentials nearby so everything is close to hand.

Quick win: Make sure that they aren’t surrounded by things that will distract them. Televisions and iPads are a no go at homework time!

Remember to always be upbeat and positive about school and the importance of their homework. Give your child lots of praise and encouragement about how well they’re doing to help them stay motivated and on track.

Quick win: After every homework session, spend five minutes talking through what your child has accomplished. If you’re running out of activities to do, have a look at our list of home learning packs – all free to download.

Homework can be frustrating if your child doesn’t understand the material or gets bored easily. If your child is struggling, get them some expert help!

Quick win: Third Space Learning has plenty of advice on learning math for kids and parents but if you need more support, our primary school math tutors are easy to organize and very affordable.

Do you have students who need extra support in math? Give your students more opportunities to consolidate learning and practice skills through personalized math tutoring with their own dedicated online math tutor. Each student receives differentiated instruction designed to close their individual learning gaps, and scaffolded learning ensures every student learns at the right pace. Lessons are aligned with your state’s standards and assessments, plus you’ll receive regular reports every step of the way. Personalized one-on-one math tutoring programs are available for: – 2nd grade – 3rd grade – 4th grade – 5th grade – 6th grade Why not learn more about how it works ?

The content in this article was originally written by primary school teacher Sophie Bartlett and has since been revised and adapted for US schools by elementary math teacher Christi Kulesza.

[FREE] 2D Shapes Math Posters Grades 4 and 5

Math posters designed to display key information on 2D Shapes for Grade 4 and Grade 5.

Use as part of a learning activity to highlight important math information.

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    Doing homework together: The relation between parenting strategies, child engagement, and achievement. Citation Doctoroff, G. L., & Arnold, D. H. (2017). Doing homework together: The relation between parenting strategies, child engagement, and achievement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 48, 103-113. https://

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