“It’s exhausting to be up at 1:00 a.m. doing homework. All you’re thinking about is going to bed.”—David.
“Sometimes I was up until 4:30 a.m. studying, and then I’d get up at 6:00 a.m. to go to school. It was ridiculous!”—Theresa.
Are you buried in homework? If so, this article can help you dig yourself out.
Why do teachers give homework?
Among other things, homework . . .
expands your knowledge base
teaches you responsibility
hones your time-management skills
helps you absorb the concepts you were taught in class *
“Assigning homework is a way for teachers to ensure that their students will practice what they have learned instead of just having it go in one ear and out the other.”—Marie.
In particular, math and science sharpen your problem-solving skills. And that, experts say, can forge and strengthen new neural connections. So homework is like a workout for your brain!
Whether you see the benefits or not, homework is a reality of life that you have to deal with. The good news is this: Even though you can’t control the amount of homework you are given, you might be able to reduce the time it takes to complete it. Let’s see how.
If you are having problems getting your homework done, the solution might be, not to work harder, but to work smarter. Try the following.
Study Tip 1: Plan ahead. The Bible says: “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.” (Proverbs 21:5) Arrange to have all your study tools on hand so that you can work without having to get up.
Also, choose a location that will allow you to concentrate. Some find that a quiet, well-lit room at home is ideal. Others work best outside the home, perhaps at a library.
“Having an organizational tool such as a student planner can help you schedule your time wisely. When you keep track of what your assignment is and when it’s due, your life will be much less stressful.”—Richard.
Study Tip 2: Organize your work. The Bible says: “Let all things take place . . . in an orderly manner.” (1 Corinthians 14:40, footnote) With that in mind, decide in which order you will tackle your assignments.
Some like to start with the hardest ones. Others prefer to get the positive reinforcement, or encouragement, that comes from finishing the easier assignments first. Choose the method that works best for you.
“It definitely helps to make a list so that you know what you need to do and in what order. That way you feel in control of the homework and it doesn’t seem overwhelming.”—Heidi.
Study Tip 3: Get to work. The Bible says: “Be industrious, not lazy.” (Romans 12:11) Don’t let other activities—tempting as they may be—rob you of the time you need to get your homework done.
Procrastinators will likely miss deadlines or rush to finish the job—and the quality of their study and their work usually suffers. You can save yourself needless anxiety and grief by simply starting on your homework as soon as you can.
“When I did my homework immediately after school or started a project as soon as I got it, I didn’t have to worry about it later—and it didn’t interfere with other activities.”—Serina.
SUGGESTION: Do your homework at the same time each day. That will strengthen your self-discipline and help you to be consistent.
Study Tip 4: Stay focused. The Bible says: “Fix your gaze straight ahead of you.” (Proverbs 4:25) To follow that advice as you study, you need to avoid distractions—digital ones in particular.
Surfing the Web and texting can double the time it takes you to finish your homework. But if you stay focused, you will likely find that you have not only less stress but also more free time.
“With cell phones, computers, gaming consoles, and TV, it’s hard to focus. What helps me is to turn off my phone and unplug any other potential distractions that are nearby.”—Joel.
Study Tip 5: Be balanced. The Bible says: “Let your reasonableness become known.” (Philippians 4:5) Ease homework stress by taking a break when needed. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or run.
If you still feel that you are buried under an avalanche of homework, talk to your teachers. If they see that you are sincerely trying to do your best, they may be moved to make adjustments.
“Don’t allow homework anxiety to push you over the edge. Put forth your best effort. Some things aren’t worth risking your sanity over, and homework is one of those things.”—Julia.
Questions to ask yourself:
What materials will I need for my homework?
When is the best time for me to do my homework?
Where will I best be able to concentrate?
How can I avoid procrastination?
What distractions might slow me down?
How will I avoid distractions—digital or otherwise?
How can I show balance in my approach to homework?
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Make sure you understand what your homework assignment involves. If you have questions, ask the teacher before you leave the classroom.
^ Points are drawn from the book School Power, by Jeanne Schumm.