“No kid should be getting three or four hours of homework a night. There's no breathing time, there's no family time, there are just extracurriculars and homework and then go to bed.” - Ross W. Greene
Homework is an important part of schooling.
Can you get out of doing it?
A survey conducted by the Kumon educational network found that 26% of Canadian parents found that their children had difficulty completing their homework.
So how can you get the most out of homework?
Homework as Part of Their Schooling
Homework can be quite a controversial topic when it comes to education. Some parents find it to be a waste of time when they could be spending quality time with their family whilst others believe that homework is an essential part of every child’s education and an opportunity to create stronger bonds with their child.
Some parents love sitting down to help their children with their homework.
In reality, homework is an escapable part of schooling and children will have to do it.
Even if some homework might seem pretty pointless, it’s an opportunity for students to revisit the topics they were learning about during the day. In maths, they have an opportunity to solve similar problems to the ones they did in class. This can help them form habits and learn how to solve problems on their own without needing help from their teacher.
If students are organised, they can get their homework done much more quickly and effectively. Planning and organisation is the key to getting your homework done.
Creating a Homework Plan
Make sure that you have a plan when it comes to doing your homework. Your plan needs to go beyond the homework diary or homework planner that you get from school and needs to consider your homework in the long-term.
This is highly recommended for students in secondary school. Generally, primary school pupils don’t get enough homework for a long-term plan to be necessary so, in this case, a plan could end up being a waste of time.
Secondary school pupils, however, can plan out the whole month and stay on top of their homework. Just make sure to create a plan that works for you.
A good way to create a homework plan or schedule is monthly with colour-coded tasks. You can highlight the most urgent tasks, for example. You can also use different sheets for different types of tasks and keep all the most urgent on one sheet to go through first.
Organise your homework in a way that works for you as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Set Aside a Time to Do Your Homework
Being organised also means finding the right time to do homework; it’s often recommended that students do homework shortly after getting home from school.
If learners are still in the right frame of mind from being at school, it can make doing homework easier. It’s much harder for students to stop playing and go back to doing work. Doing homework when they get home can make everything simpler. They’ll also know that they’re free for the rest of the evening when they finish their homework.
However, you’ll also need to make sure that homework time doesn’t interfere with the family’s other plans.
Will the parents be available to help the child with their homework if they encounter any difficulties?
Once you’ve decided on a time to do homework, make sure that you stick to it.
Break Down the Homework into Smaller Tasks
Some homework will take longer than the hour you’ve set aside each evening. This may be a longer project or an essay that isn’t due for a few weeks as you can’t do these tasks at the last minute.
How can you read an entire book in an evening?
You’ll have to break down the tasks.
With a lot of maths homework, for example, you can do a section of problems each evening.
Plan out what you’re going to do each evening so that you’re not overwhelmed by all the work. When they don’t have any homework due for the following morning, a lot of students will use this time to do something else. However, working on homework that isn’t due for a few days will make the whole thing much easier and more manageable.
It's easier to do it over several days rather than sitting down for several hours as it will also help you avoid having to dedicate an entire evening to your homework.
Start with Easier Tasks
Not all homework is the same; some tasks are easier than others and require less time and concentration. It's a good idea to get into the flow of doing your homework with easier tasks. By starting with more manageable tasks, you can build up a head of steam and once you’ve got going, you can move onto the more difficult tasks.
When you’ve finished the more difficult tasks, you may only be left with a couple of things to do. This will make finishing the homework seem like a doddle. Getting started is often the hardest part of any task.
Keeping on top of Your Homework
It’s always tempting to do anything besides your homework but, by keeping on top of it, it’s easier to plan around what you have to do.
Much like breaking homework down into manageable tasks, staying on top of it makes organising it much easier. Like we said earlier, you don’t want to be left having to dedicate an entire evening to the homework that’s due the following day.
Making a habit of keeping on top of your workload will be useful for later studies or your career.
Even if you don’t get any unexpected homework or tests to study for, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of revising.
While teachers mightn’t tell you to do this, you might want to go back over the notes from your lessons and create revision sheets for when you do have to sit down and revise for an exam.
By regularly revising, you’ll have a better understanding of your subjects and less revision to do when you sit your exams. You’ll realise that you already know a lot about what you plan to study.
Take Regular Breaks
An organised student will set aside time for regular breaks. It may seem paradoxical, but if you’re going to be spending a lot of time studying or doing homework, you should also regularly take breaks. Breaks are important for resting your brain and also a good idea before changing subjects.
Some lessons or topics are easier to understand once you’ve got up and stretched your legs for a bit. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be taking a break every ten minutes. A 10-minute break every hour is a good idea, which is incredibly useful with longer tasks.
Organise Your Desk
Just like organising your homework, you should also tidy and organise your workspace. Your homework will be easier and more effective if you do it in a suitable place.
Start by choosing the right place to do your homework. Avoid doing homework in the living room in front of the TV or surrounded by noisy siblings. Try to find somewhere quiet where you can concentrate and if you have a desk, use it. If you don’t have a desk or dedicated workspace, sit down at a table in a quiet room.
Just make sure you have everything you need to do your homework as there’s nothing worse than having to get up to look for stationery, books, or the homework itself. Once you have everything you need, you can get to work.
Finally, don’t forget to limit or remove sources of distraction like smartphones, a TV, a tablet, or games. Now you’re ready to do your homework!
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