What’s the difference between doing homework and studying?

Homework is the dreaded word that most parents associate with inconvenience. But, as discussed in an article, there are many reasons why homework is important to your child’s learning journey. However, the dedicated completion of homework alone is not enough for great academic performance. The higher your child goes in school, the more they (and you) need to know what the difference between homework and studying. Let’s explain:

What is Studying?

Study time is the time set aside and specifically devoted to scrutinising information through research, note taking, application, pre- and post reading etc. (See an article on how your child should be studying). Your child should be setting aside this time to focus on the material and subjects which they do not understand or have a limited understanding of. Using resources outside of those provided by the school/teacher will allow him/her to form context for topics which helps in gaining a better understanding.

There are different types of studying that your child should be doing:
  1. Studying to gather and learn information – can be done pre-and post-lessons
  2. Studying to test understanding of information learned – can be done through the completion of assessments
  3. Studying to refresh “old” knowledge – can be done by checking knowledge and information retention and refreshing it.

As you can already see, this is materially different from what your child would be doing during homework time.

So, what about Homework?

Well, homework is part of the larger process of studying. When a learner does homework, he/she only does what is set for them by the teacher based on what they learned in class on that day. They practice and test their understanding of the lesson that has been taught. Should they not understand, they can request the teacher for further assistance. Once the work the teacher has allocated for further practice has been completed, then homework ends.

It is important that learners understand this difference between homework and studying so they can use both tools to improve their academic performance. In short, homework is teacher mandated and directed, whereas study is self-directed. It is a real pity that many learners do not know how to use study time effectively.

PS: If you are worried about your child’s study techniques, read our article on How to Study. The article discusses how learners learn and how they can use their study time to ensure that they are learning not cramming.

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