Homework is a tricky topic. There are always some educational experts that argue that homework tasks does not actually help students improve at school. Other experts however, argue that homework is a valuable way of revising and retaining information.
What I have come to learn, over my many years as both a student and an educator, is that homework can be a very productive learning tool, but only if done correctly. Students who rush through their homework carelessly, one eye on the television, and forget about it the moment they have handed it in, are unlikely to benefit much from the task. However, students who consciously use homework as a tool for revising, recapping and learning new ideas will have a natural advantage in their classes. So, here are my top 4 tips for getting the most out of homework.
1. Get away from distractions
Students who complete their homework in front of the television or while browsing the internet are unlikely to benefit from their efforts. In order to get the most out of their homework, students should set aside a time and a place, free from distractions, in which they can focus solely at the task at hand. Check out this post for more information on how to set up a productive study space for your child.
2. Look over notes
One of the main points of homework is to revise the skills that students have learned in class. Problems occur, however, when students have already forgotten what they did in class by the time they get around to doing their homework. When this happens, the student is likely to be confused and unproductive. It is a good idea for students to look over their notes from class before completing their homework, so they are able to recall and revise all the important skills they have learned.
3. Make a list of questions to ask
In my opinion, a good student is one who isn’t afraid to ask questions. Homework is a great time for students to figure out what areas they understand, and what they need the teacher to clarify for them again. I always encourage students to make a note of any questions or problems they have during their homework, so they can remember them later.
4. Reflect upon your mistakes
Finishing your homework is only the first step. One of the most important stages of any homework task is reflecting upon your mistakes. Once the homework has been corrected by the teacher, students should see which questions they got wrong and figure out how they can improve in the future. Is there a particular skill that they need to relearn? Is there a common mistake that they are making that they can avoid in the future? Reflecting upon the mistakes made during homework tasks is one of the most effective ways for students to improve in the future.