Get it done! How to get the most out of your at homework!
  • Jul 2022
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Get it done! How to get the most out of your at homework!

13th July 2022

Two words will always elicit cheers from a classroom–no homework. Students of all ages dislike homework mainly because it takes them away from doing something else; something that they find more appealing such as hanging out with friends, video games, chatting, or scrolling. In short, students would rather be doing anything other than their at-home work. 

This is a shame because homework is an excellent way for students to improve their academic performance. However, not all homework is created equally, nor is simply completing the work good enough to get the maximal benefits. This article will discuss tips for maximizing efficiency and getting the most out of your at-home work. 


Tip #1: Identify a tangible takeaway

Students should approach homework as precisely that–at homework. This is different from homework, which means "busy work" or something to be completed for the sake of completing it. Mindset is powerful in an academic and intellectual context, and mindset matters greatly when it comes to at-home work.

Thus tip #1 for getting the most out of your at-home work is to ensure that you have a positive orientation towards the work. This is made more accessible if your instructors are assigning purposeful homework that is well designed, an extension of the learning done that day, or intrinsically engaging.

However, this, of course, is not always the case. When faced with what you perceive as lame or boring homework, write down one tangible thing you can get out of it. This will focus your mind on a specific learning objective and reduce your annoyance with having to complete the task. 


Tip #2: Break up the task, hold yourself accountable, and reward completion. 

Students' negative orientation toward at-home work also stems from the fact it generally takes a fair amount of time to complete and thus seems like a daunting and arduous task from the jump.

Thus I constantly find myself advising both students and parents alike to ensure that at-home work is explicitly divided into manageable chunks of tasks, the completion of which can be celebrated via a reward in the form of a "brain break." 

As a learner, you determine the size of these chunks. If you have to write four long answer questions for a history class.

You think it will take you 15-30 minutes to answer one question, then say to yourself, "I am going to complete 1 question in the next 30 minutes" Then, reward yourself with a 15-minute "brain break" in the form of a tik-tok session, quick game or a few pages of your favorite graphic novel.

The reward doesn't matter as long as you view it as a reward, most notably that this "break" is timed. You must adhere to the 15-minute limit and then return to address the next task you have chunked for yourself. 

By breaking up your at-home work into smaller, manageable chunks of time and effort interspersed with " brain break" rewards, you'll find that you become more efficient in doing your homework and get more out of it because you'll be more motivated to start and finish each task and you'll multitask less.

If you find yourself multitasking during a 30-minute chunk of time, reduce your on-task work time to 15 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break. The important thing is that for whatever amount of time you schedule your "on-task work," you honor that commitment to yourself. Over time, you'll be able to build up your focus and thus increase your on-task time. 


Tip #3: Environment Matters

When students talk to me about their struggles with at-home work, the first question I ask them is, "Where do you do your at-home work?" Inevitably, their answer is, "My bedroom." 

Now, not all bedrooms are created equally. It would be appropriate to complete at-home work in your bedroom if that room was void of "fun" stimuli such as your phone, television, or game console. However, most students' bedrooms function as their living rooms and thus are not environments conducive to completing at-home work due to a psychological phenomenon known as "state-dependent learning.

" The theory of state-dependent learning holds that environmental context impacts learned behavior. Given that learning is defined as a change in behavior in response to a stimulus, it will be hard for a student to complete homework in an environment that serves as a stimulus for "fun." 

Thus if you care about getting your at-home work done, getting something out of it, and spending less time to complete it, you should ensure that you are working on your at-home work in a context that is not associated with leisure.

For many students, working in the kitchen is enough, while others like going to the local library or a coffee shop. Give this change in the scenery a try and see how much more on the task you can be!


Original Author

Matt Kuykendall is an IB educator, textbook author, and teacher leader. As the founder of, he strives to create collaborative learning experiences among students and professionals with a focus on peer assessment and placing learning in an authentic context.

Blog - EducatedConsulting



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