“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” - Galileo
Doing homework is often quite a chore for children and parents alike. At primary school, homework starts quite easy, but it does get quite complicated by the time you get to secondary school.
Pupils in primary and secondary school still have to work even after the bell has rung and it’s not always easy to get it all done.
With that in mind, here's our advice to get the most out of your homework.
Get Everything You Need Ready
Having homework is something you have to start getting used to from primary school, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a chore.
To make doing your homework easier, we recommend that you get everything you need ready. This will help you to avoid distractions and interruptions, allowing you to focus on your homework.
Go to the toilet before you sit down to do your homework, too. Make sure you’ve got a small snack and a bottle of water to drink from. Before you start your homework, make sure that you have your textbooks, exercise books, pens, pencils, etc.
Find a Quiet Place
Ideally, you’ll want a space dedicated to doing your homework. Your academic success will hinge on being able to remember what you’ve been taught. If you’re working on the kitchen table or the sofa, you’re going to struggle to concentrate, especially if there’s a television on in the same room.
Stay away from distractions. No phones, messages, or TV. The only exception is if music helps you to concentration. In this case, it’s a good idea to opt for instrumental music.
The good thing about doing homework is that you get to control your environment. Make sure that your workspace is neat and tidy. You want very few distractions.
Never Wait Until the Last Minute
No matter what type of work you have to do, don’t wait until the last minute to do it. Working a bit each day will mean that you’ll need to spend less time overall studying, especially for exams.
If you’re given an essay or project, you should get started as early as possible. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll have time later. This could leave you with several pages to write in a single evening. Start early, structure your ideas, and plan everything out.
Prioritise Urgent Tasks
Not all homework is the same difficulty, importance, or level. If you have a lot of homework, organise them by priority and adjust your approach.
- Start with the most urgent: If you have stuff due for the following day, you’ll want to get that out of the way.
- You can also start with the most difficult: You’ll have more time to think about it and you don’t want to reach the hardest part of your workload after having spent several hours working. Generally, the harder the homework, the longer it’ll take. Once you’re finished with it, you’ll find everything else quite easy. You can always switch this up and start with easier tasks to get the ball rolling and finish with the harder tasks if this approach works better for you.
- Start with the most important homework: If you have some exercises for maths and a past paper for an exam you’ll be taking in a day or two, start with the past paper.
Take Short Breaks
It can be difficult spending two solid hours doing your homework after a full day at school or college so don’t hesitate to take short breaks at least every 45 to 60 minutes. Make sure they’re short as you want to stay motivated and willing to go back to work. A 10-minute break is perfect for getting some air and refocusing.
However, there aren’t any rules. If you prefer working for 20 to 30 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break, you can. Perhaps you like to work for a full hour without a break. In any case, try to avoid screens during your downtime.
Change Subject Every 30 Minutes
You can make doing homework simpler if you keep things fresh by changing the subject every half hour. After all, concentration tends to dip after around 20 to 30 minutes so there’s no harm in moving onto something else.
You can change the subject and come back to it later. You can go back over your history lesson for half an hour and then jump over so some maths problems. If you move onto your French homework after that, you’ll never get too bored of the stuff you’re doing.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
You can only do one thing at a time so don’t think about your geography homework while you’re trying to solve maths problems.
If you decide to move onto something else before you’ve finished, you have to make sure that you’re focusing on what you’ve moved onto. It’s a good idea to make sure that you finish the task you’re on before moving onto something else as you might still be thinking of it as you’re doing some other work.
Get on Top of Your Workload
If you always dedicate the same amount of time to your homework and study, you can use your free time to get ahead in your studies. You might have some homework that you weren’t planning on doing or have some time to study for an upcoming exam. Get ahead.
You can work with friends or a private tutor if you need help. A private tutor, for example, can help you get better results at school by ensuring that you’re on top of all your homework and getting the most out of it. If you have free time at school, you can get some of your homework done there.
Reward yourself when you finish your homework. By dedicating time to doing your homework, you won’t have to do homework at any other time of the week. The rest of your time can be for hobbies and relaxation.
On the other hand, make sure that you’re free of distractions, too. Give your parents your phone while you’re doing your homework and tell them to give it back to you once you’ve finished.
Make a deal with a close friend. When you’ve both finished your homework, you can go on social media, watch your favourite series, etc.
Plan Your Week at the Weekend
You’ll want to plan out your schedule. Homework will help you to remember what you’ve been taught in your lessons and by staying on top of it, your academic results will improve.
Homework is an important part of your education. At the end of each week, organise the work you’ve done and the work you’ll need to do. Plan out which days you’re going to do each task.
You can use the extra time to work on longer projects.
If you or your child need help with homework or schoolwork, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors for academic support, homework help, and specific subjects all over the country and around the world.
Private tutorials are either taught face-to-face, online, or in groups and each type of tutoring comes with advantages and disadvantages so think carefully about which one is right for you and your budget before hiring a private tutor.
One-on-one tutorials are just between the student and the tutor and can be tailored to suit the student's preferred learning style. This makes these types of tutorials incredibly effective as every minute is spent working to help the student. However, they also tend to be the most expensive type of tutoring available as you'll be paying for all the extra time and effort the tutor puts into planning and adapting their lessons to the student.
As they don't have to travel to each tutorial, online tutors can afford to charge less than face-to-face tutors and they often do. While these types of tutorials mightn't be as effective for certain hands-on subjects, they're excellent for academic subjects, study skills, revision, and help with homework.
Group tutorials are an excellent choice for families on a tight budget. With several students attending each session, there won't be as many opportunities for the tutor to adapt the lessons to the individual, but the cost will be shared amongst everyone participating, which makes these tutorials cheaper per student per hour.