Back to Blog
Thomas Frank has some good advice on how to stop falling behind on homework. He has a 3 step method to help you stay on track. We are summarizing his views below and adding our own perspective to it, so do read the blog and not just watch the video!
1. Calendar and to-do list: organize and keep it up to date
Put you stuff outside of your head into an external system so your brain does not have to worry about it. This is excellent advice given by productivity experts like David Allen, who advises us that the mind is for having ideas, and not for holding them. If you want to learn more, read his seminal book on Getting Things Done.
Start early in the semester. Take the syllabus and schedule and transfer it to your calendar and to-do list. Keep on adding assignments and to-dos on your task management system. You can either use a paper calendar/to-do system or an app on your phone.
Some of the tasks will pile up. Establish a review day during the week and go through your to-do list and check them off and decide when to do what is not done.
2. Break down the tasks into smaller chunks
And set deadlines for each chunk! Do this consistently and your work will be more manageable and you won't fall behind. Break down your studying as well as tasks. Don't put off things. Just do them in small chunks and do them consistently.
Breaking down your projects into smaller pieces also helps you in getting started because it is doable. Also, set a deadline for your first micro task the day you got the assignment. This way you can get started when the project is fresh in your mind. This way you can deal with procrastination.
3. Work every day to stay sharp and on task
Try to do something every day. This will give you continuous momentum and help deal with resistance and motivation. To help with this idea, find a time and place where you can do your work. This is quite important. For example, I don't like to work in public places. I don't know why, but I don't. I like to work at home or at a place where I can personalize my setting. You need to find places where you like to work. And then the time. What times you will do your homework? What times do you like to read interesting material related to what you have learned in school? Etc.
Many students have several activities besides studying and doing homework. Find out what works for you. Maybe going to a tutoring service, like Hillview Prep :-), may give you the space and time you need to work on your assignments. Plus, you can get instant help from a tutor.
4. Find a solution if you are falling behind
Well, you will occasionally fall behind. It could be an illness, unanticipated events, unplanned activities, tasks and activities taking longer than you expected, etc. In such cases, accept the reality and find a solution. Maybe, come to a tutoring service, like ours, during the weekend or after school. We also offer bootcamps and online classes.
Back to Blog
Each student struggles in a unique way.
Everyone knows that homework is usually a pain, but often you may not be aware of your student's actual struggle. You have to find out your student's real challenge. Here are some ways your student might be struggling.
How do we solve these problems? Here are some solutions.
Back to Blog
Image from Pixabay
Often you will get homework that is tedious and frankly plain boring. You don't want to do it. Nobody really does. However, often, you have to do boring drills to achieve mastery. Think of all the athletes who practice routine after routine, many of them just boring, to improve their skills. You have to do the same. Fortunately, there is some help for you. Try these six hacks if you are having difficulty maintaining focus to do your boring homework.
1) Move Around
Walking around while studying can help you get energized and maintain your focus. You can walk around and talk aloud, or even walk with a book in your hand. Try to find out what works for you. Walking around listening to music for 5 minutes might help you deal with your fidgets.
2) Speak Out Loud
If you don't want to walk around, just talk! This will support your auditory learning style and help improve your learning. Speaking out aloud also slows things down which helps you retain more material. Paraphrasing out loud what you have read is an excellent way of learning and retaining important information.
3) Change Position
If you are at home, you can easily change positions while doing homework. Instead of sitting on your desk, do it on your bed, or on the sofa. Heck, you may even climb a tree and do it there! At school, it is difficult, but you could request a change in your seating arrangement or bring a new notepad or bag with you—just to change something.
4) Work in short Bursts
Work in short bursts. Working intensively for short periods of time will be more productive for them. One successful method is the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it. Spend 25 minutes on a task uninterrupted. Then take a 5-10 minute break. Continue doing two or three more Pomodoros and then take a longer break. Your brain will thank you.
5) Shift Subjects
“Shifting” is not multitasking. When your attention drifts, change the subject. This will help with boredom and will renew your interest in learning. Also, it gives you a mental break from one subject and helps you integrate the material better by giving you a break from the subject.
6) Find out the Bother
If you still can't stay focused, something must be bothering you. Are you tired? Sad? Ecstatic? Bored? Whatever it is, write it down. Just writing what is bothering you will help calm you down and help you focus. If you still can't focus, go do something else and come back later.
Back to Blog
Image from Pixabay
After spending more than seven hours in school, five days a week, most students are given homework. Although homework is viewed by most educators and parents as an essential component of reinforcing what has been taught in the classroom, for most students homework is a chore that often frustrates and angers them.
How can you help your child with homework frustration? Following are some tips. Find out which ones will work for you and your child.
This is perhaps the most important tip and often hard to implement. Try to find out what interests your child and connect the homework to his interests. For example, a friend's son loves Halloween and wants to work at the Halloween stores! The friend asked his son, how he could he work there if he doesn't know math? How will he run the cash register? The son got motivated and starting doing his math homework!
2. Build a Routine Around your Child’s Daily Rhythms
Does your child like to do homework in the morning, right after school or in the evening? Each child is different. Don't fight your child's nature daily rhythms. Some are early risers, some stay up late. Find out the best time for them to do their homework.
3. Create a Daily Structure
Create a structure by sitting and strategizing the day’s homework with your child: How much has to be done? What looks easy? What looks hard? Keep it simple. Eliminate distractions.
4. Break Down the Material
Often children have difficulty breaking projects into manageable “chunks.” This is why studying for a major test or a large project becomes an insurmountable task. Sit down with your child and a calendar and divide up the material he must master. Break it down to their level, not yours. Find out what your child feels is doable.
5. Start a Homework Group
Invite one or two kids from your child’s class to come over and do a little homework together. Maybe, it is your car pool kids, or your child's friends. Your child can learn from other children's studying strategies and habits, and the chance to play with their friends while doing homework is an added incentive to get homework done.
6. Reward Accomplishments
We believe in small, tangible rewards for small, tangible accomplishments. Finish your math homework, and you’ll get a cookie. Finish all your homework, and you can go play. With the assignments your child really hates, sit down with her to help her navigate through it. Find out why she hates it. It is often bad teaching at school or a complex concept. And then reward her for sharing her problems and working through them.
7. Don’t Over-schedule
If you fill up every afternoon with activities, then as the evening arrives, children will get tired. How about moving some of these activities to the weekend? Does your child take a nap after school? When she wakes up, that might be a good time to schedule the homework.
8. Get Them Moving
If your child is having problems focusing, get her moving. Physical activity increases alertness for mental activity. Encourage your student to walk around the house reading aloud from a book. Chances are, she will soon settle down and be able to focus on her work.
9. Give Them Regular Breaks
The brain is a muscle. It needs to relax, so after half an hour of study, give your child a 5 or 10 minute break. That will increase his productivity and reduce stress.
10. Talk Out Loud to Solve Tough Problems
Experts have pointed out that, when students are required to explain their thinking, elaborate their ideas, or defend their position, they tend to gain a better understanding, and be more efficient at the problem they are solving. Talking out loud is a great method for you to move through a problem you are facing in a systematic way. It slow things down and helps with focus. It also prevents you from skimming over a particularly hard section, or skipping necessary steps.
11. Get a Tutor
If you are busy and/or having trouble getting your child to do homework, get a tutor! Often, children would listen to another adult and most tutors have more experience in teaching than the average parent. They simply have seen many more kids and do it all the time. Save your time and hire a tutor. Call us at Hillview Prep and we will be happy to match a tutor for your child.
Back to Blog
Parents of gifted children are surprised when their kids have homework problems. After all, gifted kids are smart. They learn quickly and things come easier to them. Unfortunately, for some parents, the visions of straight A report cards are replaced by low or poor grades.
It is not unusual for a gifted child to have homework problems. There could be several reasons.