Studies of families and inequality in education have focused on the family as a preparatory institution for school. However, researchers have ignored the dynamic process of engaging with academic learning at home on a daily basis and minimized the importance of homework and instruction in this setting. Home observations of Ethiopian families who immigrated to Israel are used here as a case to describe three distracting factors which alienate children from learning at home in lower-class, poor immigrant households: deprived physical settings, sensory bombardment, and emotional stress. By looking at learning at home, this study points at root causes of alienation from learning and thereby adds another perspective on reproduction in education. Our study casts doubt on the ability of home intervention programs to curb social inequalities in education.