How to get the most out of homework

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.


Book Your Free Assessment With Spectrum Tuition

At Spectrum Tuition, we recognise that every student is different. Every student has a different range of skills, experience and strengths. In order to make sure each course is tailored to your child’s specific needs, we make sure that every student who comes to us is given a Free Assessment test.

This test is designed to give us a clear indication of each student’s abilities, skills and experience. We use this information to ensure that students are placed in an appropriate class, and that their tutor has all the necessary information required to give each student effective personalised attention.

Most students are required to sit a test for both English and Maths. Each test takes roughly an hour and covers a vast range of topics across up to 3 levels. This is to ensure that we pinpoint your child’s exact level. For example, a student in Year 5 will sit the Grade 4 – Grade 6. We use this information to ensure that your child is placed in a class that is challenging, but not too difficult.

If you think you might be interested in signing your child up for an entrance test, read on!

What To Expect From The Entrance Test:

Each entrance test should take roughly an hour. Students who wish to attend classes in both English and Maths should set aside roughly 2 hours to complete their tests. The only thing that students need to bring along is a pencil, an eraser, a drink and a snack. Spare pencils and erasers can be provided if necessary. As the test is intended solely to assess the student’s strength and weaknesses, it is not necessary or beneficial that students study for the test in advance.

Because the test takes up a reasonable amount of time, you are welcome to drop your child off for their test and pick them up when they have finished. If you plan to do so, please provide us with your contact details on the day so we can contact you if your child finishes early.

Once the test is complete, we sit down with both the student and the parents and discuss the results. We provide advice on the areas that the student needs to focus on and the things that they can do to improve in the future. These discussions are a great way of helping parents understand how they, and how we, can help their child achieve success.

You can sign up for your child’s free entrance test today. Just click here.


10 Different Approaches To Getting Your Child Excited About Reading

Some children need no encouragement when it comes to reading; they bury themselves in a pile of books and need to be dragged away from their latest novel whenever it is time to eat or sleep. Other children, for whatever reason, are not nearly as enthusiastic. Some students view reading as a boring and pointless task, to be avoided at all costs. If this sounds like your child, check our my 10 tips to get your child more enthusiastic about reading.


1. Read aloud to your child.

Most people who read for pleasure were read to as a child. This is where we first develop our love of stories. The more you read to your child at a young age, the more enthusiastically they will pursue their own reading.


2. Read joke books.

Reading doesn’t always have to be serious. If your child is reluctant to read, try reading joke books together. Reading jokes engages our reading comprehension and interpretation skills and our ability to interpret subtle uses of language. Best of all, it’s much more fun than reading an encyclopaedia!


3. Give reading a purpose.

Some children complain that reading is pointless. Prove them wrong by linking their reading to an activity. For example, you could find a book that explains how to make the best paper planes, or you could encourage your child to read brochures to help you plan an upcoming holiday!


4. Get rid of distractions.

Reading is fun, but it also requires attention. As such, it is easy for readers to be distracted by the TV, video games and the Internet. Try to set aside an hour of “distraction-free” time each night, which can be dedicated to reading individually or as a family.


5. Vary the reading material.

Reading is reading, no matter what the medium. Though it is important for children to read novels, often other material such as joke books, comic books, picture books or poems can be a great way of getting them interested.


6. Ask questions.

Show interest in what your child is reading. Ask them to explain what is happening in the story, who the characters are, and get them to predict what might happen next. The more a child discusses what they read, the more engaged they will become, and the more motivated they will be to continue reading.


7. Set a good example.

Reading shouldn’t just be something that students have to do because their parents are making them do it. Set a good example by letting your child see you reading for pleasure; show that reading is something enjoyable that everyone can do.


8. Use subtitles.

Does your child watch a lot of movies? Want to help them improve their reading whilst also giving yourself a valuable bit of peace and quiet? Turn off the sound and put on the subtitles!


9. Get your child a library card.

Getting your child a library card encourages them to take responsibility over their own reading. Young children will feel very grown up when they are given their own card, and are likely to be enthusiastic about using it.


10. Don’t turn it into a chore.

Above all, try not to turn reading into a boring, stressful or strenuous task. The worst thing you can do is nag and berate your child to read; this will only cause them to associate reading with negative feelings from then on. Instead, encourage your child to read what they enjoy, praise them for their efforts.


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A Week Of Writing Prompts For Scholarship Exams

When he was asked what the key to being a good writer was, famous American fantasy novelist David Eddings gave the following advice:

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” -David Eddings

What does this mean? It means that learning to write a good story is hard work; if you want to become a good writer, the only way to do so is to write story after story after story after story. Practice makes perfect. For students sitting their scholarship exams in the coming month, Eddings’s advice is particularly relevant. When they sit down to their exam, they will be required to write an engaging narrative, based on an unseen prompt, in only 15 minutes. Not only do they need to be able to write a coherent narrative in this time, they also have to write a story that will stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of the examiners. I have already given some advice on some ways that your child can improve their narrative writing in this blog post. It’s definitely worth looking at if you haven’t already. But, as David Eddings suggests, all the advice in the world will not help if your child does not practice! So, in the weeks left before the scholarship exam, your child should be writing as many stories as they possible can. Even if they can put aside just 15 minutes each day to write a story, their writing skills are likely to improve dramatically before the exam. Below are 7 prompts that your child can use to practice. See if they can get through them all this week!

1. Write a narrative based on the following image. image1 2. Write a narrative that uses the following words: dark, bear, lightning, forgotten.

3. Write a narrative that begins with the sentence: “When I woke up, I looked around the room and came to the conclusion that I had no idea where I was.”

4. Write a narrative based on the following image.  image2 5. Write a narrative called “The Biggest Mistake of My Life.” 6. Write a narrative based on the following image.  image3 7. Write a narrative about a difficult decision.


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