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11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data

homework pros and cons

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

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

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

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

Homework Statistics List

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

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

Here are the figures for math homework:

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

Here are the figures for language arts homework:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. The 10-Minute Rule

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

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

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

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

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

11. 46.5% of Parents find Homework too Hard

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

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Interpreting the Data

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Funny Homework Excuses

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

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

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

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The Great British Homework Debate 2024 – Is It Necessary At Primary School?

Alexander Athienitis

The homework debate is never much out of the news. Should homework be banned? Is homework at primary school a waste of time? Do our children get too much homework?

Not long ago, UK-based US comedian Rob Delaney set the world alight with a tweet giving his own personal view of homework at primary school. We thought, as an organisation that provides maths homework support on a weekly basis, it was time to look at the facts around the homework debate in primary schools as well as, of course, reflecting the views of celebrities and those perhaps more qualified to offer an opinion!

Here’s how Rob Delaney kicked things off

Rob Delaney's Homework Debate Tweet

Gary Lineker leant his support with the following soundbite:

Gary Lineker's Homework Debate Tweet

And even Piers Morgan weighed in, with his usual balance of tact and sensitivity:

Piers Morgan had more to say on the homework debate

A very experienced and knowledgeable Headteacher, Simon Smith, who has a well-earned following on Twitter (for someone working in education, not hosting Match of the Day) also put his neck on the line and, some might think controversially, agreed with the golden-heeled Crisp King of Leicester…

Simon Smith (Headteacher)'s Tweet On The Homework Debate

Fortunately Katharine Birbalsingh, Conservative Party Conference keynote speaker and Founding Headteacher of the Michaela School, was on hand to provide the alternative view on the importance of homework. Her op-ed piece in the Sun gave plenty of reasons why homework should not be banned.

She was informative and firm in her article stating: “Homework is essential for a child’s education because revisiting the day’s learning is what helps to make it stick.”

Katharine Birbalsingh, Headteacher, Michaela Community School waded in on the homework debate too.

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How much homework do UK primary school children get?

Sadly, there’s little data comparing how much homework primary school-aged children in the UK and across the globe complete on a weekly basis. A study of teenagers used by The Telegraph shows that American high-schoolers spend an average of 6.1 hours per week compared with 4.9 hours per week of homework each week for UK-based teens.

Up until 2012, the Department of Education recommended an hour of homework a week for primary school Key Stage 1 children (aged 4 to 7) and half an hour a day for primary school Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11). Many primary schools still use this as a guideline.

Teachers, parents and children in many schools across the land have seen more changes of homework policy than numbers of terms in some school years.

A ‘no-homework’ policy pleases only a few; a grid of creative tasks crowd-sourced from the three teachers bothered to give their input infuriates many (parents, teachers and children alike). For some parents, no matter how much homework is set, it’s never enough; for others, even asking them to fill in their child’s reading record once a week can be a struggle due to a busy working life.

Homework is very different around the world

We’d suggest that Piers Morgan’s argument for homework in comparing the UK’s economic and social progress with China’s in recent years based on total weekly homework hours is somewhat misguided – we can’t put their emergence as the world’s (if not already, soon to be) leading superpower exclusively down to having their young people endure almost triple the number of hours spent completing homework as their Western counterparts.

Nonetheless, there’s certainly a finer balance to strike between the 14 hours a week suffered by Shanghainese school-attendees and none whatsoever. Certainly parents in the UK spend less time each week helping their children than parents in emerging economies such as India, Vietnam and Colombia (Source: Varkey Foundation Report).

Disadvantages of homework at primary school

Delaney, whose son attends a London state primary school, has made it plain that he thinks his kids get given too much homework and he’d rather have them following more active or creative pursuits: drawing or playing football. A father of four sons and a retired professional footballer Gary Linaker was quick to defend this but he also has the resources to send his children to top boarding schools which generally provide very structured homework or ‘prep’ routines.

As parents Rob and Gary are not alone. According to the 2018 Ofsted annual report on Parents Views  more than a third of parents do not think homework in primary school is helpful to their children. They cite the battles and arguments it causes not to mention the specific challenges it presents to families with SEND children many of whom report serious damage to health and self-esteem as a result of too much or inappropriate homework.

It’s a truism among teachers that some types of homework tells you very little about what the child can achieve and much more about a parent’s own approach to the work. How low does your heart sink when your child comes back with a D & T project to create Stonehenge and you realise it’s either an all-nighter with glue, cardboard and crayons for you, or an uncompleted homework project for your child!

This tweet on the homework debate showed off the fun side of primary homework

Speaking with our teacher hats on, we can tell you that homework is often cited in academic studies looking at academic progress in primary school-aged children as showing minimal to no impact.

Back on Twitter, a fellow teacher was able to weigh-in with that point:

Ed Finch tweeted on the homework debate

Benefits of homework at primary school

So what are the benefits of homework at primary school? According to the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) (the key research organisations dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement) the impact of homework at primary is low, but it also doesn’t cost much.

They put it at a “+2 months” impact against a control of doing nothing. To put this into context, 1-to-1 tuition is generally seen as a +5 months impact but it’s usually considered to be expensive.

“There is some evidence that when homework is used as a short and focused intervention it can be effective in improving students’ attainment … overall the general benefits are likely to be modest if homework is more routinely set.”

Key to the benefit you’ll see from homework is that the task is appropriate and of good quality. The quantity of homework a pupil does is not so important. In this matter Katharine Birbalsingh is on the money. Short focused tasks which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school, are likely to be more effective than regular daily homework.

In our view it’s about consolidation. So focusing on a few times tables that you find tricky or working through questions similar to what you’ve done in class that day or week often can be beneficial. 2 hours of worksheets on a Saturday when your child could be outside having fun and making friends probably isn’t. If you really want them to be doing maths, then do some outdoor maths with them instead of homework !

At Third Space Learning we believe it’s all about balance. Give the right sort of homework and the right amount at primary school and there will be improvements, but much of it comes down to parental engagement.

One of our favourite ways to practise maths at home without it become too onerous is by using educational games. Here are our favourite fun maths games , some brilliant KS2 maths games , KS1 maths games and KS3 maths games for all maths topics and then a set of 35 times tables games which are ideal for interspersing with your regular times tables practice. And best of all, most of them require no more equipment than a pen and paper or perhaps a pack of cards.

Homework and parents

One of the key benefits cited by EEF is in regard to parental engagement. Time after time, the greatest differentiator between children who make great progress at school – and those, frankly – who don’t is due to the same factor in the same studies: parental engagement .

It is a fair assumption that if a parent is engaged in their child’s learning, they’re probably going to be the same parents who encourage and support their child when they’re completing their homework.

Whereas parents who are disengaged with their child’s school and schooling – for whatever reason (sorry, Piers, it’s rarely due to laziness), are highly unlikely to be aware of what homework gets set each week, let alone to be mucking in with making sure it gets handed in completed and on time.

We also encounter time and again, the issue of parents’ own lack of confidence in maths. A survey by Pearson found that:

  • 30 percent of parents “don’t feel confident enough in their own maths skills to help their children with their primary school maths homework”
  • 53 per cent insisted they struggled to understand the new maths teaching methods used in modern classrooms. Fortunately that’s what we’re here to address.

Setting the right homework at primary school can be tricky

Although we disagree with Piers, we can see what he may be driving at in terms of setting appropriate homework.

Piers Morgan had strong opinions on the homework debate

The question quickly becomes what would Piers think of as being ‘interesting’ homework, and if all four of his children would agree upon the same thing being ‘interesting’.

That’s the problem.

One would imagine Piers would find it hard enough finding one task to satisfy the interest of all of his four children – it’s almost impossible to find a task that will engage the interest of 30 or more children in their out of school hours.

Each with different emotional, behavioural and learning needs, then sprinkle in the varying levels of poverty each family suffers (be it financial or in terms of time), and you can see how it isn’t just about being a good or bad teacher – whatever that means – in regards to being able to set Morgan-approved homework tasks.

What does this mean for my child?

Ultimately, the question at the top of mind whenever a parent thinks about homework is a more general one – am I doing the best for my child?

Although the world is changing at a faster pace than ever before in human history, what’s best for children hasn’t changed that much (if at all).

One-to-one support is best, and young people benefit most from adult-child conversations where they acquire new vocabulary and language structures to form and share their thoughts and opinions.

These insights – that one-to-one support is best and that regular, structured adult-child conversations are life-changing within a child’s development – are what inspired us to create Third Space Learning.

A platform where children can engage with a community of specialist tutors in a safe, structured learning environment where they are able to engage in one-to-one conversations that enable them to progress in their learning with confidence.

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Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of students across hundreds of schools with weekly one to one tuition designed to plug gaps and boost progress.

Since 2013 these personalised one to one lessons have helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians.

Learn about our experience with schools or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

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The Homework Debate 2021: Do Primary Schoolers Really Need Homework?

the homework debate

The homework debate resurfaces every year without fail. It is a popular topic with parents, primary school teachers, online tutors, and politicians alike. Should homework be banned? Is homework at primary school necessary? Do pupils receive enough education in class that homework is nothing but a waste of time? – These are all questions that you have no doubt heard before.

Is the homework debate even relevant in the context of COVID-19? As an  online maths tuition service  for KS1 and KS2 pupils, we believe so! Sometimes we set our students homework. We believe that this debate is more relevant now than it has ever been. Let’s discover why…

facts about homework uk

Helping Kids 'do' Mental Maths

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“Homework should be banned!” – The call to action

Our children are too tired!

Is it the case that we put too much pressure on children these days? At the age of 7, UK primary school pupils are expected to sit their Key Stage 1 SATs test. This continues in primary school up until Year 6 when they are expected to prepare for and sit their Key Stage 2 SATs test.

Some parents argue that this leaves little time for kids to wind down at home. When can they find the time to indulge in sports, hobbies, and creative interests if their time is consumed by homework? Let’s not forget the added stress caused by the UK Coronavirus lockdown.

Primary school homework does more harm than good:

A BBC Newsround report from 2018 consulted education experts on their views of the homework debate. Nansi Ellis, Assistant General Secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers argued that homework gets in the way of all the good things kids enjoy. It does not always boost performance in class.

She also highlighted that it demands a lot of parents, not only their time but also of their own educational understanding. This sometimes backfires as the methods of learning in school twenty or thirty years ago are likely not the same as those taught nowadays. This can risk causing further confusion.

BBC Newsround’s own survey of the homework debate and how much homework primary school pupils receive found that parents thought:

The results of a homework debate survey by BBC Newsround from 2018

Where is the proof?

The same BBC report saw Ellis claim that while teachers setting homework is in theory supposed to better results, there is no proof of this being the case. Rosamund McNeil from the teacher’s organisation NUT highlighted that cases abroad support this. In Finland, pupils are set minimal homework but it remains one of the most educationally successful countries in the world.

The homework debate is not just about students – it’s about teachers too!

Homework is time-consuming. Teachers must plan it and mark it, in addition to preparing their classroom lessons and reporting on pupils’ progress. Time constraints can force teachers to work late into the night at home which opens an entirely new can of worms. Overworked teachers are less effective in class. Perhaps it would be more efficient for schools to ban homework altogether.

The other side of the homework debate: Why our kids need homework

It has long been the view that homework acts as a supplement to what has been taught in class. It is an opportunity for pupils to review areas of work they might not understand, focusing their learning.

Homework for primary school students is a good thing!

Homework can be fun and imaginative, an opportunity for parents to bond with their children over education. Take the classic example of counting peas on the dinner plate to learn multiplication tables. Homework does not always have to be completed in a book or on a worksheet. It can often reflect the creativity of the teacher who can inspire children to take their learnings and apply them to the real world. Pricing a shopping list is an awesome way to practise maths while acquiring life skills!

In May 2021 we asked our social media community for their thoughts on this debate. More than two-thirds agreed that homework should not be banned. 

Think Academy instagram poll

The UK is falling behind the rest of the world:

Once upon a time the UK may have had the best education system in the world. Now is not that time. Studies suggest that  UK literacy and maths rates are falling  while in other countries they continue to rise.

As a result, many teachers and parents agree that our children require further encouragement. This is not the time to ban homework in the UK. Especially when we take into consideration the months of lost learning caused by the COVID-19 UK lockdown. This is the time to help primary school children catch up, and homework can support the effort.

The homework debate in the context of COVID-19

We touched on this earlier before considering both sides of the argument in the UK homework debate. However, with home learning more popular than ever, is there still a place for homework in UK primary school education?

The homework debate solution: Online tuition

It’s engaging for children; it reflects what they have been learning in class and saves time for both parents and teachers.  Online tuition has soared in popularity through 2020  and 2021, and could be the solution for people on both sides of the homework debate.

Read more :  How online maths tutors are helping KS1 & KS2 pupils succeed.

In the UK there are tons of tuition services helping to provide kids with a competitive edge using an extracurricular push. You can view a list of the top 15 here:  Discover the UK’s best online tutors.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this topic, please feel free to let us know in the comment below or in our Facebook group  UK Primary School Maths – Tutoring & Tips,  we will reply to you as soon as we can.  

You may also like to read:

How Think Academy’s Online Maths Courses can Help Your Child Better Prepare KS2 SATs?

Top 5 Back to School Tips  Compiled by Think Academy’s Education Experts for 2020

KS1 SATs – How to Prepare Your Little One for Their First Test!

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Is Homework In Schools a Good Thing?

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  • October 12, 2021

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  • What are the pros of homework in school?
  • What are the cons of homework in school?
  • How much homework do UK students get?

For decades (and even centuries, according to some anthropological evidence ), homework has been considered an essential part of formal education . It’s believed that it provides you with the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ and test and apply what you’ve been taught during school hours. 

However, some modern studies suggest that the practice of homework in schools might not be as helpful as we think it is. According to statistics on homework, homework over a certain level (the 10 minutes per grade standard) has been linked to excessive stress and disruption of personal and social habits in adolescents. It may surprise you to find out that the average amount of homework that kids from countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany currently get is above the standard limit . 😮

If you’re currently a student in the UK, you may be wondering whether homework actually does kids and teenagers any good. Keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of homework.

   

What are the pros and cons of homework in school?

Pros: , homework encourages practice.

The primary purpose of homework in schools is to reinforce the habit of practising what you’ve learned in school. Some subjects like maths and languages require daily practice even outside of school hours for you to strengthen the fundamentals you’re learning. 

Practising these subjects regularly from a relatively young age can help equip you for secondary school and college courses like economics and literature, which require a strong knowledge of the basics. Also, independent learning in your own time is a fantastic way for you to identify the subjects you’re most interested in – who knows, you may even find your preferred field of study at an early age through homework! 👍

It allows your parents to be actively involved in your 

A healthy learning environment requires your parents to take an active interest in your education. Your parent or guardian helping you with your homework can help you gain a better understanding of what you’re learning and working on, since you’ll benefit from having anything you’re unsure of explained to you by someone other than your teacher at school. 

Helping you with your homework also makes it possible for your parents to stay involved and keep track of your progress in school in a non-intrusive manner. Additionally, it fosters good communication as you’ll talk to your parents more about the classes you’re attending and other school-related activities that they should know about. ✔️

It’s a great lesson in time management 

Homework in secondary school can be a great way for you to learn how to manage your time better. Older students are often actively involved in academics, sports , and several other extra-curricular activities that facilitate their all-round development. 

Therefore, completing homework outside of school from an early age can help you learn beyond the classroom and gradually get used to managing your time and responsibilities well. ⏰

Homework research encourages independent critical thinking 

Many schools are now opting for homework research as opposed to the traditional practice homework. In fact, it forms the very base of the flipped classroom structure where the students are given review materials before the class to grasp the concepts more quickly once they’re in school.

Homework research allows you to conduct your own research on a topic and form your own thoughts and opinions on what you’re learning. It encourages independent critical thinking from a young age, which is very beneficial for you. 💡

Not every child has a supportive enough home environment 

While most kids in school might have a supportive and peaceful home environment that allows them to study, some children and teenagers aren’t that lucky. Difficult domestic environments can be extremely stressful for kids, which can make independent learning outside of school challenging.

It might be difficult for kids without strong support at home to muster up the time and concentration needed to do the kind of homework that requires independent research and critical thinking. 

It adds to an already packed day 

Homework in schools, especially secondary school, often adds to your already busy days. While time management is an important virtue to learn, homework in secondary school can feel nearly impossible to manage with all the extra-curricular tasks you’re expected to juggle. 😰

Stress related to school can have a negative impact on young people’s mental health . If you find yourself struggling with your workload at school, you should speak to your parent or caretaker, or bring it up with your teacher so that you can get some extra support to help you through it. It’s not unusual for kids and teens to sometimes feel overwhelmed in their learning journey, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help!  

There’s no evidence that suggests the extra work produces better academic results for younger kids

A study conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that younger children (below 12 years of age) benefit more from activities such as reading for pleasure and not stipulated school homework. In fact, school homework might lessen the chances of a child reading or writing outside of school as a hobby. 

Research suggests that in many cases, kids having too much homework assigned to them stunts their overall personality development.  

How much homework do UK students get? 

Research on homework shows that the average British school student spends around 3.5 hours on their homework per week. Of these, primary students spend 2.2 hours; secondary students spend 4.3 hours; and sixth form students spend 5.3 hours on homework per week on average. While these numbers aren’t worrisome, they are still over the standard limit prescribed by most child health bodies. ☝️

It’s important for children and young people to communicate with their caretakers if they find that their workload is excessive. If you find yourself getting worried or stressed out over school , we would recommend speaking to your parents or bringing it up with a teacher. The most important thing is your wellbeing, and you need to be able to cope with your homework and make academic progress without increasing your stress levels. 

At GoStudent, we believe learning is a two-sided process that involves active participation from both students and tutors. We have thousands of top tutors available, so if you need any help with learning and homework, GoStudent may be just the ticket. Book a free trial lesson today to try us out! 

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The pros and cons of homework

Should schoolwork be left at the school gate?

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A child does homework

1. Pro: improves academic achievement

2. con: risk of artificial intelligence, 3. pro: other benefits of homework, 4. con: less time with family and friends, 5. pro: parent involvement, 6. con: stress for students and teachers.

Homework should be scrapped to give children more time for “other creative things”, the president of Ireland has said.

UK pupils do more homework than many European countries Irish president Michael D Higgins begins historic UK visit

Speaking to Irish broadcaster RTE, Michael D. Higgins said school work should be “finished at the school” rather than at home, “an utterance likely to be seized upon by children for years to come in classrooms far beyond the shores of the Emerald Isle”, said the Independent .

Here are some of the benefits and some of the negative effects of homework for schoolchildren.

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A 2006 meta-analysis of research by Duke University in North Carolina found that children who have homework perform better academically at school. But it doesn’t benefit all students equally, the research found. The correlation was stronger for older students (12 and over) than younger students.

But the evidence is far from conclusive over whether homework really does increase student achievement. Other studies have found that it has a positive effect only under certain conditions, while others have found negative effects, and some studies suggest homework does not affect student achievement at all.

The arrival of highly sophisticated artificial intelligence chatbots, such as ChatGPT , could make it easier for students to cheat on their essays or homework – or even force teachers and professors to scrap homework altogether.

ChatGPT has been “trained on a gigantic sample of text from the internet” and can “understand human language, conduct conversations with humans and generate detailed text that many have said is human-like and quite impressive”, said the Daily Mail .

Kevin Bryan, an associate professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto, tweeted that he was “shocked” by the capabilities of ChatGPT after challenging the AI to answer numerous exam questions and found that it gave A-grade answers.

Evidence suggests that homework can bring non-academic benefits, particularly for younger school students. These include “learning the importance of responsibility, managing time, developing study habits, and staying with a task until it is completed”, said Reading Rockets , a national public media literacy initiative in the US.

The British Council agreed that it helps to develop “study habits and independent learning”, as well as helping students to “retain information taught in the classroom” and involving parents in learning.

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp weighed in on the debate recently, urging parents to “enjoy the weekend” with their children, branding homework a “waste of time”.

“Find a book, cuddle up and read it together, or watch Winterwatch, or cook something with kids doing all the weighing and chopping. Then put that in the homework diary and enjoy your weekend with your kids,” she wrote on Twitter .

“There is nothing better for children than spending time with you, talking, doing and learning at the same time,” she said. “Following a recipe is reading, maths, science and fine motor skills in one activity.”

Homework can be a good way for parents to stay up to date with what their child is being taught in class as well as monitor their progress. But the extent to which parental involvement with homework is beneficial for children is still a matter of debate.

According to Reading Rockets, some studies show that homework assignments that require interactions between students and parents are “more likely to be turned in” than assignments that don’t require parental input. But other studies have found that “parent involvement in homework has no impact on student achievement”.

Educators and parents responded to President Higgins’ comments to say homework is a source of stress for all involved.

Replying to a Facebook post by Hull Live , one teacher said it was “a pain sourcing, copying, chasing and marking it”, while other parents said homework placed undue stress on young children. “I think they do enough work in the school hours as it is,” said one parent, while another commented: “Children need to switch off when they get home. No wonder children suffer mental health issues, they are burnt out before they reach secondary school.”

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  Sorcha Bradley is a writer at The Week and a regular on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. She worked at The Week magazine for a year and a half before taking up her current role with the digital team, where she mostly covers UK current affairs and politics. Before joining The Week, Sorcha worked at slow-news start-up Tortoise Media. She has also written for Sky News, The Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard and Grazia magazine, among other publications. She has a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London, where she specialised in political journalism.

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The Surprising History of Homework Reform

Really, kids, there was a time when lots of grownups thought homework was bad for you.

Boy sitting at desk with book

Homework causes a lot of fights. Between parents and kids, sure. But also, as education scholar Brian Gill and historian Steven Schlossman write, among U.S. educators. For more than a century, they’ve been debating how, and whether, kids should do schoolwork at home .

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At the dawn of the twentieth century, homework meant memorizing lists of facts which could then be recited to the teacher the next day. The rising progressive education movement despised that approach. These educators advocated classrooms free from recitation. Instead, they wanted students to learn by doing. To most, homework had no place in this sort of system.

Through the middle of the century, Gill and Schlossman write, this seemed like common sense to most progressives. And they got their way in many schools—at least at the elementary level. Many districts abolished homework for K–6 classes, and almost all of them eliminated it for students below fourth grade.

By the 1950s, many educators roundly condemned drills, like practicing spelling words and arithmetic problems. In 1963, Helen Heffernan, chief of California’s Bureau of Elementary Education, definitively stated that “No teacher aware of recent theories could advocate such meaningless homework assignments as pages of repetitive computation in arithmetic. Such an assignment not only kills time but kills the child’s creative urge to intellectual activity.”

But, the authors note, not all reformers wanted to eliminate homework entirely. Some educators reconfigured the concept, suggesting supplemental reading or having students do projects based in their own interests. One teacher proposed “homework” consisting of after-school “field trips to the woods, factories, museums, libraries, art galleries.” In 1937, Carleton Washburne, an influential educator who was the superintendent of the Winnetka, Illinois, schools, proposed a homework regimen of “cooking and sewing…meal planning…budgeting, home repairs, interior decorating, and family relationships.”

Another reformer explained that “at first homework had as its purpose one thing—to prepare the next day’s lessons. Its purpose now is to prepare the children for fuller living through a new type of creative and recreational homework.”

That idea didn’t necessarily appeal to all educators. But moderation in the use of traditional homework became the norm.

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“Virtually all commentators on homework in the postwar years would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in the NEA Journal in 1952 that ‘it would be absurd to demand homework in the first grade or to denounce it as useless in the eighth grade and in high school,’” Gill and Schlossman write.

That remained more or less true until 1983, when publication of the landmark government report A Nation at Risk helped jump-start a conservative “back to basics” agenda, including an emphasis on drill-style homework. In the decades since, continuing “reforms” like high-stakes testing, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Common Core standards have kept pressure on schools. Which is why twenty-first-century first graders get spelling words and pages of arithmetic.

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Why homework isn't working

Amelia Warren, a nine-year-old from Maidstone, Kent, knows about homework. It is 6.20pm by the time she gets home from her after-school club, but she still has to sit down to worksheets covering numeracy, literacy and spelling. At the weekend she fits projects for her teacher in between dance lessons and football games.

'It would really surprise you,' said her mother, Laura. 'Some nights she has sheets with 100 times tables. I don't want it to become a chore because it will put her off. I work full-time; I do not want the time we spend together to be me and her battling about homework.'

Family tension is just one of a string of negative effects of homework for young children, according to an explosive new book which says much of it is pointless. The book, The Homework Myth, to be published in Britain in the spring, also says too much if it turns children off education and does not make them do any better in tests.

The study, by American academic Alfie Kohn, has sparked a huge debate on TV and radio and in hundreds of newspapers. Last week it reached the Wall Street Journal, where it was reported that some of America's most competitive schools were cutting or eliminating work beyond their gates.

'What surprised me is not the downside of homework, but the fact there appears to be no upside,' said Kohn. 'No study has ever shown an academic benefit to homework before high school.'

In the UK, it has emerged that a handful of primary school headteachers have started to drop traditional styles of homework in favour of 'fun' activities and outings that parents and children can do together. One London school has swapped sums and endless spelling for museum trips and cookery tasks.

Even that is too much for Kohn, who will spend his year giving dozens of lectures calling for parents to 'organise' into groups and go into schools to demand changes. 'Kids should have the chance to relax after a full day at school,' he said. In Kohn's eyes, primary schoolchildren should do no more than read for pleasure when they get home.

Soon his message will reach the UK, where the government made homework compulsory nine years ago, starting at one hour a week for five-year-olds. It is likely to reject his arguments.

'Homework is an essential part of education,' said a Department for Education and Skills official. 'A good, well-organised homework programme helps children and young people to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful, independent life-long learning.'

It is a view shared by many parents. Andy Hibberd, co-founder of the support group the Parent Organisation, says his sons aged seven and nine benefit greatly from the work they bring home. 'When they go to secondary school, then further and higher education, they will have to do homework,' said Hibberd, from Wingworth, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. 'I think for primary school children to start bringing home a little bit of homework so they are prepared is a good thing. It does not hurt younger children to do 10 minutes a day.'

However, a recent review by Susan Hallam, a professor at the Institute for Education in London, showed that setting the wrong type of work can be detrimental to pupils. 'It needs to be meaningful,' said Hallam. 'If it is just being set as something schools feel they have to do with no real thought to its purpose, then it is a waste of time. Homework, if taken to the extreme, can completely disrupt family life.'

Some headteachers are sceptical too. 'Many teachers have long suspected homework wasn't beneficial for the children,' said John Peck, head of Peafield Lane Primary School in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. 'Sometimes it is done more for the parents who demand it. It would be a brave school that decided to eliminate homework.'

At Coleridge primary school in north London, the head, Shirley Boffey, has replaced many aspects of traditional homework with 'home learning'. Sums, grammar and spelling have been reduced. Instead worksheets filled with ideas about making models, trips to museums, cookery and art are sent home.

One sheet suggests that parents take their children to nearby Alexandra Palace to look through the telescope; another asks them to make bread together; while one focuses on learning about the local area. 'We did it for all the reasons that they are arguing in the US,' said Boffey. 'We didn't feel homework was working, we wanted children to enjoy learning and not see it as a chore.'

Some parents love the new system; others are yet to be convinced. Vikki Poole, from Muswell Hill, has two daughters at the school, aged seven and 10, and loves the new system. Her girls took home 'very formulaic' work from their last school. Now the family gets together once a week to do the tasks and Poole loves the new system.

But for others, such as Ilana Wegrzyn, the new regime means extra stress. 'I have two boys, eight and 10. One may have to cook a curry and the other one bake bread. Each topic can take an afternoon. I work part- time, but with their music and sport it is a really pressure.'

Wegrzyn prefers more traditional homework, but she could not deny that her boys love the new work.

Try this at home

The old way

· Complete a page of sums out of a textbook

· Learn lists of spellings by rote

· Learn the times tables

· Fill in a wordsearch

The new way

· Parents help their children to design a poster about their favourite toy, label it and write about what it is called, how old it is, what it is made from and why it is particularly special to them

· Create a work of art using only recycled materials

· Devise a multiplication quiz to play with other pupils. As the maker of the quiz, the child will have to know the answers

· Keep a moon diary, drawing a diagram of the moon each night. Notice how the shape of the moon changes and name the phases

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30+ Interesting Facts About Homework You Should Know

Homework is an essential part of the education system, and it has been around for centuries. It is a task given to students to complete outside of regular school hours. Homework is usually assigned to reinforce learning, build study habits, and develop critical thinking skills. However, there are many interesting facts about homework that you may not know. In this blog, we will explore some of these Facts About Homework and discover more about the history, benefits, and effects of homework.

Origin of Homework

Table of Contents

Let us enter into the world of interesting facts about homework with its ‘history.’ Homework has a long and complicated history. It might have been around as long as the school itself, but its exact origins aren’t known.

While some websites claim that the inventor of homework is Roberto Nevilis from Venice, Italy, he probably didn’t actually exist.

The idea behind homework was to help students remember what they learned in their class. When they left their schools, they would forget what they had learned, but if they were given homework after school, they could learn what was taught in the next day’s class without having to worry about it.

Throughout the 19th century, this practice of bringing homework home began to become popular. It was encouraged by politicians like Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Horace Mann who were advocating for mandatory education.

Purpose of Homework

Homework is a term used to describe tasks or assignments given to students by their teachers that they are expected to complete outside of the classroom. These can take many forms, including reading and writing assessments, research tasks and projects.

Whether students enjoy it or not, homework is an important part of their education. It helps them develop study skills, time management, responsibility and independence.

It can also help them develop the skills needed for lifelong learning. For example, some studies have shown that students who complete their homework every night are better able to understand and apply the concepts they learn in school.

However, many students have a hard time completing their homework because of family commitments or personal problems. In addition, they might find it boring and unnecessary to do the same tasks over and over again.

Applicability of Homework

Homework is one of the most controversial topics in education, but it’s also a crucial part of the learning process. As such, it’s important to know what makes homework tick so that you can help your students succeed.

Most teachers assign homework to reinforce what was covered in class or to prepare their students for the next assignment. Less often, homework is given to extend a lesson to different contexts or integrate multiple skills around a project.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your homework is to make sure you understand what it’s for, set aside time each week to do it, and then stick with it. This will help you avoid getting into a homework hole that could keep you up at night. By using these tips, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding at the task at hand and have more time for the things that really matter, like hanging out with friends.

Benefits of Doing Homework

Homework has many benefits, both for students and for the education system as a whole. Here are some of the most significant benefits of homework :

  • Reinforcing Learning: Homework helps reinforce the lessons that students learn in the classroom. It gives students the opportunity to practice what they have learned and reinforce their knowledge.
  • Developing Study Habits: Homework is an excellent way to teach students good study habits. It encourages students to manage their time effectively and develop a routine for completing tasks.
  • Promoting Independent Learning: Homework promotes independent learning and helps students develop self-discipline and responsibility.
  • Preparing for College: Homework prepares students for the demands of college by teaching them good study habits and helping them develop critical thinking skills.
  • Encouraging Parental Involvement: Homework gives parents the opportunity to get involved in their child’s education and help them with their studies.
  • Some research has shown that homework helps students to develop responsibility, learn time management, and study habits (Cooper 1989; Corno and Xu 2004; Johnson and Pontius 1989). However, it is important to limit the amount of homework a student does so that they can achieve the best results.

Negative Effects of Homework

While homework has many benefits, it can also have some negative effects, particularly if students are overloaded with too much work. Here are some of the most significant negative effects of homework :

  • Stress: Too much homework can cause stress and anxiety in students, particularly if they have other commitments outside of school.
  • Lack of Sleep: Students who are overloaded with homework may not get enough sleep, which can affect their ability to concentrate in class.
  • Burnout: Students who are constantly working on homework may experience burnout, which can lead to a lack of motivation and engagement in school.
  • Inequality: Homework can also contribute to educational inequality, as students from disadvantaged backgrounds may not have the resources or support they need to complete their homework assignments.

35+ Interesting Facts About Homework

Now that we have explored the history, benefits, and effects of homework, let’s look at some interesting facts about homework that you may not know:

  • The word “homework” comes from the Latin word “homo” which means “man” and “opus” which means “work.” So, homework literally means “man’s work.”
  • In some countries, homework is illegal. For example, in France, homework is banned for students in primary school.
  • The amount of homework that students receive varies widely around the world. In Finland, students typically receive less than half an hour of homework per night, while in some countries, students may receive several hours of homework per night.
  • The debate over the effectiveness of homework has been going on for over 100 years. In 1901, the Ladies’ Home Journal published an article arguing that homework was harmful to children’s health.
  • The largest homework assignment ever given was in 2012 when a teacher in Kazakhstan assigned her students a 14-page math problem.
  • Homework can be beneficial for younger students. A study found that homework had a positive effect on students in grades 2-5, but had little to no effect on students in grades 6-9.
  • Homework can help improve academic achievement, but only up to a certain point. Studies have shown that students who do more than two hours of homework per night do not necessarily perform better academically than those who do less.
  • The average high school student spends about 17.5 hours per week on homework. This is the equivalent of a part-time job!
  • Homework can help improve time management skills. A study found that students who spent more time on homework had better time management skills and were more likely to complete their work on time.
  • Homework can have a positive impact on family relationships. A study found that parents who helped their children with homework felt more involved in their child’s education and had a better relationship with their child.
  • Homework dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, where students would study and write at home in addition to attending school.
  • The first recorded use of the word “homework” in the English language dates back to the 1650s.
  • Homework is believed to have become a common practice in the United States in the early 20th century, as a way to improve academic performance.
  • In some countries, such as Finland, homework is not given to primary school students at all, while in others, like South Korea, students may have hours of homework each night.
  • Studies have shown that too much homework can be detrimental to students’ health and well-being, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and even physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches.
  • However, homework can also have positive effects, such as improving academic achievement and teaching students important skills like time management and self-discipline.
  • The amount of homework given to students has been a topic of debate among educators and parents for many years, with some advocating for more homework and others arguing for less.
  • Some schools and teachers have implemented alternative forms of homework, such as project-based learning or online assignments, in order to make homework more engaging and relevant to students.
  • Some studies have shown that parental involvement in homework can be beneficial, but only to a certain extent, and that too much parental involvement can actually be counterproductive.
  • The effectiveness of homework may depend on a variety of factors, including the student’s age, academic level, and learning style, as well as the type and amount of homework assigned.
  • Homework can help reinforce what was learned in class, as well as prepare students for upcoming lessons and assessments.
  • Some researchers have suggested that homework should be tailored to each student’s individual needs and abilities, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Homework can also help develop skills such as research, writing, and critical thinking, which are important for success in higher education and in the workforce.
  • In some countries, such as Japan, students may attend “cram schools” or “juku” to supplement their education and receive additional homework assignments.
  • The amount of homework assigned to students can vary greatly depending on the subject, grade level, and teacher. For example, a high school student taking advanced math classes may have significantly more homework than a middle school student taking basic English classes.
  • Some studies have shown that homework can be especially beneficial for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as it can provide a structured and supportive environment for learning outside of the classroom.
  • Homework policies can vary greatly between schools and school districts, with some schools banning homework altogether or limiting the amount of homework assigned.
  • In some cases, homework has become a controversial issue, with some parents and educators advocating for its abolition and others arguing for its importance in education.
  • Online homework platforms and tools have become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing students to access assignments and resources from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • The effectiveness of homework may also depend on the quality of instruction and feedback provided by the teacher, as well as the student’s level of engagement and motivation.
  • Homework can also provide opportunities for students to practice skills and concepts independently, which can help to identify areas where they may need additional support or instruction.
  • Homework can help students to develop a sense of responsibility and accountability, as they are expected to complete assignments and meet deadlines.
  • Some studies have shown that excessive homework can have negative effects on family time and activities, as well as lead to conflicts and stress between students and their parents.
  • Homework policies can vary greatly between cultures and countries, with some countries placing a greater emphasis on homework and academic achievement than others.
  • Homework can also provide opportunities for students to develop social and emotional skills, such as working collaboratively on group assignments or managing their time effectively.
  • Some educators and researchers have suggested that homework should be designed to promote deeper learning and understanding, rather than just memorization and rote learning.
  • Homework can be a source of academic pressure and stress for some students, particularly those who struggle with learning or have competing demands on their time.
  • The use of homework as a means of assessing student learning and progress has been criticized by some educators, who argue that it can be an unreliable and unfair measure of achievement.
  • Homework policies can also vary greatly between individual teachers, with some teachers assigning significantly more or less homework than their colleagues.
  • Some educators and researchers have called for a re-evaluation of the role and value of homework in education, and for more research into its effectiveness and impact on student learning and well-being.

Conclusion (Facts About Homework)

In conclusion, homework has a long history and has evolved over the centuries. While it has many benefits, it can also have negative effects if students are overloaded with too much work. However, the debate over the effectiveness of homework is ongoing, and it is clear that the amount and type of homework given can vary widely around the world. Nevertheless, homework remains an important part of the education system, and it is likely to continue to be so for many years to come. Hope you have enjoyed the interesting facts about homework discussed in this blog.

FAQs (Facts About Homework)

Why do teachers assign homework.

Teachers assign homework for several reasons. It can help reinforce concepts taught in class, encourage independent learning and time management skills, and provide an opportunity for students to practice skills they will need in future academic and professional endeavors.

How much homework should students have?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount of homework can vary depending on the grade level, subject, and individual school policies. In general, the National Education Association recommends a guideline of about 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 90 minutes for ninth grade).

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    A study of teenagers used by The Telegraph shows that American high-schoolers spend an average of 6.1 hours per week compared with 4.9 hours per week of homework each week for UK-based teens. Up until 2012, the Department of Education recommended an hour of homework a week for primary school Key Stage 1 children (aged 4 to 7) and half an hour a ...

  5. The Homework Debate 2021: Should homework be banned in the UK?

    Helping Kids 'do' Mental Maths. Courses are running from June 1st - June 5th, 2021. In just two classes, our tutors can help your child develop fast calculation skills, applying them to all types of maths problems! "Homework should be banned!". - The call to action.

  6. Homework: What Does the Evidence Say?

    Dylan Wiliam, back in 2014, shared a very strong opinion that didn't exactly condemn the evidence and action related to homework to the dustbin, but he poked a gaping hole into our every assumption about homework and its impact. At Huntington School, we battled with the issues and surveyed the best available evidence, from the EEF Toolkit ...

  7. Homeworking in the UK

    The decrease in the number of non-homeworkers (those who live and non-homework in the same region) and regional commuters (those who work in a region but live in a different region) varied across UK regions, the largest decreases were in London (30.1%, down 1.4 million), followed by the South East (21.8%, down 775,000), Scotland (21.2%, down ...

  8. Is Homework In School a Good Thing?

    According to statistics on homework, homework over a certain level (the 10 minutes per grade standard) has been linked to excessive stress and disruption of personal and social habits in adolescents. It may surprise you to find out that the average amount of homework that kids from countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany currently get is ...

  9. (PDF) Primary homework in England: the beliefs and practices of

    the beliefs and practices of teachers in primary schools. Abstract. This study examines teachers' views about and practices in homework in primary. schools, based on questionnaire data from 235 ...

  10. Homework

    When implementing homework, the evidence suggests a wide variation in impact. Therefore, schools should consider the ' active' ingredients to the approach, which may include: Considering the quality of homework over the quantity. Using well-designed tasks that are linked to classroom learning. Clearly setting out the aims of homework to pupils.

  11. Characteristics of homeworkers, Great Britain

    Age and sex. Overall, 44% of workers reported home or hybrid working and 56% reported only travelling to work in the last seven days (September 2022 to January 2023). A higher rate reported hybrid working, with 28% reporting hybrid working and 16% reporting working from home only.

  12. Primary homework in England: the beliefs and practices of teachers in

    Homework is a global phenomenon and children in primary schools spend increasing amounts of time on homework (Baker and LeTendre 2005). ... Nottingham, UK Correspondence [email protected] & David Wray Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. Pages 191-204 | Received 09 Dec 2016, Accepted 22 Dec 2017 ...

  13. The pros and cons of homework

    1. Pro: improves academic achievement. A 2006 meta-analysis of research by Duke University in North Carolina found that children who have homework perform better academically at school. But it ...

  14. Homework

    Homework was less favored after the end of the Cold War. United Kingdom. British students get more homework than many other countries in Europe. The weekly average for the subject is 5 hours. The main distinction for UK homework is the social gap, with middle-class teenagers getting a disproportionate amount of homework compared to Asia and Europe.

  15. The Surprising History of Homework Reform

    One teacher proposed "homework" consisting of after-school "field trips to the woods, factories, museums, libraries, art galleries.". In 1937, Carleton Washburne, an influential educator who was the superintendent of the Winnetka, Illinois, schools, proposed a homework regimen of "cooking and sewing…meal planning…budgeting, home ...

  16. Why homework isn't working

    Why homework isn't working. Leading academic says too much study after school turns children off education and sparks family rows. Anushka Asthana, education correspondent. Sat 27 Jan 2007 19.07 ...

  17. Characteristics of homeworkers, Great Britain: September 2022 ...

    Characteristics of homeworkers, Great Britain: September 2022 to January 2023. This publication will answers the questions of who is more likely to be working from home across demographics using ...

  18. Government scraps homework rules for English schools

    5 March 2012. Homework - are the rules changing? Official homework guidelines set by the government for English schools have been scrapped. Michael Gove, the man in charge of Education, says head ...

  19. 30+ Interesting Facts About Homework You Should Know

    Reinforcing Learning: Homework helps reinforce the lessons that students learn in the classroom. It gives students the opportunity to practice what they have learned and reinforce their knowledge. Developing Study Habits: Homework is an excellent way to teach students good study habits.