Should Kids Get Homework?

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

Mother helping son with homework at home

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

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

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

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

Value of Homework

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Homework Assignments

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

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

Homework that's just busy work.

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

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

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

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

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

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

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

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

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

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

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

Private vs. Public Schools

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

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

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

How to Address Homework Overload

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

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

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

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

Study Tips for High School Students

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Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

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

child doing homework

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

Do your homework.

If only it were that simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janine Bempechat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we have the same name

so they have the same name what of it?

lol you tell her

totally agree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

homework isn’t that bad

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

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

i totally agree with you. these people are such boomers

why just why

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

why the hell?

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

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

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

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

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

not true it just causes kids to stress

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

homework does help

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

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

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

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

I disagree.

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

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

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

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

Homeowkr is god for stusenrs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

oof i feel bad good luck!

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

thx for the article guys.

Homework is good

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

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

It was published FEb 19, 2019.

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

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

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

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

What lala land do these teachers live in?

Homework gives noting to the kid

Homework is Bad

homework is bad.

why do kids even have homework?

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Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows kids that what they do is important.

Of course, helping with homework shouldn't mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!

Here are some tips to guide the way:

  • Know the teachers — and what they're looking for. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
  • Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
  • Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
  • Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there's an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary — and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
  • Make sure kids do their own work. They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it's a kid's job to do the learning.
  • Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
  • Set a good example. Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
  • Praise their work and efforts. Post an aced test or art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.
  • If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Talk about it with your child's teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.

Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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  • August 11, 2022

Why Homework Is Important to Kids and Parents

Information on why homework is helpful

The great homework debate is an ongoing conflict, with  some experts  saying the take-home lessons should be abolished, while others think they should be limited by age or completion time. Despite the controversy, homework is still a normal assignment for most school-age students to receive. So, what’s the importance of homework in a learner’s life? Well, answering the question of why is homework important for students will also answer the question of why is homework important for parents, too.

10 Benefits of Homework

Acts as a bridge between school and home.

Even if teachers and parents aren’t using the margins of a child’s homework to send messages back and forth in writing, a student’s take-home assignments can still be a de facto communication network used by two of the people most responsible for their unassuming courier’s continued learning.

When teachers assign homework, it can help teachers and parents unravel the puzzle that is their student’s learning preferences—an invaluable piece of knowledge to have in their quest to encourage enrichment and progress. Additionally, some parents like homework because it provides a window into their child’s daily lessons.

More Time with Material

Despite a teacher’s best efforts, there are concepts that may continue to elude some students even after ample instructional time and effort. That’s okay—children learn in different ways and at different speeds.

During homework, the additional time learners spend engaged with a subject can be exactly what they need to begin piecing things together and grasping the lesson presented in the day’s materials. Homework affords them all the time they need to explore those ideas without the societal pressures or time constraints they may experience in a classroom setting.

Using Resources to Their Advantage

In an academic setting, knowing something means being able to recall it from memory and prove that knowledge on an exam, in an essay or during a conversation. Knowing how to find that fact using an educational resource like a library, a reference book or the Internet can be an equally useful long-term skill, though.

Working from home and having access to resources outside the classroom helps show a child the best avenue for finding the information they require and teaches them to use those tools when searching for relevant, factual information.

An Environment Conducive to Learning

Teachers can devote a lot of effort to making their classrooms feel like welcoming, safe areas that allow for the exploration and internalization of important academic concepts. However, despite an educator’s best attempts, some students may never be able to feel as comfortable as they do when they’re at home.

For those learners, homework exists as a chance for them to interact with the day’s material in their most open, relaxed state. At home, they’re free of the distractions and hindrances of a public place, allowing them to truly be themselves.

This can help accelerate the development of those children since learning while comfortable and in a good mindset is the best way to internalize and memorize the lesson at hand.

Teaches Students to Efficiently Manage Their Time

We’ve already touched on homework’s ability to familiarize kids with resources available to them beyond those they’ve come to rely on in their classrooms. Time management skills are another secondary lesson that homework can bestow upon young people, and it’s an important one to learn if they hope to make the most of their waking hours.

Self-regulating the task of homework helps kids figure out how to manage their own workloads and increases their ability to act autonomously and responsibly. Homework always has a due date, and taking on this due date—with the responsibility of meeting it—encourages independent thinking and problem solving.

If learned properly, time management is a skill young people will carry with them, first utilizing it to manage multiple facets of their life during any post-secondary educational pursuits before relying on it to get the most out of their adult years.

Improves Self-esteem

Whether they’re reinforcing a lesson they’ve already explored or successfully grasping the concepts after a healthy amount of after-school study time, homework can help foster the self-esteem necessary for students to excel in both academics and everyday situations. Taking the lessons learned during class and applying them independently to assignments can do wonders for a child’s self-autonomy and self-reliance. It can also give them the confidence necessary to trust their learning process and fight through failures to their eventual understanding.

Enhances the Next Day’s Lesson

When students explore their take home work, they may find questions they didn’t know they had. This allows each student to have a grasp on the homework and come ready for a class discussion. Effective homework does more than just ask students to complete its tasks before the next class period, it also engages kids and lays the groundwork for an enriching learning session.

Helps Identify Weaknesses

Homework can instill confidence and self-esteem by giving students a safe environment to practice problem solving and self-reliance, but homework can also shine a spotlight on the weaknesses particular lessons may expose in a student’s knowledge. Even if they find these revelations discouraging, identifying areas needing improvement can be just as important—possibly more important—than strengthening self-esteem.

Facing a shortcoming can teach a student how to handle adversity, fixing that shortcoming can help a student learn that progress is possible, and repeating the process can solidify a student’s confidence in their learning process and ability to internalize concepts.

Improves Performance

Benchmarks like grades and academic awards may be external motivators and less effective than intrinsic motivation, but these can also be happy secondary effects of healthier motivational styles—and homework can play a big part in reaching those milestones. Keeping up with after school work can improve student’s grades and scores on standardized tests.

Widen Attention Span

When doing homework, students—especially older students—are responsible for managing their own attention span. There aren’t any teachers at their homes yelling about daydreaming, doodling or other self-imposed distractions. Teachers assign homework, then homework teaches some life skills necessary to excel in high school and beyond.

How to Help Your Child with Homework

Praise hard work.

Making a point to recognize the effort and hard work school students are putting into their out-of-the-classroom learning can help them form a positive relationship with their homework. It can also help craft the act of completing that work into an internal motivation. It’s important to avoid praise that promotes achievement motivation, such as a focus on a specific award or position, but the work a child is putting into those possible achievements shouldn’t go unpraised.

Homework Sessions

On nights when a large amount of homework seems to be a daunting task, make a plan with your young person to tackle their assignments. Splitting work up into sessions helps make tasks more manageable.

It’s Not Your Homework

Help your learner grasp concepts by supporting them and answering reasonable questions, but ensure they’re learning by making sure they’re the ones completing homework.

A Child’s Home Office

Create a dedicated, well-lit area where students can complete homework without worrying about distractions. Keep the area stocked with items they’re frequently using to complete assignments.

Affix Homework to A Certain Time

Routines can help people maintain responsibilities and get used to doing certain tasks. Figure out the best time for your child’s productivity and deem that period as homework or study time.

Discuss Lessons Before Your Child Tackles Homework

If a child feels like the subject of their homework is a little too difficult for them, they could lose interest in a topic or subject that used to make them excited to learn. Even if you have good communication with your learner, this may be difficult to observe, so it’s recommended you speak with kids about the new subjects they’re learning in school and go through some of their homework with them before allowing them to complete the rest on their own.

Check in on your child periodically and provide help where necessary. While checking in, let them know you’re always there to help and they’re never completely on their own. This safety net can be an important part of the learning process.

Monitor A Student’s Progress

Research consistently shows a link between parental involvement concerning the learning of a child and that child’s achievement in a school setting. Homework is an easy, tangible way for parents to see their child’s progress while taking an active approach to their child’s educational career.

Help Your Child Excel at School

Healthy, positive and productive homework habits with the right amount of parental intervention can push a child’s academic performance to the next level. The at-home lessons don’t have to stop there, though.

Virtual learning materials like Juni Learning’s online courses can supplement homework lessons or become one of a child’s out-of-classroom academic resources. Find  Juni Learning’s curriculum overview here  and, when you’re ready,  browse their selection of courses here . Juni Learning can help your child become a more confident student, inside and outside school.

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The truth about homework in America

by: Carol Lloyd | Updated: February 9, 2023

Print article


Not excited about homework? We can hardly blame you. But how families handle homework in America can have a huge impact on their child’s short-term and long-term academic success. Here’s a glimpse at how American families approach homework, and some tips that may help you decide how to handle homework in your home.

Model how much you value your child’s education

Think of your child’s nightly homework as a time to model how much you value your child’s learning and education. Get in the habit of asking your child what homework they have each evening, looking over their homework when they’re done each night, praising their hard work, and marveling at all that they are learning. Your admiration and love is the best magic learning potion available.

Set up a homework routine American parents who want their children to graduate from high school and go to college take learning at home seriously. They turn off the TV and radio at homework time. They take away access to video games and smartphones. They make sure the child gets some exercise and has a healthy snack before starting homework because both are shown to help kids focus. When it’s time for homework, they (try to) ensure their child has a quiet place where they can focus and have access to the grade-appropriate homework basics, like paper, pencils, erasers, crayons, and tape for kids in younger grades and calculators and writing materials for kids in older grades.

Helping with homework when you don’t read/speak English

So how can you help with homework if you can’t read your child’s homework because it’s in English — or because the math is being presented in a way you’ve never seen? If you can’t understand your child’s homework, you can still do a lot to help them. Your physical presence (and your authority to turn off the TV) can help them take homework time seriously. Your encouragement that they take their time and not rush through the work also will help. Finally, your ability to ask questions can do two important things: you can show your interest in their work (and thus reinforce the importance you place on learning and education) and you can help your child slow down and figure things out when they’re lost or frustrated. A lot of learning happens when children have a chance to talk through problems and ideas. Sometimes, just describing the assignment or problem to you can help the solution click for your child.

What’s the right amount of homework?

It’s often in first grade that kids start receiving regular homework and feel stressed and lost if they don’t complete it. If your child is having trouble adjusting to their new routines, know that it’s not just your child. Families all across America are having the same issues in terms of figuring out how to create quiet, focussed time for a young child to read, write, and do math inside a bustling home. In first grade, your child will likely be asked to do somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes of homework a night, sometimes in addition to 20 minutes of bedtime reading. ( The National PTA’s research-based recommendation is 10 to 20 minutes of homework a night in first grade and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter.) If your child is getting a lot more than that, talk to your child’s teacher about how long your child should be spending on homework and what you can do to help.

Comparing U.S. homework time to other countries

If you’ve come from another country and recall your childhood homework taking less time, you may think it’s because you’re foreign. The truth is, most parents who grew up in the U.S. are feeling the same way. In the past few decades homework for younger grades has intensified in many schools. “The amount of homework that younger kids — ages 6 to 9 — have to do has gone up astronomically since the late ’80s,” says Alfie Kohn, author of the 2006 book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing. So if you feel surprised about the quantity of homework your child is bringing home, you’re not alone.

According to an international study of homework, 15-year-olds in Shanghai do 13.8 hours of homework per week compared to 6.1 hours in the U.S. and 5.3 hours in Mexico and 3.4 hours in Costa Rica. But here’s the thing: academic expectations in the U.S. vary widely from school to school. Some American elementary schools have banned homework. Others pile on hours a night — even in the younger grades. By high school, though, most American students who are seriously preparing for four-year college are doing multiple hours of homework most nights.

Not into homework? Try this.

Homework detractors point to research that shows homework has no demonstrated benefits for students in the early elementary grades. “The research clearly shows that there is no correlation between academic achievement and homework, especially in the lower grades,” says Denise Pope, senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the author of the 2015 book, Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy Successful Kids .

On the other hand, nightly reading is hugely important.

“One thing we know does have a correlation with academic achievement is free reading time,” says Pope. “We know that that is something we want schools to encourage.” Since the scientific evidence shows the most impact comes from reading for pleasure, don’t skip bedtime reading. If your child is not being given any homework, make sure to spend some of that extra time reading books in either English or Spanish.

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Here’s what you need to know about homework and how to help your child

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Many parents and educators view homework as an important indicator of classroom rigor. The Back-to-Basic movement , which emphasizes the need for schools to teach basic academic skills in particular, has increased the emphasis on homework as a measure of a school’s success.

In fact, many parents and students judge the difficulty of a course or teacher by the amount of homework assigned. Furthermore, many educators believe that asking parents to help their children with homework is a particularly effective strategy for enhancing children’s achievement.

Many parents, too, agree that their involvement will make a positive difference. In a 2014 study conducted by the US Department of Education, 90% of parents reported that they set aside a place at home for their child to do homework, and 85% reported that they checked to see that homework had been completed.

But does helping with homework really improve student achievement? As a high school and college teacher who has assigned homework, and a mother of two sons who were not always too enthusiastic about completing homework, I have studied the many ways that families from different income levels support their children’s academic success.

I have come to believe that homework can not only enhance children’s achievement but can be a powerful opportunity for parent-child nurturing. But research also tells us that it is not just any homework assignment that will have that kind of impact.

Here is what we are learning about homework.

When parent involvement helps

Despite a widespread belief that parent involvement in homework is good for kids, researchers are discovering that it can have both positive and negative effects.

In 2008, three researchers – Erika A Patall , Harris Cooper and Jorgianne Civey Robinson – conducted an extensive review of research on the effects on students of parent involvement in homework. They found that the effects of parent involvement appear to be strongly influenced by four factors:

  • the nature of the homework assignment
  • the particular involvement strategy used by the parent
  • the child’s age and ability level
  • the time and skill resources in the home.

homework in child

The researchers found that homework assignments in which students are expected to memorize facts, and the parent is expected to teach school skills, provide less meaningful opportunities for parent and student interaction in the learning process.

In contrast, homework assignments in which students choose a project that requires in-depth investigation, thought and some creative license enable meaningful parent participation. Parents can play supportive roles in discussing the project with their child, which is more enjoyable both for the child and parent.

For example, students may demonstrate math skills; share ideas and obtain reactions to written work; conduct surveys or interviews; gather parents’ memories and experiences; apply school skills to real life; or work with parents or other family partners in new ways.

Strategies for parents

In addition, how parents help their child with homework appears to have distinct effects on student achievement.

Most parents engage in a wide variety of involvement strategies, such as creating “school-like routines” in which they make rules about when, where or how homework is done. They also interact with the teacher about homework and provide general oversight or monitoring of homework completion.

In some instances, parents control these structures; in others, parents follow the student’s lead.

For instance, parents may engage in the learning processes with the child (eg, engage in homework tasks with the child or in processes that support the child’s understanding of homework). Parents may also help their child learn self-management skills (eg, coping with distractions).

The strategies that parents use may vary depending on their beliefs about child-rearing and broader cultural values. Yet these different parent involvement strategies appear to have distinct effects on student achievement.

Strategies that support a child’s autonomy and also provide structure in the form of clear and consistent guidelines appear to be the most beneficial.

For example, in a 2001 study , researchers reported that parent homework involvement that supported autonomy was associated with higher standardized test scores, class grades and homework completion.

In contrast, direct aid (doing the homework for the student) was associated with lower test scores and class grades.

In another study , parent involvement in homework was reported by students to have a detrimental effect if the parent tried to help without a request from the child or was perceived as intrusive or controlling by the child.

Age matters

Researchers have also noted that the age and ability level of a child strongly influenced the amount of help with homework that parents provided and its subsequent benefits to the child.

Parents reported spending more time helping their elementary-age children with homework than their secondary school-age children. Parents of low-ability students reported spending more time helping with homework than did parents of high-ability students.

homework in child

While teachers and parents of elementary-aged children were more likely to work together to help students complete their assignments, parents of secondary school students often did not monitor their adolescents’ homework as faithfully as when their children were younger. This, in part, is because they were not expected or asked to do so by secondary teachers.

As a result, low-ability students in middle and high school were less likely to complete homework or to achieve academically.

Another factor was that parents of older students often reported feeling increasingly less able to help with homework.

What can educators do?

These research findings have important implications for how teachers design homework assignments and how parents and teachers might participate in the homework process.

First, students (and parents) need to know why they should be doing a particular homework assignment. What skill is to be practiced/reinforced? Why does this skill matter?

Teachers need to explicitly communicate the purpose of a particular homework assignment and emphasize how the skills they are learning in a homework assignment can be applied in the real world.

Second, educators should design homework assignments that are more meaningful and allow for creativity. Students should be able to have a choice in how they carry out an assignment.

Third, students have different learning styles, and educators need to consider how they might need to express their learning differently (via audiotapes, videotapes, posters and oral presentations rather than the standard written report).

Fourth, teachers should design interactive homework assignments that involve students in interactions with peers and with family and community members. For example, authors Alma Flor Ada and F Isabel Campoy have developed an approach of creating family storybooks that are used as reading and writing texts in the classroom.

Another group of researchers designed “interactive” homework assignments that guided students on how to conduct conversations with family members in math, science and language arts.

Another team of educators worked with teachers and parents to develop curricular approaches that brought students’ cultural backgrounds and families’ “funds of knowledge” into the classroom. For example, class lessons and homework were based on how parents use math in cooking or sewing or how workers use reading and math to build a house.

Homework is a daily activity for most students that takes time, energy and emotion, not only for students but for their families as well. Given these investments, it is important that homework be a more beneficial learning experience, in which parents too can bring their interesting and enriching skills.

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Ages & Stages

Developing good homework habits.

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Some children get right down to work without much encouragement. Others need help making the transition from playing to a homework frame of mind. Sometimes providing a ten-minute warning is all it takes to help a child get ready mentally as well as to move to the place she intends to work.

There is no universally right time to do homework. In some families, children do best if they tackle their homework shortly after returning home from school in the mid afternoon; other youngsters may do best if they devote the after-school hours to unwinding and playing, leaving their homework until the evening, when they may feel a renewed sense of vigor. Let your child have some say in the decision making. Homework can often become a source of conflict between parent and child—"Johnny, why can't you just do your homework with­out arguing about it?"—but if you agree on a regular time and place, you can eliminate two of the most frequent causes of homework-related dissension.

Some parents have found that their children respond poorly to a dictated study time (such as four o'clock every afternoon). Instead, youngsters are given guidelines ("No video games until your homework is done"). Find out what works best for both your child and the family as a whole. Once this is de­termined, stick with it.

Some youngsters prefer that a parent sit with them as they do their home­work. You may find this an acceptable request, particularly if you have your own reading or paperwork to complete. However, do not actually do the homework for your child. She may need some assistance getting focused and started and organizing her approach to the assignment. Occasionally, you may need to ex­plain a math problem; in those cases, let your child try a couple of problems first before offering to help. But if she routinely requires your active participation to get her everyday homework done, then talk to her teacher. Your child may need stronger direction in the classroom so that she is able to complete the assign­ments on her own or with less parental involvement. One area where children may need parental help is in organizing how much work will have to be done daily to finish a long assignment, such as a term paper or a science project.

If your child or her teacher asks you to review her homework, you may want to look it over before she takes it to school the next morning. Usually it is best if homework remains the exclusive domain of the child and the teacher. However, your input may vary depending on the teacher's philosophy and the purpose of homework. If the teacher is using homework to check your child's understand­ing of the material—thus giving the teacher an idea of what needs to be empha­sized in subsequent classroom teaching sessions—your suggestions for changes and improvements on your child's paper could prove misleading. On the other hand, if the teacher assigns homework to give your child practice in a particular subject area and to reinforce what has already been taught in class, then your participation can be valuable. Some teachers use homework to help children develop self-discipline and organizational and study skills. Be sure to praise your youngster for her efforts and success in doing her homework well.

In general, support your child in her homework, but do not act as a taskmas­ter. Provide her with a quiet place, supplies, encouragement, and occasional help—but it is her job to do the work. Homework is your youngster's respon­sibility, not yours.

As the weeks pass, keep in touch with your child's teacher regarding home­work assignments. If your youngster is having ongoing problems—difficulty understanding what the assignments are and how to complete them—or if she breezes through them as though they were no challenge at all, let the teacher know. The teacher may adjust the assignments so they are more in sync with your youngster's capabilities.

Whether or not your child has homework on a particular night, consider reading aloud with her after school or at night. This type of shared experience can help interest your child in reading, as well as give you some personal time with her. Also, on days when your child does not have any assigned home­work, this shared reading time will reinforce the habit of a work time each evening.

To further nurture your child's love of reading, set a good example by spend­ing time reading on your own, and by taking your youngster to the library and/or bookstore to select books she would like to read. Some families turn off the TV each night for at least thirty minutes, and everyone spends the time reading. As children get older, one to two hours may be a more desirable length of time each day to set aside for reading and other constructive activities.

As important as it is for your child to develop good study habits, play is also important for healthy social, emotional, and physical growth and develop­ment. While encouraging your child to complete her assignments or do some additional reading, keep in mind that she has already had a lengthy and per haps tiring day of learning at school and needs some free time. Help her find the play activities that best fit her temperament and personality—whether it is organized school sports or music lessons, free-play situations (riding her bike, playing with friends), or a combination of these.

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Adolescent girl doing homework.

What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

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

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

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

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

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

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

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

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

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

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

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

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

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

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

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

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

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

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

Parents Play a Key Role

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

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

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Helping kids with homework

Wondering how to help your kids with their homework this year? Psychologist Eleanor Mackey has some tips.

Mother helping daughter do homework

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Now that school is back in full swing, many households are dealing with how to handle homework. Helping your child be successful at homework is very important because it is a very critical part of children’s academic success. Homework helps children in several ways, including:

  • continues learning after the school day
  • teaches responsibility
  • helps parents stay aware of what their child is learning in school

Being involved in your child’s homework is important. As with all parenting endeavors, though, there is a fine line between being too involved and not being involved enough.

So, what’s a parent to do?

Step 1: Set expectations

Set up appropriate expectations for your child and their homework responsibilities. For example, depending on the age of your child, they might be responsible for determining which homework needs to be done, doing the actual homework and putting their completed homework into their backpack. 

It is very important that the child take responsibility for the actual homework, not the parent. A parent might commit to finding a quiet space for the child to do the homework, checking answers, double checking that everything has been done, as well as being on hand to answer questions.

Step 2: Set up a good study space

There must be a designated homework space in the house free of noises and distractions. If possible, try to make this fun. For instance, a colleague of mine mentioned she got her kindergarten-aged son a “homework box” that has everything he needs including pencils, erasers, scissors, etc. He puts his homework folder by the box when he comes home and then has everything he needs. I think this is a great idea to help with organization for any age.

Step 3: Schedule when homework will be done

It is important to teach kids that homework must be done on time. Set aside a certain time of the evening for homework to be completed. Put it in the calendar like any other activity so that there is always time for it. Younger kids will need the schedule made for them. Children older than 10 years of age may be able to take charge of putting homework and specific assignments into the schedule and then have a parent check it for them.

For younger grades, there is usually homework that is shorter-term and due in quick succession, which can be easier to manage and plan. 

For older kids, often there is advanced planning that needs to be done, for example a term paper. Help your kids learn how to break up long-term assignments into chunks and assist in planning when each section will be completed. 

Step 4: Motivate! 

Your encouragement goes a long way towards motivating your child to do homework. Praise your child for steps along the way, not just successful completion of homework. For example, praise them for remembering their homework, for stopping other activities without complaint when it is homework time, for continuing a challenging task or for good grades. 

It is best to build internal motivation for homework, or the desire to complete it for their feelings of pride in good work done and for caring about their academics. However, some kids may benefit from external motivators, such as earning a pass from other chores in exchange for doing homework or earning the ability to engage in preferred activities when homework is done.

Still having homework challenges?

If your child is still having difficulty with homework, there are some additional steps you can take. For more pointers, I like the book “ Homework Without Tears ” by Canter and Hausner. It may also be important to talk with your child’s teacher to strategize on how to help your child. You may also want to consult a psychologist to determine if educational testing may benefit your child. 


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Mary C. Lamia Ph.D.

Homework Emotions in Children and Parents

Negative emotions can help get homework done..

Posted December 23, 2015

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Most kids and their parents hate homework, or at best don’t see the point of it. Teachers are not that fond of homework either, but they are expected to assign it. I will not be reviewing the merits and disadvantages of extended learning—what homework is supposed to be—since this has been done for decades. Let’s assume, for the time being, homework is here to stay regardless of the fact that many children and parents believe it makes their lives miserable. Since homework assignments can activate negative emotions, let’s take a look at how to effectively use those feelings to get it done.

A homework assignment can be a stimulus for any number of emotions. Erroneously, many children, parents, teachers, and even psychological researchers believe that children should be interested in doing their homework or enjoy doing it. However, in most cases, that’s just not going to happen. This belief is rooted in the notion that only positive emotions such as interest, excitement, or enjoyment are what motivate us. Granted, positive emotions are motivating because that’s their purpose, just as it is with negative emotions or neutral ones. In fact, at the core of our motivational system is emotion . Through their creation of bodily feelings, core emotions motivate us by directing our attention and giving us information about what’s going on. Thoughts and images (cognitions) that arise at the same time, make more specific the information provided by emotion.

Yet how many kids have a motivational system that will trigger the emotion of excitement in response to a stimulus consisting of 2 pages of math problems? I predict the numbers will be low. Perhaps there are some children who learn for love: they are interested in doing their homework because they desire approval from a teacher, or because they want to please them. And how many parents consider their role of helping their child with 2 pages of math problems to be an interesting job or anticipate with excitement reminding their child to do it? Few, if any. Nevertheless, some researchers suggest that a parent should maintain positive emotions in the homework context to counter the child’s negative response, since children are supposed to enjoy homework as well. Essentially, they are suggesting a parent should fib, as well as negate what the child feels, since it is likely most parents are not so positive about homework and how their kids are feeling about it. Why would anyone want to teach a child that it’s okay to lie or dismiss how a child feels? Let’s consider an alternative strategy that may be more in alignment with human motivation ; essentially, helping a child effectively use the motivation provided by his negative emotions to get his homework done.

Most often, what motivates a child to do his or her homework (or a parent to oversee it) are negative emotions. Negative emotions, like distress, fear , anger , disgust, and shame , will motivate a child to do something to avoid them, or urge a child to do something that will relieve their effects.[1] This does not imply that a child should ever be threatened by a parent or teacher with a behavior that activates negative emotion. It’s punishment enough for a child who experiences negative emotion in response to pages of math problems, be it anger, disgust, fear, or the anticipation of shame. Parents who recognize how to help the child make use of negative emotion can provide their child a lifelong gift: understanding human motivation.

So here is my point: Essentially, all humans are motivated by a desire to turn on emotions that are positive or to turn off the negative ones. A child may not be interested in or excited about doing homework, regardless of your efficacy as a cheerleader. And you don’t have to offer rewards as incentives, which can lead a child to expect that he or she should only do something for an external reward. And they don’t really understand the concept of intrinsic rewards in 3rd grade. But they do understand the notion of relief. The reason to get homework done, from the perspective of negative emotions, is to feel better. Relief from an emotion that is negative does feel better and it represents a primary reason why humans take care of many tasks in their lives. There is also another important component to this process. That is, the child should have a choice about timing and be helped to maintain that commitment. She may prefer to seek immediate relief by getting the work done as soon as possible so that it is off her mind and she can play. Or she may prefer to specify a later time when it will be done and engage in other activities until that deadline appears. Either way, the focus is on being effective and efficient, doing one’s best work, and relieving the negative emotion either now or later. Like adults and their tasks, children develop such preferences and you may even want to help them experiment with each way, without imposing your own style of getting things done.

Unfortunately, instead, researchers emphasize that negative emotions, especially on the part of a parent, will undermine a child’s motivation.[2] [3] Granted, I completely agree about the importance of a parent keeping their interactions with their children fun and loving around homework.[4] However, fun and loving does not involve lying and pretending to be positive about homework when you’re not, including feigning how exciting and interesting it is. Besides, some amusing moments with a child can occur when together you can laugh about something evoking a negative emotion, such as disgust. Yuck! Homework is disgusting! As well it can make you feel angry, distressed, and afraid that you'll experience shame if it isn't done well. Thus, a positive fun and loving relationship between parent and child can happen around seeking relief from homework emotions that are negative, and learning at the same time how to effectively use the emotions that evolved to motivate us.

[1] Tomkins, S. Affect imagery consciousness (1962/2008), New York, NY: Springer.

[2] Pomerantz, E.; Wang, Q.; & Fei-Yin Ng, F. (2005), cited above.

[3] Hokoda, A., & Fincham, F. D. (1995). Origins of children’s helpless and mastery achievement patterns in the family. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 375–385.

[4] Pomerantz, E.; Wang, Q.; & Fei-Yin Ng, F. (2005), cited above.

(For information about my books, please visit my website, )

Mary C. Lamia Ph.D.

Mary C. Lamia , Ph.D. , is a clinical psychologist in Marin County, California.

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Home / Expert Articles / Child Behavior Problems / School & Homework

The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework

By debbie pincus, ms lmhc.

Teen girl with hands on head frustrated by homework

Parents often feel it’s their job to get their kids to do well in school. Naturally, you might get anxious about this responsibility as a parent. You might also get nervous about your kids succeeding in life—and homework often becomes the focus of that concern.

But when parents feel it’s their responsibility to get their kids to achieve, they now need something from their children—they need them to do their homework and be a success. I believe this need puts you in a powerless position as a parent because your child doesn’t have to give you what you want.

The battle about homework becomes a battle over control. Your child starts fighting to have more control over the choices in their life, while you feel that your job as a parent is to be in control of things. So you both fight harder, and it turns into a war in your home.

Over the years, I’ve talked to many parents who are in the trenches with their kids, and I’ve seen firsthand that there are many creative ways kids rebel when it comes to schoolwork. Your child might forget to do their homework, do their homework but not hand it in, do it sloppily or carelessly, or not study properly for their test. These are just a few ways that kids try to hold onto the little control they have.

When this starts happening, parents feel more and more out of control, so they punish, nag, threaten, and argue. Some parents stop trying altogether to get their children to do homework. Or, and this is common, parents will over-function for their kids by doing the work for them.

Now the battle is in full swing: reactivity is heightened as anxiety is elevated—and homework gets lost in the shuffle. The hard truth for parents is that you cannot make your children do anything, let alone homework. But what you can do is to set limits, respect their individual choices, and help motivate them to motivate themselves.

You might be thinking to yourself, “You don’t know my child. I can’t motivate him to do anything.” Many parents tell me that their children are not motivated to do their work. I believe that children are motivated—they just may not be motivated the way you’d like them to be. Keep reading for some concrete tips to help you guide them in their work without having to nag, threaten, or fight with them.

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Also, keep in mind that if you carry more of the worry, fear, disappointments, and concern than your child does about their work, ask yourself, “What’s wrong with this picture, and how did this happen?” Remember, as long as you carry their concerns, they don’t have to.

Stop the Nightly Fights

The way you can stop fighting with your kids over homework every night is to stop fighting with them tonight. Disengage from the dance. Choose some different steps or decide not to dance at all. Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. Stay focused on your job, which is to help your child do their job. Don’t do it for them.

If you feel frustrated, take a break from helping your child with homework. Your blood pressure on the rise is a no-win for everyone. Take five or ten minutes to calm down, and let your child do the same if you feel a storm brewing.

Create Structure Around Homework Time

Set limits around homework time. Here are a few possibilities that I’ve found to be effective with families:

  • Homework is done at the same time each night.
  • Homework is done in a public area of your house.
  • If grades are failing or falling, take away screen time so your child can focus and have more time to concentrate on their work.
  • Make it the rule that weekend activities don’t happen until work is completed. Homework comes first. As James Lehman says, “The weekend doesn’t begin until homework is done.”

Let Your Child Make Their Own Choices

I recommend that your child be free to make their own choices within the parameters you set around schoolwork. You need to back off a bit as a parent. Otherwise, you won’t be helping them with their responsibilities.

If you take too much control over the situation, it will backfire on you by turning into a power struggle. And believe me, you don’t want a power struggle over homework. I’ve seen many kids purposely do poorly just to show their parents who’s in charge. I’ve also seen children who complied to ease their parents’ anxiety, but these same kids never learned to think and make choices for themselves.

Let Your Child Own the Consequences of Their Choices

I’m a big believer in natural consequences when it comes to schoolwork. Within the structure you set up, your child has some choices. They can choose to do their homework or not. And they can choose to do it well and with effort or not. The natural consequences will come from their choices—if they don’t choose to do their work, their grades will drop.

When that happens, you can ask them some honest questions:

“Are you satisfied with how things are going?”

“What do you want to do about your grade situation?”

“How can I be helpful to you?”

Be careful not to be snarky or judgmental. Just ask the question honestly. Show honest concern and try not to show disappointment.

Intervene Without Taking Control

The expectation is that homework is done to the best of your child’s ability. When they stop making an effort, and you see their grades drop, that’s when you invite yourself in. You can say:

“It’s my job to help you do your job better. I’m going to help you set up a plan to help yourself, and I will check in to make sure you’re following it.”

Set up a plan with your child’s input to get them back on their feet. For example, the new rules might be that homework must be done in a public place in your home until they get their grades back up. You and your child might meet with the teacher to discuss disciplinary actions should their grades continue to drop.

In other words, you will help your child get back on track by putting a concrete plan in place. And when you see this change, you can step back out of it. But before that, your child is going to sit in a public space and you’re going to monitor their work.

You’re also checking in more. Depending on your child’s age, you’re making sure that things are checked off before they go out. You’re adding a half-hour of review time for their subjects every day. And then, each day after school, they’re checking with their teacher or going for some extra help.

Remember, this plan is not a punishment—it’s a practical way of helping your child to do their best.

“I Don’t Care about Bad Grades!”

Many parents will say that their kids just don’t care about their grades. My guess is that somewhere inside, they do care. “I don’t care” also becomes part of a power struggle.

In other words, your child is saying, “I’m not going to care because you can’t make me. You don’t own my life.” And they’re right. The truth is, you can’t make them care. Instead, focus on what helps their behavior improve. And focus more on their actions and less on their attitude because it’s the actions that matter the most.

Motivation Comes From Ownership

It’s important to understand that caring and motivation come from ownership. You can help your child be motivated by allowing them to own their life more.

So let them own their disappointment over their grades. Don’t feel it more than they do. Let them choose what they will do or not do about their homework and face the consequences of those choices. Now they will begin to feel ownership, which may lead to caring.

Let them figure out what motivates them, not have them motivated by fear of you. Help guide them, but don’t prevent them from feeling the real-life consequences of bad choices. Think of it this way: it’s better for your child to learn from those consequences at age ten by failing their grade and having to go to summer school than for them to learn at age 25 by losing their job.

When Your Child Has a Learning Disability

I want to note that it’s very important that you check to see that there are no other learning issues around your child’s refusal to do homework. If they’re having difficulty doing the work or are performing below grade-level expectations, they should be tested to rule out any learning disabilities or other concerns.

If there is a learning disability, your child may need more help. For example, some kids need a little more guidance; you may need to sit near your child and help a little more. You can still put structures into place depending on who your child is.

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But be careful. Many times, kids with learning disabilities get way too much help and develop what psychologists call learned helplessness . Be sure you’re not over-functioning for your learning disabled child by doing their work for them or filling in answers when they’re capable of thinking through them themselves.

The Difference Between Guidance and Over-Functioning

Your child needs guidance from you, but understand that guidance does not mean doing their spelling homework for them. Rather, it’s helping them review their words. When you cross the line into over-functioning, you take on your child’s work and put their responsibilities on your shoulders. So you want to guide them by helping them edit their book report themselves or helping them take the time to review before a test. Those can be good ways of guiding your child, but anything more than that is taking too much ownership of their work.

If your child asks for help, you can coach them. Suggest that they speak with their teacher on how to be a good student and teach them those communication skills. In other words, show them how to help themselves. So you should not back off altogether—it’s that middle ground that you’re looking for. That’s why I think it’s essential to set up a structure. And within that structure, you expect your child to do what they have to do to be a good student.

Focus on Your Own Goals

When you start over-focusing on your child’s work, pause and think about your own goals and what do you need to get done to achieve those goals. Model your own persistence and perseverance to your child.

Believe In Your Child

I also tell parents to start believing in their children. Don’t keep looking at your child as a fragile creature who can’t do the work. I think we often come to the table with fear and doubt—we think if we don’t help our kids, they’re just not going to do it.

But as much as you say, “I’m just trying to help you,” what your child hears is, “You’re a failure; I don’t believe you can do it on your own.”

Instead, your message should be, “I know you can do it. And I believe in you enough to let you make your own choices and deal with the consequences.”

Related content: What Can I Do When My Child Refuses to Go to School? “My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork

For more information on the concept of learned helplessness in psychology and behavior, we recommend the following articles:

Psychology Today: Learned Helplessness

VeryWell Mind: What Is Learned Helplessness and Why Does it Happen?

About Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC

For more than 25 years, Debbie has offered compassionate and effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Debbie is the creator of the Calm Parent AM & PM™ program and is also the author of numerous books for young people on interpersonal relations.

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Frank My daughter Nina just turned 8 (Feb 11). She does not like to do homework one bit. Her teacher gives her homework every day except Friday. She loves Fridays because she doesn't like homework. She always hides her homework under her bed, refuses to do her homework, and in the More morning she tells her teacher "I lost it last night and can't find it!". She feels homework is a waste of time, yes, we all feel that way, but poor Nina needs to learn that homework is important to help you stay smart. She needs to start doing homework. How can I make her 2nd-grade brain know that homework is actually good? Is there a way to make her love, love, LOVE homework? Let me know.

Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. In addition to the tips in More the article above, it may be helpful to look into local resources to help you develop a plan for addressing these particular issues with your cousins, such as their doctor or their teachers. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.

Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach I hear you. Homework can be a challenging, frustrating time in many families even under the best of circumstances, so you are not alone. When kids struggle with a subject, it can be even more difficult to get assignments completed. Although you didn’t indicate that your daughter More has ADHD, you might find some helpful tips in Why School is Hard for Kids with ADHD—and How You Can Help . Author Anna Stewart outlines techniques that can be useful to help make homework more interesting for kids with a variety of learning challenges in this article. You might also consider checking in with your daughter’s teacher, as s/he might have some additional ideas for engaging your daughter in her homework. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.

So, after reading this I get to say…GREAT…You really do not know my child.  We have done 100% of everything listed in this article.  In the end, my son has utterly declared “I DON’T CARE, AND I DON’T NEED SCHOOL”.  We have attempted a “reward” system as well, and that doesn’t work.  He cares about 3 or 4 things.  Nintendo DS, Lego, K’Nex, TV…all of those he has lost over the past year.  Now he reads, ALL the time.  Fine, but that doesn’t get his homework done.  It also doesn’t get anything else he needs to do done.  We’ve done “task boards”, we’ve done “Reward Systems”, we’ve done the “What is on your list to complete”.  EVERYTHING is met with either a full fledged meltdown (think 2 year old…on the floor, kicking and screaming and crying).  His IMMEDIATE response to ANYTHING that may interrupt him is “NO” or worse.  If something doesn’t go his way directly he throws a fit INSTANTLY, even if the response is “Give me a second” it’s NOW OR I’M DESTROYING SOMETHING.  He’s been suspended multiple times for his anger issues, and he’s only 10.  Unfortuantely we have no family history as he was adopted from Russia.  His “formal” diagnosis are ADHD and Anxiety.  I’m thinking there is something much more going on.  BTW: He did have an IQ test and that put him at 145 for Spacial and Geometric items, with a 136 for written and language.  His composite was 139, which puts him in the genius category, but he’s failing across the board…because he refuses to do the work.

Interesting article and comments. Our son (6th grade) was early diagnosed as ADHD and for the first 3 years of elementary school several of his teachers suggested he might require special education. But then the school counseling staff did a workup and determined that his IQ is 161 and from that point forward his classroom antics were largely tolerated as “eccentric”.  He has now moved to middle school (6th grade) and while his classroom participation seems to be satisfactory to all teachers, he has refused to do approximately 65% of his homework so far this school year. We have tried talking with him, reasoning with him, removing screen time, offering cash payments (which he lectures us as being unethical “bribes”), offering trips, offering hobbies and sporting events, and just about anything we can think of. Our other children have all been through the “talented and gifted” programs, but he simply refuses to participate in day-to-day school work. His fall report card was pretty much solid “F” or “O” grades. He may be bored out of his mind, or he may have some other issues. Unfortunately, home schooling is not an option, and neither is one of the $40,000 per year local private schools which may or may not be in a better position to deal with his approach to school.  Do “learning centers” work for kids like this? Paying somebody else to force him to do his homework seems like a coward’s solution but I am nearly at the end of my rope! Thanks..

RebeccaW_ParentalSupport 12yokosuka Many parents struggle with staying calm when their child is acting out and screaming, so you are not alone.  It tends to be effective to set up a structured time for kids to do their homework and study, and they can earn a privilege if they comply and meet More their responsibilities.  What this might look like for your daughter is that if she studies, she can earn her phone that day.  If she refuses, and chooses to argue or scream at you instead, then she doesn’t earn her phone that day and has another chance the next day.  You can read more about this in  If you are also looking for resources to help you stay calm, I encourage you to check out our articles, blogs, and other resources on  Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

Scott carcione 

I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are experiencing with your

son.I also hear the different

approaches you and your ex are taking toward parenting your son.While it would be ideal if you were able to

find common ground, and present a consistent, united response to your son’s

choices, in the end, you can only

this point, it might be useful to meet with the school to discuss how you can

work together to hold your son accountable for his actions, such as receiving a

poor grade if he refuses to do his work.Janet Lehman discusses this more in care.

It can be so challenging when your child is acting out at school, yet does

not act that way at home.One strategy I

recommend is talking with your son at home about his behavior at school.During this conversation, I encourage you to

address his choices, and come up with a specific plan for what he can do differently

to follow the rules.I also recommend

working with his teachers, and discussing how you can assist them in helping

your son to follow the rules.You might

find additional useful tips in our article, be sure to write back and let us know

how things are going for you and your son.Take care.

I hear you.It can be so challenging

when your young child is having outbursts like this.A lot of young children tend to act out and

have tantrums when they are experiencing a big transition, such as starting a

new school or adjusting to having a younger sibling, so you are not alone.Something that can be helpful is to set up

clear structure and expectations around homework, as Janet Lehman points out in also encourage you to set aside some time

for you to have with your daughter as well.Please be sure to write back and let us know

how things are going for you and your family.Take care.

JoJoSuma I am having the exact same problem with my 9 year old son. His grades are quickly falling and I have no idea why or where to begin with helping him turn things around. When he applies himself he receives score of 80% or higher, and when he doesn't it clearly shows and he receives failing scores. He, too, says that he doesn't do or want to do the work because it is boring, or that he "Forgot" or "lost it". He has started to become a disruption to the class and at this rate I am afraid that he will have to repeat 5th grade. I am also a single parent so my frustration is at an all time high. You are not alone and I wish you and your family the best.

Thank you so much for these tips RebeccaW_ParentalSupport because I SERIOUSLY had nowhere to turn and no clue where to begin. I have cried many nights feeling like I was losing control. I will try your tips and see where things go from here.

It’s not uncommon

for kids to avoid doing homework, chores or other similar tasks.  After

all, homework can be boring or difficult, and most people (both kids and adults

alike) tend to prefer activities which are enjoyable or fun.  This does

not mean that you cannot address this with your daughter, though. 

Something which can be helpful for many families is to set up a structured

homework time, and to require that your daughter complete her homework in order

to earn a privilege later on that evening.  You can read about this, and

other tips, in 

Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and

your daughter.  Take care.

Thestruggleisreal I'm just now signing up for these articles, I'm struggling with my 12 year and school work, she just doesn't want to do it, she has no care I'm world to do, she is driving me crazy over not doing, I hate to see her More fail, but I don't know what to do


I can hear how much your

daughter’s education means to you, and the additional difficulties you are

facing as a result of her learning disabilities.  You make a great point

that you cannot force her to do her work, or get additional help, and I also

understand your concern that getting her teachers to “make” her do these things

at school might create more conflict there as well.  As James Lehman

points out in his article,, lowering your expectations for your daughter due to her

diagnosis is probably not going to be effective either.  Instead, what you

might try is involving her in the, and asking her what she thinks she needs, and what she will do

differently, to meet classroom expectations.  Please be sure to write back

and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.

tvllpit Very effective to  kids age of 5, 7, and 11 years old. Thank you for sharing your idea.

Thank you for

your question.  You are correct that we recommend setting up a structured

time for kids to do homework, yet not getting into a power struggle with them

if they refuse to do their work during that time.  It could be useful to

talk with your 11 year old about what makes it difficult to follow through with

doing homework at that time, and perhaps experimenting with doing homework at

another time to see if that works more effectively.  In the end, though,

if your child is simply refusing to do the work, then we recommend giving a

consequence and avoiding a power struggle.  Megan Devine details this

process more in her article, 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

jovi916 I'm a mother to a 10 year old 5th grader. Since 3rd grade I've been struggling with homework. That first year, I thought it was just lack of consistency since my children go between mine and dad's house. I tried setting some sort of system up with More the teacher to get back on track, but the teacher said it was the child's responsibility to get the hw done. This year has been esp. Difficult. He stopped doing hw, got an F, so I got on him. He stared turning half done work, but same grades so I still got on him. Grades went up, I loosened up, then he stopped with in school work. Now it's back to not turning anything in, even big projects and presentations. He had never really been allowed to watch tv, but now it's a definite no, I took his Legos away, took him out of sports. Nothing is working. He's basically sitting at the table every night, and all weekend long in order to get caught up with missing assignments. I'm worried, and next year he'll be in middle school. I try setting an example by studying in front of him. My daughter just does her homework and gets good grades. Idk what to do.

I can hear your concern. Academic achievement is important

to most parents and when your children seem to be struggling to complete their

work and get good grades, it can be distressing. Ultimately, your childrens’

school work and grades are their responsibility. You shouldn’t have to quit

your own studies in order to help them improve theirs. The above article gives

some great tips for helping motivate your children to complete their homework.

We do have a couple other articles you may also find useful: & We appreciate you

writing in and hope you find the information useful. Take care.

RNM I have the exact same issues with my 8 year old. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. He's a smart kid, he just doesn't seem to care to do his homework let alone if he gets a bad grade as a result. He hates reading, but does More very well in spelling and science. Homework is an issue nightly and the teacher pulled me aside today to tell me again how much he talks in class and that now he isn't writing down his assignments and is missing 3 assignments this week. SMH, I don't know what to do anymore other than to coach him (some more) and take away basketball if he doesn't do his homework.

What?  "Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. Refuse to get pulled in by the school.."  I do not see the logic or benefit of this advice.  Homework, by definition, is the responsibility of the student and parent (NOT the teacher).  The teacher does not live at the student's home or run the house.  

In my opinion, the lack of parental involvement with academics often causes the low student performance evident across the U.S.  I do not agree with advocating for even LESS parental involvement.

I completely agree with you. Parental, or adult, engagement at home can be a deal-maker/breaker when it comes to student performance. I subscribe to theories that differ from the author's.

First, if an adult is involved with the child and his activities, then the child will commonly react with "hey, somebody cares about me" leading to an increased sense of self-worth. A sense of caring about one's-self leads to caring about grades and other socially acceptable behaviors (Maslow).

Secondly, I am a FIRM believer in the techniques of behavior modification through positive reinforcement (Karen Pryor). It's up to an invested adult to determine what motivates the student and use those motivators to shape and reinforce desirable behavior such as daily homework completion. A classroom teacher has too many students and too little time to apply this theory.

Letting a child sink or swim by himself is a bad idea. Children have only one childhood; there are no do-overs.

And yes, children are work.

Many experience similar feelings of being at fault when

their child fails, so, you’re not alone. Truth of the matter is, allowing your

child to experience natural consequences of their actions by allowing them to

fail gives them the opportunity to look at themselves and change their

behavior.  We have a couple articles I think you may find helpful: When You Should Let Your Child Fail: The Benefits of Natural Consequences & 5 Natural Consequences You Should Let Your Child Face . Good luck to you and

your family moving forward. Take care.

hao hao It is so true, we can't control our children's home. It is their responsibility. But they don't care it. What can we do it?


How great it is that you want to help your brother be more

productive with his homework. He’s lucky to have a sibling who cares about him

and wants him to be successful. Because we are a website aimed at helping

parents develop better ways of managing acting out behavior, we are limited in

the advice we can offer you as his sibling. There is a website that may be able

to offer you some suggestions.

is a website aimed at helping teens and young adults figure out ways of dealing

with challenges they may be facing in their lives. They offer several ways of

getting support, such as by e-mail or text, through an online forum and chat,

and also a call in helpline. You can check out what they have to offer at Good luck

to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

Kathleenann indusreepradeep

Thank you so much for your humble support....

It sounds like you have done a lot

of work to try to help your daughter achieve her educational goals, and it’s

normal to feel frustrated when she does not seem to be putting in the same

amount of effort.  It can be useful to keep your focus on whether your

daughter is doing her work, and to keep that separate from whether she “cares”

about doing her work.  Ultimately, it is up to your daughter to do her

work, regardless of how she appears to feel about it.  To that end, we

recommend working with the various local supports you have in place, such as

her therapists and others on her IEP team, to talk about what could be useful

to motivate your daughter to do her school work.  Because individuals with

autism can vary greatly with their abilities, it’s going to be more effective

to work closely with the professionals who are familiar with your daughter’s

strengths and level of functioning in order to develop a plan to address this

issue.  Thank you so much for writing in; we wish you and your daughter

all the best as you continue to address her difficulties with school. 

is there a blog for parents that went to Therapeutic boarding schooling for their adolescent?

Responses to questions posted on are not intended to replace qualified medical or mental health assessments. We cannot diagnose disorders or offer recommendations on which treatment plan is best for your family. Please seek the support of local resources as needed. If you need immediate assistance, or if you and your family are in crisis, please contact a qualified mental health provider in your area, or contact your statewide crisis hotline.

We value your opinions and encourage you to add your comments to this discussion. We ask that you refrain from discussing topics of a political or religious nature. Unfortunately, it's not possible for us to respond to every question posted on our website.

  • 1. "My Child Refuses to Do Homework" — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork
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  • 5. When Your Child Has Problems at School: 6 Tips for Parents
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How Much Should I Help My Child With Their Homework?

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  • Pre-K and Kindergarten
  • School-Aged Children
  • Middle and High School

What If My Child Never Asks for Help?

  • What to Do If You Have Concerns

It's fairly normal for homework to be a task dreaded by most kids. But when you become a parent, you might find that you dread homework just as much as your children do! Simply getting kids to sit down and work can be a struggle, and fitting homework into a family’s busy schedule can also be challenging. Not only that, but it can be really hard to watch a child wrestle with the material.

As such, most parents want to intervene in some way. Yet many end up feeling confused about their role when it comes to homework. How much should you push a child who is having trouble applying themselves to the task? How much help should you offer? And what if your child doesn’t seem to need your help with homework at all?

Here, we’ll connect with experts regarding the best approach to helping your child with their homework, broken down by age.

How Much Homework Help Should My Pre-K Child or Kindergartener Need?

Above all else, the work of a pre-K or kindergarten-aged kid should be to engage in play, says Bibi Pirayesh, Ed.D., founder and educational therapist at . “It's also important to do activities that support motor functions, sound-letter correspondence, and informal math,” she says. “But what parents should really encourage is children’s natural sense of wonder and wanting to initiate challenge and learning, not perfection.”

Still, sometimes children this age are assigned homework, though most of the time the workload is light, and children are given leeway in terms of what they are expected to accomplish. When it comes to learning outside of school at these ages, Katelyn Rigg, M.Ed., a literacy and reading specialist, says that your job as a parent is to be a “coach” for your child, working to reinforce the concepts they're already studying at school.

“For example, if the students are learning the letter B, parents can take the opportunity to talk about the letter, go on a scavenger hunt for things around the house that start with the 'B' sound, and practice letter formation using kinesthetic experiences like playdough,” Rigg suggests.

Above all else, don’t push your young child when it comes to homework. “The most important goal of this stage should be to associate school and learning with positive emotions,” Dr. Pirayesh says. The aim is to encourage children to branch out, try things on their own, and support their efforts.

How Much Homework Help Should My School-Aged Child Need?

Homework becomes more of a “thing” as your child gets a little older, though it tends to be light in early elementary school, increasing in amount as the years pass. Typically by third grade , kids receive up to three assignments per week, and homework can take up to 20 minutes. Fourth and fifth graders may get daily homework, lasting about 30 minutes or sometimes more.

In elementary school, homework focuses on concepts children are studying in class, and its purpose is to practice and reinforce what’s already been learned, says Brianna Leonhard, certified teacher, board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), and founder of Third Row Adventures . As such, children should be able to do the vast majority of their homework on their own, without much help.

Still, many children want or need a bit of help with their homework in elementary school, and that’s perfectly normal, says Rigg. She suggests trying an “I do / We do / You do” model for doing homework together with your child.

“A parent may do the first question, then they complete the second question with their child, and finally, the child completes the final question on their own,” Rigg describes. This idea can be adapted to whatever homework or academic skills your child is working on. “It allows parents to be involved and supportive of their child's education, but also leads children to develop independence.”

How Much Homework Help Should My Tween or Teen Need?

Homework will become more of an independent task for your child as they age. However, they may need some hand-holding as they make the transition from elementary school to middle school, where they are suddenly getting homework from multiple teachers instead of just one.

During the tween and early teen years, kids are still developing their executive functioning skills—tools that help them plan and execute tasks, says Dr. Pirayesh. You can support them by implementing "scaffolding," which involves helping them break up tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, and setting up clear daily goals.

Homework during high school should still be mostly about practicing skills already taught and is not meant to teach new material, says Leonhard. So if a parent is having to spend time teaching their tween or teen the material covered on the homework, they should reach out to the child’s teacher in the event they're having trouble grasping what's being studied in class.

That said, homework in high school can be challenging, and your child might be struggling because of the increasing difficulty in topics. If your child can mostly complete the task at hand, but needs a little additional help from you from time to time, that’s typically not a problem, she adds.

Students with learning disabilities such as ADHD may need more parental assistance with homework, says Riggs. That’s also typical and okay. “Teachers may not be able to find the time to provide this added support for students, so parents may have to provide it at home,” she explains. “Parents can also support teenagers who may need assistance with studying and organizational skills, while helping find strategies that work for their children to prepare them for adulthood.”

Some kids never seem to need help with homework, and that can be just as confusing for parents as kids who need endless help. If your child is getting by without help, there’s no need to intervene.

“As long as a parent knows that the child is completing the required homework, meeting the grade-level expectations, and understanding the content, then this is perfectly fine,” Riggs says. “Parents should make sure they are asking their independent children about what they're learning, what their homework is, and offering help if they need it.”

What to Do If You Have Concerns About Your Child’s Homework

When your child is struggling with homework or seems to need a greater than average amount of assistance, you might be wondering what you should do. First of all, you shouldn’t assume that incredibly challenging homework is something that is typical, says Dr. Pirayesh.

“I think many parents assume that homework being a nightmare is normal,” she explains. "But it can be a sign that something deeper is going on.” Your child could potentially have a learning disability, she says, or they just may need more effective daily routines around completing assignments.

Whatever the case, don’t blame your child for the difficulty—your best bet is to connect with your child’s teacher sooner than later, Dr. Pirayesh offers. Talk to the school about what is going on during homework time, and discuss what options might be available to make it more manageable for your child.

Riggs agrees that building an effective partnership with your child’s teacher is imperative. “As a teacher, I am so grateful when a parent asks about their child's learning and wants to be an active participant in helping their child be successful,” she says.

Of course, if you have concerns about your child's learning, it's also a good idea to speak with their pediatrician or healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how involved a parent should be during homework time. The goal is for your child to become more independent as they get older. For the most part, it makes sense to go with your instincts in terms of how much to assist or when to pull back. At the same time, homework should not be a nightly struggle, and if that's the case for your family, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher for help.

National Education Association. The Power of Play in Kindergarten .

Learning Disabilities Association of America. How Much Time Should Be Spent on Homework?

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child. Executive Function & Self-Regulation .

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What are some signs of learning disabilities?

By Wendy Wisner Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.

homework in child

How Parents Can Help Children Who Struggle with Homework

A s a parent, it’s tough to see your child struggle with homework, and, of course, you feel the need to help. However, helping your child too much can make them dependent on you, so it’s important to know where to draw the line. The best approach is to help your child improve their study habits and skills so that they will have fewer problems with homework. 

Ways to help your child overcome their struggle with homework 

Help your child develop a positive attitude toward learning .

As adults, we resent being forced to do things we don’t want to do and our children are no different. Kids who have a negative attitude toward learning are more likely to struggle with homework. A simple way to help your child develop a positive attitude toward learning is to show them what’s in it for them.

For instance, if your child dreams of becoming a pilot, you can make a colorful flowchart showing how studying hard now can help her achieve her goals. Even if your child doesn’t know what she wants to become when she grows up, you can show her that there are endless possibilities if she studies diligently. This will provide your child with an incentive to learn, which will help to reduce issues with homework. 

Establish a daily homework routine 

A daily homework routine is very important as it sends your child the message that schoolwork is top priority. It is best to start this routine when your child is still young so that he or she will adjust to it and is less likely to struggle with homework issues later on. It is best to schedule homework time before TV or gaming time, and make sure that your child understands that they will not be allowed to watch TV or get on their phones until their homework is finished. 

Create a workspace for homework  

Think of your cubicle at work – it limits distractions, yet allows you to have a quick word with a team member when necessary – which is exactly what your child requires. If your child is struggling with their homework, they are more likely to get distracted. This is why a dedicated workspace is so important.

When deciding on the location of your child’s workspace consider if it’s going to be free of noise and distractions. For instance, don’t set up your child’s workspace in the living room if other family members will be watching TV during that time. 

Create a homework strategy that works for them 

A homework strategy will help your child track and complete multiple assignments without feeling overwhelmed by the workload. Some kids prefer to start with easier homework assignments and then move on to the tougher ones while others prefer to complete the more difficult tasks first.

A simple but effective way to help your child overcome their struggle with homework is to let your child experiment with multiple strategies until they find one that works. Younger kids have shorter attention spans so let your child take a five-minute break between assignments if necessary. 

And, for every age, if study periods run long, incorporate “ brain breaks .” We actually become less productive when we sit too long. A short break allows us to re-focus, destress, and work more effectively. (Pick up our Energizing Brain Breaks Printable for Kids here .)

Use multisensory techniques and study aids  

Researchers have found evidence that students learn a new concept more easily when it is taught using multiple modalities such as sight, hearing, and touch. For instance, when teaching your child a new word, tell him or her to say the word out loud while tracing it in salt or cornmeal using their fingertips. They should repeat this process several times, and then use a pencil to write down the word. This is especially helpful for tricky sight word for kids that don’t follow phonetic patterns. Engaging multiple senses in the learning process will make it easier for your child to study and will reduce their struggle with homework.

Similarly, if your child is older and having trouble with fractions, you can use an apple to help them understand the concept. You can cut an apple into equal portions, and then use the pieces to explain fractions in an innovative and enjoyable manner. You can even let them eat the pieces each time they get the right answer. These simple study aids will help to make learning fun for your child and help them overcome homework problems.

It’s equally important to pinpoint the root cause of homework issues, as it might just be a temporary problem. For instance, if your child has been sick with the flu, they may not have their usual energy, in which case, you can step in and help. Similarly, if your child is prone to seasonal allergies, they might find it tougher to focus during summer or fall, which would affect their studies. You can experiment with several natural ways to treat seasonal allergies in order to help your child recover quickly. 

Any mental stressors are important to address as well. Consult a professional for serious concerns, of course, but every child can benefit from mindfulness activities .

Parents, do you have any other ideas to help children who struggle with homework? Leave us a comment.


Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids: 6 Free PDF Printables

Energizing Brain Breaks + a Free Printable

Free Words of Affirmation for Kids Coloring Pages


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How Parents Can Help Children Who Struggle with Homework

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School Life Balance , Tips for Online Students

The Pros and Cons of Homework


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

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  from  Pexels

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

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

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

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

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

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

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

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

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

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

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

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

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

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

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

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

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

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

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

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

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

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

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

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

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

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

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

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

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

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

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

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March 12, 2024

This article has been reviewed according to Science X's editorial process and policies . Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content's credibility:


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The numbers do not add up for mathematics homework, according to a new study

by University of South Australia

math homework

Supporting kids with math homework is a common afterschool activity. But beyond the basics, new curricula and teaching strategies are making it harder for parents to help and it's taking a serious toll on children's confidence and learning.

In a study from the University of South Australia, researchers have found that mathematics homework can sometimes cause more harm than good.

Exploring how homework policies and practices affect families, researchers found that mathematics homework could inadvertently affect a child when it often:

  • was too difficult for a child to complete independently, and/or with the support of a parent
  • required significant support from parents and seeped into family time
  • resulted in a negative experience for the child and their parent, leading to negative associations with mathematics and potentially students' disengagement from the subject
  • generated feelings of despair, stress, and negativity among parents who were unable to help
  • made students feel inadequate when they struggled with the work.

UniSA researcher Associate Professor Lisa O'Keeffe says such negativity around mathematics has broad implications.

"Homework has long been accepted as a practice that reinforces children's learning and improves academic success," Assoc. Prof. O'Keeffe says.

"But when it is too complex for a student to complete even with parent support, it raises the question as to why it was set as a homework task in the first place. We know that parents play a key role in supporting their children with schooling and homework. When children need help, their parents are often the first people they turn to.

"But many parents are unsure of the current mathematics strategies and approaches that their children are learning as these have changed a lot since they were at school. Like many things, mathematics teaching has evolved over time. But when parents realize that their tried-and-true methods are different to those which their children are learning, it can be hard to adapt, and this can add undue pressure. When children see their parents struggle with mathematics homework, or where mathematics homework becomes a shared site of frustration for families, it can lead to negativity across generations.

"For example, we might hear adults saying things like, 'I wasn't very good at math, so my child won't be either.' Negative interactions with mathematics, and negative discourses like these can lead to reduced confidence, reduced self-efficacy, and can negatively affect children's resilience, persistence, and ultimately their inclination to continue with mathematics."

Any decline in STEM subjects such as math can have long-term impacts for Australia's future. Statistics show that fewer than 10% of students are studying a higher level of math, with math capabilities declining more than 25 points (15-year-olds in 2022 scored at a level that would have been expected of 14-year-olds, 20 years earlier).

Co-researcher, UniSA's Dr. Sarah McDonald, says the research also identified gendered biases.

"Our research showed that it was overwhelmingly mothers who were responsible for managing children's homework. And they often experience frustration or despair when they were unable to understand the math problems," Dr. McDonald says. "When mothers find math hard, there is concern that this may demonstrate to their children , especially their girls, that this is not an area in which they would naturally excel.

"The last thing teachers want to do is disadvantage girls in developing potentially strong mathematical identities. We need a greater understanding of homework policies and expectations.

"The experiences of the families in our study do not support the often-quoted claim by researchers that that homework has potential non-academic benefits such as fostering independence, creating positive character traits, developing good organizational skills, or virtues such as self-discipline and responsibility."

Provided by University of South Australia

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Background for CDC’s Updated Respiratory Virus Guidance

Executive summary, transitioning from an emergency state, changing risk environment, unified, practical guidance, updated guidance on steps to prevent spread when you are sick is informed by numerous factors, ongoing vigilance and action.

The 2023-2024 fall and winter virus season, four years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided ongoing evidence of the changing face of respiratory diseases. COVID-19 remains an important public health threat, but it is no longer the emergency that it once was, and its health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza and RSV. This reality enables CDC to provide updated guidance proportionate to the current level of risk COVID-19 poses while balancing other critical health and societal needs. Key drivers and indicators of the reduction in threat from COVID-19 include:

  • Due to the effectiveness of protective tools and high degree of population immunity, there are now fewer hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 . Weekly hospital admissions for COVID-19 have decreased by more than 75% and deaths by more than 90% compared to January 2022, the peak of the initial Omicron wave. Complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) are now also less common, and prevalence of Long COVID also appears to be decreasing. These reductions in disease severity and death have persisted through a full respiratory virus season following the expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 and its associated special measures on May 11, 2023.
  • Protective tools, like vaccines and treatments, that decrease risk of COVID-19 disease (particularly severe disease) are now widely available. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of symptomatic disease and hospitalization by about 50% compared to people not up to date on vaccination. Over 95% of adults hospitalized in 2023-2024 due to COVID-19 had no record of receiving the latest vaccine. Treatment with nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) in persons at high risk of severe disease has been shown to decrease risk of hospitalization by 75% and death by 60% in recent studies.
  • There is a high degree of population immunity against COVID-19. More than 98% of the U.S. population now has some degree of protective immunity against COVID-19 from vaccination, prior infection, or both.

As the threat from COVID-19 becomes more similar to that of other common respiratory viruses, CDC is issuing Respiratory Virus Guidance, rather than additional virus-specific guidance. This brings a unified, practical approach to addressing risk from a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, such as influenza and RSV, that have similar routes of transmission and symptoms and similar prevention strategies. The updated guidance on steps to prevent spread when you are sick particularly reflects the key reality that many people with respiratory virus symptoms do not know the specific virus they are infected with. Importantly, states and countries that have already shortened recommended isolation times have not seen increased hospitalizations or deaths related to COVID-19. Although increasingly similar to other respiratory viruses, some differences remain, such as the risk of post-COVID conditions.

CDC will continue to evaluate available evidence to ensure the recommendations in the guidance provide the intended protection. This includes monitoring data to identify and model patterns in respiratory virus transmission, severity, hospitalizations, deaths, virus evolution, and Long COVID. In addition, CDC continues to make systems-level investments to protect the American public. Examples include measuring and enhancing effectiveness and uptake of vaccines and antiviral treatments, particularly for those at increased risk for severe disease; integrating healthcare and public health systems to prevent, identify, and respond to emerging public health threats more rapidly; and strengthening partnerships across sectors to ensure a strong public health infrastructure.

  • The Respiratory Virus Guidance covers most common respiratory viral illnesses but should not supplant specific guidance for pathogens that require special containment measures, such as measles. However, the recommendations in this guidance may still help reduce spread of various other types of infections. The guidance may not apply in certain outbreak situations when more specific guidance may be needed.
  • CDC offers separate, specific guidance for healthcare settings ( COVID-19 , flu , and general infection prevention and control )

Since 2020, CDC provided guidance specific to COVID-19, initially with detailed recommendations on many issues and for specific settings. Throughout 2022 and 2023 , CDC revised COVID-19 public health recommendations as the pandemic evolved. These changes to the guidance reflected the latest scientific evidence as well as the progression through the pandemic. The expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in 2023 also reflected a shift away from the emergency response phase  to the recovery and maintenance phases in which COVID-19 is addressed amidst many other public health threats. Measures appropriate to an emergency setting are less relevant after the emergency ended.

The continuum of pandemic phases


In developing this updated Respiratory Virus Guidance, CDC carefully considered the changing risk environment, particularly lower rates of severe disease from COVID-19 and increased population immunity, as well as improvements in other prevention and control strategies.

Trends in outcomes


In 2024, COVID-19 is less likely to result in severe disease than earlier in the pandemic because of greater immunity from vaccines and previous infections and greater treatment availability.

COVID-19 remains a greater cause of severe illness and death than other respiratory viruses, but the differences between these rates are much smaller than they were earlier in the pandemic. This difference is even smaller among people admitted to the hospital. Studies show the proportion of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 (15.5%) or influenza (13.3%) who were subsequently admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was similar, and patients 60 years and older hospitalized with RSV were 1.5 times more likely  to be admitted to the ICU than those with COVID-19.

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 peaked in January 2022 with more than 150,000 admissions per week, based on data from CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) covering all U.S. hospitals. During the week ending February 17, 2023, there were 18,977 hospital admissions for COVID-19. During this same week, there were 10,480  hospital admissions for influenza.

Another data source—called Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network ( RESP-NET ) — collects hospitalization data on 8–10% of the U.S. population since before pandemic. The RESP-NET figures below demonstrate how COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased over time and are now in the range of those for influenza and RSV.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been declining year-over-year since 2022, with winter peaks more closely resembling those of influenza


Data on weekly new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19, influenza, and RSV from surveillance sites in the Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network ( RESP-NET ), which cover 8–10% of the U.S. population, October 2019–February 2024.

Cumulative annual rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations (Oct. 1–Sept. 30 to align with start of typical fall and winter virus season) have declined since 2021–2022


*Hospitalization rates per 100,000 population. Data from the Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET)  are preliminary and subject to change as more data become available. As data are received each week, prior case counts and rates are updated accordingly. Hospitalizations rates are likely to be underestimated as some hospitalizations might be missed because of undertesting, differing provider or facility testing practices, and diagnostic test sensitivity. Rates presented do not adjust for testing practices, which may differ by pathogen, age, race and ethnicity, and other demographic criteria. Surveillance for each pathogen was not conducted during the same time periods each season. For all seasons displayed, all three platforms conduct surveillance between October 1 and April 30 of each year. Surveillance for influenza hospitalizations was extended to June 11, 2022, for the 2021–2022 season, but otherwise occurred October through April each season. Surveillance for RSV hospitalizations occurred from October 2019 through April 2020. Since October 2020, surveillance for RSV hospitalizations has occurred year-round excluding May–June 2022. Surveillance for COVID-19 hospitalizations has occurred year-round since March 2020. Cumulative rates for the 2023–2024 season are not presented as surveillance is ongoing .

Hospitalizations by age group . Over time, rates of hospitalization for COVID-19 have decreased across all ages but have remained higher among adults ages ≥65 years relative to younger adults, children, and adolescents. Among older children, rates have decreased, and rates among children are now highest among infants ages <6 months. As of the end of December 2023, about 70% of hospitalizations were among people ages ≥65 years, and 14% were among those ages 50–64 years.

Increasing proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations are in older adults, as well as the youngest children


Percents of weekly COVID-19-associated hospitalizations, by age group — COVID-NET, March 1, 2020–January 27, 2024

The proportion of hospitalizations caused by each of these viruses in the 2022–2023 season varied by age group. Among children <5 years RSV caused the most hospitalizations. Among children and adolescents 5–17 years, influenza caused the most hospitalizations, and hospitalizations overall were the lowest in this age group. Among adults, COVID-19-associated hospitalizations were higher than those for influenza or RSV. These patterns have been broadly consistent thus far in the 2023-2024 season.

Most COVID-19, influenza, and RSV hospitalizations are in older adults and young children, with COVID-19 highest among older adults and RSV highest among young children (note differences in y-axis rates of hospitalizations across age groups)


Weekly rates of laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus-associated hospitalizations by age, 2022–2023 season. Seasonal influenza surveillance ended in April 2023 for the 2022–2023 seasons; surveillance for COVID-19 and RSV hospitalizations was year-round. Data from RESP-NET .

As of February 10, 2024, 1,178,527 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States. In 2021 COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death (12% of all deaths) and in 2022 it was the fourth leading cause of death (5.7% of all deaths), following heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injury. In preliminary data from 2023 , COVID-19 was the 10 th leading cause of death. Among deaths from COVID-19 occurring from January–September 2023, 88% were among people ≥65 years.

COVID-19 is increasingly a contributing rather than the primary (underlying) cause of death. In 2020, COVID-19 was listed as the primary cause for 91% of deaths involving COVID-19. During January–September 2023, that number had fallen to 69%.

Reported deaths involving COVID-19 are several-fold greater than those reported to involve influenza and RSV. However, influenza and likely RSV are often underreported as causes of death. CDC estimates that from October 1, 2023, to February 17, 2024, 17,000–50,000 influenza deaths occurred, several times greater than the number of reported deaths. As such, the data on reported deaths should be interpreted with caution when assessing the true burden of deaths and comparing across diseases.

Current estimates of total COVID-19 deaths are not available, but COVID-19 deaths are not likely to be as underreported as are deaths involving influenza because of widespread COVID-19 testing and intensive focus on COVID-19 during the pandemic. Total COVID-19 deaths, accounting for underreporting, are likely to be higher than, but of the same order of magnitude as, total influenza deaths. Supporting this idea, the cumulative rate of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations during October 1, 2023–February 3, 2024, was 97 per 100,000 population, compared with 52 per 100,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 44 per 100,000 RSV hospitalizations. In-hospital death was about 1.8 times higher for COVID-19-associated hospitalizations (4.6%) vs. those for influenza (2.6%).

COVID-19-associated deaths based on reports on death certificates declined over 5-fold since their peak in 2020-2021 and are now at the same order of magnitude as estimated influenza deaths

*Reported death data from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System based on death certificates, available at CDC WONDER . Data from 2022-2024 are provisional and subject to change .

****Estimated influenza deaths, accounting for underreporting, based CDC modeling available here: Disease Burden of Flu , including confidence intervals. It has been long recognized that only counting deaths where influenza was recorded on death certificates would  underestimate influenza’s overall impact on mortality . Influenza can lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia and congestive heart failure; however, it may not be listed on the death certificate as a contributing cause for multiple reasons, including a lack of testing. Therefore, CDC has an established history of using models to  estimate influenza-associated death totals . While under-reporting of deaths attributed to RSV and COVID-19 likely also occurs, regularly updated model estimates are currently not available. Modeled burden estimates for influenza are not directly comparable to death certificate derived counts for COVID-19 and RSV .

Divergence between infection and severe disease

Although hospitalizations and deaths involving COVID-19 have declined substantially since 2022, rates of infections with the virus have not. For example, the percentage of SARS-CoV-2 tests that are positive, a key indicator of community spread, reached peak levels of 14.6% in August 2023 and 12.9% in January 2024, similar to the peak levels observed in earlier years. Differences in testing practices between time periods might influence these data, but these high levels of test positivity are consistent with high levels also seen in wastewater.

SARS-CoV-2 test positivity (orange line) has remained elevated, a marker of ongoing COVID-19 spread, but deaths (blue bars) have declined substantially


Provisional COVID-19 Deaths and COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) Percent Positivity, by Week, in The United States, Reported to CDC. Sources:  Provisional Deaths from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) Figure from CDC’s COVID Data Tracker .

Wastewater viral activity levels of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrate ongoing community transmission


Figure from CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)

MIS-C is a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 in which different parts of the body become inflamed. As of January 2024, more than 9,600 cases of MIS-C have been reported to CDC, including 79 children who died. Before March 2022, the end of the initial Omicron wave, most weekly totals of MIS-C cases exceeded 50, with some weeks involving >150 cases. The number of cases declined substantially after that point, with no week exceeding 25 cases. The reduction in MIS-C cases is likely due to multiple factors, including an increase in population immunity from both infection and vaccination, as well as differences in development of MIS-C associated with SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Weekly U.S. MIS-C cases (blue bars) have declined markedly despite ongoing high levels of COVID-19 test positivity (orange line)


Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions

CDC broadly defines Long COVID as signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop ≥4 weeks after COVID-19. It can include a wide range of health conditions that can last weeks, months, or years. Although COVID-19 is becoming more similar to influenza and RSV in terms of hospitalizations and death over time, important differences remain, like the potential for these post-infection conditions. Long COVID occurs more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness but can occur in anyone who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, including children and people who were asymptomatic. Estimates of Long COVID vary widely and can differ based on study methods and how long after infection symptoms were assessed. Based on the nationally representative 2022 National Health Interview Survey, 3.4% of adults reported Long COVID and 0.5% of children . In Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Surveys, one quarter of people currently reporting Long COVID reported significant activity limitations.

Accumulating evidence suggests that vaccination prior to infection can reduce the risk of Long COVID . There is mixed evidence on whether the use of antivirals, including nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid), during the time of acute infection can reduce the risk of Long COVID. Decreases in Long COVID prevalence have been reported in several countries including the United States , United Kingdom , and Germany , likely due to less severe illness from COVID-19 overall, protection from vaccines, and possible changes in risk with new variants.

Increase in population immunity against COVID-19

Now, more than ever before, most people have some degree of protection because of underlying immunity. Data from a national longitudinal cohort of blood donors aged ≥16 years provide insight on the proportion of the population with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 from infection, vaccination, or both (referred to as hybrid immunity). Hybrid immunity has been described as providing better protection with longer durability against severe illness compared to immunity from vaccination or infection alone.

In January 2021 , only an estimated 22% of people aged ≥16 years had antibodies against COVID-19. By the third quarter of 2023 (July–September), 98% had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, with 14% from vaccination alone, 26% from infection alone, and 58% from both. An estimated 96% of children aged 6 months to 17 years had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in November–December 2022, including 92% with antibodies from a prior infection, according to blood samples from commercial laboratories. Although immunity against SARS-CoV-2 tends to decline from high levels initially generated by vaccination and infection, substantial protection persists for much longer , especially against the most severe outcomes like requiring a ventilator and death. New data show that the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine can provide an additional layer of protection against severe disease.

Prevalence of vaccine-induced and infection-induced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among a cohort of U.S. blood donors ≥16 years



As of February 3, 2024, 22% of adults reported they had received an updated 2023-2024 vaccine, including 42% of people aged ≥65 years. Vaccine uptake varies geographically and by other demographics. As of February 11, 2024, 40% of nursing home residents were up to date with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Reductions in COVID-19-associated hospitalizations over time could be even greater if more people, especially those at greater risk, receive updated COVID-19 vaccines. Among adults with COVID-19-associated hospitalizations during October–November 2023, over 95% had not received an updated (2023 –2024) COVID-19 vaccine , and most (70%) had also not received an updated vaccine from the previous year (2022–2023) .

Over 95% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 during October–November 2023 had not received an updated (2023–2024) COVID-19 vaccine (Preliminary)


Data from COVID-NET. Data are preliminary as they only include two months of hospitalization data for which the updated monovalent vaccine dose was recommended. Continued examinations of vaccine registry data are ongoing. No record of bivalent or updated monovalent dose : No recorded doses of COVID-19 bivalent or updated 2023-2024 monovalent dose. Bivalent booster, but no updated monovalent doses : Received COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccination but no record of receiving updated 2023-2024 monovalent booster dose. Updated monovalent dose: Received updated 2023-2024 monovalent dose. Persons with unknown vaccination status are excluded.

Vaccine effectiveness data provide the best real-world information on impact of COVID-19 vaccines on hospitalization. Data shown below from two studies presented at the Feb. 28–29, 2024, meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices demonstrate that the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine is associated with an additional ~50% increase in protection against COVID-19-associated hospitalization.

Vaccine Effectiveness of 2023-2024 vaccine against hospitalization among immunocompetent adults aged ≥18 years

Vaccine Effectiveness of 2023-2024 vaccine against hospitalization among immunocompetent adults aged ≥18 years

VE estimates adjusted for age, sex, race and ethnicity, geographic region, and calendar time. MMWR February 29, 2024

Data from another study suggest that these vaccines provide similar protection against disease caused by different co-circulating variants . Vaccines continue to provide protection to both people who have had a prior infection and those who have not. To be optimally protected against COVID-19, everyone 6 months and older should receive the latest CDC-recommended vaccine.

Infants <6 months are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines but vaccination during pregnancy helps protect both pregnant people and their young infants from hospitalization due to COVID-19. For people with immunocompromising conditions , vaccine responses can be impaired, but vaccines provide protection against severe illness in this population. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised are recommended to receive at least 1 dose of updated 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunizations are the cornerstone of protection not just for COVID-19 but also for influenza. New in the 2023-2024 season, immunizations are available to protect those at highest risk from RSV, including older adults and infants.

Vaccines substantially reduce the risk of hospitalization, and many people at higher risk of severe disease are missing this layer of protection

*Data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness among adults for updated (2023-2024) COVID-19 vaccine and 2023-2024 seasonal influenza vaccine

**Data on 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines and 2023-2024 seasonal influenza vaccine from CDC’s National Immunization Survey (NIS) as of February 16, 2024. More detail, including confidence intervals around these point estimates, is available on CDC’s Respiratory Virus Data Channel . Data on percentage of older adults vaccinated for COVID-19 and influenza are for those 65+ years and for those 60+ years for RSV .

***RSV vaccination is recommended for older adults aged 60+ years based on shared clinical decision-making with a healthcare provider. RSV protection for young children is available through vaccination of pregnant people or use of an immunization called nirsevimab for young children. As of January 2024, an estimated 16% of pregnant people 32+ weeks gestation reported receiving RSV vaccine, and among females with an infant <8 months, 41% reported their infant received nirsevimab .

SARS-CoV-2 evolution, variants, and vaccines

RNA viruses like influenza and SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, accumulate random mutations over time as they replicate. Out of the many mutations that happen, a small number can provide advantages that lead to new variant lineages with increased fitness (e.g., infect people more easily or be more transmissible). Early in the pandemic, circulating SARS-CoV-2 genomes were relatively stable . Because the virus was so new, our immune systems did not recognize it, and the virus did not need new mutations to escape existing immunity to continue spreading. As population immunity increased and more people developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, this immune pressure selected for mutations that helped the virus escape from neutralizing antibodies, generating new variants. This evolving situation led to viruses that had many changes in the virus spike protein, such as early Omicron variants (e.g., BA.1, BA.2). These ongoing changes in the spike protein, called antigenic drift, from early virus lineages like the Alpha variant to the first Omicron variants resulted in significant escape from neutralizing antibodies, allowing reinfections of people who had been infected by early variants and leading to reduced vaccine effectiveness . Currently, all SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating are descendants of the early Omicron variants.

Changes in the spike protein that enable escape from neutralizing antibodies are the major driver of SARS-CoV-2 evolution, since they allow the virus to better escape people’s existing immunity. To better target the changing virus and increase protection against new variants, the COVID-19 vaccine is periodically updated. For example, the updated COVID-19 vaccine for 2023–2024 includes uses XBB.1.5 antigen, a variant that was dominant for much of 2023.

A wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants have been causing infections over time, most recently dominated by JN.1, representing increased transmission or immune escape by successive variants


Figure based on CDC genomic surveillance data

In 2023, a variant called BA.2.86 emerged with many changes in the spike protein compared to other circulating variants, raising concerns that it might lead to a similar degree of immune escape as the initial Omicron variant. This variant, in the form of its offspring JN.1—just one mutation different from BA.2.86, displaced the other co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, demonstrating it had higher fitness than other variants. However, vaccines continued to work well against JN.1 , and the number of U.S. COVID-19-associated hospitalizations occurring at this time did not exceed that of the previous year. These findings suggest that hybrid immunity induced by the updated vaccines, provided robust cross-protection against this variant and likely a wide range of variants, although continued vigilance is critical.

SARS-CoV-2 will continue to evolve, and new variants will continue to replace previous viruses. Therefore, genomic surveillance is used to identify and track variants , and representative viruses are phenotypically characterized as part of coordinated global efforts to develop updated vaccines as needed . CDC along with partners (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and World Health Organization) continue to conduct genetic surveillance to monitor for new variants, perform epidemiologic and laboratory studies to understand immune escape, and monitor key indicators like hospitalizations and emergency department visits to help inform prevention strategies. This is a continuous and iterative process that will help prepare for the upcoming 2024–2025 fall and winter season.

SARS-CoV-2 shedding and transmission dynamics

Even as the SARS-CoV-2 virus has continued to evolve, the duration of shedding infectious virus has remained relatively consistent, with most individuals no longer infectious after 8-10 days. The presence of certain COVID-19 symptoms, most prominently fever, is associated with greater infectious virus on the day of symptom. The highest levels of culturable virus typically occur within a few days before and after symptom onset. Since Omicron BA.1 variant, there is a slightly shorter time between infection to symptom onset than previous variants. Overall, these data suggest most SARS-CoV-2 transmission, regardless of variant, largely occurs early in the course of illness.

Notably, over half of SARS-CoV-2 community transmission is estimated to come from people who are asymptomatic at the time, including both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, meaning exposure to the virus in the community from people who do not know they are infected is likely common.

Highest levels of culture-positive SARS-CoV-2, an indicator of infectiousness, occur in the days around and after symptom onset, with a small proportion of people continuing to have culturable virus beyond one week


Unpublished data from the Respiratory Virus Transmission Network , involving five U.S. sites that enrolled people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and their household contacts during November 2022–May 2023. Onset was defined as first day of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, first positive test. Note that people can have positive PCR tests, which detect viral genetic material, after they are no longer shedding infectious virus, and culture is the best indicator of infectious virus. This figure is similar to one previously published based on data from early 2021, underscoring the overall stability of viral shedding across variants.

In the Delta variant era, vaccination was associated with reduced infectious virus, demonstrating the potential impact of immunity on viral shedding and transmission. Immunity from vaccination, as well as previous infections, wanes over time, which likely attenuates this impact. Additionally, the continued evolution of variants better able to escape existing immunity may also affect the impact of vaccination and previous infection on shedding of infectious virus.

Improvements related to other prevention and control strategies

In addition to greater population understanding of effective prevention strategies like hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, masks, and physical distancing, advancements in awareness, accessibility, and the science base related to treatment, air quality, tests, and steps to prevent spread when you’re sick have also enabled people to act to lower the risk from respiratory viruses.

Several medications are available for outpatient treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 for people at increased risk of severe illness. Data for nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid), the first-line drug available for oral use, suggest that it reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by half or more . For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that examined nirmatrelvir-ritonavir effectiveness and efficacy found that people who received nirmatrelvir-ritonavir had 75% lower odds of death and 60% lower odds of hospitalization. People who received nirmatrelvir-ritonavir had 83% lower odds of hospitalization and death as a composite outcome compared with people who did not use nirmatrelvir-ritonavir.

However, uptake of these treatments remains suboptimal , meaning many people are missing this layer of protection against hospitalization and death. A study of patients in the Veterans Health Administration reported that among all persons with SARS CoV-2 infection, 24% used outpatient antiviral medications in 2022, remaining at that level through early 2023. Similar overall rates of use, with a maximum of 34%, were found using observational data of a large cohort from health care systems participating in the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). This study also highlighted racial and ethnic differences in treatment uptake. During April–July 2022, treatment with nirmatrelvir-ritonavir among adults aged ≥20 years was 35.8%, 24.9%, 23.1%, and 19.4% lower among Black, multiple or other race, American Indian or Alaska native or other Pacific Islander, and Asian patients, respectively, than among white patients (31.9% treated). A CDC study found that among 699,848 U.S. adults aged ≥18 years eligible for nirmatrelvir-ritonavir during April–August 2022, 28.4% received a prescription with 5 days of being diagnosed with COVID-19.

CDC and NIH continue to monitor real-world effectiveness data for COVID-19 treatment. Current evidence suggests that effectiveness of nirmatrelvir-ritonavir is retained among persons who have been vaccinated and confers incremental benefit among persons at high risk for severe disease, although this is an underutilized treatment.

Air quality

Ventilation and related strategies to improve indoor air quality can reduce infective viral particle concentrations in indoor air. In 2023, informed by accumulating evidence, CDC issued recommendations for using Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or greater and getting at least 5 air changes per hour of clean air in occupied spaces through air flow, filtration, or air treatment. CDC’s Interactive Home Ventilation Tool can help people identify strategies they can use to decrease the level of viral particles in their home. CDC also now provides a similar tool for building owners and operators. In addition, the U.S. Government issued a Clean Air in Buildings Challenge to help building owners and operators improve indoor air quality and protect public health.

Laboratory tests are currently widely available and can be readily accessed for diagnosis of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. At-home antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 are also widely available and increasingly familiar to the public. At-home rapid tests for influenza have recently received FDA approval and may become more widely accessible over time.

Staying home when sick and other steps to prevent spread

The importance of staying home and away from others when sick became more widely understood during the COVID-19 pandemic. When individuals have the option to stay home and be compensated while sick , they are much more likely to do so. Similarly, people with prior telework experience are more apt to work from home when they have respiratory symptoms , rather than work in person at an office.

Unlike early in the pandemic when COVID-19 was nearly the only respiratory virus causing illness, it is now one of many, including influenza , RSV , adenoviruses , rhinoviruses , enteroviruses , human metapneumovirus , parainfluenza virus , and other common human coronaviruses . CDC is focusing guidance on the core measures that provide the most protection across respiratory viruses. The updated guidance emphasizes the importance of staying home and away from others when sick from respiratory viruses, regardless of the virus, as well as additional preventive actions.

Virus not known in most respiratory infections

Viruses cause most acute respiratory illnesses, but it is rarely possible to determine the type of virus without testing, and oftentimes testing does not change clinical management. Testing for most respiratory pathogens is rarely available outside of healthcare settings. Although at-home antigen testing is widely available for COVID-19, most infections likely go undiagnosed. In a recent CDC survey, less than half of people said they would do an at-home test for COVID-19 if they had cold or cough symptoms, and less than 10% said they would get tested at a pharmacy or by a healthcare provider.

Even when testing occurs, COVID-19 is often not identified early in illness. The overall sensitivity of COVID-19 antigen tests is relatively low and even lower in individuals with only mild symptoms. Significant numbers of false negative test results occur early in an infection. This means mildly symptomatic cases are not always detected, and when they are detected, it often occurs several days into an illness, which is typically past when peak infectiousness occurs.

Public interest in prevention is not limited to COVID-19

A November 2023 survey from the Harvard Opinion Research Program found people were not meaningfully more concerned about any one respiratory virus, with roughly similar proportions reporting being concerned about getting infected with COVID-19, seasonal influenza, RSV, and a cold. Relatedly, a CDC survey found that a majority of Americans take precautions when sick with cold or cough symptoms (i.e., avoiding contact with people at higher risk, avoiding large indoor gatherings) even if they don’t know what virus is causing the illness.

Respiratory Virus Guidance does not imply all viruses are the same

Respiratory viruses are certainly not all the same. Some, like SARS-CoV-2, spread more through respiratory particles in the air, whereas others, like RSV and adenovirus , are thought to also spread via surface transmission. As such, this guidance is not meant to apply to specialized situations, like healthcare or certain disease outbreaks , in which more detailed guidance specific to the pathogen may be warranted. For example, adenoviruses are resistant to many common disinfectants and can remain infectious for hours on environmental surfaces. For the general public, however, an overall focus on hygiene, indoor air improvements, and mask use, coupled with necessarily specific recommendations about vaccines and treatment, provides a practical approach that addresses the key prevention measures.

The updated Respiratory Virus Guidance recommends people with respiratory virus symptoms that are not better explained by another cause stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after both resolution of fever AND overall symptom are getting better. This recommendation addresses the period of greatest infectiousness and highest viral load for most people, which is typically in the first few days of illness and when symptoms, including fever, are worst. This is similar to longstanding recommendations for other respiratory illnesses, including influenza.

A residual risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission remains , depending on the person and circumstances, after the period in which people are recommended to stay home and away from others. Five additional days of interventions (i.e., masking, testing, distancing, improved air quality, hygiene, and/or testing) reduce harm during later stages of illness, especially to protect people at higher risk of severe illness. Some people, especially people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. It is important to note that a similar residual risk of transmission is also true for influenza and other viruses.

In addition to the overall reduction in risk from COVID-19, other factors considered in developing this component of the guidance included assessment of personal and societal costs of extended isolation (e.g., limited paid sick time), analysis of the period of peak infectiousness ( see section 4.), and acknowledgement that many people with respiratory virus symptoms do not often know the pathogen that is causing their illness.

Case examples from states and countries that changed their COVID-19 isolation guidance to recommendations similar to CDC’s updated guidance did not experience clear increases in community transmission or hospitalization rates. Examples include the most populous Canadian provinces ( Ontario , Quebec , and British Columbia ), Australia , Denmark , France , and Norway , as well as California (on January 9, 2024) and Oregon (May 2023). In California and Oregon, for the week ending February 10, COVID-19 test positivity, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations were lower than the national average.

No appreciable difference in COVID-19 ED and hospitalization trends in Oregon vs. nation or neighboring Washington after guidance change


Data from CDC’s COVID Data Tracker

Need for ongoing implementation of recommendations

Vaccines remain an underused layer of protection, even for groups at higher risk. For example, only 42% of adults aged 65 years or greater had received an updated COVID-19 vaccine as of February 16, 2024, compared with 73% for flu . COVID-19 antiviral treatments are also substantially underused to prevent severe COVID-19, meaning many people are missing out on important protection. Influenza treatment is also underused.

Ongoing data monitoring

The SARS-CoV-2 virus will continue to evolve, and new variants will continue to replace previous viruses. Genomic surveillance to monitor for new variants, epidemiologic studies to understand immune escape, infectiousness, severity, and monitoring of key indicators like hospitalizations and emergency department visits, all help inform prevention strategies.

Various data systems are in place to continue to monitor for changes in how COVID-19 affects us . These include monitoring laboratory-based percent positivity and wastewater as indicators of changes in infections. Data on hospitalizations and deaths are indicators of severe illness while data on hospital occupancy and capacity provide information on stress on the healthcare system. Epidemiologic studies continue to assess how infectious the virus is and how efficiently it transmits between people as well as the severity of disease it causes. Ongoing monitoring through genomic surveillance and viral characterization will continue to be important to identify and describe new SARS-CoV-2 variants that may emerge. Vaccines will continue to be updated based on circulating variants, and other protective measures can be scaled up as needed. If variants emerge that have significant immune escape from existing vaccines and therapeutics, non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masking, distancing, and ventilation will be particularly important.

COVID-19 remains an important public health threat, but it is no longer the emergency that it once was, and its health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza and RSV.

Protective tools, like vaccination and treatment that decrease risks of COVID-19 disease are now widely available and resultantly, far fewer people are getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and Long COVID are now less common as well. Data indicate rates of hospitalizations and deaths are down substantially, and that clinically COVID-19 has become similar to, or even less severe in hospitalized people, than influenza and RSV.

These factors have enabled CDC to issue updated Respiratory Virus Guidance that provides the public with recommendations and information about effective steps and strategies tailored to the current level of risk posed by COVID-19 and other common respiratory viral illnesses.

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Special needs child suffers cuts, bruises after he says teacher punched him in face for trying to perfect his homework.

Deven Clarke , Reporter

HOUSTON – A former charter schoolteacher was arrested and charged after one of her students says she punched him in the face so hard he suffered cuts and bruises.

The alleged incident happened last year, but the family says they’re still not convinced Bloom Academy Charter School, where this happened, is doing anything to prevent future incidents like this.

The family says part of the reason this happened is because the school failed to honor his Autism diagnosis. The lingering effects of what happened have them elevating their concerns to the state and federal levels.

“We send them there to be protected, to learn, thinking it’s a safe space and it really never was a safe space for him,” said Lashay Bell Gray, about her then 6-year-old son, Jaevion.

They say his teacher at the time, 24-year-old Malina Sutton, punched him in the face.

“Shocked to hear something like that for one, and then to see him and to actually see the bruising and cuts on his face, that was very alarming,” Gray said.

She says her son—who was diagnosed with Autism—should’ve been in a special needs program but was placed in general education with a teacher who wasn’t trained to deal with his behavior.

“It was all because his work wasn’t neat enough to him, he wanted it perfect and kept erasing his paper, and she was ready to move on,” Gray said.

She says Jaevion now suffers from PTSD, even though he’s transferred schools.

“Jaevion will never forget that moment. If you ask him what happened, he could tell you word-for-word. His story has not changed,” she added.

Sutton was fired almost immediately and charged with felony injury to a child. She’s now out on bond, and while the family says they’re looking forward to her trial set to start in June, they’re sounding the alarm now, concerned for other kids at Bloom Academy Charter School who may be misdiagnosed by the school.

“They did not properly diagnose him and give him the services that he needed. Had they done that, he would’ve had an IEP to support his behaviors in the classroom,” said family advocate, Shukura Davis.

“We are going to stand in the gap for this family, we are going to stand in the gap for these kids, but I want you to understand I’m going to come for your job. I’m going to come for whatever I have to come for if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do for our kids,” said activist, Candice Matthews who is also advocating for the family.

The family says the DA’s office told them if convicted, Sutton faces up to 5 years on probation. They added they are filing discrimination complaints with the TEA, DOE and DOJ.

We called Bloom Academy Charter. Someone answered the phone, when we started asking questions, a woman said no comment, then hung up the phone.

Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Deven clarke, fort bend county enforces ‘no refusal’ weekend to crack down on impaired drivers over spring break, st. patrick’s day, driver shot, killed by montgomery county deputy following chase, deputy-involved shooting reported following chase in montgomery county, funeral held for north shore high school football star jarvon coles, front of mulligan’s golf center collapses due to strong storms in angleton.


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