Homework; Staying Focused to Get It Done Faster
Many parents complain that homework takes forever; here are a few tips for making the task easier on you and your student.
Most nights HW should not take more than 60-90 minutes. The problem is most students do not settle down and do it!
They fiddle around and lose focus. Many say: “I have a hard time staying focused on homework.
It takes me forever to do it!”
I also remember, as a young student, sitting at my desk, wriggling and squirming until I decided that I needed a drink, or snack, or pencil... After letting lost in the kitchen and sucked into a TV show, it was at least an hour before I returned to my homework. I usually had several of these distractions before it became so late that I finally had no choice but to get my homework done. By that time, I was very irritable, annoyed, and impatient which made homework even worse.
Why did I do this? I did not like homework (obviously), I did not know how to do it efficiently, and I did not have the discipline to do it quickly. I have learned a lot since then.
While there is not much I can do to help anyone ‘like’ homework, I could teach strategies for completing it faster, but that would take 150 pages.
So, this article will help you improve your self discipline.
“Self Discipline Does NOT Sound Fun!”
Yes, I know…self discipline sounds dreadful, but it is time to change your perspective. Just past the point of resistance is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and a big payoff. Self discipline is what motivates athletes to win championships and wealthy people to earn their riches.
One of the world’s most successful marketing campaigns was created on the concept of self discipline when NIKE inspired athletes to “Just Do It!”
Apply that attitude to homework, and great things will happen.
** Action Plan **
“Just do it!” is a little easier said than done, especially when it comes to homework. However, the tips below will help you get started:
* The hours from 3-6 p.m. are typically the most wasted of students’ days. Make them your most productive by doing homework within one hour after school (when possible). You will be more alert at this time of day, so homework will actually be easier than if you did it later in the evening.
A study showed that HW started at 8:00 takes twice as long as the same assignments started at 4:00!
* Challenge your yourself to find small sections of time for homework before you get
home… on the bus, before basketball practice, or even during school.
(There might even be a few precious minutes before the bell when you can get some problems done.
The less homework you have by the time you get home, the more motivated you will be finish the rest quickly.
* Reward yourself. Challenge yourself to do all of your homework before a specific time so you can watch your favorite TV show, play video games, talk on the phone, IM your friends, etc.
* Fill a basket with supplies you need for homework: pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, stapler, paper, scissors, markers, glue, ruler, etc. Keep the basket handy when you do homework so everything you need will be right at your fingertips. One trip across the house for a stapler can cost you hours when you get sidetracked by the TV, refrigerator, or computer. Each sibling should have their own basket and if you live in two homes, you should have one basket in each house.
* Eliminate distractions. It is tempting to watch TV, do email, or listen to music while doing homework. However, the human brain is only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your attention constantly shifts back and forth. Sometimes that shift happens so rapidly, you don’t even notice it. You will, however, be doubling your homework time, increasing errors, and completely destroying any learning that should happen while doing homework (that would otherwise save you study time for your next test).
* Parents: Do your ‘homework’ while your children do theirs. You have bills to pay and school papers to complete. Doing those chores during ‘homework time’ will keep it from being so lonely for your children.
* Use an electronic timer. Before you begin an assignment, determine how much time it should take to complete the assignment. Add five minutes and set the timer. Challenge yourself to finish it before the timer goes off.
This is great way to develop homework motivation (a.k.a. self discipline) because it becomes a game to play against yourself. For younger students, parents can offer small rewards for each assignment that is done before the timer goes off.
** In Conclusion **
* Homework is usually NOT fun, but you can make it much more bearable if you follow Nike’s advice and “Just Do It!” Your evenings will suddenly have much more free time and your grades will improve as you actually learn information while doing homework. Before long, you will develop a much better attitude towards homework because you will have taken control of it, instead of your homework taking control of you.