The authors undertook a series of empirical studies to examine how students experience homework at various grade levels. The research casts a different light on the century-old practice of doing homework, suggesting it is the quintessential job of childhood. Homework creates a situation where the child must complete assigned tasks under minimal supervision and after little initial training. Doing well on that job gets one further along in school. As in the workplace, when children move from beginners to experts with homework, they demonstrate responsibility and become skilled at managing tasks. These positive outcomes enhance the intended deepening of students' subject matter knowledge. However, the authors assert that another virtue of homework is that it can prepare children for jobs they will have one day; it may develop an aptitude for gainful employment.