As the new school year fast approaches (in the Southern Hemisphere anyway) it is a perfect time for students to think about establishing a new homework routine into practice. This is particularly important for ALL students but even more so for those that don’t really have any set routine at all.
- what worked well in terms of completing work?
- what didn’t work well when it came to completing homework, and assignments/assessments?
- did they do any extra study and revision to assist with preparing for tests/SACs or exams?
- in particular what are one or two things they would change about their approach?
Now there is no point saying that they don’t want to do homework full stop – this won’t get them anywhere, and as we know it is a part of life and a reality. Rather than focus on the negative aspects, students should think about they can improve the process to get it done more effectively and efficiently than they may have done in the past, allowing more time for other activities they enjoy.
The other important point is to start by making one or two main changes as they are more likely to stick to them than if they try and completely overhaul their approach. Students this really is the best way forward to ensure changes are made and new habits are formed. However, for others (usually more of the minority) they might well be able to make many changes to help them and be able to stick to them too.
Key areas for students to think about in particular include:
- the best time of day to complete homework – for most students this is usually pretty much as soon as they get home and have had something to eat. Unfortunately, though this is usually the most wasted time of the day – between 4-6pm. My message to students is to think about starting work earlier and getting the majority done before dinner – the rest of the evening will then be free to do what you enjoy.
- level of focus – often homework can take students a long time due to lack of focus. To assist with this setting a timer can help – just making a start for 20 minutes can help before having a short break and going again. The other key is to minimise distractions ie leaving mobiles in another room and working in an environment that suits ie if they work better in a quiet space don’t work at the kitchen table when everyone is home.
- using a diary or some form of planner – one for the biggest challenges for many students can be:
- knowing what they have to do
- and when it is due
- and not leaving it until the last minute which can often be the case.
Many students do not use any form of planner and usually try to remember in their heads. Naturally this can be a struggle as not seeing what needs to be done means it doesn’t get done – out of sight and out of mind!
- having a plan – students should work out, not only what needs to be completed over night, but also what other work could be started ie starting an assignment or preparing for test. Too often students will say they don’t have any work to do when in fact we know that is not true. How often do we see students get stressed and overwhelmed with their workloads. In most cases this is often due to lack of planning and making a start.
If a student is serious about making changes for the school year ahead, then please take note that it won’t happen by itself and will require effort and commitment.
If they do manage to follow through with making a change or two then it will assist to set them up for success this year at school. So students all I suggest is to please really consider establishing a new homework routine for the new school year ahead!
Finally parents and students, it is important to remember that it won’t always be smooth sailing and there will be dips in the road (Link to a blog on students experiencing dips). The important thing is to persevere, fine tune and stick to it!
For more information on the work I do to assist students with their organisation, time management and study skills, please get in touch:
- email – firstname.lastname@example.org or
- mobile – 0409 967 166.