“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Every night after school, it’s the same routine; homework and dinner. The average 15-year-old has around 5 hours of homework each week. It’s not the most around the world, but there is the idea that it doesn’t guarantee better academic performance. It can be tricky getting it right.

In this article, we’ll look at how much time children should spend doing homework, techniques they can use to get the most out of it, and what parents can do to help them.

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How Much Time Should Children Spend Doing Homework

Homework is part of almost every child’s routine. From Reception, children will learn to read, write, and count. At such a young age, their homework consists of practising these skills, memorising the times tables, and doing sums.

How long should children spend doing homework?
The time children spend doing homework will be affected by their age and level. (Source: NOST)

Over the years, they’ll get more homework and more complicated tasks. The amount of time they spend doing homework will increase. Here’s how much they should be doing.

  • Years 1 and 2: Around 5 minutes a day. This could be going over what they did in class or a bit of reading.
  • Year 3: 15 to 25 minutes. Again, they don’t necessarily need to spend 15 minutes every evening.
  • Year 4: 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Year 5: 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Year 6: 30 to 45 minutes (but not every evening).
  • Year 7: 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Year 8: 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Year 9: 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Year 10: 50 to 60 minutes with the option of also doing homework and studying during the weekends and school holidays, especially when it comes to exams.
  • Year 11: Around 1 hour each day. Again, with exams, this time can also include weekends and holidays.
  • Year 12: Between 1 hour and 90 minutes including on weekends and holidays as they study AS Levels.
  • Year 13: Between 90 minutes and 2 hours each day, especially as they reach their A Level exams.

In some places, students can get their homework done before they get home.

Find out more about how much time students should spend doing homework.

10 Tips for Getting the Most out of Homework

Whether they’re in primary school, secondary school, or college, doing homework can be tricky. Here’s our advice for making the most of it:

  • Organise your materials: textbooks, exercise books, pens, pencils, a maths set, etc. Make sure you have some water, too. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of an exercise to get yourself a drink.
  • Work in a quiet distraction-free place: no phones, TV, computer games, or siblings to bother you.
  • Plan to do a bit of work each day (this will ensure that the day’s lessons are fresh in your head).
  • Prioritise your tasks: the most difficult, urgent, or important tasks should be dealt with first.
  • Take short breaks, especially if you’re struggling to focus. 10 minutes after a long time spent working, for example.
  • Change subjects after a break: This can help concentration and focus as your brain will be stimulated by the new topics.
  • Don’t do more than one thing at once: If you’re studying for an exam, don’t do your homework from another subject at the same time.
  • Do longer tasks on projects on the weekend when you have more time.
  • Plan out rewards for when you finish your work: Watch your favourite show or play a computer game.
  • Plan out your work for the week and at the weekend.
What are the best ways to do homework?
A few minor changes to how your child does homework can help them a lot. (Source: congerdesign)

Find out more about getting the most out of homework.

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How to Optimise Your Time Outside of Class

You need to make a habit of studying and doing your homework. Easier said than done, though. By following these steps, you should be able to get more out of your time and make your homework more effective.

Your time can be divided into three groups:

  • Duties: things you have to do: eat, shower, sleep, etc.
  • Work: the time dedicated to lessons and doing your homework.
  • Free time: relaxation, leisure, etc. This can also include other things that you’re learning, even if you learn them at school (sport, dancing, musical instruments, etc.). You can also include reading, watching TV, playing, etc.
How can you get the most out of homework?
Homework is supposed to reinforce concepts from earlier lessons and teach independent study skills. (Source: LUM3N)

In a week, there are 168 hours. About 70 of these hours are dedicated to primary needs and duties and between 25 and 30 hours will be spent at school in lessons. If you spend 2 hours each weekday and 3 hours on the weekend studying and doing homework (which is a lot!), this will account for around 48 hours of your week. After that, the rest of your time is yours.

To get the most out of the time spent working, you just need to be organised and plan out how you’re going to use your time. Planning will help you to make a habit of it and you won’t even need to think about it.

Find out more about planning and organising homework.

What to Do When You Have too Much Homework

Having too much homework can be a nightmare and overwhelming for students. In a lot of cases, however, it’s just a matter of organising which to tackle first.

  • Plan ahead: Dedicate 10 to 15 minutes each day to going back over your lessons. This is a great way to guarantee you remember what you’ve learnt.
  • At the weekend, try to do all the homework you’ve been given for the next week: You won’t have to worry about anything else during the week.
  • Consider catchup lessons: If you’re starting to struggle, academic support can help you catch back up.
  • Speak to your teacher or parents about what to do: If you have a child that’s struggling, don’t hesitate to let their teacher know.
  • There may be a problem with how they’re trying to learn.

Don’t hesitate to get a private tutor to help them with subjects that they’re struggling with.

Find out more about dealing with a lot of homework.

How to Help Your Child with Their Homework and Schoolwork

Academic success can depend on the parents. It’s not always easy to help your child with their homework.

How can you help children with their homework?
Helping children with their homework isn't about doing it for them. (Source: Muscat_Coach)

Did you leave school at a young age to start working? Were you a bit of a problem child yourself? Did you study Spanish but your child is learning German?

You mightn’t know or be able to help them. It’s the same thing every evening, exercises that you don’t understand and can’t help your child to do. This can make helping them with their homework a nightmare.

You’re not on your own. Here’s our advice to help you:

  • Organisation: Clear a space where your child can work and ensure they have everything they need to get their work done (pencil case, pens, pencils, maths set, exercise books, textbooks, etc.)
  • Be supportive and calm: You don’t have to get involved until they start to struggle. Being stressed won’t help your child to learn.
  • Provide support: Your role is to help your child understand their lesson, not to do it for them.
  • Get help if it's too difficult: A parent mightn’t be able to help their child with their homework and there might be someone who’s better suited to the task at hand. A private tutor can help students with homework and offer academic support.

Find out more about helping children with their homework.

And there you go! That’s our advice. Start with these tips and helping your child with their homework should become easier.

If you or your child need help with homework or schoolwork, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors for academic support, homework help, and specific subjects all over the country and around the world.

Private tutorials are either taught face-to-face, online, or in groups and each type of tutoring comes with advantages and disadvantages so think carefully about which one is right for you and your budget before hiring a private tutor.

One-on-one tutorials are just between the student and the tutor and can be tailored to suit the student's preferred learning style. This makes these types of tutorials incredibly effective as every minute is spent working to help the student. However, they also tend to be the most expensive type of tutoring available as you'll be paying for all the extra time and effort the tutor puts into planning and adapting their lessons to the student.

As they don't have to travel to each tutorial, online tutors can afford to charge less than face-to-face tutors and they often do. While these types of tutorials mightn't be as effective for certain hands-on subjects, they're excellent for academic subjects, study skills, revision, and help with homework.

Group tutorials are an excellent choice for families on a tight budget. With several students attending each session, there won't be as many opportunities for the tutor to adapt the lessons to the individual, but the cost will be shared amongst everyone participating, which makes these tutorials cheaper per student per hour.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.