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Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

A Stanford researcher found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society. More than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive, according to the study.

Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

• Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

• Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

• Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock)

A Stanford education researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.   "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .   The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework.   Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.   Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.   "The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students' advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being," Pope wrote.   Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.   Their study found that too much homework is associated with:   • Greater stress : 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.   • Reductions in health : In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.   • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits : Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.   A balancing act   The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.   Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as "pointless" or "mindless" in order to keep their grades up.   "This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points," said Pope, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success , a nonprofit organization affiliated with the GSE that conducts research and works with schools and parents to improve students' educational experiences..   Pope said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.   "Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development," wrote Pope.   High-performing paradox   In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. "Young people are spending more time alone," they wrote, "which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities."   Student perspectives   The researchers say that while their open-ended or "self-reporting" methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for "typical adolescent complaining" – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.   The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Clifton B. Parker is a writer at the Stanford News Service .

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Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

homework negative impacts

Schools are getting rid of homework from Essex, Mass., to Los Angeles, Calif. Although the no-homework trend may sound alarming, especially to parents dreaming of their child’s acceptance to Harvard, Stanford or Yale, there is mounting evidence that eliminating homework in grade school may actually have great benefits , especially with regard to educational equity.

In fact, while the push to eliminate homework may come as a surprise to many adults, the debate is not new . Parents and educators have been talking about this subject for the last century, so that the educational pendulum continues to swing back and forth between the need for homework and the need to eliminate homework.

The Problem with Homework: It Highlights Inequalities

How much homework is too much homework, when does homework actually help, negative effects of homework for students, how teachers can help.

One of the most pressing talking points around homework is how it disproportionately affects students from less affluent families. The American Psychological Association (APA) explained:

“Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs.”

[RELATED] How to Advance Your Career: A Guide for Educators >> 

While students growing up in more affluent areas are likely playing sports, participating in other recreational activities after school, or receiving additional tutoring, children in disadvantaged areas are more likely headed to work after school, taking care of siblings while their parents work or dealing with an unstable home life. Adding homework into the mix is one more thing to deal with — and if the student is struggling, the task of completing homework can be too much to consider at the end of an already long school day.

While all students may groan at the mention of homework, it may be more than just a nuisance for poor and disadvantaged children, instead becoming another burden to carry and contend with.

Beyond the logistical issues, homework can negatively impact physical health and stress — and once again this may be a more significant problem among economically disadvantaged youth who typically already have a higher stress level than peers from more financially stable families .

Yet, today, it is not just the disadvantaged who suffer from the stressors that homework inflicts. A 2014 CNN article, “Is Homework Making Your Child Sick?” , covered the issue of extreme pressure placed on children of the affluent. The article looked at the results of a study surveying more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities.

“Their findings were troubling: Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” according to the CNN story. “That children growing up in poverty are at-risk for a number of ailments is both intuitive and well-supported by research. More difficult to believe is the growing consensus that children on the other end of the spectrum, children raised in affluence, may also be at risk.”

When it comes to health and stress it is clear that excessive homework, for children at both ends of the spectrum, can be damaging. Which begs the question, how much homework is too much?

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association recommend that students spend 10 minutes per grade level per night on homework . That means that first graders should spend 10 minutes on homework, second graders 20 minutes and so on. But a study published by The American Journal of Family Therapy found that students are getting much more than that.

While 10 minutes per day doesn’t sound like much, that quickly adds up to an hour per night by sixth grade. The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours of homework per week, a figure that is much too high according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also to be noted that this figure does not take into consideration the needs of underprivileged student populations.

In a study conducted by the OECD it was found that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance .” That means that by asking our children to put in an hour or more per day of dedicated homework time, we are not only not helping them, but — according to the aforementioned studies — we are hurting them, both physically and emotionally.

What’s more is that homework is, as the name implies, to be completed at home, after a full day of learning that is typically six to seven hours long with breaks and lunch included. However, a study by the APA on how people develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work for about only four hours per day. Similarly, companies like Tower Paddle Boards are experimenting with a five-hour workday, under the assumption that people are not able to be truly productive for much longer than that. CEO Stephan Aarstol told CNBC that he believes most Americans only get about two to three hours of work done in an eight-hour day.

In the scope of world history, homework is a fairly new construct in the U.S. Students of all ages have been receiving work to complete at home for centuries, but it was educational reformer Horace Mann who first brought the concept to America from Prussia. 

Since then, homework’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in the court of public opinion. In the 1930s, it was considered child labor (as, ironically, it compromised children’s ability to do chores at home). Then, in the 1950s, implementing mandatory homework was hailed as a way to ensure America’s youth were always one step ahead of Soviet children during the Cold War. Homework was formally mandated as a tool for boosting educational quality in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Education, and has remained in common practice ever since.  

School work assigned and completed outside of school hours is not without its benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular homework has a hand in improving student performance and connecting students to their learning. When reviewing these studies, take them with a grain of salt; there are strong arguments for both sides, and only you will know which solution is best for your students or school. 

Homework improves student achievement.

  • Source: The High School Journal, “ When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math ,” 2012. 
  • Source: IZA.org, “ Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement? ,” 2014. **Note: Study sample comprised only high school boys. 

Homework helps reinforce classroom learning.

  • Source: “ Debunk This: People Remember 10 Percent of What They Read ,” 2015.

Homework helps students develop good study habits and life skills.

  • Sources: The Repository @ St. Cloud State, “ Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement ,” 2017; Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.
  • Source: Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.

Homework allows parents to be involved with their children’s learning.

  • Parents can see what their children are learning and working on in school every day. 
  • Parents can participate in their children’s learning by guiding them through homework assignments and reinforcing positive study and research habits.
  • Homework observation and participation can help parents understand their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and even identify possible learning difficulties.
  • Source: Phys.org, “ Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework ,” 2018.

While some amount of homework may help students connect to their learning and enhance their in-class performance, too much homework can have damaging effects. 

Students with too much homework have elevated stress levels. 

  • Source: USA Today, “ Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In ,” 2021.
  • Source: Stanford University, “ Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework ,” 2014.

Students with too much homework may be tempted to cheat. 

  • Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, “ High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame ,” 2010.
  • Source: The American Journal of Family Therapy, “ Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background ,” 2015.

Homework highlights digital inequity. 

  • Sources: NEAToday.org, “ The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’ ,” 2016; CNET.com, “ The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind ,” 2021.
  • Source: Investopedia, “ Digital Divide ,” 2022; International Journal of Education and Social Science, “ Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework ,” 2015.
  • Source: World Economic Forum, “ COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it ,” 2021.

Homework does not help younger students.

  • Source: Review of Educational Research, “ Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003 ,” 2006.

To help students find the right balance and succeed, teachers and educators must start the homework conversation, both internally at their school and with parents. But in order to successfully advocate on behalf of students, teachers must be well educated on the subject, fully understanding the research and the outcomes that can be achieved by eliminating or reducing the homework burden. There is a plethora of research and writing on the subject for those interested in self-study.

For teachers looking for a more in-depth approach or for educators with a keen interest in educational equity, formal education may be the best route. If this latter option sounds appealing, there are now many reputable schools offering online master of education degree programs to help educators balance the demands of work and family life while furthering their education in the quest to help others.

YOU’RE INVITED! Watch Free Webinar on USD’s Online M.Ed. Program >>

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homework negative impacts

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

homework negative impacts

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

share this!

August 16, 2021

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

by Sara M Moniuszko

homework

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide-range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas over workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework .

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy work loads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace, says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.

And for all the distress homework causes, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night.

"Most students, especially at these high-achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school ," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely, but to be more mindful of the type of work students go home with, suggests Kang, who was a high-school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework, I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the last two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic, making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized... sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking assignments up can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

©2021 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Health Hazards of Homework

March 18, 2014 | Julie Greicius Pediatrics .

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A new study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and colleagues found that students in high-performing schools who did excessive hours of homework “experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.”

Those health problems ranged from stress, headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems, to psycho-social effects like dropping activities, not seeing friends or family, and not pursuing hobbies they enjoy.

In the Stanford Report story about the research, Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of the  study published in the  Journal of Experimental Education , says, “Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good.”

The study was based on survey data from a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in California communities in which median household income exceeded $90,000. Of the students surveyed, homework volume averaged about 3.1 hours each night.

“It is time to re-evaluate how the school environment is preparing our high school student for today’s workplace,” says Neville Golden, MD , chief of adolescent medicine at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and a professor at the School of Medicine. “This landmark study shows that excessive homework is counterproductive, leading to sleep deprivation, school stress and other health problems. Parents can best support their children in these demanding academic environments by advocating for them through direct communication with teachers and school administrators about homework load.”

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?

homework negative impacts

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?

Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?

Should we get rid of homework?

In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:

Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”

Mr. Kang argues:

But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?

Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?

Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?

When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.

In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:

Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.

What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?

Is there a way to make homework more effective?

If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle

The pros and cons of homework

Should schoolwork be left at the school gate?

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A child does homework

1. Pro: improves academic achievement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Homework: An Hour a Day Is All the Experts Say

Too much homework can be counterproductive..

Posted April 20, 2015

Flickr Creative Commons/Anna Gutermuth

How much time does your teen spend doing busy school work each night? According to a recent study, if it's more than one hour… then it's too much. A study from Spain published in the Journal of Educational Psychology by the American Psychological Association found that spending more than one hour on math and science homework can be counterproductive. Students seem to gain the most benefit when a small amount of homework is consistently assigned, rather than large portions assigned at once.

The study examined the performance of 7,725 public and private school students (mean age 13.78 years). Students answered questions about the frequency of homework assigned and how long it took them to complete assignments. Researchers looked at standardized tests to examine academic performance in math and science. They found that students in Spain spent approximately one to two hours per day doing homework. Compare that to studies that indicate American students spent more than three hours a day doing homework!

Researchers found that teachers who assigned 90-100 minutes of homework per day had students who performed poorer on standardized tests than those with less homework. However when teachers consistently assigned small amounts of homework students scored nearly 50 points higher on standardized test than those who had daunting amounts of homework. Another interesting finding from this study was students who were assigned about 70 minutes of homework, of which they needed help from someone else to complete, scored in the 50th percentile on standardized tests. Whereas those who were assigned the same amount of homework, but could do it independently, scored in the 70th percentile. So clearly, not only is the amount of homework assigned of importance, but so is the ability to master it independently.

Flickr Creative Commons/Scott Akerman

There are several possible explanations for these findings. First, teachers may be using homework as a means to cover what was not completed in class. So rather than practicing concepts taught in class, students are left to self-teach material not covered in class. Homework should supplement learning, and not be used as a tool to keep up with a curriculum pacing guide. Another explanation for testing gains is those who work to master material independently experience more academic success.

The study out of Spain supports findings from another study published a year ago published in the Journal of Experimental Education which found that too much homework can have a negative impact on teens’ lives outside of the academic setting. In this study, researchers surveyed 4,317 American high school students’ perceptions about homework, in relation to their well-being and behavioral engagement in school work. On average, these students reported spending approximately 3.1 hours of homework each night—a far reach from the hour per night recommendation by the first study.

This second study found that too much homework can be counterproductive and diminish the effectiveness of learning. The negative effects of lots of homework can far outweigh the positive ones. Researchers found that a lot of homework can result in:

Students reported high levels of stress associated with school work. Below is the breakdown of student responses.

56% of students in this study reported that homework was a primary source of stress 43% of students in this study reported that tests were another source of stress 33% of students in this study reported that pressure to get good grades was a source of stress

• Physical Problems:

Students reported that homework led to:

poor sleep frequent headaches gastro intestinal problems weight loss/gain.

Flickr Creative Commons/Hepingting

• Social life problems.

How can students expect to spend time with others when they are too busy completing homework? Students reported that having too much school work keeps them from spending time with friends and family.

Plus too much school work keep them from participating in extra-curricular activities and engaging in activities they enjoy doing. Interestingly, many students reported that homework was a “pointless” or “mindless” way to keep their grades up. In other words… it was "busy" work.

When is homework beneficial? If homework is used as a tool to facilitate learning and reinforce concepts taught in the classroom then it enriches students academic experience. While homework does serve a purpose, so does having a life outside of school. Sometimes social development can be just as important as academic development. So the answer may be helping youth find a balance between school and social life.

homework negative impacts

Journal Reference:

Rubén Fernández-Alonso, Javier Suárez-Álvarez, José Muñiz. Adolescents’ Homework Performance in Mathematics and Science: Personal Factors and Teaching Practices. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2015; DOI:10.1037/edu0000032

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.

Raychelle Cassada Lohman n , M.S., LPC, is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens .

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Pros and Cons of Homework

homework negative impacts

“Not until you finish your homework.”

“I want you to finish your dinner and get right to work on your homework.”

“Is your homework done? Then, no, you get up those stairs and finish first.”

We’ve all heard something similar from our mom, dad, or caretaker. Homework is a big staple of the American school scene, just like lockers, the school bell, and big yellow buses. Portrayed in media from the Brady Bunch to Cocomelon, homework has been an academic given for decades. 

Despite its popularity, this after-school activity has been under scrutiny for over a century. Britannica explains , “In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal , decried homework’s negative impact on children’s physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but the prevailing argument was that kids needed time to do household chores.”

Regardless of opposition, homework persevered, and millions of American students still spend long hours completing bookwork in their bedrooms after school. 

What are the modern objections to homework? What if the opposition is right? Is there merit to the concerns, or is homework a helpful tool for a well-rounded and comprehensive education? If you’d like to find out, now’s the time to keep reading!

How Much Time?

When analysts crunch the numbers, children spend far more time doing homework than many believe necessary. According to One Class, elementary school students spend an average of 42 minutes a day on homework. Some parents and educators argue that five additional hours of schoolwork per week is too much for elementary students. 

High schoolers spend even more time on after-school assignments. Pew Research published a 2019 article in which they explained , “Overall, teens (ages 15 to 17) spend an hour a day, on average, doing homework during the school year, up from 44 minutes a day about a decade ago and 30 minutes in the mid-1990s.”

Globally, the U.S. ranks 15th for the average amount of time spent on homework by high school students. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conducted a worldwide study on 15-year-old students to evaluate the homework load for high schoolers worldwide. 

Among the countries included in the study, China ranked first, with students spending an average of 13.8 hours a week on homework. The Netherlands ranked the lowest, with their students studying after school for an average of 5.8 hours a week. American students spent an average of 6.1 hours per week completing their homework.

What Students Think

Homework has become a point of significant stress for American students. 

One Stanford study found that 56% of students who participated in the survey stated that homework was a primary source of stress. Another study found that the decline in adequate teenage sleep may be partly due to homework. In yet another study, 82% of students interviewed admitted that they were “often or always stressed by schoolwork.” 

It’s not just the students who object to frequent homework. Parents have begun to voice their displeasure as well. One mother in Canada went viral on social media when she announced that she and her husband were done watching their ten-year-old daughter stress over her homework every night. They decided that homework wasn’t a useful educational tool for their child.

Another mother in Kansas expressed how frustrating it is when her daughter has homework that she as a mother is unsure how to help with. “I feel bad for emailing a teacher in the evenings. I’m slightly annoyed at homework in general because I don’t know what the teacher taught.” 

What Teachers Think

Educators debate whether or not homework is a positive educational tool. One Duke University professor recommends homework, believing there is a correlation between homework and academic success for older students. He recommends implementing the “10 Minute Rule.” Essentially, students receive 10 minutes of homework per day for each grade. (For instance, 1st graders would receive 10 minutes of homework, 5th graders 50 minutes, 12th graders 120 minutes.)

A Texas teacher informed the parents of her 2nd-grade students that she would not be assigning homework anymore. Instead, she asked that the children participate in real-life activities that encourage growth and success. These activities included outdoor play, family meals, and reading with parents. As her plan evolved, she acknowledged that some students actually enjoyed homework and missed the challenge. Other students received extra work here and there on an as-needed basis. 

Defining the Need

One question that desperately needs to be asked is, “What’s the purpose of homework?” 

The answer to this question can provide parameters, determine whether or not homework achieves the goal(s), and establish if it should continue to be a staple in the American education system.

Psychology Today wonders the same thing , without any clear-cut resolution. “I started the blog with a question ‘What’s the purpose of homework?’ I’ll end with the same question. If a teacher who is assigning the homework can’t provide a clear rationale behind this question, then maybe the homework shouldn’t be assigned.”

However, Honest Pros and Cons makes a case for homework in more detail. Their reasoning for homework includes :

  • Practicing what they learn in the classroom
  • Improving study habits
  • Developing self-discipline
  • Enhancing independent problem-solving skills

McRel International notes that many factors play into whether or not homework is an effective strategy for students. They acknowledge that after-school assignments have pros and cons and state that the research is by no means definitive.

Proponents of homework present several positives: 

  • It improves student achievement – “Students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework on both standardized tests and grades.” – Britannica ProCon

While the data is not conclusive, numerous studies have shown a correlation between academic success and the use of homework. 

  • It involves parents – “Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.” – US News

Homework encourages parents and children to spend time together problem-solving and working toward a goal. It also gives parents a window into what their child is learning and the progress they are making. 

  • It encourages time management – “Homework is an effective tool when teaching your child about time management. This means that time management should extend beyond the classroom and into your home. ” – Edugage

American students spend roughly six hours a day at school. This schedule doesn’t leave much flexibility for sports, a social life, and a healthy amount of free time on top of homework. Kids have to learn time management if they want a life outside of their education. 

  • It tracks progress – “Homework allows teachers to track students’ progress, meaning that homework helps to find out the academic strengths and weaknesses of children.” – Honest Pros and Cons

Homework gives teachers a chance to see what the student can achieve independently. Students must put into practice what they learned in the schoolroom in a different environment and without their teacher present.

  • It develops working memory – “Revising the key skills learned in the classroom during homework increases the likelihood of a student remembering and being able to use those skills in a variety of situations in the future, contributing to their overall education.” – The Guardian

Environment can play an active part in memory. Biologically, our brains more easily recall memories and facts when we’re immersed in the same surroundings in which we created that memory or learned those facts. Homework removes the environmental factor, forcing students to strengthen their working memory. 

Concerned about the effects of homework on students, opponents note these objections:

  • The science isn’t settled – “There is no conclusive evidence that homework increases student achievement across the board.” – Reading Rockets

As we’ve noted before, the data isn’t conclusive despite the numerous studies conducted. To many, the negatives suggested by various studies outweigh the proposed positives.

  • It adds stress – “Researchers have found that students who spend too much time on homework experience more levels of stress and physical health problems.” – Psychology Today

Studies have concluded that too much homework creates undue stress on developing minds and bodies. This translates into mental, emotional, and physical issues for many students. This stress also affects their sleep , both the amount of sleep and the quality of that sleep. 

  • It impacts other interests/pursuits – “Homework prevents self-discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system.” – University of the People

Critics of homework fear that, in addition to time spent on school grounds, after-school assignments stunt students’ abilities to experience life outside academia. Students who struggle with completing work at home are even more susceptible to a lifestyle void of other interests. 

  • It expands the gap – “One study concluded that homework increases social inequality because it ‘potentially serves as a mechanism to further advantage those students who already experience some privilege in the school system while further disadvantaging those who may already be in a marginalized position.’” – Britannica ProCon

Homework often involves a computer and/or an internet connection. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 30% of students didn’t have the necessary technology at home to effectively participate in distance learning, raising questions about inequality affecting homework that relies on at-home technology. 

  • It creates family tension – “Assigning homework forces a person to take on added disciplinary responsibilities.” – Front Range Christian School  

While homework can bring children and parents together, it can also drive a wedge between them. Students who feel overwhelmed or who need a break from focusing on academics often buck their homework requirements, leaving parents to enforce education standards that the teachers created. Parents and students alike can end up frustrated, with little progress made. 

A World of Unknowns

While the homework debate rages on, researchers continue to work toward a conclusive answer. In the meantime, teachers, parents, schools, and communities can work together to find a solution that meets the needs of their students. 

Without a doubt, homework has positive aspects that encourage students to advance through personal and academic growth. The trick is to nurture this positivity without stunting progress with adverse side effects. 

It’s a double-edged sword that’s well worth considering to ensure the best for our kids.

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The Pros and Cons of Homework

The-Pros-and-Cons-Should-Students-Have-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  energepic.com  from  Pexels

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

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

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

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

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

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

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

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

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

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

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

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

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

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.

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

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

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

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

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

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

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

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

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

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

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

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

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

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

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

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

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

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Homework could have an effect on kids’ health. Should schools ban it?

Studies indicate a negative relationship between children's amount of homework and their physical health..

homework negative impacts

Reformers in the Progressive Era (from the 1890s to 1920s) depicted homework as a “sin” that deprived children of their playtime . Many critics voice similar concerns today.

Yet there are many parents who feel that from early on, children need to do homework if they are to succeed in an increasingly competitive academic culture. School administrators and policy makers have also weighed in, proposing various policies on homework .

So, does homework help or hinder kids?

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have been investigating international patterns in homework using databases like the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) . If we step back from the heated debates about homework and look at how homework is used around the world, we find the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher social inequality.

Does homework result in academic success?

Let’s first look at the global trends on homework.

Undoubtedly, homework is a global phenomenon ; students from all 59 countries that participated in the 2007 TIMSS  reported getting homework. Worldwide, only less than 7 percent of fourth graders said they did no homework.

TIMSS is one of the few data sets that allow us to compare many nations on how much homework is given (and done). And the data show extreme variation.

For example, in some nations, like Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco, more than one in five fourth graders reported high levels of homework. In Japan, less than 3 percent of students indicated they did more than four hours of homework on a normal school night.

TIMSS data can also help to dispel some common stereotypes. For instance, in East Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan – countries that had the top rankings on TIMSS average math achievement – reported rates of heavy homework that were below the international mean.

In the Netherlands, nearly one out of five fourth graders reported doing no homework on an average school night, even though Dutch fourth graders put their country in the top 10 in terms of average math scores in 2007.

[ Here’s how my graduating class ended up with 72 valedictorians ]

Going by TIMSS data, the U.S. is neither “ A Nation at Rest” as some have claimed, nor a nation straining under excessive homework load . Fourth and eighth grade U.S. students fall in the middle of the 59 countries in the TIMSS data set, although only 12 percent of U.S. fourth graders reported high math homework loads compared to an international average of 21 percent.

So, is homework related to high academic success?

At a national level, the answer is clearly no. Worldwide, homework is not associated with high national levels of academic achievement.

The TIMSS can’t be used to determine if homework is actually helping or hurting academic performance overall . But it can help us see how much homework students are doing, and what conditions are associated with higher national levels of homework.

We have typically found that the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher levels of social inequality – not hallmarks that most countries would want to emulate.

Impact of homework on kids

TIMSS data also show us how even elementary school kids are being burdened with large amounts of homework.

Almost 10 percent of fourth graders worldwide reported spending multiple hours on homework each night. Globally, one in five fourth graders report 30 minutes or more of homework in math three to four times a week.

These reports of large homework loads should worry parents, teachers and policymakers alike.

Empirical studies have linked excessive homework to sleep disruption , indicating a negative relationship between the amount of homework, perceived stress and physical health.

What constitutes excessive amounts of homework varies by age, and may also be affected by cultural or family expectations. Young adolescents in middle school, or teenagers in high school, can study for longer duration than elementary school children.

But for elementary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact . Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption .

Even though some cultures may normalize long periods of studying for elementary age children, there is no evidence to support that this level of homework has clear academic benefits . Also, when parents and children conflict over homework, and strong negative emotions are created, homework can actually have a negative association with academic achievement.

Should there be “no homework” policies?

Administrators and policymakers have not been reluctant to wade into the debates on homework and to formulate policies . France’s president, Francois Hollande, even proposed that homework be banned because it may have inegaliatarian effects.

However, “zero-tolerance” homework policies for schools, or nations, are likely to create as many problems as they solve because of the wide variation of homework effects. Contrary to what Hollande said, research suggests that homework is not a likely source of social class differences in  academic achievement .

Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.

Policymakers and researchers should look more closely at the connection between poverty, inequality and higher levels of homework. Rather than seeing homework as a solution, policymakers should question what facets of their educational system might impel students, teachers and parents to increase homework loads.

At the classroom level, in setting homework, teachers need to communicate with their peers and with parents to assure that the homework assigned overall for a grade is not burdensome, and that it is indeed having a positive effect.

Perhaps, teachers can opt for a more individualized approach to homework. If teachers are careful in selecting their assignments – weighing the student’s age, family situation and need for skill development – then homework can be tailored in ways that improve the chance of maximum positive impact for any given student.

I strongly suspect that when teachers face conditions such as pressure to meet arbitrary achievement goals, lack of planning time or little autonomy over curriculum, homework becomes an easy option to make up what could not be covered in class.

Whatever the reason, the fact is a significant percentage of elementary school children around the world are struggling with large homework loads. That alone could have long-term negative consequences for their academic success.

This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article .

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Negative Effects of Homework

Experts say that students should have no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade, starting in the 1st grade. Many students have much more homework than this, though, and it could be detrimental.

Just what does too much homework do? Keep reading to find out more.

Too Much Homework Can be Harmful

What are the negative effects of too much homework? Too much homework can cause students to experience stress, anxiety, depression, physical ailments, and even cause lower test scores.

How much homework is too much? The National PTA and the National Education Association agree that homework that takes longer than 10 minutes per grade period is excessive. For example, a third-grader should have no more than 30 minutes of homework. Any homework beyond the 30 minutes is too much.

The problem lies in determining how long a homework assignment will take each child. As we all know, each child is different. One child may speed through the assignment while another may spend hours on it. At that point, it's up to the individual parents to discuss the issues with the teacher to come up with a plan appropriate for that child.

How much homework is appropriate for high schoolers? High school aged students can handle more homework. Going with the 10-minute rule per grade, freshman should have no more than 90 minutes and seniors no more than 2 hours of homework.

Does homework affect family time? Excessive homework can cut down on productive family time. This is especially true in families where the parents are incapable of assisting with the homework. As the stress levels increase, fights begin, which takes away from any quality family time students can spend on school nights.

Too much homework can also take time away from teens trying to save up for a big purchase or even college. If you're a teen looking to earn some extra cash, don't miss this list on all the best online jobs for teens.

Does homework affect test scores in high school? Studies show that a certain amount of homework can help test scores increase, but the benefits begin to fall off after doing about an hour of homework on any given subject. According to the Journal of Educational Psychology , students who did more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per night actually performed worse on tests than those with less than 90 minutes of homework.

Does homework affect test scores in elementary school? Studies show that increased homework at the elementary school level actually has a negative effect on students' test scores. Increased homework often means it's a remedial attempt to catch a child up on what the teacher couldn't teach in the classroom. Because of the lack of teaching, children often do worse on tests as a result.

When did you first start to feel genuinely stressed by schoolwork?

The Health Effects of Homework

Are teens sleep deprived? The Journal of Adolescent Health states that 8% of high schoolers in the US get the recommended 9 hours of sleep each night. They also state that 23% of high school students get 6 hours or less of sleep and 10% get 5 hours or less.

Does Homework Cause Anxiety? A study conducted by Stanford University determined that students who feel that they spend "too much time" on homework experience stress and physical ailments that can be tied to anxiety. Students also cited having difficulty balancing everything in their life, including family time and extracurricular activities in addition to homework, which can contribute to the anxiety.

What health problems can homework cause? Excessive homework, which exceeds the 10-minute per grade rule, has been known to cause digestive issues, sleeping problems, headaches, weight loss, and generalized stress.

Can homework cause depression? Homework itself might not be the direct cause of depression, but it could have an indirect relationship. Students who feel overwhelmed with homework have a harder time balancing their family life, extracurricular activities, and social life. This can lead them to isolation and depression.

Does homework take away from a person's childhood? If a child has excessive amounts of homework and they have trouble balancing their life outside of school, it may take away from their childhood. Not having time to go outside, play with friends, or just "chill" could take away from the milestone experiences of childhood.

What type of homework was most stressful for you?

Does Homework Ever Make Sense?

What is the point of homework? According to the Review of Educational Research , homework should serve a purpose and that purpose is to practice, prepare, or extend a student's learning. The homework should be age appropriate and either engage a child's interest or help him/her learn good study habits.

Does homework help in any subject? This is a question of quality versus quantity. We've established that an overabundance of homework is detrimental. A study in the Economics of Education Review determined that homework in subjects like English, history, and science didn't affect a student's test scores. The one subject that does show benefits from homework is math, though.

Does more homework mean better grades? A Penn State and the Curry School of Education study claims that a relationship does not exist between homework and better grades. In fact, it can actually hurt a child if it causes unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Can homework be damaging to kids who don't understand a topic? According to a study conducted by Lee Bartel , a University of Toronto professor, homework is useless for students who know the topic and anxiety-provoking for students who don't understand the topic. This anxiety can lead to breakdowns, a dislike for school, and even begin to damage a family's well-being.

Does excessive homework encourage cheating? Students who find that they can't do the homework but know it's a large part of their grade often turn to cheating. Whether they cheat off peers or find other ways to do it, the point of the homework is lost.

According to NoCheating.org , 9 out of 10 middle schoolers copy someone else's homework, and 75% to 98% of college students admit to cheating at some point during their school career. The homework most copied is in math and science.

Does homework cause loneliness or social isolation? Handling homework as well as life's demands outside of school can prove to be too much for many students. This can leave them feeling lonely or isolated as they do their homework as they were told, but have less time to cultivate relationships outside of school.

Study on Homework Effects Outside of School

Does homework promote personal responsibility? Some researchers do believe that homework helps students develop a sense of responsibility at a young age. It can also help them develop the ability to multi-task, which is another important life skill that is best taught through doing.

Can homework take away from the chance to learn about personal responsibilities? Other researchers argue that homework takes away from the chance to learn about personal responsibilities. Because homework can be so daunting and take up so much time, it doesn't leave much time for learning about responsibilities outside of school.

Understanding How to Cope with Homework

Why is homework so stressful? Homework isn't just stressful for the students—the stress can often carry over to the family as well. This is especially true in families where the parents don't feel capable of helping their child after being out of school themselves for a decade or two. This can increase family fights and stress throughout the family unit.

How can you stay calm during homework? Homework can seem overwhelming and stressful, but there are ways to stay calm:

How should you handle homework that is too hard? It's inevitable that some homework will be harder than others. Rather than letting it stress you out, consider the following tips:

How should you cope with too much homework? If you find that you just have too much homework, try talking to your teacher about it. If it's overwhelming you and making you stressed out, your teacher may have ways to help you.

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How does homework affect students.

Posted by Kenny Gill

Homework is essential in the learning process of all students. It benefits them in managing time, being organized, and thinking beyond the classroom work. When students develop good habits towards homework, they enjoy good grades. The amount of homework given to students has risen by 51 percent. In most cases, this pushes them to order for custom essays online. A lot of homework can be overwhelming, affecting students in negative ways.

How homework affects the psyche of students Homework plays a crucial role in ensuring students succeeds both inside and outside the classroom. The numerous hours they spend in class, on school work, and away from family and friends lead to them experiencing exhaustion. Too much homework leads to students becoming disheartened by the school, and it chips away at their motivation for succeeding.

As a result, homework becomes an uphill battle, which they feel they will never win despite putting an effort. When they continue to find homework difficult, they consider other ways of working on it, such as cheating.

Getting enough time to relax, engage with friends and family members helps the students to have fun, thus, raising their spirit and their psyche on school work.  However, when homework exceeds, it affects their emotional well-being making them sad and unproductive students who would rather cheat their way through school.

How does homework affect students?

As a result, they have to struggle with a lack of enough sleep, loss of weight, stomach problems, headaches, and fatigue. Poor eating habits where students rely on fast foods also occasions as they struggle to complete all their assignments. When combined with lack of physical activity, the students suffer from obesity and other health-related conditions. Also, they experience depression and anxiety. The pressure to attend all classes, finish the much homework, as well as have time to make social connections cripples them.

How can parents help with homework? Being an active parent in the life of your child goes a long way towards promoting the health and well-being of children. Participating in their process of doing homework helps you identify if your child is facing challenges, and provide the much-needed support.

The first step is identifying the problem your child has by establishing whether their homework is too much. In elementary school, students should not spend over twenty minutes on homework while in high school they should spend an average of two hours. If it exceeds these guidelines, then you know that the homework is too much and you need to talk with the teachers.

The other step is ensuring your child focuses on their work by eliminating distractions. Texting with friends, watching videos, and playing video games can distract your child. Next, help them create a homework routine by having a designated area for studying and organizing their time for each activity.

Why it is better to do homework with friends Extracurricular activities such as sports and volunteer work that students engage in are vital. The events allow them to refresh their minds, catch up, and share with friends, and sharpen their communication skills. Homework is better done with friends as it helps them get these benefits. Through working together, interacting, and sharing with friends, their stress reduces.

Working on assignments with friends relaxes the students. It ensures they have the help they need when tackling the work, making even too much homework bearable. Also, it develops their communication skills. Deterioration of communication skills is a prominent reason as to why homework is bad. Too much of it keeps one away from classmates and friends, making it difficult for one to communicate with other people.

Working on homework with friends, however, ensures one learns how to express themselves and solve issues, making one an excellent communicator.

How does a lot of homework affect students’ performance? Burnout is a negative effect of homework. After spending the entire day learning, having to spend more hours doing too much homework lead to burnout. When it occurs, students begin dragging their feet when it comes to working on assignments and in some cases, fail to complete them. Therefore, they end up getting poor grades, which affects their overall performance.

Excessive homework also overshadows active learning, which is essential in the learning process. It encourages active participation of students in analyzing and applying what they learn in class in the real world. As a result, this limits the involvement of parents in the process of learning and children collaboration with friends. Instead, it causes boredom, difficulties for the students to work alongside others, and lack of skills in solving problems.

Should students have homework? Well, this is the question many parents and students ask when they consider these adverse effects of homework. Homework is vital in the learning process of any student. However, in most cases, it has crossed the line from being a tool for learning and becomes a source of suffering for students. With such effects, a balance is necessary to help students learn, remain healthy, and be all rounded individuals in society.

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Great info and really valuable for teachers and tutors. This is a really very wonderful post. I really appreciate it; this post is very helpful for education.

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18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned

Homework has been a part of the schooling experience for multiple generations. There are some lessons that are perfect for the classroom environment, but there are also some things that children can learn better at home. As a general rule, the maximum amount of time that a student should spend each day on lessons outside of school is 10 minutes per each grade level.

That means a first grader should spend about 10 minutes each night on homework. If you are a senior in high school, then the maximum limit would be two hours. For some students, that might still be too much extra time doing work. There are some calls to limit the amount of time spent on extra limits to 30 minutes per day at all of the older K-12 grades – and some are saying that homework should be banned outright.

Can teachers get all of the lessons taught in an appropriate way during the 1-2 hours per subject that they might get each day? Do parents have an opportunity to review what their children learn at school if none of the work ever gets brought back home?

There are several advantages and disadvantages of why homework should be banned from the current school structure.

List of the Advantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Homework creates a longer day for students than what parents work. There are times when parents need to bring work home with them after a long day of productivity, but this time is usually part of a compensation package. Students do not receive the same luxury. After spending 6-8 hours at school, there might be two more hours of homework to complete before getting through all of the assignments that are due. That means some kids are putting in a longer working day than their parents. This disadvantage means there are fewer moments for going outside, spending time with friends, or pursuing a hobby.

2. There is no guarantee of an improved academic outcome. Research studies provide conflicting results when looking at the impact of homework on a student’s life. Younger students may benefit from a complete ban so that they can separate their home and classroom experiences. Even older students who perform projects outside of the school benefit from time restrictions on this responsibility. Design flaws exist on both sides of the clinical work that looks at this topic, so there is no definitive scientific conclusion that points to a specific result. It may be better to err on the side of caution.

3. Homework restrictions reduce issues with classroom burnout for students. Homework stress is a significant problem in the modern classroom for K-12 students. Even kids in grade school are finding it a challenge to maintain their performance because of the pressure that daily assignments cause. About 1 in 4 teachers in North America say that there are direct adverse impacts that happen because of the amount of learning required of students today. It can also cause older students to drop out of school because they can’t stay caught up on the work that they need to do.

When students have a chance to have time to pursue interests outside of the classroom, then it can create healthier learning opportunities in the future for them.

4. Banning homework would give families more time to spend together. One in three American households with children say that the homework assignments that teachers give are the primary source of stress in their home. When kids must complete their work by a specific deadline, then there is less time for families to do activities together. Instead of scheduling their time around their free hours, they must balance homework requirements in their plans. There are even fewer moments for parents to be involved in the learning process because of the specific instructions that students must follow to stay in compliance with the assignment.

5. Student health is adversely impacted by too many homework assignments. Kids of any age struggle academically when they do not have opportunities to finish their homework by a specific deadline. It is not unusual for school administrators and some teachers to judge children based on their ability to turn work in on time. If a child has a robust work ethic and still cannot complete the work, the negative approach that they might encounter in the classroom could cause them to abandon their learning goals.

This issue can even lead to the development of mental health problems. It can reduce a child’s self-esteem, prevent them from learning essential learning skills, and disrupt their ability to learn new skills in other areas of life outside of the classroom. Even the risk of self-harm and suicide increase because of excessive homework. That’s why banning it could be a healthy choice for some people.

6. Banning homework would help students get more sleep. Teens need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to maximize their productivity. Students in grade school can need up to 12 hours nightly as well. When homework assignments are necessary and time consuming, then this issue can eat into the amount of rest that kids get each night. Every assignment given to a K-12 student increases their risks of losing at least one hour of sleep per night. This issue can eventually lead to sleep deficits that can create chronic learning issues. It may even lead to problems with emotional control, obesity, and attention problems. Banning homework would remove the issue entirely.

7. It would encourage dynamic learning opportunities. There are some homework projects that students find to be engaging, such as a science fair project or another hands-on assignment. Many of the tasks that students must complete for their teachers involves repetition instead. You might see grade school students coming home with math sheets with 100 or more problems for them to solve. Reading assignments are common at all grades. Instead of learning the “why” behind the information they learn, the goal with homework is usually closer to memorization that it is to self-discovery. That’s why it can be challenging to retain the data that homework provides.

8. Banning homework would provide more time for peer socialization. Students who are only spending time in school before going home to do homework for the rest of the evening are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. When these sentiments are present in the life of a child, then they are more likely to experience physical and mental health concerns that lead to shyness and avoidance.

These students lack essential connections with other people because of their need to complete homework. The adverse impact on the well being of a child is the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes each day. If kids are spending time all of their time on homework, then they are not connecting with their family and friends.

9. Some students do not have a home environment that’s conducive to homework. Although some kids can do their homework in a tranquil room without distress, that is not the case for most children. Numerous events happen at home that can shift a child’s attention away from the homework that their teacher wants them to complete. It isn’t just the TV, video games, and the Internet which are problematic either. Family problems, chores, an after-school job, and team sports can make it problematic to get the assignments finished on time.

Banning homework equalizes the playing field because teachers can control the classroom environment. They do not have control over when, where, or how their students complete assignments away from school.

10. It would eliminate the assignment of irrelevant work. Homework can be a useful tool when teachers use it in targeted ways. There are times when these assignments are handed out for the sake of giving out busy work. If the content of the work is irrelevant to the lessons in the classroom, then it should not be handed out. It is unreasonable to expect that a student can generate excellent grades on work that is barely covered in the classroom.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that given students just four hours of take-home assignments per week has a detrimental impact on individual productivity. The average U.S. high school already pushes that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week.

List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can provide this information as well, but not in the same way. If the data sticks outside of the educational setting, then this is an excellent indication that the process was effective for that individual. If there are gaps in knowledge that occur in the homework, then the learning process can become individualized to ensure the best possible results for each child.

2. Homework can reduce the stress and anxiety of test-taking. Students often study for tests at home to ensure that they can pass with an acceptable grade. Walking into a classroom only prepared with the notes and memories of previous lessons can create high levels of fear that could impact that child’s final result. Banning homework could place more pressure on kids to succeed than what they currently experience today. This disadvantage would also create more labels in the classroom based on the performance of each child in unfair ways. Some students excel in a lecture-based environment, but others do better at home where there are fewer distractions.

3. Assignments can be an effective way to discover learning disabilities. Kids do an excellent job of hiding their struggles in the classroom from adults. They use their disguises as a coping mechanism to help them blend in when they feel different. That behavior can make it a challenge to identify students who many benefit from a different learning approach in specific subjects. By assigning homework to each child periodically, there are more opportunities to identify the issues that can hold some people back. Then the teachers can work with the families to develop alternative learning plans that can make the educational process better for each student because individual assignments eliminate the ability to hide.

4. Parents are more involved in the learning process because of homework. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their kids about what they are learning, the answers tend to be given in generalities. Without specific examples from the classroom, it is challenging to stay involved in a student’s educational process.

By sending homework from the school, it allows the entire family to encounter the assignments that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then there is more adult involvement with the learning process, reinforcing the core ideas that were discovered by their kids each day.

5. Homework provides opportunities for students to use deeper research. The average classroom in the United States provides less than 60 minutes of instruction for each subject daily. Generalist teachers in grade school might skip certain subjects on some days as well. When there are homework assignments going home, then it creates more chances to use the tools at home to learn more about what is happening at school. Taking a deeper look at specific subjects or lessons through independent study can lead to new thoughts or ideas that may not occur in the classroom environment. This process can eventually lead to a better understanding of the material.

6. The homework process requires time management and persistence to be successful. Students must learn core life skills as part of the educational process. Time management skills are one of the most useful tools that can be in a child’s life toolbox. When you know how to complete work by a deadline consistently, then this skill can translate to an eventual career. Homework can also teach students how to solve complex problems, understand current events, or tap into what they are passionate about in life. By learning from an early age that there are jobs that we sometimes need to do even if we don’t want to them, the persistence lessons can translate into real successes later in life.

7. Assignments make students accountable for their role in the educational process. Teachers cannot force a student to learn anything. There must be a desire present in the child to know more for information retention to occur. An education can dramatically improve the life of a child in multiple ways. It can lead to more income opportunities, a greater understanding of the world, and how to establish a healthy routine. By offering homework to students, teachers are encouraging today’s kids how to be accountable for their role in their own education. It creates opportunities to demonstrate responsibility by proving that the work can be done on time and to a specific quality.

8. It creates opportunities to practice time management. There can be problems with homework for some students when they are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. If you give a child two hours of homework after school and they have two hours of commitments to manage at the same time, then there are some significant challenges to their time management to solve. Time really is a finite commodity. If we are unable to manage it in wise ways, then our productivity levels are going to be limited in multiple ways. Creating a calendar with every responsibility and commitment helps kids and their families figure out ways to manage everything while pushing the learning process forward.

Verdict of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Banning Homework

Some students thrive on the homework they receive from their teachers each day. There are also some kids that struggle to complete even basic assignments on time because of their home environment. How can we find a balance between the two extremes so that every child can receive the best possible chance to succeed?

One solution is to ban homework entirely. Although taking this action would require teachers and parents to be proactive in their communication, it could help to equalize the educational opportunities in the classroom.

Until more research occurs in this area, the advantages and disadvantages of banning homework are subjective. If you feel that your child would benefit from a reduced workload, then speak with the teacher to see if this is an option. For teens and older students, there is always the option to pursue a different form of education, such as a vocational school or an apprenticeship, if the traditional classroom doesn’t seem to be working.

COMMENTS

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