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Homework facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
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Homework is school work that students (pupils) are given at school to do at home. Homework is usually given to students by the teachers. It is a practice work which helps students revise on what they've learned that day. Homework also helps students to remember what they learned.

Many students will get more homework and some will get less. This depends on how old they are and what grade/primary/year they are in.

Homework - vector maths
Homework may include mathematical exercises

Teachers have many purposes for assigning homework including:

  • practice
  • preparation
  • participation
  • personal development
  • parent–child relations
  • parent–teacher communications
  • peer interactions

Homework also helps children learn how to be organised, to work at set tasks by themselves, and improve time management and attention skills.


Academic performance

Senegalese child doing homework

Homework research dates back to the early 1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework. Results of homework studies vary based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance.

Younger students who spend more time on homework generally have slightly worse, or the same academic performance, as those who spend less time on homework. Homework has not been shown to improve academic achievements for grade school students. Proponents claim that assigning homework to young children helps them learn good study habits. No research has ever been conducted to determine whether this claim has any merit.

Among teenagers, students who spend more time on homework generally have higher grades, and higher test scores than students who spend less time on homework. Large amounts of homework cause students' academic performance to worsen, even among older students. Students who are assigned homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but the students who have more than 90 minutes of homework a day in middle school or more than two hours in high school score worse.

Low-achieving students receive more benefit from doing homework than high-achieving students. However, school teachers commonly assign less homework to the students who need it most, and more homework to the students who are performing well. In past centuries, homework was a cause of academic failure: when school attendance was optional, students would drop out of school entirely if they were unable to keep up with the homework assigned.


The amount of homework given does not necessarily affect students' attitudes towards homework and various other aspects of school.

found a near-zero correlation between the amount of homework and parents' reports on how well their elementary school students behaved. studied 809 adolescents in American high schools, and found that, using the Normative Deviance Scale as a model for deviance, the correlation was r = 0.28 for white students, and r = 0.24 for African-American students. For all three of the correlations, higher values represent a higher correlation between time spent on homework and poor conduct.

says that homework develops students' motivation and study skills. In a single study, parents and teachers of middle school students believed that homework improved students' study skills and personal responsibility skills. Their students were more likely to have negative perceptions about homework and were less likely to ascribe the development of such skills to homework. found that students generally had negative emotions when completing homework and reduced engagement compared to other activities.


Homework in Japan, Taisho era (1915 by Elstner Hilton)
Japanese students doing homework, c. 1915
Yrjö Ollila - Hearing the Homework
Hearing the Homework; Yrjö Ollila

United States

Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture. With few students able to pursue higher education, and with many children and teenagers needing to dedicate significant amounts of time to chores and farm work, homework was disliked not only by parents, but also by some schools. The students' inability to keep up with the homework, which was largely memorizing an assigned text at home, contributed to students dropping out of school at a relatively early age. Attending school was not legally required, and if the student could not spend afternoons and evenings working on homework, then the student could quit school.

Complaints from parents were common at all levels of society. In 1880, Francis Amasa Walker convinced the school board in Boston to prohibit teachers from assigning math homework under normal circumstances. In 1900, journalist Edward Bok railed against schools assigning homework to students until age 15. He encouraged parents to send notes to their children's teachers to demand the end of all homework assignments, and thousands of parents did so. Others looked at the new child labor laws in the United States and noted that school time plus homework exceeded the number of hours that a child would be permitted to work for pay. The campaign resulted in the US Congress receiving testimony to the effect that experts thought children should never have any homework, and that teenagers should be limited to a maximum of two hours of homework per day. In 1901, the California legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for anyone under the age of 15. While homework was generally out of favor in the first half of the 20th century, some people supported homework reform, such as by making the assignments more relevant to the students' non-school lives, rather than prohibiting it.

In the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. From that time on, social attitudes have oscillated approximately on a 15-year cycle: homework was encouraged in the 1950s to mid-1960s; it was rejected from the mid-1960s until 1980; it was encouraged again from 1980 and the publication of A Nation at Risk until the mid-1990s, when the Cold War ended. At that time, American schools were overwhelmingly in favor of issuing some homework to students of all grade levels. Homework was less favored after the end of the Cold War.

United Kingdom

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


In 2012, a report by the OECD showed that Spanish children spend 6.4 hours a week on homework.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Trabajo escolar para niños

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