How to Plan and Complete Homework Efficiently
No two students study in quite the same way. The trick to finishing homework efficiently is to keep assignments and materials organized, and to figure out how and where you concentrate best.
Managing Assignments and Materials
Have you ever gone home, sat down to begin you homework, and realized you don't have your book? Or even worse: completed the wrong assignment? These are common mistakes, but most teachers and professors won't sympathize with these excuses, and you end up behind or with a zero for the assignment.
Never be unprepared again:
- Keep and assignment book, homework planner, or personal planner that comes to class every day and home every night.
- Write every homework assignment out completely and legibly, even if you think that you will remember it.
- Ask the teacher about the assignment if anything is unclear.
- Make a list of materials that you will need for homework each night, and check off each item as you place it in your book bag.
- Keep a designated homework folder which goes to school every day and home every night, for worksheets, rubrics, or other assignments.
If you are in college, use a calendar to manage long term deadlines, such as term papers and upcoming exams. Recording dates from all of your syllibi onto one calendar will help you plan ahead for the busiest times in the semester.
Plan a Time and a Place
Know when you learn best and what environment you work best in.
Do you work best in the
- early morning,
- between classes,
- right after school,
- or late into the night?
My college roommate worked best in the early morning because that was when she was most motivated and had the least distractions.There is a 0% chance that I will ever drag myself out of bed until I absolutely have to, so I end up doing my homework between classes or late at night.
Some grade school students find it best to begin homework right off of the bus, but most younger students need time to burn some energy and let their brain relax after spending the day at school.
Keep in mind that you should not place a limit the amount of time you spend on your homework. In college, you may have multiple papers or projects due form several classes, and you need to make time for them regardless of your optimal learning time. This may pose a problem for the night owls like myself, because if the assignment is due the next day you could run out of time, and it's more difficult to find answers to your questions or help with your broken down computer at two in the morning.
Do you learn best
- by yourself
- or in a group?
I always learned best and, more importantly, accomplished the most when I was working on my own. However, many people do benefit from studying with friends and classmates.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Log off Facebook and Twitter.
- Turn off the television.
- Turn off iTunes or Pandora.
Some people insist that they can listen to music, or watch TV, and still do their homework. They usually can, but their brain is not retaining the information as well, and they certainly aren't finishing their homework as quickly and efficiently as they could.
Cell phones and Facebook are distracting, and create excuses for us to procrastinate.
A quiet place, free of distractions such as noisy siblings, is very important. Many people like to go to the library, but I find most libraries, especially my college library, to be too busy and social. Every one I saw wanted to say "Hi" and make small talk! I usually end up doing homework in my room, or out in a field under a tree when the weather is nice.
Establish a Routine
You will be most organized and your brain will be most prepared to work if you establish a regular routine. Once you find a time or place that works for you, stick to it.
Hire a Homework Tutor
Some people work best one on one with another, qualified individual. There are many tutors available in your area or online that would be overjoyed to help with your homework.
Grade school students are often oppositional to their parents who try to help them with their homework. The same child is often much more receptive to advise from a tutor.
Benefits of hiring a tutor:
- once you set up a time to meet with the tutor you have committed to at least that hour of uninterrupted time spent on homework.
- A tutor will make sure that you are going in the right direction. He or she can point out important areas to focus on, where to find quality information,
- He or she can provide quality feedback on assignments, or help you to understand a concept, or walk you through a process.
- Grade school children may be oppositional to their parent's homework help, but much more open to a peer tutor.
A quality tutor comes at a high cost, but good tutor builds a child's confidence and attention to detail. And keep in mind that the tutor often spends time and gas money to drive to a specific location to meet with you, so $50 an hour is not so much when you think about it!