Getting Homework under Control
Do you know a student who specializes in procrastination, struggles with time management, and has difficulty getting assignments completed efficiently and turned in on time? Here are six basic strategies to ease the burden of homework.
Getting started is tough. Set up all your materials in advance. Set a timer and begin by working for ten minutes. Then take a break. Then start homework with focus, avoiding TV, texting, bothersome family members, and other distractions.
Schedule a short "distraction break" every half hour to reward productivity or take short breaks in between assignments.
Use a system to keep track of assignments, such as a physical planner or online calendar. Keep a jar of pencils/pens/highlighters, paper and a calculator handy. Use a large calendar as a placement on your table or desk to keep track of long-term assignments. Allot time on the calendar to work on long-term assignments and study for tests, thus avoiding cramming.
Schedule homework and study time for a set period each day, taking extra-curricular activities into account. Schedule time for parents to quiz students on vocabulary and quiz/test review. Practice active study strategies, such as creating and completing study guides, rather than passive habits like reading through the material.
Food and Comfort
Increase productivity by having a healthy snack and putting on comfortable clothes. Avoid snacks and drinks with excessive sugar, including fruit juice, with the exception of fresh fruit. Do homework in a comfortable place. The couch is OK as long as there are no distractions.
Exercise before starting homework. Stretch and take walks in between assignments. Research shows that exercise helps with focus by increasing levels of dopamine and epinephrine in the brain.
Does this list seem overwhelming? Work with your child to try one of these strategies each day. Just as breaking down tasks into chunks makes them more achievable, trying new strategies one at a time is most manageable.. Then tweak them to make them your own.
FYI, Tutoring For Success offers Academic Coaching to help students with motivation, time management, organization, and efficient studying strategies.