Feb 1, 2010

More on Homework

In our previous post, we covered a few of the basics when it came to homework, including recognizing “burnout”, finding the right place to work, and getting others involved in the daily schedule of assignments. We’re back this week with more in-depth information and a few other ways to simplify school stuff that follows you home.

Like we said last week, the work environment is crucial if you want to cruise through homework. A few symptoms of choosing the wrong space includes: distractions, not enough room to spread out your books and papers, lighting, and lack of comfort. Take ownership of the right space and make it yours- put on music that helps you study, organize your materials at arm length, bring in lamps, put out some brain food to keep you going, and shut out anything that might interrupt that next brilliant thought. Think about the best position to study- math, for example, might take a rigid chair and desk to keep the brain alert and focused. Lying down on a bed would probably make you sleepy, but attaining that dreamy head space might be perfect for writing poetry. Use your environment like a set of tools to control how your brain works.

With the right space ready to go, it’s time to get to it. It can be tempting to get into the easier stuff first and put off the harder material for later- don’t get sucked into that mindset. If you get the harder stuff done first, you’ll have more energy to quickly finish up the easy stuff at the end. This will help you avoid burnout and give you energy to spare for post-homework activities.

Focus on getting stuff done quickly, but make sure you don’t blur the line between finishing an assignment and cutting corners. There’s nothing wrong with getting it done fast, as long as it’s done right.

For example, you may want to speed-read through a few passages. However, the faster you read, the less material you are likely to absorb. The fix is to write down notes as you go so you can look back later and remember what was covered. This way, you’ll be much more involved in the material, and also have a resource for future quizzes and tests.

Spend a certain amount of time on an assignment- if the teacher says it should take 15 minutes, don’t bother spending an hour on it. If you aren’t picking something up in class, ask your teacher to go over it again. Odds are someone else in the class didn’t understand it the first time either. Remember- homework is just practice!

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