Adverbs of Frequency Sentence Placement

Use these adverbs to tell how often something occurs or did occur

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Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something happens/is the case, happened/was the case, will happen/will be the case, etc.

There are lots of them. Here are some examples:

  • always - Peter is always getting into trouble.
  • usually - They usually get their work done on time.
  • frequently - My sister frequently goes shopping in Seattle.
  • rarely - They rarely ask questions about the homework.

Most Common Adverbs of Frequency

The most common adverbs of frequency in English in order from most often to least often:

  • always - He always does his homework.
  • usually - They usually complete the work on time.
  • often - I often watch movies online.
  • sometimes - Jack sometimes comes over for dinner. 
  • occasionally - She occasionally asks a question.
  • rarely - They rarely have any homework.
  • never - I never complain at work. 

Where Do They Appear in the Sentence?

Word order can be confusing with adverbs of frequency. Here are different rules for placement in sentences.

1. In a Sentence With One Verb

If the sentence has one verb in it (e.g. no auxiliary verb) we usually put the adverb in the middle of the sentence, i.e. after the subject and before the verb:

subject / adverb / verb / predicate

  • Tom usually goes to work by car.
  • Mary often asks me for help. 

2. Usually After the Verb "Be"

The adverb usually comes after the verb "be":

subject / verb / adverb / predicate

  • Tom is often late.
  • Anne isn't usually sick.
  • Peter isn't always right.

This is not the case if we put the adverb at the beginning or end of the sentence for emphasis .

This rule also does not apply to short answers:

  • Is she usually on time?
  • Tell her not to be late.
  • Yes, she usually is.
  • She never is.

The rule is broken in other cases too, e.g.

Conversation 1

  • Speaker A: What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at school?
  • Speaker B: I normally am at school at this time, but my teacher is ill. 

Conversation 2

  • Speaker A: You're late again!
  • Speaker B: usually am late on Mondays because the traffic is so bad.

Conversation 3

  • Speaker A: Tom is late again!
  • Speaker B: Tom usually is late. 

3. In a Sentence With More Than One Verb

If the sentence has more than one verb in it (e.g. auxiliary verb ) we usually put the adverb after the first part of the verb:

subject / helping verb or modal / adverb / main verb / predicate

  • I can never remember his name.
  • Anne doesn't usually smoke.
  • The children have often complained about the playground facilities.

In sentences with "have to" the adverb is in position A:

subject / adverb / have to / main verb / predicate

  • We often have to wait for the bus.
  • She never has to do any housework.
  • They sometimes have to stay after class. 

4. When Using for Emphasis

For emphasis, we can put the adverb at the beginning or end of the sentence.

At the end is unusual - we usually only put it there when we have forgotten to put it in earlier.

adverb / subject / main verb / predicate

  • Sometimes we go to school by bus.
  • Often he waits for her after class.
  • Usually, Peter arrives early for work.

subject / main verb / predicate / adverb

  • We go to school by bus sometimes.
  • They like to watch TV often.
  • Jennifer buys a new car rarely.


"Always" can't go at the beginning or end of the sentence.

"Never", "seldom", "rarely" can't go at the end of a sentence. They only go at the beginning of a sentence in "polemic statements". Then they have to be followed by the word order for questions:

  • Never has there been a better time to overcome our differences.
  • Rarely do we have an opportunity like this.
  • Seldom had the orchestra given a worse performance. 

5. In Question Form

When using adverbs of frequency in the question form, put the adverb before the main verb.

auxiliary verb / subject / adverb / main verb / predicate

  • Do you often go to the cinema?
  • Did he sometimes leave the classroom?
  • Do they usually come late to class?

"Never", "seldom", "rarely" and other adverbs of frequency with a negative sense are not usually used in the question form.

6. In the Negative Form

When using adverbs of frequency in the negative form, put the adverb before the main verb.

subject / helping verb / adverb / main verb / predicate

  • They don't often go to the cinema.
  • She doesn't usually wait for an answer.
  • Peter doesn't normally want to come with us. 

"Never", "seldom", "rarely" and other adverbs of frequency with a negative sense are not usually used in the negative form.

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

she often does homework after school

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'

she often does homework after school

Ages & Stages

Developing good homework habits.

she often does homework after school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does homework really work?

by: Leslie Crawford | Updated: December 12, 2023

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Does homework help

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain? Is this just too much homework?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in their 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework , The Homework Myth , and The Case Against Homework the film Race to Nowhere , and the anguished parent essay “ My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me ” make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what’s the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

How much is too much?

To answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting and examining hundreds of studies. Chris Drew Ph.D., founder and editor at The Helpful Professor recently compiled multiple statistics revealing the folly of today’s after-school busy work. Does any of the data he listed below ring true for you?

• 45 percent of parents think homework is too easy for their child, primarily because it is geared to the lowest standard under the Common Core State Standards .

• 74 percent of students say homework is a source of stress , defined as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.

• Students in high-performing high schools spend an average of 3.1 hours a night on homework , even though 1 to 2 hours is the optimal duration, according to a peer-reviewed study .

Not included in the list above is the fact many kids have to abandon activities they love — like sports and clubs — because homework deprives them of the needed time to enjoy themselves with other pursuits.

Conversely, The Helpful Professor does list a few pros of homework, noting it teaches discipline and time management, and helps parents know what’s being taught in the class.

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is listed on the National Education Association’s website and the National Parent Teacher Association’s website , but few schools follow this rule.

Do you think your child is doing excessive homework? Harris Cooper Ph.D., author of a meta-study on homework , recommends talking with the teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing the assignments. It may seem like they’re taking two hours, but maybe your child is wandering off frequently to get a snack or getting distracted.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing their work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure your child gets enough sleep. A 2012 study of 535 high school students found that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

For elementary school-age children, Cooper’s research at Duke University shows there is no measurable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, Cooper found there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, Cooper’s research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in a class with no homework.

Many schools are starting to act on this research. A Florida superintendent abolished homework in her 42,000 student district, replacing it with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She attributed her decision to “ solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students .”

More family time

A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don’t have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth . “It’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

By far, the best replacement for homework — for both parents and children — is bonding, relaxing time together.

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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

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

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

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

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

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

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

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

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

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

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

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

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

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

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

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

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

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

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

Parents Play a Key Role

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

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

Homework Inequality: The Value of Having a Parent Around After School

When it comes to schoolwork, there is a chasm separating students with parents who have predictable work schedules and those whose parents don’t.

she often does homework after school

At 4 p.m., when Veronica Marentes gets off work, she rushes to pick up her 4-year-old from daycare and her 12-year-old from school. If she’s late for the little one, she risks being charged a dollar for every minute she’s tardy. If she’s slow to pick up the older one, who waits for her in his school’s library, his homework will suffer because there’s no one there to make sure he completes his assignments.

Still, Marentes is often late to pick up her sons, because her manager sometimes asks her to do extra tasks at the end of her shift. As a single mother, these changes add to other stresses in her life. She works 35 hours a week, receives no child support, and lives with her three children in a garage that she rents.

Marentes, who came to America from Mexico roughly 12 years ago, now says she’s angry with McDonald’s because the franchise “doesn’t respect their own schedule—it affects my son a lot, when he doesn’t know when I am coming to pick him up.” (McDonald’s did not respond to a request for comment.) Recently, one of his assignments asked him to make a model the solar system, with small, painted balls as the planets. But when her boss changed her schedule at the last minute, she came home late from work and wasn’t able to help him get the materials he needed for the project. Lately, his grades have been getting worse because he’s been missing assignments.

Much has been written lately about homework: There’s too much of it; it’s stressing out parents, kids, and teachers; the time it takes is overwhelming. Many of the critiques of homework focus on how valuable it actually is: Do rote teaching-to-the-test worksheets truly improve students’ understanding? But far less discussed is how some children do their homework without the luxury of parental attention and assistance, or even just quiet time at home to complete assignments. There is not nearly as much being said about how increasing amounts of homework unduly affect poor families and exacerbate inequality.

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According to a recent OECD study , higher-income 15-year-olds tended to do more homework than lower-income 15-year-olds in almost all of the 38 countries surveyed, and kids who were doing more homework also tended to get higher test scores. Parents inevitably play a role in managing their kids’ schoolwork, but many find themselves stretched. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study , close to half of parents with school-age children say they wish they could be more involved in their kids’ education, but aren’t able to be. Many complain that they don’t have the time to keep tabs on their children’s assignments, and that wealthier families with stay-at-home parents or nannies are more likely to. On top of that, parents, especially wealthier ones, frequently hire tutors to help their children along.

But for many working-class parents, especially those with on-call or non-traditional schedules, today’s homework load can be impossible to manage. Journalists and academics already refer to a “homework gap”—a divide between families who have computers and access to the internet at home, and those who do not. But there is also a chasm separating students with parents who control their own work schedules and those whose parents don’t. A 2014 report from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth noted that nonstandard work schedules affected children’s cognitive development and success.

Unpredictable work schedules like Marentes’s and others govern the lives of 17 percent of American workers, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute . As Joshua Freeman, a professor of history at the City University of New York Graduate Center, puts it, “only a tiny number of Americans now have a normal five-day, 40-hour workweek.” Many companies ask their employees to make themselves available at the last minute, with little regard for how such scheduling affects their workers’ family lives. As a result, their kids’ science projects are less likely get done properly, and their math worksheets may never be surveyed by parents’ eyes.

Parents who push back against schedules that don’t give them enough time with their kids often find that their employers are resistant. When Nique Williams started working at a Target in Emeryville, California, she says she told her employer that she need a “very strict” daily schedule, from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, so that she could drop off and pick up her 5-year-old, Nyla, from school every day. Williams, who is 27, and her partner, who works for Greyhound cleaning buses, couldn’t afford a car until recently, so at the time Williams could only work those hours because they would allow her to catch two buses to travel between Nyla’s school and her job. In return for those weekday hours, she says she told her manager, she could work whenever she was needed on weekends.

Soon, though, Williams says, she was asked to work later and later, which in turn hurt Nyla’s performance in school. While the demands of kindergarten can seem light, Williams herself has a learning disability, as do her partner and Nyla. This requires Nyla and her mother to put in extra effort to keep up with schoolwork, and it will only get harder as Nyla gets older and her homework grows more challenging.

Williams told me that in the end, she lost her job for refusing to work the schedules she was presented with. Anya Svanoe, an Oakland-based organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment believes that Target let go of Williams, along with other workers, because the chain was displeased that their employees’ schedules were, in Svanoe’s words, “dictated by childcare needs.” It’s flexible scheduling that only goes one way, Svanoe says: in the employer’s direction. (Target declined to comment on Williams’s employment beyond clarifying that she was a seasonal hire.)

That’s why, alongside vocal campaigns for states and cities to raise the minimum wages, another movement focused not on pay, but time and hours, is gaining traction . While some companies—J. Crew, Urban Outfitters, and the Gap—have recently ended computerized, on-call scheduling and a proposed federal bill and pending bills in seven states would require that employers take measures to stabilize their workers’ schedules, erratically scheduled jobs remain widespread.

Last-minute scheduling and extreme hours represent a reversal of gains won decades ago by the labor movement, according to Freeman. “One of the workers’ central demands back then were shorter and more predictable hours,” he says. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 imposed overtime rules and helped regularize hours. Unions built on that success, but, Freeman says, “One of the big changes from the 1970s onward has been the breakdown of the old-fashioned hours and the defined workweek.” Freeman, though, is optimistic, believing that the movement for a better-defined workweek will follow the relative success of the fights for family leave and a higher minimum wage.

Nique Williams now makes less per hour as a teller at a credit union than she did at Target. But she says she loves her job. It’s within walking distance of her house and her new boss has been understanding of her parental obligations, especially when it comes to Nyla’s education. Williams has accepted a pay cut—her job at Target paid nearly $15 an hour—for the stability that allows her to focus more on her daughter’s homework after school. “Nyla is my number-one priority,” she says.

This story was produced with support from Capital & Main and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project .

she often does homework after school

Homework doesn't align with our family values. Here's how I explain that to teachers and my kids.

  • I think there are more meaningful ways to spend the after school hours.
  • I typically tell teachers that our family won't be completing homework.
  • Sometimes, my fourth grader still wants to do the assignments.

Despite my best efforts to avoid over-scheduling my family, our weekday calendars are full. My daughters, in kindergarten and fourth grade, do horse riding , swim lessons , and soccer. I have powerlifting two evenings a week. As we run out the door to those activities, our dog looks at us longingly with his leash in his mouth, so we try to squeeze in walks with him.

All of that leaves very little time for homework . This is why I've decided that in our family, homework is strictly optional and sometimes downright discouraged.

The hours between after school and bedtime are so limited. My girls get home at about 3:45 p.m. and are off to bed by 6:30 p.m. Factor in dinner time, I have only two hours to offer them the after-school enrichment that most aligns with our family values.

Homework simply doesn't make the cut.

My daughter is supposed to do about 40 minutes of homework each night

It's important to acknowledge that my district doesn't give much homework in elementary school. My fourth grader is expected to do 20 minutes of reading and 10 minutes each for math facts and penmanship. Gone are the endless worksheets that I remember from school.

And yet, 40 minutes is a huge chunk of our afternoons together. Reading, math, and penmanship are important, but practicing them happens organically throughout our day — when we talk about money skills together or pen a letter to their grandparents.

Rather than sitting down at a desk for 40 minutes, I'd prefer my girls gain confidence and safety skills in the water, contribute to their community by doing barn chores, or just be silly outside in the fresh air.

I sent teachers an email saying we wouldn't be doing homework

I spoke to my daughter's teachers about homework in second grade when I first felt the pressure to choose between homework, after-school activities, and getting the kids to get on time.

I kept it straightforward and sent the teacher an email: "Our schedules make homework challenging, so my daughter will not be completing the weekly assignments. We'll continue to practice math and reading at home. Please let me know if you have any concerns about this now or in the future."

Neither that teacher nor the one after had any worries. I got the impression that their beliefs aligned with mine: there were many ways to learn in the afternoons, and not all of them were academic. As long as the lack of homework wasn't impacting my daughter in the classroom, skipping it was ok.

This year, we're doing more homework than ever before

This year, my approach to homework has been challenged, and I've been reminded that nothing is black and white. My kindergartener is in speech therapy and regularly has "homework" assignments from her therapist. Those go to the top of our priority list — not only does she love doing the exercises, but there's a clear benefit that we can hear with our own ears.

More surprisingly, my fourth grader has decided she's devoted to homework. Just like I was, she's a bit of a teacher's pet and gets genuine satisfaction from the check mark she receives on each assignment. I have no problem with her doing her homework for fun, as long as it's not coming at the expense of more important things, like sleep, outdoor time, and hobbies.

Recently she explained she was going to wake up extra early to complete her reading assignment for the day. I just raised an eyebrow and said, "You know you really don't have to do that, right?"

I'm not sure how we'll handle homework as she moves into middle, then high school. For now, we're taking a laid-back approach.

Homework doesn't align with our family values. Here's how I explain that to teachers and my kids.

Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

  • Posted January 17, 2012
  • By Lory Hough

Sign: Are you down with or done with homework?

The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.

This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.

"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.

Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.

But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.

The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.

For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.

But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.

Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?

"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."

Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.

Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?

"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."

Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.

"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."

Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."

One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.

"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.

Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.

As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."

That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."

These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.

"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."

Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.

"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.

Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.

And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."

Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.

"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."

The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.

"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"

Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.

"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"

Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."

According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."

So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.

"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."

Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.

"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."

So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.

Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.

"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."

Read a January 2014 update.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Does Homework Serve a Purpose?

Finding the right balance between schoolwork and home life..

Posted November 5, 2018 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

Olga Zaretska/Deposit Photos

Homework — a dreaded word that means more work and less play. The mere thought of doing additional work after a seven-hour day (that begins extremely early) can be gruesome. Not to mention, many teens have other commitments after the school day ends.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 57 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity. And that’s a good thing because youth extracurricular involvement comes with benefits such as boosting academic performance, reducing risky behaviors (i.e., drug use and drinking), promoting physical health, and providing a safe structured environment. However, tag these extracurricular activities onto the end of a school day and you’ll find that many teens don’t get home until it's dark outside.

What about the teen who works a 15- to 20-hour job on top of an extracurricular activity? The US Department of Labor reports that one in five high school students have a part-time job, and those jobs too can come with added benefits. Teens who work often learn the value of a hard-earned dollar. They learn how to manage their money, learn to problem solve, and most importantly, they learn how to work with people. Plus, a job in high school is a great way to add valuable experience to a resume.

With so many after school opportunities available for teens, it can be extremely difficult for them to balance homework with their other commitments. Oftentimes, active kids simply don’t have enough time in a day to get all that’s asked of them finished. When it comes homework, in all my years of working in the public school system, I have never seen a student jump for joy when homework was assigned. Of course, there are some who were anxious to complete the assignment, but that was more to get it off their busy plate. Which brings us to the essential question — does homework serve a purpose?

There are those who stand firm and back the claim that homework does serve a purpose . They often cite that homework helps prepare students for standardized tests, that it helps supplement and reinforce what’s being taught in class, and that it helps teach fundamental skills such as time management , organization, task completion, as well as responsibility (extracurricular activities and work experience can also teach those fundamental skills).

Another argument for homework is that having students complete work independently shows that they can demonstrate mastery of the material without the assistance of a teacher. Additionally, there have been numerous studies supporting homework, like a recent study that shows using online systems to assign math homework has been linked to a statistically significant boost in test scores. So, there you have it: Homework has a lot of perks and one of those involves higher test scores, particularly in math. But don’t form your opinion just yet.

Although many people rally for and support homework, there is another school of thought that homework should be decreased, or better yet, abolished. Those who join this group often cite studies linking academic stress to health risks. For example, one study in the Journal of Educational Psychology showed that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline.

Antonio Guillem Fernández/Deposit Photos

The Journal of Experimental Education published research indicating that when high school students were assigned too much homework, they were more susceptible to serious mental and physical health problems, high-stress levels, and sleep deprivation. Stanford University also did a study that showed more than a couple of hours of homework a night was counterproductive. Think about it — teens spend an entire day at school, followed by extracurricular activities and possibly work, and then they get to end their day with two to three hours of homework. Now that’s a long day! No wonder so many of our teens are sleep-deprived and addicted to caffeine? On average most teens only get about 7.4 hours of sleep per night but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics , they need 8 to 10 hours.

Regardless of where you stand on the homework debate, a few things are certain: If homework is given, it should be a tool that’s used to enhance learning. Also, teachers should take into account the financial requirements of assignments, electronic accessibility, and they should be familiar with student needs as well as their other commitments. For example, not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework, so incomplete work may not be a true reflection of their ability—it may be the result of other issues they face outside of school.

Many of today's teens are taking college-level courses as early as the ninth and tenth grades. With the push of programs such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Early College Programs, and Dual Enrollment, today’s teens are carrying academic loads that surpass past generations. The result of this push for rigor can lead to high levels of stress, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, depression , anxiety , and early burnout . Too many teens are already running on empty. With more than half of teens reporting school and homework as a primary source of their stress, it’s evident that academic pressure is becoming a burden.

she often does homework after school

On the flip side, not all students spend a lot of time doing homework. What takes one student an hour to complete may take another three hours. Too often educators don’t take this into account when assigning homework. According to the University of Phoenix College of Education teacher survey, high school students can get assigned up to 17.5 hours of homework each week. To top it off, a Today article reported that teachers often underestimate the amount of homework they assign by as much as 50%. Now that’s a huge miscalculation, and our nation's youth have to suffer the consequences of those errors.

Jasminko Ibrakovic/Deposit Photos

There are definitely pros and cons to doing homework. I think the bigger question that educators need to address is, “what’s the purpose of the assignment?” Is it merely a way to show parents and administration what's going on in the class? Is it a means to help keep students' grades afloat by giving a grade for completion or is the assignment being graded for accuracy? Does the assignment enhance and supplement the learning experience? Furthermore, is it meaningful or busywork?

The homework debate will likely continue until we take a good, hard look at our current policies and practices. What side of the line do you stand on when it comes to homework? Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle?

Please weigh in with your thoughts. I am always eager to hear students’ voices in this discussion. If you are a student, please share what’s on your plate and how much time you spend doing homework each night.

Challenge Success White Paper:…

Cooper, H., et al. (meta analysis):

Marzano, R., et al.:…

NEA (National Education Association):

Pope, Brown, and Miles (2015), Overloaded and Underprepared. (Brief synopsis here:… )

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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How to Follow an After School Routine

Last Updated: April 9, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Desiree Panlilio . Desiree Panlilio is a Teen Life Coach and the Owner of Encouraging Teens, LLC. With over three years of experience, she specializes in helping teens and young adults define roles, set goals, develop healthy academic and personal habits, grow in leadership potential, and create their life paths. Desiree holds a BSN in Nursing from The University of Victoria and an MA in Human Services Counseling with a concentration in Life Coaching from Liberty University. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 62,413 times.

If you find that you’re struggling to get everything done in the evening after school, sketching out a routine might help. Be sure you plan in all the tasks you have to do, as well as leaving some time to relax and unwind. Following a routine can help you learn to manage your time and get on top of all your schoolwork.

Creating an After School Routine

Step 1 Map out your after school time.

  • You can write down a timetable on a piece of paper or on the computer.
  • Break each hour down into smaller chunks so you can be more precise in your planning.

Step 2 Write down what you need to get done.

  • Doing your homework.
  • Completing your chores around the house.
  • Eating your dinner.
  • Taking a bath or shower.
  • Preparing your bag for the next school day.

Step 3 Prioritize your tasks.

  • You might find it helpful to label these tasks as priority A, B, or C.
  • If you do this, be aware, that you may find that priority C tasks get overlooked. [3] X Research source
  • An alternative is to organise these tasks by the deadlines. If something does not have a specific deadline, you can apply one yourself.
  • This could be a short-term or longer-term deadline. For example, you might say you have to get your daily homework done by 8pm, or you that you need to finish your project by the end of the month.

Step 4 Start filling in your schedule.

  • Add in any regular after school commitments you have. This could include soccer practice, or music lessons.
  • If you have lots of different commitments on different days of the week, make a separate schedule for each day.

Managing the Essentials

Step 1 Be active straight after school.

  • Playing sports with your friends immediately after school is a good way to decompress after class.
  • It can help you clear your mind and unwind.
  • Having a defined transition time from school to home is an important part of a successful routine. [5] X Research source

Step 2 Have a healthy snack after school.

  • You will have time to relax again before bed after you have completed your homework.
  • This is the time to watch some TV, read, or just hang around with your family.

Step 4 Relax before bed.

  • Don’t forget to schedule time to wash before bed.
  • If you have a nice warm bath you can include this as part of your relaxing time before bed.
  • Relaxing before bed will help you get to sleep more easily and have a more restful night. [9] X Research source

Step 5 Prepare for the next day before you go to bed.

  • If you are rushing around trying to find things in the morning, you will be getting stressed out before you even leave the house.
  • Being prepared means you will have time to sit down and have a good breakfast before you head out.

Sticking to Your Routine

Step 1 Don’t try to do too much.

  • Make sure you allow yourself time to readjust when you leave school and go home.
  • Make an adjustment to your routine if you find that your homework is taking longer than you expected.
  • Trying to do too many activities will just tire you out, and you will get less done than if you had a more modest routine.

Step 2 Allow some flexibility.

  • You have to try and find a balance between being flexible and consistent. [11] X Research source
  • Being aware of things before they happen will help you plan ahead and prioritise.
  • For example, if you have some deadlines coming up at school, take this into account early. Alter your routine to give you time to study without sacrificing all your fun and relaxing time.

Step 3 Avoid procrastination.

  • For example, if you are learning Spanish, set yourself twenty minutes of vocabulary practice at 6pm every night.
  • Wait for the set time, and try to stick to it exactly. Once you have done this for a few weeks you will feel proud of your self-control.
  • Breaking tasks down into smaller chunks can help you overcome procrastination and make steady progress through your routine. [13] X Research source

Step 4 Recognise the benefits of a routine.

  • A good routine should have a mix of active and quiet periods, as well as activities done alone and done in a group.
  • Also try to mix indoor and outdoor activities when it is possible. [16] X Research source

Example After School Routine

she often does homework after school

Expert Q&A

Desiree Panlilio

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Exercise on Simple Present - Present Progressive

Complete the story. Use Simple Present and Present Progressive.

  • It (be) early in the morning.
  • Sally (get) out of bed, (open) the window and (go) into the bathroom.
  • Then she (have) breakfast.
  • After breakfast, Sally usually (cycle) to school.
  • After school, she (go) back home.
  • Sally usually (eat) her lunch at home.
  • In the afternoons, she first (do) her homework and then she (meet) her friends in the park.
  • What (do / she) now?
  • She (play) the guitar.
  • Her friends (listen) and some of them (sing) along.
  • When Sally (come) home in the evening, she (have) dinner and then she (watch) TV.
  • She (go) to bed at about 8 o'clock every day.
  • Skip to main content
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How one school is trying to improve attendance of chronically absent students

Leigh Paterson

In 2023, about one in four students was chronically absent. Schools are going above and beyond to turn those numbers around. That often means having difficult conversations with students and families.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.


  1. Schoolgirl Doing Homework After School Stock Image

    she often does homework after school

  2. The Importance of Homework in Learning

    she often does homework after school

  3. How to Help Middle and High School Students Develop the Skills They

    she often does homework after school

  4. The Benefits Of Homework: How Homework Can Help Students Succeed

    she often does homework after school

  5. doing homework after school

    she often does homework after school

  6. When Is the Best Time to Do Homework?

    she often does homework after school


  1. Doing homework after school. #preppyyyy #homework #ihateschool

  2. Can I Successfully Homeschool While Working Full-Time?

  3. After school she do homework #shortvideo #junior #kid


  1. She does homework every day vs She does her homework every day vs She

    For example: She succeeds in math class because she does the homework every day. It's worth pointing out that doing your homework often relates to being prepared even for people who aren't students, and in that case you generally mean that the subject is (or isn't) fully prepared, so the possessive pronoun is often used, or an adjective is used ...

  2. Adverbs of Frequency Sentence Placement

    The most common adverbs of frequency in English in order from most often to least often: always - He always does his homework. usually - They usually complete the work on time. often - I often watch movies online. sometimes - Jack sometimes comes over for dinner. occasionally - She occasionally asks a question.

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

    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:

  4. Adverbs of frequency

    He never forgets his homework. No times! We usually put the adverb before the verb. She always does her homework after school. I usually have cereal for breakfast. If the verb is to be, we put the adverb after the verb. They are usually on holiday in July. He is sometimes late for school. To ask a question, use often or how often.

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

    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 ...

  6. Does Homework Serve a Purpose?

    Homework — a dreaded word that means more work and less play. The mere thought of doing additional work after a seven-hour day (that begins extremely early) can be gruesome. Not to mention, many ...

  7. Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

    Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness. While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night).

  8. Developing Good Homework Habits

    Help your child develop good homework habits. That means designating a reg­ular location and time to work on daily assignments. She does not necessarily need a desk in her room; the kitchen table can work just as well. No matter what place you choose, it needs to be well lit and quiet, without the distrac­tions of the television set, other ...

  9. Homework anxiety: Why it happens and how to help

    Use a calm voice. When kids feel anxious about homework, they might get angry, yell, or cry. Avoid matching their tone of voice. Take a deep breath and keep your voice steady and calm. Let them know you're there for them. Sometimes kids just don't want to do homework. They complain, procrastinate, or rush through the work so they can do ...

  10. Does Homework Work?

    Her thinking: Some of her students, she says, have little time for homework because they're working 30 hours a week or responsible for looking after younger siblings.

  11. Does homework really work?

    After two hours, however, achievement doesn't improve. For high schoolers, Cooper's research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in ...

  12. PDF Adverbs of frequency ANSWERS

    a. I do my homework after school. Every day! never / always / usually b. He goes swimming. He can't swim! never / sometimes / always c. We have pizza for dinner. Just once a week! always / sometimes / usually d. They watch TV in English. They love it! never / sometimes / usually e. I talk to strangers. It'sa really bad idea! sometimes ...

  13. Finding an afterschool program with good homework help

    A structured homework routine. A good program dedicates a specified amount of time for kids to complete their homework. That may mean about 30 minutes a day for grade-schoolers. And it could mean as much as two hours a day for high school students. If kids finish their homework early, good programs will allow them to move on to a new activity.

  14. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don't have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006; Marzano & Pickering, 2007). A more effective ...

  15. Homework Inequality: The Value of Having a Parent Around After School

    June 6, 2016. At 4 p.m., when Veronica Marentes gets off work, she rushes to pick up her 4-year-old from daycare and her 12-year-old from school. If she's late for the little one, she risks ...

  16. Homework doesn't align with our family values. Here's how I explain

    The hours between after school and bedtime are so limited. My girls get home at about 3:45 p.m. and are off to bed by 6:30 p.m. Factor in dinner time, I have only two hours to offer them the after ...

  17. Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

    Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.)

  18. Does Homework Serve a Purpose?

    Homework — a dreaded word that means more work and less play. The mere thought of doing additional work after a seven-hour day (that begins extremely early) can be gruesome. Not to mention, many ...

  19. Does Homework Serve a Purpose?

    Homework — a dreaded word that means more work and less play. The mere thought of doing additional work after a seven-hour day (that begins extremely early) can be gruesome. Not to mention, many ...

  20. How to Follow an After School Routine: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

    1. Be active straight after school. It's a good idea to structure your routine around some key landmarks that will help you keep active and productive. By the time you get out of school you might be a bit bored and restless, so it's a good idea to do something physical at the start of your routine.

  21. When is the best time to do homework?

    Option #2: A short break before homework. Some kids, like some adults, need time to shift from one task to another. The walk home after school may not be enough time to switch from the classroom to the family home and post-dinner may be the best time to start homework with your kids. Playing outside with friends who aren't in their class or ...

  22. Exercise on Simple Present

    Use Simple Present and Present Progressive. It (be) early in the morning. Sally (get) out of bed, (open) the window and (go) into the bathroom. Then she (have) breakfast. After breakfast, Sally usually (cycle) to school. After school, she (go) back home. Sally usually (eat) her lunch at home. In the afternoons, she first (do) her homework and ...

  23. How one school is trying to improve attendance of chronically absent

    In 2023, about 1 in 4 was chronically absent, according to new research. Schools are going above and beyond to turn those numbers around and get these students back in class. Often, that means ...