Homework in silent isolation or not?


When I was at school, my parent’s couldn’t understand how I could do my homework and listen to music at the same time. Now with my kids, they not only want to listen to music, but chat online to friends, watch something on YouTube whilst writing up their homework in Word.
Do kids become more able to ignore, what to them are normal, distractions as society changes or were my parent’s correct and homework should be done in silent isolation ?


Like so many types of working and studying, it probably depends on the learner. Good routines and discipline regarding homework are important. Personally, I think that homework is a time for focus and quiet. I make sure my own son’s desk is set up with plenty of space and light – and no music or phones available. This generation seems to be adept at multi media multi tasking (i.e. being watching TV while checking Facebook, etc) but I wonder how productive this is and whether they end up doing half-jobs or jobs take twice as long. Golly, I feel like I sound like my parents or grandparents now but surely we have a responsibility to show them the ideal way – a bit like when we put mushed up healthy stuff in front of babies because it’s our job to try to help them to eat well. The old adage: you can take a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink.

In general, kids learn by example and my own preference when I am working is to have nice pens and no distractions. Stationery rules! : )

I talk to lots of parents who now try and introduce a weekday digital detox or at least have a cut off time for accessing the internet and apps. It definitely helps them with homework battles.

As with all things parenting, it’s a personal journey and we have to do what is right for our family.

I’m all for the Quiet & You’ve Got One Job route.

Anyone else?


I find classical music works for me when working. The more obscure the better so I don’t know the tune and hum along. I find this then occupies the part of my subconscious that would otherwise wander off topic. Spotify set to Classical is best so you don’t have anyone talking between the recordings.

Try it with your kids and it might help them to get into classical music as well.


Think it depends on the child! I used to always do homework with music on or even the telly, and my daughter is very much the same. She just ploughs on with it and gets it done.

My son though is a completely different story and really needs to focus. He is bright but VERY easily distracted and has no concept of time passing. He does his homework at the kitchen table out of the reach of laptops or televisions and where I can keep an eye on him!!


For me when I was at school, it very much depended on the task that I was being asked to do. If I was writing or doing maths then I couldn’t listen to music with lyrics - but classical music was fine - however if the homework was art then I could listen to any music I liked. I do think that televisions are too distracting though, as they would draw attention to the storyline of what was on at the time. So I don’t think children should be allowed to watch this. You just have to keep an eye on them and see what they are able to do under the conditions available. Some children would work better with music, others would be distracted.


I think it depends on the student. I always did my homework with music or the tv on, and loved having my friends over for gossipy study sessions. It used to drive my dad up the wall but I remember as a smug teenager telling him I would stop when my grades dropped! I think if my children struggled with certain subjects I would encourage more focused study but if they were doing well at school I wouldn’t worry so much. School is supposed to get us ready for working life. Generally we are expected to be productive with all manner of distractions and I certainly still enjoy working on my computer with the tv on in the background!


Is there a difference between boys and girls in the answer to this question, I wonder?