What is the point of homework?
Homework guide
About this guide
What is the point of homework?
When and where should you do it?
Tools you need
Essential furniture and equipment
Planning your homework
Curriculum help
Ages 6-15
Ages 15-18
Your computer
Using your computer
Word processing
Spreadsheets and calculators
Using the Internet
More advice
Rules to follow
How teachers can help
How parents can help
What is the point of homework?

If you have never asked this question, you are very unusual. Homework certainly takes up time which otherwise would have been your own. And this is a real problem for some learners, as well as for parents and teachers.

What is it?

So what is homework? One headteacher, interviewed for a radio programme, said it was "work that is done at home". This wasn't very clever, and wasn't even completely accurate - homework is often done out of the home.

In some ways the name "homework" is very old-fashioned, as if there are only two places where children can do work - if it's not school, then it must be home. More recently we have heard of "anytime anywhere learning" - the idea is that work is portable, and we can do it wherever we are. This might seem wonderful or scary - is there nowhere we can escape from work?

When you are at school you are in a room with a lot of other people. At home you are on your own, or with only a few other people. At many schools you keep moving between lessons. You can only take equipment you can carry. At home, you can work without any of these problems - if you want.

Take control

You may start to feel far better about doing homework if you see your teacher as your ally, helping you to succeed in a competitive world. Most teachers really believe you can be better, even when you and your friends think there's no chance.

So try to use the homework as a way to learn something - even if it's only to pass an exam. One day someone will look at your exam results in order to give you a job (or not). Doing well at school is one way to feel good about yourself. Homework can help you succeed and even enjoy doing so.