How to Make Homework Less Work!
Totally Busted and No Clue…. Or Just Tired of Spending the Time?
- Be sure you understand the assignment. If you don’t ask for help and ask early!
- Use any extra time you have in school
- Pace yourself
- Figure out where you work best
- Understand yourself
- Do the hardest thing first
- Take breaks
There are more important things to do then algebra problems 15 through 25, conjugate verbs on page 50 of your French workbook, read pages 12 through 20 of the Shakespeare play, and when you’re finished with that, to fill in the missing chemical symbols on the Periodic Table of Elements worksheet. Ugh! Well, we all get that it needs to be done. But you have other things to do as well.
Soooooooooooooo… how can you be more efficient?
Luckily, you can do a few things to make homework less work:
- Be sure you understand the assignment. Write it down in your notebook or day planner if you need to and don’t wait to the last minute to deal with any difficulties you might have. It’s much easier to take a minute to ask the teacher during or after class than to struggle to come up with things yourself in the middle of the night… before the assignment is due! Ugh! Been there, done that!
- Use any extra time you have in school to work on your homework. Many schools have study halls that are specifically designed to allow students to study or get homework done. It’s tempting to hang out with friends during study periods or unstructured time, but the more work you can get done in school, the less you’ll have to do that night. Now if you do decide to hang out (and who doesn’t want to) just be aware of the payoff later.
- Pace yourself. If you don’t finish your homework during school, think about how much you have left and what else is going on that day, and then budget your time. Most high-school students have between 1 and 3 hours of homework a night. If it’s a heavy homework day and it seems like you’ve got an assignment in every subject but gym and lunch, you’ll need to devote more time to homework. It’s a good idea to come up with some kind of homework schedule, especially if you are involved in sports or activities or have an after-school job.
Where to Work
When you settle down to do homework or to study, where do you do it? Parked in front of the TV? In the kitchen, with the sound of dishes being cleared and your brothers and sisters fighting?
In elementary school that is fine but now when you have so much going on your bedroom, study, or any other room where you can get away from noise and distractions is the best place to get homework done.
Suggestion though…. don’t study on your comfy bed — opt for a desk or table that you can set your computer on and is comfortable to work at. It is just too easy to get distracted or well snooze off.
How do you learn? What works for you? Do you remember things better when you see pictures? Words? Do stuff with your hands? When you pace around? Envision scenarios? Take a minute to think about it and see that you can use what you know about yourself. I personally have a rrreaaallllly hard time sitting still. When I need to memorize things, I tend to walk around and speak the out loud since “hearing” things helps me remember them better. But others are much more visual or need to actively write down what they study so the walking would be too distracting.
Do the Hardest Thing First
It’s tempting to start with the easy stuff to get it out of the way, but you’ll have the most energy and focus when you begin, so it’s best to use this mental power on the subjects that are most challenging. Later, when you’re more tired, you can focus on the simpler things.
Most people’s attention spans aren’t very long, so take some breaks while doing your homework. Sitting for too long without stretching or relaxing will make you less productive than if you stop every so often. Taking a 15-minute break at least every hour is a good idea for most people. (But if you’re really concentrating, wait until it’s a good time to stop.)
Get Help When You Need To
There will probably be others struggling with the assignment. Reach out to your classmates. Don’t let your twitters distract you but do text or reach out any other way and do not wait until the last moment…. When either everyone is freaking out about the assignment or they already are in bed. Also, if you really need a tutor or something more than just a few hints it will probably take a bit of time to get that set up so again…sooner is better.