Looking for some homework strategies? I would like to share some ideas on how homework can be more manageable, meaningful, and valuable. These ideas are based on research, but also on my own experience as a student and teacher. I hope this will also be of use to you.
Start right away: It might be called ‘homework’ but it doesn’t mean that you have to leave it for when you get home. Use your time in class or any study periods you may have to make a start. The more you do at school, the less you need to do at home.
Pick a good time to do homework: Try to do your homework at the same time every day – right after school, just before dinner, or right after dinner. Try not to leave homework until just before you go to bed.
Make a study schedule: It is a good idea to come up with a homework schedule, especially if you are involved in after-school activites, sport or if you have job. You will have to allocate more time for homework on your non-activity days.
Set up a productive study space: Set up an organised, non-cluttered space that is away from any noise and distractions. Do your homework in the same place every day. Put your devices and phone away. Just having it close to you is a distraction and the homework will take longer to complete.
Don’t get stuck: If you get stuck on a tough problem, try your best to figure it out, but don’t spend too much time on it. Ask for help from a classmate or make a note of it and ask for help from your teacher the next day.
Tackle the hardest work first: It is tempting to get all the easy tasks out of the way, but rather start with the more challenging work. Use your energy and mental power on the more difficult work first and do the easier work when you are feeling more tired. That brings me to the next tip..
Take regular breaks: If you don’t take regular breaks, you won’t be as productive. Research tells us that taking regular 15-20-minute breaks will help to refresh your mind and improve creativity, as well as helping you to maintain your attention and regain your motivation. Be careful to not stretch your break for too long. Move around and do stretch exercises during your break. Power naps of 15-20 minutes can also work wonders for increasing your productivity.
Get ready for the next day: When your homework is done, put your books in your school bag, ready and organised for the next day. Now, relax, without feeling guilty about unfinished homework!
Larey van der Walt | Head of Mathematics