Homework: Useful Teaching Tool or Waste of Time?


  1. Helpful or harmful?
  2. How is homework helpful?
  3. Does homework promote learning?
  4. Downsides of homework
  5. Should students have homework?
  6. Stress free homework tips

Homework. How can one little word cause so much trouble? Almost all schools require homework, but should they? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of homework, plus what the research says you should really be doing after school. 

As a pupil in the UK, you will without a doubt encounter homework during your school years. Some kids love it, others… not so much! Many parents struggle to make their child complete their homework and to fit it into their family’s busy schedule, and many kids and teens find homework quite boring. But let’s put our feelings about homework to the side, and focus on a more important question – is homework really necessary?


Is homework helpful or harmful?


Well, it depends. There’s loads of debate about homework and whether or not it helps you learn. Researchers have been trying to find the answer to this question since your parents were in school!

It all comes down to the purpose of the homework and the age of the student, as well as their interest in the topic at hand. 


How is homework helpful?


For secondary students, homework is useful as a "short and focused intervention.” That means something like a research project that you complete at home. 💻

For primary students, homework can help reinforce skills students are learning in school. It makes sense to practice spelling words at home or working on reading skills, for example. 


How does homework promote learning?


One way homework can promote learning is by giving older students a chance to read more content than can be covered in class. For example, a Literature student might read a couple of chapters of a novel at home and then spend the class time discussing its themes with peers. This saves classroom time for the part of learning that’s done with other students.

Research shows that the best homework is closely linked to what you’re learning in the classroom. It should expand your learning and always be something you can complete independently. ✔️


Downsides of homework


It goes without saying that homework takes time. The more homework you have, the less time you can spend outside or relax. 

Homework leaves less time for creative activities that are also very important for brain growth. 🧠

Studies show very little difference in test scores between students who spend lots of time on homework and students who do less homework. For primary school students especially, not many benefits have been found. 


So, should students have homework?


In an ideal world, primary students would not have homework. And secondary students would only have short-term homework assignments with a very specific goal, like a book report or a science project. 

Since students often do have homework, it shouldn’t take much time - the benefits are the same for a few minutes and a few hours of homework!


Stress-free homework tips 


At the end of the day, there may be very little you can do right away about your homework situation. If your teacher assigns it, it must get done – but here are a few tips to make it less stressful:

  • It’s a great idea for you to be independent with planning and managing your work time rather than being hounded into starting your homework by your parents. As you get older, it’s up to you to manage yourself – maybe you’d prefer to divide the work up into manageable chunks, for example tackling one subject before dinner and another one after.
  • You should have a distraction-free space to work at home. Turn off the television, and keep electronics out of sight to make it easier to stay focused.
  • If you’ve had a long school day, it’s a great idea to take some free time after school before starting your homework. You may need a chance to relax and regroup before jumping right into homework. 
  • If you find yourself struggling with your workload, you should have a chat with your teacher or speak to your parents about it. Homework should closely follow the in-class learning and shouldn’t take more than an hour.


Homework help with GoStudent


If you’re struggling to manage your homework, a GoStudent tutor can help. Our experienced, friendly tutors have a deep understanding of the content they teach, and your tutor can give you the one-on-one support you need to get back on track and be able to finish that homework in no time! 🚀