Homework 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students & Parents

Why do good people have to do unpleasant things? You surely have asked yourself this question a million times while slouching over a school assignment.

The picture shows facts about homework stress and its consequences.

Did you know that 56% of students find homework the most stressful aspect of education? It comes as no surprise: lack of motivation, spending too much or too little time on assignments, and making mistakes take the fun out of studying.

If you want to know how to do homework quickly, efficiently, and without suffering, keep reading this article by Custom-Writing.org. We’ll tell you how to stay on top!

✍️ Why Should You Do Homework?

There must be a reason why such a pesky thing as homework exists, right? Right! Here’s what doing homework allows you to accomplish:

  • Revisit your study materials.
  • Prepare for upcoming classes.
  • Boost your reputation by showing your teacher you work outside the classroom.
  • Create useful habits.
  • Avoid being grounded for slacking.

These are all excellent reasons why students should do their assignments. But that’s not all of it: keep reading to learn more.

Benefits of Homework

If you genuinely believe that it’s all about pointless suffering, check out this list and see how homework can actually benefit you:

🎓 It helps you learn the subject better. It’s not only because you review the material and memorize it better. You can also research the topic more deeply than you would if you only had time to study in class.
⏱️ It helps you develop time-management skills. With all the deadlines that students have to meet, you need to find ways to make your time work for you, not against you.
👍 It teaches you to work independently. Homework is one of the things that you can’t delegate to your peers or parents.
💬 It improves your communication skills. It’s especially true for assignments that involve writing essays. You may not view essays as a way to improve your communication skills, but learning to express your opinions is an essential skill.
📚 It helps you learn to use various resources. Students usually fixate on the internet as their primary source of information. Don’t forget that you also can find many valuable and trustworthy books, magazines, and journals in libraries. You learn to appreciate them when they help you ace your research papers.

Now you know that home assignments are not as bad as people think.

⌛ What’s the Right Amount of Time to Spend on Homework?

You probably think that nobody knows the answer to that, don’t you? Actually, here are some guidelines put together by professionals in the field of education. Check them out:

Age Hours a day
6-9 years old no more than 20 minutes
10-12 years old 20-40 minutes
13-15 years old up to 2 hours
College students no more than 2 hours

Many students find it hard to complete assignments within the mentioned timeframes. Some have personal problems to deal with; others simply get too much homework. Keep reading to learn how to cope with challenges and find some much-needed inspiration.

🔝 Ultimate List of Homework Tips

How to Find Motivation

For many of us, the mere satisfaction of completing a task is not enough to get us through our homework routine. If you see yourself in this predicament, you may benefit from having an incentive. Let’s learn how to motivate yourself to do your tasks:

  1. Think hard about what you really look forward to. Is it having a Starbucks Frappuccino or a humongous slice of pizza? Or what if you reward yourself with a book from your favorite bookstore or a new piece of clothing? Tell yourself that you can get these things only if you put in enough hours and get your tasks done.
  2. Think of bigger-scale rewards and set a goal for the next semester. For example, if you manage to cope with your homework successfully week after week, you could reward yourself with that trip you’ve been saving up for. If you fail, well, here goes another summer without a vacation. Let that thought terrify you, and then immediately get started on that assignment!

Overcoming Difficulties

For some people, a lack of motivation is the only problem they face regarding homework. For others, there are many additional issues. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common difficulties and, most importantly, ways to overcome them:

Problem How to fix it
Rushing through your homework. Completing a lengthy assignment in 30 minutes probably means you have done a sloppy job. It often happens with students who are easily bored. If that’s the case, try mixing up the order of homework to make it less repetitive.
Inability to study alone. Some people need company for everything. If you struggle with learning independently, you can try to join a study group. They are far from boring and can benefit your overall understanding of the material.
Failing to retain information. If you find it hard to recall what you’ve studied the day before, consider changing your strategy to memorize it. One good approach is to have the information presented in various ways: for example, try using mind maps, tables, and graphs instead of huge chunks of text.

Dealing with Homework Anxiety

Having poor memory and pretending to be The Flash while doing your homework is no big deal when dealing with a more serious problem: homework anxiety. This condition forces you to put off doing your homework for as long as possible, leading to more stress and anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.

How do you recognize whether you have homework anxiety? Ask yourself:

Do you sometimes think that you’re just lazy?
Do you feel chronically fatigued?
Are you never in the mood for homework?
Are you excessively stressed whenever you think about assignments?
Does the thought of doing your tasks cause an inexplicable feeling of intense discomfort or fear?

If your answer to most or all of these questions is “yes”, you might be experiencing homework anxiety.

Reasons for this condition vary. For example, you may be an overly anxious person or a perfectionist, and the thought of failing scares you. There are many possibilities. But thankfully, there are also quite a few solutions that you can try:

  • Set time limits. Knowing that you have set aside a particular amount of time may help with anxiety. Organizing your time better is an excellent idea if you struggle with starting or finishing things.
  • Take breaks. Go for a brisk walk, take a coffee break, or listen to a song to take your mind off your assignments.
  • If all else failsseek help. There are professionals who can aid you in overcoming anxiety. If you feel like you can’t handle it alone, therapy might be worth a try.

Homework Planning & Scheduling

To overcome all the possible obstacles on your way to good grades and a stress-free life, you must manage your time efficiently. You will see that many things in life can become much more pleasant with the help of proper planning. Try following these simple steps to get started:

The picture shows 4 steps to homework planning.
  1. Assess your entire workload for the day or the week before you start doing the tasks.
  2. Now you can set your priorities correctly. Which assignment can be done quickly? Which ones will require thorough research and analysis? Don’t forget to take the deadline into account!
  3. Once you know what you need to do and how to order your tasks, devise your final plan and develop a routine that will help you succeed. You will inevitably need to make adjustments, but eventually, you will find the best way. Try checking completed tasks off a list—instant gratification works wonders!
  4. Make sure you’ve designated a time and a place for doing your homework. People often underestimate the importance of their workspace as a part of their success. Don’t plop yourself down on the couch between a box of unfinished pizza and a pile of laundry. Instead, clean up your desk, gather everything you might need, and start studying.

How to Understand Your Assignments

Understanding your assignment is a big deal. If you take the wrong turn at the beginning of the path, you probably won’t get to your destination. The same goes for your homework—if you misinterpret the assignment, you are not likely to get a good grade.

But here’s the trick. Pay attention to these words when reading the task; they will indicate exactly what you must do:

Task What it means
to name, define or arrange something to learn the information and present it
to explain or summarize to paraphrase the information using your interpretation and words
to apply or illustrate something to use your knowledge to solve a problem
to analyze, contrast or examine to compare different factors and take an in-depth look to see connections between them
to evaluate or predict to draw your own conclusions based on your knowledge
to provide examples to find supporting evidence for the conclusions you have made

How to Break Assignments Down

Another critical element to avoiding homework stress is knowing how to approach daunting assignments. It is easy to get discouraged by the size of a task and to keep postponing it until it shrinks. But here’s the catch: it won’t.

Instead of hoping for a magical solution, here’s what you can do:

  1. Make a list of your assignments. Grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you’re expected to do and when you’re supposed to turn it in.
  2. Decide what’s easy to do and what’s not. Start with the easy stuff, and get it out of the way. You’ll start to feel that much-needed inspiration before tackling the tricky assignments.
  3. Break your homework into manageable parts. The easy parts may consist of a few smaller tasks, while the difficult ones will consist of a single time-consuming or challenging task.
  4. Take a break after each session. If you start early enough, you can afford to take time to rest. Pauses are good for productivity and your overall mood.

How to Do Homework Quickly

We’ve already explained how to plan your homework, prioritize assignments, and reward yourself for completing tasks. While all of these are great strategies, it’s also essential that your homework doesn’t take forever and, more importantly, is done on time.

Here are a few little hacks to save you time and help you be more efficient:

🌳 Capitalize on the opportunities to do homework outside of your home. If you know you’ll have to take a long bus ride and have some reading to do, why not take it with you? If you have an appointment and you know you’re going to show up early, why not work on your laptop?
🏫 You can do your homework at school, too. If you have longer breaks in between classes—use them efficiently. You might not be able to complete an entire assignment, but you can at least get started. If you have a few short, easy tasks, you can do all of them while simply waiting for your next class to begin.
💪 Don’t let yourself slip out of working mode. If there’s work waiting to be done—do it right away. Come home, have lunch, and then sit down at your desk and start working. You can kick back and relax afterward.

Finally, the best way to do assignments quickly is to learn how to focus on homework. The less you get distracted, the more work gets done in a short amount of time.

How to Take Productive Breaks

Taking breaks here and there can be more efficient and comfortable than working on your assignment for 5 hours straight. Some ways to rest are better than others; let’s have a closer look.

❌ DON’T: ✅ DO:
  • Take very long or very short breaks. If a pause is too long, it won’t be easy to make yourself get back to work. If it’s too short, you won’t feel any difference.
  • Curl up in your bed. Another thing that will make it very challenging to get back to business is getting way too relaxed.
  • Turn on the TV or pick up your phone. Screens will suck you in and refuse to let you go for a long time. Plus, it’s not the best idea to let your mind wander off too far from your task.
  • Take brief but systematic breaks. A 15-minute break is a happy medium you should strive for.
  • Get moving. A stretch or a short yoga workout is an excellent way to get your blood flowing and take your mind off your homework. You may even come up with a bright solution to a problem you’ve been working on when you least expect it.
  • Think of breaks as a reward. Remember what we told you about the incentives? If getting started with your homework is a challenge, you can turn pauses into rewards and see how that works.

Getting Homework Assistance

Homer Simpson once said: “You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” We’re here to tell you not to trust Homer! The real lesson is: if you have tried everything and nothing works, try again. And if sometimes you just can’t do it on your own—get help.

Aside from asking your parents to help you, here are a few more ways to get assistance:

  • Ask your teacher for help. Your teacher should be your go-to person when you need to ask for advice regarding your homework. You’re not being unfair to your fellow students by approaching your teacher with questions.
  • Become part of a study group or find a study buddy. You can ask questions or have a go at explaining something to other students. Working with another person is a great way to measure your understanding and practice alternative memorization techniques. With a few good laughs, homework will no longer be the torture it once was.
  • Consider finding a tutor. A private teacher may be just what you need. Some work for free, even though you’re more likely to find those who charge hourly payments.
  • Go to a tutoring center. These centers are known for helping students improve academically. Why not take advantage of them?

6 Best Homework Apps to Use

Last but not least, let’s take a look at various study apps designed to help struggling students. These are not considered cheating since they don’t do the homework for you. Instead, they help you organize your time, set your priorities, memorize the material, and stay on track. Here are the best ones:

  1. Flashcards Deluxe 
    This is an extremely powerful memorization tool with everything at your fingertips. It allows you to create decks of flashcards for any subject or use the ones made by other students. Download the app from AppStore, PlayMarket, and Amazon for $3.99. 
  2. Chegg apps 
    The possibilities are endless with this group of apps. They boast over 500 million flashcards, plus you can create your own. They also offer homework help, test preparation, and simplified topic explanations. Subscription starts at $14.95 a month. 
  3. Popplet 
    Visual learners will benefit most from this app. You can build mind maps of literally anything to memorize things more easily. The layout is easy to navigate, even for the youngest students. It is also available in any language. Users of iOS can get it for $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year.   
  4. StayOnTask 
    The name of this one explains everything—it helps you stay on task. If you get distracted easily, you will like this app because it regularly reminds you to keep working. Besides, it is free, which makes it even better. Available on Android.  
  5. iHomework 2 
    This app is a planner that does not let you loaf around. You can organize assignments, add them to your calendar, set reminders, and track your grades. Available on the App Store. 
  6. Google Workspace for Education 
    Google created this suite of tools to facilitate communication and learning for teachers and students. It contains many great tools which are particularly useful for making notes on the go, setting reminders, and keeping track of assignments. The workspace is free for schools; paid subscriptions are available for everyone. 

👪 Bonus Homework Tips for Parents

If you’re a parent of a kid struggling with homework and don’t know how to help—these tips are for you:

  • Communicate with the teachers. They will tell you about your child’s grades, progress, and areas where they need to improve. Furthermore, teachers can help you better understand the assignments your child receives and how to tackle them best.
  • Provide support. More often than not, your child needs your wisdom and kindness, not nagging and reproach. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s okay for you to complete their assignments for them!
  • Show interest. Make your child feel like they’re doing something fascinating and that you care about it. If you show that homework is an exciting activity from the get-go, they may think so too.
  • Notice struggles. Things will be difficult sometimes. Your task as a parent is to be able to recognize those difficulties and help your child overcome them.
  • Use positive reinforcement. “Timmy, you’re grounded until you finish your math assignment” is not a good approach. “Timmy, if you finish your math assignment, I will let you have a sleepover” is much better. Don’t threaten—entice! And remember always to give praise where praise is due.

And here’s how you can set your child up for homework success depending on their age group:

Age group What to do
1-2 grade
  • Keep the things your child will need (pens, colored pencils, scissors, paper, etc.) handy. Put it in a beautiful container— it’ll be more fun to take out and do homework.
  • Turn homework into an adventure. Tick off completed assignments and celebrate accomplishments.
3-4 grade
  • Turn tedious memorization tasks into a board game where you can’t keep progress unless you recite a poem.
  • Let your child do homework in shorter increments, but twice, not once a day.
  • Have them grade their homework and see how they can improve.
5-6 grade
  • It is time to set stricter rules—let your child know that homework comes before having fun.
  • Help your child start planning to avoid homework piling up and causing stress.

We hope that everyone can find something useful in this ultimate homework guide. Let us know what your favorite homework tip is in the comment section. We wish you good luck, and remember that it’s okay to ask for help if you’re experiencing problems!

🔍 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of Custom-Writing.org, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.