Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yes, Yes, You DO Have Homework

I'm sorry I haven't been writing much lately. But, as your school year is winding down, so is my sememster, so I hope to get back to writing at least once a week during the summer.

Something is emerging, as I'm learning more about students in general, and seeing trends.

Many students don't know how to study. Studying means doing something every day to boost your knowledge. Even if the teacher has not assigned something for you to turn in the next day, you should still do SOMETHING for every class, every day.

With math, you can recopy your notes, review a hard problem, review an earlier section you had trouble with, preview the next section, review a quiz or test you had trouble with. There is always something you can do, every day.

This is not just for math, either. With other classes, you have writing assignments, vocabulary words to review, take notes on the chapter, rewrite class notes.

One thing that can really help your grades is if you set aside at least 15 minutes a day for each class. That's it, just 15 minutes a day. But the review and repetition can help more than you realize. You will remember more, and understand the material better and deeper.

I'm constantly shocked when a student tells me that they didn't bring the book home, because the teacher didn't assign anything, especially when they know I'm coming over to help. If you are having trouble in the class, you should bring the book home anyway, and do some of the things I suggested above.

To draw an analogy: it's like housework. No one likes to do housework. But if you do a little everyday, the house stays livable. If you miss a few days or a week, the house is messy. If you miss a month, the place is unlivable.

Another analogy: exercise. If you do something, anything, (walking, running, a sport, dance) on a regular basis, you may not even notice how you feel. But stop working out or playing hard for a month? You'll notice that you feel weaker, out of breath, and sluggish.

Same thing with studying. You may not notice the benefits immediately, but over time, your grades will come up, your understanding will deepen, and you will enjoy school more.

I'm not perfect, and I don't always follow my own advice, but the discipline is good advice, regardless. In fact, all these discipline issues are stuff I'm working on in my own life: studying, housework and exercise.

Tell you what: I'll work on it if you do, too.

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