Why Is Homework Important

"Why is homework important" is the common cry of the school-age child. You may even hear some variations on the idea, such as "Why do I have to do this?" or the eternally popular, "I don't want to do my homework!"

No matter which sounds of frustration your child voices, having an answer ready will help you offer support as your child gets started. It will also help you understand why homework is important. It's also good to know about homework tutoring options, in case a homework assignment is too hard for you to figure out, or in case your child needs help when you are not available. 

Purposes of Homework

  • Practice: Homework may be given to help students practice the skills learned in class. Direct application through repeated practice helps a child retain what's been learned. Class time is often inadequate to learn skills that take practice. For example, math facts and formulas need to be applied several times before they are understood and internalized. Homework gives kids the chance to practice what they learned in class.
  • Thinking: Homework gets kids thinking about what they learned when they're outside of school. This gives the brain a chance to continue learning in a different environment. That provides valuable practice for real-life situations where kids will need to apply their knowledge.
  • Preparation: Homework may be given to help prepare students for testing, or to use new information in a particular situation. For example, preparing for a report or an experiment by doing preliminary research can help the student be ready for the event in class. It also reinforces the student's responsibility for her education.
  • Extension: Homework may extend learning by adding new information to what was discussed in class. Long-term assignments, such as science fair projects or reports, help students apply their learning to a situation, or incorporate their own ideas into a project. This builds thinking skills and helps personalize the learning.

When your child has homework and is wondering why it needs to be done, try to determine what purpose the homework fulfills, then explain why the homework is helpful. If you feel the work is not fitting into a useful category, talk with your child's teacher to learn the purpose of the assignment. Being an engaged parent will help your child develop a positive attitude toward homework, school and education.

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